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August 04, 2015
Brattle Co-Hosts New York City Bar Discussion with Professor Joseph Stiglitz on Economic Equality through Competition Policy

An audience of lawyers from the private and public sectors, economists, and students packed the Hughes Room at the New York City Bar Association building on the evening of July 28th for a conversation with Nobel laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz. Professor Stiglitz spoke on “Beyond a Narrow Vision of Antitrust: How can competition policy promote more equal societies and dynamic societies (with implications for Greece).” The Brattle Group co-hosted the event.

Drawing on his extensive research, Professor Stiglitz described how economic inequality has grown in the United States during the last several decades and the evidence that inequality harms the performance of the economy. Professor Stiglitz posited that one source of this growth has been in the form of individuals and firms utilizing anticompetitive practices to gain a larger share of the economic pie rather than increasing the size of the pie. He described how both monopoly and monopsony power in the economy have grown in the wake of deregulation and changes in antitrust law and policy influenced heavily by the “Chicago School” of free-market scholars. He noted that markets, however, do not operate in a vacuum, but are shaped by the law, and that laws can be used to ensure the competitiveness of markets and, in turn, reduce inequality. He concluded that while advances in economics have shown the tenets of the “Chicago School” to be incorrect and begun to gain traction in the law, it will take perhaps a generation for a reduction in inequality to come about.