In 2014, under pressure from the Federal Communications Commission, the wireless phone industry finally agreed to allow consumers to unlock their cell phones if they wanted to change providers. In remedying the harmful effects of industry consolidation and declining competition, an obvious place to start is antitrust regulation and enforcement. Software engineers and CEOs are not the only ones affected by such regulations: Among employees earning $40,000 or less, about one in seven (13.5%) is bound by a noncompete. It is time for antitrust authorities to renew their scrutiny of traditional mergers. Creating a category of “dental therapists” to provide some routine services “could benefit consumers by increasing choice, competition and access to care, especially for the underserved,” the FTC said. ** Browse through our Economics Concentrator Guide. Economic theory suggests that oligopolies — industries in which a few firms dominate without much competition — lead to increases in price and reductions in output. This line of thinking is controversial. A slowdown in business dynamism means that entrenched firms have less to fear from upstarts; as a result, the economy suffers as innovation slows and job growth stalls. A 2010 analysis found that the typical private-insurer payment for inpatient hospital stays in San Francisco (a highly concentrated market) was about 75% higher than in the more fragmented Los Angeles market. “Concentration could arise from anticompetitive forces,” Autor and his colleagues note, “whereby dominant firms are increasingly able to prevent actual and potential rivals from entering and expanding.” Indeed, research shows that incumbent firms in a wide range of industries — airlines, beer, pharmaceuticals, hospitals — are wielding market power in ways that prevent rivals from emerging and thriving. To learn more about Ec, please peruse all the info on this website: See our Fall 2020 Key Dates. Harvard has several PhD programs that may also be of interest to students considering applying to the PhD program in economics. Probably a bit of both. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School. Lately, though, declining dynamism has spread to the tech sector. This article explains how clusters foster high levels of productivity and innovation and lays out the implications for competitive strategy and economic policy. The Farmington Economics A Team won the 12th Annual Harvard Pre-Collegiate Economic Challenge on Saturday, April 1. In a 2002 study, Lawrence White, a New York University economist, concluded that economy-wide concentration had fallen from the beginning of the 1980s to the end of the 1990s. As writer Mark Rogowsky recounted in Forbes, “Within a year, T-Mobile hired John Legere as its new CEO and he threw out the business-as-usual approach. Program in the Department of Economics at Harvard is addressed to students of high promise who wish to prepare themselves in teaching and research in academia or for responsible positions in government, research organizations, or business enterprises. The Federal Trade Commission has been in a long-running battle with dentists’ organizations over various state rules that limit the services hygienists and teeth-whitening clinics can offer. There’s no question that most industries are becoming more concentrated. Over the past few years, the economics team has participated at a number of competitions. "Economic Competition" is a descriptor in the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus, MeSH (Medical Subject Headings).Descriptors are arranged in a hierarchical structure, which enables searching at various levels of specificity. By 2012, Amazon had begun raising prices and had slashed the benefits of Amazon Mom. Economics & Business Search Results: 894 found (sorted by date) Click on a column heading to sort search results by title, author, etc. Browse the latest online economics courses from Harvard University, including "Energy Within Environmental Constraints" and "Tackling a Perfect Storm: COVID-19’s Economic Impacts and Crafting an Effective Policy Response." Economics for Managers takes you inside a growing online retailer, an events ticket broker, a multinational publishing company, and other firms evaluating market demand, wrestling with pricing strategy, and looking to identify ways to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. And that does happen — sometimes. The economy is more concentrated. “Although provider concentration could produce efficiencies that benefit purchasers of health care services, the evidence does not point in that direction,” Berkeley’s Brent Fulton concludes in a 2017 review of the literature. They find a similar pattern in banking. Previously, I was a postdoctoral scholar at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School. We need to do so to treat members of our own community with the fairness and compassion they deserve, to improve our scholarship, and to help improve the climate in economics more broadly. Evidence that there’s too little competition is accumulating. The economic effect of this growth is that huge investors increasingly hold substantial stakes in all major competitors in an industry. The research on whether common ownership harms competition may be inconclusive, but the work is increasingly vital as the stakes in major companies held by large institutional investors continue to rise dramatically. When corporations use their market power to crush competition, problems arise. A comprehensive review of retrospective studies of the thousands of mergers and joint ventures over the past 25 years by Northeastern University economist John Kwoka judged that antitrust authorities had been too tolerant both in letting certain types of mergers go unchallenged and in imposing conditions on mergers that were cleared. We accept APA, Harvard, Chicago, MLA, and any other common citation method. Research from Schmalz’s team estimates that U.S. airfares are, on average, 3% to 7% higher than they would be without overlapping institutional-investor ownership. The most famous examples are found in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, but clusters dot the world's landscape. After the merger fell through, some argued that T-Mobile was doomed. Ph.D. in Economics. Alberto Alesina was a leader in the field of Political Economics and has published extensively in all major academic journals in economics. By 2017, competition among wireless carriers was so stiff that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen cited falling prices for cell phone service as a cause of low inflation. The argument for reexamining current merger guidelines — and, where appropriate, challenging the case law that is said to make Department of Justice and FTC lawyers reluctant to bring cases — is very strong. Despite the proliferation of craft breweries, four brewers hold nearly 90% of the U.S. beer market. From 2009-2010, he served as an economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers. ** Read the Fall 2020 DUS Letter from our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Jeffrey Miron. This course offers an introduction to the market system, emphasizing economic interactions among individuals, business firms, and government. The Economics Proficiency Exam will be available online as a self-diagnostic assessment for ECON S-1010, ECON S-1012, and ECON S-1123. And BlackRock is hardly the reincarnation of John D. Rockefeller; the firm is managing other people’s money. “Investment is weak relative to profitability and valuation,” NYU’s Thomas Philippon and German Gutierrez concluded in a 2017 analysis built on the historical relationship between investment and the ratio of the market value of a company’s debt and equity to the replacement cost of its assets. In 2015, for instance, the Federal Trade Commission considered whether the merger of real estate sites Zillow and Trulia would reduce both companies’ incentives to develop new features for consumers. The notion was to spur competition and lower prices, discouraging the practice of some audiologists of bundling an exam with the purchase of a hearing aid. You will dive into topics like customer demand, supplier cost, markets, and competition. We now operate in a winner-take-most world, the argument goes, in which superstar firms with higher productivity capture a larger slice of the market; Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have risen to the top because of their propensity to innovate. Antitrust authorities must also tackle the vexing question of what constitutes illegal “predatory” pricing in today’s market. Team A, which consisted of seniors Allen Haugh, Spencer Buzdon, Chris Ware and junior Dylan Suffredini, placed first out of 35 four-person teams representing 22 schools from across the country. Seen through the villain lens, however, Facebook’s relentless swallowing up of promising young firms effectively squashes the potential of upstarts to become competitors. With scholarly caution, he noted “a moderate but continued increase in aggregate concentration.” The Economist, using U.S. Economic Census data, found a similar trend. Issues such as the environment, taxation, and income distribution are … Schmalz and his colleagues don’t allege explicit collusion; rather, they claim that common ownership reduces the incentive to compete. And with bipartisan enthusiasm and the blessing of the Food and Drug Administration, Congress in 2017 instructed the FDA to make it easier for consumers to buy hearing aids at Costco and other retailers, just as they can buy reading glasses at nonspecialty stores such as CVS. When SABMiller and MolsonCoors (the number two and three brewers at the time) combined U.S. operations, in 2008, prices abruptly rose — and not only for their beers but also for those of competitor Anheuser-Busch. But even as the number of retailers starting up and dying off plunged, the industry became more productive. The number of jobs created by businesses less than a year old dropped from a peak of 4.7 million in the late 1990s to 3 million in 2015. Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 15 courses (60 credits) On a broader scale, the capacity of Facebook’s platform to spread innovation throughout the economy means that benefits from technological advances accrue faster and more broadly than they would in the hands of a start-up. Harvard Business School ... competition (15) competitive advantage (22) competitive strategy (34) complexity (8) conflict (6) ... economic development (21) economic history (3) economic institutions (19) economic sociology (6) economics (23) economics of design (7) education (17) It’s a similar story in the beer business. Harvard Economic Studies. “Most firms are actively engaged in protecting their source of competitive advantage through a mixture of innovation, lobbying, or both,” says Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago. Health care is another stark example. Housed directly in the communities we serve, our data-driven case management and programming are tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual. All rights reserved. Course description. coordination for competition in electricity markets. Consider the wireless telephone business. When Facebook snapped it up, the app was only two months old but had attracted more than 5 million users and logged more than a billion sent messages. In the 2000s, under Barack Obama, the stance became somewhat more aggressive, but it remains unclear whether his executive orders to promote competitive markets, issued in the closing innings of his administration, were mere symbolism or a serious effort. The FTC decided that it wouldn’t, and the merger went through. And regulators need to pay more attention to protecting economic vitality and consumer well-being — and less to industry lobbyists. Economists Nathan Miller of Georgetown and Matthew Weinberg of Drexel estimated that prices were at least 6% and 8% higher than they would have been without the joint venture and suggested that the competing brewers coordinated pricing. That’s good for shareholders, of course, but it’s not so good for consumers or the overall economy. Much of the increase is a result of states extending the occupations for which licenses are required. Prices. This is not the economics class you took in college. Quidsi struggled, flirted with Walmart, but eventually sold itself to Amazon. Economic geography in an era of global competition poses a paradox. The government’s approach to antitrust violations is due for an overhaul. Global Case Competition Participants, In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives. Gabriel received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 2013. Harvard economics essay competition 2020 Better Tomorrows supports youth, adult, and senior residents of affordable housing communities and their neighboring communities. But in practice, location remains central to competition. Robin S. Lee is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught courses on industrial organization since 2014. In the U.S., the rate of birth of new firms (as a percentage of all firms) fell from above 13% in the late 1980s to around 8% in 2015, according to the most recent official data. The promise of a generous payout is a huge incentive to innovative entrepreneurs. Concentration in hospital markets is also associated with higher prices, with surges of up to 20% following mergers. That’s more worrisome, Haltiwanger says, because it portends slower productivity growth. The more complex, knowledge-based, and dynamic the world economy becomes, the more this is true. The U.S. approach to antitrust has evolved significantly over the past century. So are industry leaders heroes or villains? Recent research pins rising beer prices to greater concentration in the industry. Recent research suggests that the average markup — the difference between the prices firms charge and products’ marginal cost — is rising in American business, and rising fastest for the most profitable firms. Louisiana requires florists to be licensed. At the macro level, it is important to know who pays for health care and how best to allocate limited resources to various services, diseases, and health system components in order to maximize the beneficial effect of interventions and improve population health. We offer a primary concentration and a secondary field. Measured against GDP, corporate after-tax profits are almost double what they were 25 years ago — and higher than at any time since World War II — yet business investment as a share of GDP is up only 13% over the same period. According to James Bessen of Boston University, the increasing share of revenue captured by the top firms in industries outside of high-tech is explained by those firms’ adoption of proprietary, mission-critical information technology: They’re bigger because they’re better. Business investment across the economy has perked up lately, but it is not as robust as one might expect given the surge in profits, the extraordinarily low-cost of equity and debt, and the amount of cash on corporate balance sheets. Kwoka’s meta-analysis suggests that antitrust authorities should be more inclined to block mergers in order to increase competition. But does that mean there is less competition or that consumers are worse off? ", The Agenda for the Next Generation of Health Care Information Technology, A Recovery Squandered: The State of U.S. Competitiveness 2019, NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery. Seen through the hero lens, the prospect of selling out to Facebook (or Google or Apple) offers many economic advantages. Industries in which cross-ownership is greater, they note, tend to have corporate compensation packages that offer less reward for beating the competition than do industries with little cross-ownership. The Harvard Economics department needs to do better, and be more proactive in combating racism, than we have been. Sharat Ganapati of Dartmouth, for instance, looks at data from 1972 to 2012 and concludes that increased concentration in manufacturing is correlated with higher prices, which is consistent with declining competition, but also with stable output, which is not. High and rising profits in an increasingly concentrated market are typically a sign of lessening competition and increased market power by dominant firms. With waning competitive pressure, productivity growth slows, wages stagnate, and the gap between winners and losers widens. Even-more-complicated issues will arise as the economy evolves. Ten years ago, the top four U.S. airlines collected 41% of the industry’s revenue. But when corporations use their market power to shape the policy and regulatory environment in ways that crush competition, problems arise. In this article, I examine the troubling effect of industry consolidation on competition. Despite their undeniable popularity, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook are drawing increasing scrutiny from economists, legal scholars, politicians, and policy wonks, who accuse these firms of using their size and strength to crush potential competitors. In an eyebrow-raising 2017 study, Princeton’s Alan Krueger and Orley Ashenfelter found that 58% of major chains (Burger King, Jiffy Lube, H&R Block, and dozens more) restrict and sometimes prohibit one franchisee from hiring workers away from another, to the obvious detriment of people seeking to change jobs. In the 1960s, only 10% of U.S. workers had an occupational license. Today, they collect 65%. These are not isolated cases. To the extent that firms are being driven to innovate, there is little to worry about. Policymakers also need to scrutinize regulations that restrict competition across the economy. Course description. CHANGES TO 2020 REGISTRATION GUIDELINES. Acquisitions that in the past were too small to attract the usual antitrust scrutiny can eliminate potential competition, especially in a world where a company like WhatsApp can grow in just a few years to reach a billion users a day. I study the economics of competition and other topics in industrial organization using a combination of theory and data. Such regulatory restraints on competition are coming under increasing scrutiny. A wave of hospital mergers and consolidations across the country, driven in part by a push for better coordination of care and greater efficiency, has strengthened hospitals’ bargaining power relative to insurers’ without much sign of the hoped-for benefits in productivity. “The diminished attention to mergers involving somewhat lower market shares and concentration appears to have resulted in approval of significantly more mergers that prove to be anticompetitive,” he wrote in a 2015 book. The dentists are not happy. As an all-star quintet of economists—David Autor, David Dorn, Lawrence Katz, Christina Patterson, and John Van Reenen—points out, concentration and higher profits can be benign, perhaps even welcome, consequences of technological innovation. Economics for Managers applies fundamental economic principles to real-world business challenges. Legere dumped subsidies, lowered prices, offered more data and often poked fun at rivals.” T-Mobile thrived, signing up 4.4 million new subscribers in 2013. Harvard Kennedy School Library The HKS Library specializes in supporting research in politics, public policy, international development and other social science/business/economics topics of interest to the Harvard Kennedy School community. The more lenient approach relied on three ideas: that harm from increased concentration had to be weighed against the efficiencies to be achieved, that horizontal mergers between competitors were harmful only if they led to less output, and that vertical mergers between supplier and buyer generally were not a problem. Today's economic map of the world is characterized by what Porter calls clusters: critical masses in one place of linked industries and institutions—from suppliers to universities to government agencies—that enjoy unusual competitive success in a particular field. The tech giants pose unique challenges, but they also represent just one piece of a broader story: a troubling phenomenon of too little competition throughout the U.S. economy. Of the 893 industries it examined — from dog food and battery makers to airlines and credit cards — two-thirds had grown more concentrated since 2007. Early in his tenure as President Trump’s FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb vowed to change the REMS rules to prevent drug makers from using them to thwart generic competition and in November announced a preliminary plan to do so. Weighted by size of industry, the top four firms’ share of revenue had risen to 32% in 2012 from 26% in 1997. Despite the proliferation of craft breweries, two producers dominate the U.S. market: Anheuser-Busch InBev (Beck’s, Budweiser, Corona, Michelob, Stella Artois) and MillerCoors (Blue Moon, Coors, Miller, Molson). However, research from the wider economy (including the tech sector) uncovers classic signs of unhealthy concentration: rising profits, weak investment, and low business dynamism. Essay on the topic of national unity which of the following is the first step to writing an informative essay chegg . According to Yale economist Fiona Scott Morton, however, over the past 10 to 15 years “industry participants have managed to disable many of these competitive mechanisms and create niches in which drugs can be sold with little to no competition.” For example, the marketing of some drugs with particularly severe side effects is now very tightly controlled through the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS. A federal judge disagreed, and the merger was consummated. Melissa Dell wins 2020 Clark Medal Harvard economist’s work focuses on the lasting effects that conflicts, economic conditions, and institutions can have on a society April 28, 2020 American economy on the bubble There’s no question that most American industries have become more concentrated. This motivating and fun team learning experience begins with competitions at the state level. The increases were particularly large in the airline and health care industries. Many students in these programs have considerable overlap in their coursework with courses offered to PhD students in economics. Innovation superstars like Google have created winner-take-most markets largely by exploiting network effects, not through predatory behavior. Visualize global trade data and economic growth opportunities for every country In most (though not all) cases, the data points to a lack of competition. Others, however, point fingers internally to some of Harvard… Geographic, cultural, and institutional proximity provides companies with special access, closer relationships, better information, powerful incentives, and other advantages that are difficult to tap from a distance. We’ll never know what TBH or Halli Labs or Orbitera or Instagram or WhatsApp or Oculus VR might have become had Facebook not absorbed them — or what companies might have been started had prospective founders not figured that it would be impossible to compete with Facebook. Consider Facebook and its 2017 acquisition of TBH (for “To Be Honest”), a mobile app popular with teenagers that allows them to anonymously answer questions about their friends. Competitive advantage lies increasingly in local things—knowledge, relationships, and motivation—that distant rivals cannot replicate. This is not necessarily a bad thing. You must take and pass this online exam before registering for ECON S-1010, S-1012, or S-1123. (Their clout caught the attention of European regulators long ago.) Some professors attribute the recent losses to rising competition from economics programs at peer universities. Economists are trying to understand whether this is necessarily a bad thing for competition. Owing in part to incumbent firms’ influence in shaping policy to preserve their positions at the expense of start-ups and other would-be competitors, the United States is no longer held up as an exemplar of free markets and regulatory restraint. All work must be your original content and must have been produced solely for this competition. The preponderance of evidence across the proliferating body of research suggests that industry consolidation is causing a troubling decline in competition, limiting the country’s capacity to innovate, create jobs, and sustain overall economic health. 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