Competition Conference 2018

What’s the Evidence for Strengthening Competition Policy?

bigIndustry concentration and firm profit margins have been rising, prompting calls for reinvigorated competition policy. But is this evidence of lax antitrust enforcement or is it, instead, a sign that some firms are benefiting more from technology than others? Two-sided markets and Big Data pose potential challenges to traditional antitrust analysis, but what is the evidence of benefits and harms? And what does new evidence on labor market monopsony power mean for regulation of labor market competition?

The conference was held Monday, July 23, 2018, at Boston University School of Law. A highlight of the conference is its focus on empirical evidence as it relates to policy, including special attention to the role of new technologies. The conference is organized by the Law School’s Technology & Policy Research Initiative.


Breakfast 8:30
Introduction, Dean Angela Onwuachi-Willig 9:00
1. Firm markups and industry concentration are rising; what’s the cause and is this trend a problem? [video]
·       “How EU Markets Became More Competitive Than US Markets” Germán Gutiérrez and Thomas Philippon [slides] 9:15
·       “Intangibles, Investment, and Efficiency,” Nicolas Crouzet and Janice Eberly [slides] 9:35
·       “Information Technology and Industry Concentration,” James Bessen [slides] 9:55
·       “Markups in the Digital Era,” Sara Calligaris, Chiara Criscuolo, Luca Marcolin [slides] 10:15
Commentary: Nancy Rose [slides], Hal Varian [slides] 10:35
Q&A 11:05
Break 11:15
2. Challenges to Antitrust Enforcement
·       “Serial Collusion by Multi-product Firms,” William Kovacic, Robert Marshall, Michael Meurer [slides] 11:30
·       “New Evidence, Proofs, And Legal Theories on Horizontal Shareholding,” Einer Elhauge [slides] 11:50
Commentary: Erik Hovenkamp [slides] 12:10
Q&A 12:20
Lunch 12:30
Keynote Speaker: Fiona Scott Morton [video]
Yale University, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics, Antitrust Division
Is lack of competition enforcement a cause of rising markups?”
3. Do platform/Big Data companies diminish competition and innovation? [video]
·       “Network Effects and Market Power: What Have We Learned in the Last Decade?” Catherine Tucker [slides] 13:30
·       “Threat of Platform-Owner Entry and Complementor Responses: Evidence from the Mobile App Market,” Wen Wen and Feng Zhu [slides] 13:50
·       “Data as Labor” Glen Weyl [slides] 14:10
Commentary: Marc Rysman [slides], Michael Salinger 14:30
Q&A 15:00
Break 15:10
4. Is labor market concentration a significant threat to wages? [video]
·       “Labor Market Concentration,” José Azar, Ioana Marinescu, and Marshall I. Steinbaum [slides] 15:25
·       “Strong Employers and Weak Employees: How Does Employer Concentration Affect Wages?” Efraim Benmelech, Nittai Bergman, and Hyunseob Kim [slides] 15:45
·       “It’s not Just Monopoly and Monopsony,” Josh Bivens, Lawrence Mishel, and John Schmitt [slides] 16:05
Commentary: Ioana Marinescu [slides], Keith Hylton 16:25
Q&A 16:55
Closing 17:05


Paper Presenters

  • Efraim Benmelech, Northwestern
  • James Bessen Boston University
  • Chiara Criscuolo, OECD
  • Nicolas Crouzet, Northwestern
  • Einer Elhauge, Harvard
  • Germán Gutiérrez, NYU
  • Robert Marshall, Penn State
  • Larry Mishel, EPI
  • Fiona Scott Morton, Yale & former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics
  • Marshall Steinbaum, Roosevelt Institute
  • Catherine Tucker, MIT
  • Glen Weyl, Microsoft
  • Feng Zhu, Harvard


  • Eric Hovenkamp, Harvard
  • Keith Hylton, Boston University
  • Michael Meurer, BU
  • Nancy Rose, MIT
  • Marc Rysman, Boston University
  • Michael Salinger, Boston University
  • Ioana Marinescu, University of Pennsylvania
  • Hal Varian, Google


Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Ave., Room 410
Boston MA 02215