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Keywords:market power 

Discussion Paper
How Does Market Power Affect Fire-Sale Externalities?

An important role of capital and liquidity regulations for financial institutions is to counteract inefficiencies associated with “fire-sale externalities,” such as the tendency of institutions to lever up and hold illiquid assets to the extent that their collective actions increase financial vulnerabilities. However, theoretical models that study such externalities commonly assume perfect competition among financial institutions, in spite of high (and increasing) financial sector concentration. In this post, which is based on our forthcoming article, we consider instead how the effects ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20211110

Working Paper
When Hosios Meets Phillips: Connecting Efficiency and Stability to Demand Shocks

In an economy with frictional goods and labor markets there exist a price and a wage that implement the constrained efficient allocation. This price maximizes the marginal revenue of labor, balancing a price and a trading effect on firm revenue, and this wage trades off the benefits of job creation against the cost of turnover in the labor market. We show under bargaining over prices and wages that a double Hosios condition: (i) implements the constrained efficient allocation; (ii) also minimizes the elasticity of labor market tightness and job creation to a demand shock, and; (iii) that the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2018-13

Working Paper
Distribution of Market Power, Endogenous Growth, and Monetary Policy

We incorporate incumbent innovation in a Keynesian growth framework to generate an endogenous distribution of market power across firms. Existing firms increase markups over time through successful innovation. Entrant innovation disrupts the accumulation of market power by incumbents. Using this environment, we highlight a novel misallocation channel for monetary policy. A contractionary monetary policy shock causes an increase in markup dispersion across firms by discouraging entrant innovation relative to incumbent innovation. We characterize the circumstances when contractionary monetary ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2024-09

Working Paper
New Estimates of the Lerner Index of Market Power for U.S. Banks

The Lerner index is widely used to assess firms' market power. However, estimation and interpretation present several challenges, especially for banks, which tend to produce multiple outputs and operate with considerable inefficiency. We estimate Lerner indices for U.S. banks for 2001-18 using nonparametric estimators of the underlying cost and profit functions, controlling for inefficiency, and incorporating banks' off-balance-sheet activities. We find that mis-specification of cost or profit functional forms can seriously bias Lerner index estimates, as can failure to account for ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-012

Discussion Paper
An Overlooked Factor in Banks’ Lending to Minorities

In the second quarter of 2022, the homeownership rate for white households was 75 percent, compared to 45 percent for Black households and 48 percent for Hispanic households. One reason for these differences, virtually unchanged in the last few decades, is uneven access to credit. Studies have documented that minorities are more likely to be denied credit, pay higher rates, be charged higher fees, and face longer turnaround times compared to similar non-minority borrowers. In this post, which is based on a related Staff Report, we show that banks vary substantially in their lending to ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20240110

Working Paper
Nonparametric Estimation of Lerner Indices for U.S. Banks Allowing for Inefficiency and Off-Balance Sheet Activities

The Lerner index is widely used to assess firms' market power. However, estimation and interpretation present several challenges, especially for banks, which tend to produce multiple outputs and operate with considerable inefficiency. We estimate Lerner indices for U.S. banks for 2001-18 using nonparametric estimators of the underlying cost and profit functions, controlling for inefficiency, and incorporating banks' off-balance-sheet activities. We find that mis-specification of cost or profit functional forms can seriously bias Lerner index estimates, as can failure to account for ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-12

Briefing
How Costly Is Rising Market Power for the U.S. Economy?

We survey the recent, active debate on market power in the U.S. economy. While typical studies on market power focused on narrow industries due to data constraints, the relevance of market power for the aggregate economy was reinvigorated by a study focusing on publicly traded firms that documented a significant rise in U.S market power since the 1980s. This article is meant to provide a bird's-eye view of the (sometimes heated) discussion on market power. Furthermore, we examine the macroeconomic consequences of a rise in U.S. market power.
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Volume 23 , Issue 24

Briefing
Diverging Trends in Market Concentration

Researchers at the University of Chicago and the Richmond Fed uncover a paradoxical trend of rising national market concentration and falling local concentration across major economic sectors. Top firms — often thought to displace local businesses — are found to instead accelerate this divergence by enhancing (rather than stifling) local competition upon entry. This challenges prevailing narratives that top firms wield the market power to negatively impact consumer welfare by geographically expanding.
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Volume 24 , Issue 05

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