Economists think antitrust policy should pay more attention to workers

OF LATE, POWERFUL corporations have been pairing up with impressive ardour. Perhaps it is something in the air. Or perhaps it is friendly regulators. On October 22nd America’s antitrust authorities gave their blessing to this year’s latest mega-merger: the union of Praxair and Linde, two industrial-gas giants worth a combined $90bn. Despite signs that industrial concentration is sapping the economy of its dynamism, regulators remain permissive. That might be because, when they scrutinise a merger, they focus solely on consumers’ welfare. A growing body of research suggests regulators should be as eager to address the harm done to workers.

In perfectly competitive markets, individual firms wishing to sell their widgets must charge the prevailing market price and no higher. But the situation changes when one or a few firms dominate a market. A monopolist may charge higher prices. The calculation is that consumers, faced with little...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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