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Inequality and market concentration, when shareholding is more skewed than consumption

Author

Listed:
  • Joshua Gans
  • Andrew Leigh
  • Martin Schmalz
  • Adam Triggs

Abstract

Economic theory suggests that monopoly prices hurt consumers but benefit shareholders. But in a world where individuals or households can be both consumers and shareholders, the impact of market power on inequality depends in part on the relative distribution of consumption and corporate equity ownership across individuals or households. The paper calculates this distribution for the United States, using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances and the Consumer Expenditure Survey, spanning nearly three decades from 1989 to 2016. In 2016, the top 20 percent consumed approximately as much as the bottom 60 percent, but had 13 times as much corporate equity. Because ownership is more skewed than consumption, increased mark-ups increase inequality. Moreover, over time, corporate equity has become even more skewed relative to consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Gans & Andrew Leigh & Martin Schmalz & Adam Triggs, 2018. "Inequality and market concentration, when shareholding is more skewed than consumption," CAMA Working Papers 2018-62, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2018-62
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    File URL: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publication/cama_crawford_anu_edu_au/2018-12/62_2018_gans_leigh_schmalz_triggs.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
    2. Dan Andrews & Chiara Criscuolo & Peter N. Gal, 2015. "Frontier Firms, Technology Diffusion and Public Policy: Micro Evidence from OECD Countries," OECD Productivity Working Papers 2, OECD Publishing.
    3. William S. Comanor & Robert H. Smiley, 1975. "Monopoly and the Distribution of Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 89(2), pages 177-194.
    4. Creedy, John & Dixon, Robert, 1998. "The Relative Burden of Monopoly on Households with Different Incomes," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(258), pages 285-293, May.
    5. Atkinson, Anthony B., 2015. "Inequality: what can be done?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 101810, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Leigh, Andrew & Triggs, Adam, 2021. "Common Ownership of Competing Firms: Evidence from Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 14287, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Steven C. Salop & Fiona Scott Morton, 2021. "The 2010 HMGs Ten Years Later: Where Do We Go From Here?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 58(1), pages 81-101, February.
    3. Han, Minsoo & Pyun, Ju Hyun, 2021. "Markups and income inequality: Causal links, 1975-2011," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 290-312.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Monopoly; market power; inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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