Call for Papers

Economics of Mega-Firms and Changes in Market Power
Cambridge, MA
September 13, 2019

In recent years, there has been increasing attention to the growing concentration of many industries as a small number of "mega firms" have accounted for an increasing share of industry activity. One concern is this may signal a broad increase in firms' market power. Alternatively, it may reflect a shift in industries' production technologies or demand structures that favor certain companies. Greater concentration, regardless of the cause, has potential consequences for a range of economic phenomena including price determination, the evolution of wages and the labor share of national income, the political economy of regulation, the international transmission of economic shocks, and the innovation rate. The need to understand these potential effects is particularly important as policy-makers the United States and elsewhere consider regulatory actions to address the widely-reported trends.

To promote research on these issues, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), with the support of the Smith Richardson Foundation, will convene a research conference to bring together researchers who have explored the economics of firm concentration and the rise of "mega firms" from various perspectives. The goals of the meeting are to establish basic facts and develop and evaluate alternative theoretical explanations for recent developments. The meeting will also examine the policy implications of changes in industry concentration in the US and other nations. The conference will be organized by Chad Syverson (University of Chicago and NBER) and John Van Reenen (MIT and NBER). The NBER welcomes submissions of both empirical and theoretical research on all aspects of these issues, including early stage and more advanced work, and by scholars who are early in their careers, who are not NBER affiliates, and who are from groups that are under-represented in the economics profession. The conference will consider research from many fields, including industrial organization, macroeconomics, labor, trade, and productivity.

To be considered for inclusion on the program, papers must be uploaded by Thursday, June 13, 2019 via the following link:

Complete papers are preferred, but extended abstracts may also be submitted. Papers that have been accepted for publication and will be published by September 2019 are not eligible for presentation. Authors chosen to present papers will be notified in late June, 2019.

The conference will take place on Friday, September 13, 2019, in Cambridge. The NBER will cover the economy class travel and hotel expenses for two authors per paper and for discussants and panelists. Additional co-authors and other interested researchers, including graduate students who are working in this area, are welcome to attend as space permits. Questions about this conference may be addressed to

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