Sources of Large Firms’ Market Power and Why It Matters
Excessive market power has detrimental effects on the functioning of the economy, raising consumer prices, distorting the allocation of resources, and creating welfare losses. The existing literature has largely focussed on competition in product markets. This column argues that it is important to differentiate between various sources of firm market power on output and input (most notably labour) markets. European firm-level data reveals that large firms charge lower markups in product markets but exert their market power significantly in labour markets. Competition authorities can and must distinguish between the sources of market power when attempting to regulate it.