Central bankers grapple with the changing nature of competition

RECENT visitors to Jackson Hole, a resort in the Teton Mountain range in Wyoming, were denied the usual scenic views by a shroud of smoke from recent forest fires. Disappointing, no doubt, for the tourists among them—but oddly fitting for the economic panjandrums attending the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual symposium on August 23rd-25th. Not only are economic policymakers used to making choices in a fog of uncertainty, but this year’s theme of market structures generated its own haze. Though the nature of competition in America’s economy is changing, it is unclear how worried they should be.

Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, highlighted slow wage growth in recent decades. America seems stuck in a “low-productivity mode”, he said. Others pointed to sluggish investment, despite cheap capital, and a fall in workers’ share of national income. Could these ills share some common causes, namely rising market concentration and crimped competition?

As...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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