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The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets

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In this much-anticipated book, a leading financial economist argues that many key problems of the American economy are due not to the flaws of capitalism or the inevitabilities of globalization but to the concentration of corporate power. By lobbying against competition, the biggest firms drive profits higher while depressing wages and limiting opportunities for In this much-anticipated book, a leading financial economist argues that many key problems of the American economy are due not to the flaws of capitalism or the inevitabilities of globalization but to the concentration of corporate power. By lobbying against competition, the biggest firms drive profits higher while depressing wages and limiting opportunities for investment, innovation, and growth. Why are cellphone plans so much more expensive in the United States than in Europe? It seems a simple question. But the search for an answer took Thomas Philippon on an unexpected journey through some of the most complex and hotly debated issues in modern economics. Ultimately he reached his surprising conclusion: American markets, once a model for the world, are giving up on healthy competition. Sector after economic sector is more concentrated than it was twenty years ago, dominated by fewer and bigger players who lobby politicians aggressively to protect and expand their profit margins. Across the country, this drives up prices while driving down investment, productivity, growth, and wages, resulting in more inequality. Meanwhile, Europe--long dismissed for competitive sclerosis and weak antitrust--is beating America at its own game. Philippon, one of the world's leading financial economists, did not expect these conclusions in the age of Silicon Valley start-ups and millennial millionaires. But the data from his cutting-edge research proved undeniable. In this compelling tale of economic detective work, we follow him as he works out the basic facts and consequences of industry concentration in the US and Europe, shows how lobbying and campaign contributions have defanged antitrust regulators, and considers what all this means for free trade, technology, and innovation. For the sake of ordinary Americans, he concludes, government needs to return to what it once did best: keeping the playing fields level for competition. It's time to make American markets great--and free--again.


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In this much-anticipated book, a leading financial economist argues that many key problems of the American economy are due not to the flaws of capitalism or the inevitabilities of globalization but to the concentration of corporate power. By lobbying against competition, the biggest firms drive profits higher while depressing wages and limiting opportunities for In this much-anticipated book, a leading financial economist argues that many key problems of the American economy are due not to the flaws of capitalism or the inevitabilities of globalization but to the concentration of corporate power. By lobbying against competition, the biggest firms drive profits higher while depressing wages and limiting opportunities for investment, innovation, and growth. Why are cellphone plans so much more expensive in the United States than in Europe? It seems a simple question. But the search for an answer took Thomas Philippon on an unexpected journey through some of the most complex and hotly debated issues in modern economics. Ultimately he reached his surprising conclusion: American markets, once a model for the world, are giving up on healthy competition. Sector after economic sector is more concentrated than it was twenty years ago, dominated by fewer and bigger players who lobby politicians aggressively to protect and expand their profit margins. Across the country, this drives up prices while driving down investment, productivity, growth, and wages, resulting in more inequality. Meanwhile, Europe--long dismissed for competitive sclerosis and weak antitrust--is beating America at its own game. Philippon, one of the world's leading financial economists, did not expect these conclusions in the age of Silicon Valley start-ups and millennial millionaires. But the data from his cutting-edge research proved undeniable. In this compelling tale of economic detective work, we follow him as he works out the basic facts and consequences of industry concentration in the US and Europe, shows how lobbying and campaign contributions have defanged antitrust regulators, and considers what all this means for free trade, technology, and innovation. For the sake of ordinary Americans, he concludes, government needs to return to what it once did best: keeping the playing fields level for competition. It's time to make American markets great--and free--again.

30 review for The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    WSJ review: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-grea... (Paywalled. As always, I'm happy to email a copy to non-subscribers) Excerpt: ‘The idea that US markets are the most competitive in the world has been widely accepted in economics for several decades,” economist Thomas Philippon writes in “The Great Reversal.” The thrust of his argument is that this idea is largely a myth. Even before the financial crash of 2007-08, he says, many Americans felt that there was something not right about the WSJ review: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-grea... (Paywalled. As always, I'm happy to email a copy to non-subscribers) Excerpt: ‘The idea that US markets are the most competitive in the world has been widely accepted in economics for several decades,” economist Thomas Philippon writes in “The Great Reversal.” The thrust of his argument is that this idea is largely a myth. Even before the financial crash of 2007-08, he says, many Americans felt that there was something not right about the economy—that it wasn’t performing as advertised. . . . . “Why on earth are US cell phone plans so expensive? . . . Why do consumers in Europe or in Asia pay less for cellular service and, on average, get much more?” He points to a 2017 study showing that American consumers could save as much as $65 billion a year if mobile rates were comparable with German ones. Another study from 2015 makes the same point about the cost of internet service, which in the U.S. is as much as 3½ times higher than it is in France. . . ."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jason Furman

    A great read on an important topic that advances a bold thesis about the United States economy, a counterintuitive re-thinking of the economic institutions of the European Union, and a synthesis of a lot of Thomas Philippon's research. The bold thesis about the U.S. economy is that that concentration has risen across the economy with a smaller number of businesses dominating in each industry, an idea that a number of economists have advanced in recent years with Thomas Philippon among the leading A great read on an important topic that advances a bold thesis about the United States economy, a counterintuitive re-thinking of the economic institutions of the European Union, and a synthesis of a lot of Thomas Philippon's research. The bold thesis about the U.S. economy is that that concentration has risen across the economy with a smaller number of businesses dominating in each industry, an idea that a number of economists have advanced in recent years with Thomas Philippon among the leading ones in this group. In his telling the rise of concentration has resulted in a host of economic maladies, but the one Philippon makes most vivid is the higher prices and larger increase of prices for many goods and services relative to Europe, most notably airlines and cell phone bills. Philippon understands that increased concentration itself may be a consequence of more competition (that weeds out inefficient businesses) or a cause of less competition. He uses retail as an example of the more competition story where innovation has helped some companies, like Wal-Mart, grow and bring low prices. But he also shows the evidence that the less competition story predominates in much of the economy, including his previous papers finding that much of the investment gap--the reduction in investment below what one would predict from the economic fundamentals--is explained by the reduced competition. All told Philippon estimates that this is costing American consumers $1 trillion. Philippon blames the rise in concentration on the fact that American institutions lend themselves to lobbying for a variety of reasons including our lack of restrictions on many forms of political contributions and the way a single set of national institutions matters. The lobbying chapters of the book were an excellent synthesis of the economic literature on the returns to lobbying and a subtle discussion of the empirical challenges that make forming precise conclusions difficult (e.g., how do you measure a lobbying campaign whose victory is defined by inaction when you don't see inaction in the data). I do not think Philippon was fully convincing in establishing that this lobbying rose extremely rapidly, that it had a huge influence on the issue of antitrust in particular, and that this influence manifested itself in enough of a policy shift that it could yield the large changes he shows. This is especially true when ideas and ideology do matter in antitrust enforcement, but crass lobbying matters much less than it does with, say, your typical regulatory issues. Philippon does not really explore an alternative thesis for the decline in antitrust enforcement which is changing ideas, specifically the rise of the Chicago School and its increased influence in the judiciary which increasingly thought that outside of cartels there was nothing particularly to be worried about in mergers or conduct. Of course, the ideas themselves were related to set of powerful economic interests but the story is a different one than lobbying. Even with the Chicago School story, I think it is hard to see this as such a large abrupt change that it or any other policy changes could do more than explain part of the shift in recent decades. The counterintuitive rethinking of the European Union's economic institutions is that they are not a large, cumbersome bureaucracy but instead have developed to reduce regulation and promote markets that would otherwise be restrained by the large, cumbersome bureaucracies that the individual member states would have. The origins of the European Coal and Steel Community were in attacking excessive concentration in that sector. Philippon discusses a theoretical model he developed with Germán Gutiérrez in which individual countries will tend to overregulate but when they give up their sovereignty to a higher level entity it will be rational for them to have less regulation than they would prefer because they will be reducing that higher level entity's ability to steer things in the direction of another country. Philippon goes through the ways that the EU's harmonization of rules, antitrust enforcement, anti-state aid efforts, and the like have helped create more of a market not less of one, with some particularly striking examples like airlines which were deregulated with the resulting spectacular rise in prices. All told, European institutions--especially DG Competition which enforces competition rules--were built in a more robust and resilient manner than the United States. Philippon only briefly speculates on how European institutions might evolve when its most pro-market member (the United Kingdom) is exiting and two of its leading members (France and Germany) were recently highly critical of the blocking of the Siemens-Alstom merger. I personally think the former is a worry but the later is actually a testament to the strength of European institutions, but we will see. Finally, the book concludes with a series of topic chapters, including the pay of bankers, the rise of digital giants, and monopsony in the labor markets. In some cases Philippon is describing his own research (e.g., his paper on the fall and rise of banker's pay over the last century) and in others he is thoughtfully synthesizing and summarizing the research of others. Philippon clearly has a perspective on the direction policy should go but his book eschews making policy recommendations, and in his opening he cites that as an important virtue in a social scientist. I think this was probably the right choice since he sets up a great direction for others to go in. But I do wish we could understand how much of the $1 trillion loss to consumers he estimates could be regained by a shift in policy. Is this toothpaste back into a tube? Are these changes as much economic as policy so they cannot be reversed by policy? Or is the scope for policy impacts in this area quantitatively large? I think the promise is large enough I am for more of it but to start to understand the potential magnitude of impact we would need to get more tangible about the proposed changes. Overall, a great and highly readable contribution to the debate from the first book that looks at the rise of concentration from more of a macroeconomic/finance perspective and develops insights by comparing U.S. and European institutions and outcomes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    I agreed with the thesis of this book before I read it, so I am clearly biased. The thesis is that competition in the USA has been declining in the USA since the late 1990s. There are too many mergers that increase pricing power and too many barriers to entry. As the author puts it, there is a measured increase in market concentration in many industries. This means that payouts to shareholders and managers is increasing while the consumer is not seeing the benefit through lower relative prices. I agreed with the thesis of this book before I read it, so I am clearly biased. The thesis is that competition in the USA has been declining in the USA since the late 1990s. There are too many mergers that increase pricing power and too many barriers to entry. As the author puts it, there is a measured increase in market concentration in many industries. This means that payouts to shareholders and managers is increasing while the consumer is not seeing the benefit through lower relative prices. His high level take on finance is insightful. He claims that the cost of finance to consumers has not decreased despite all the technology thrown in its direction. No one is actually paying less for many of the services than they did in the past (i.e. borrowing money). Of course convenience banking (i.e. ATMs, online banking, etc.) becomes subjective in the analysis. Nonetheless, his point is that consumers are not getting the competition they had in the past. I feel personally along with Philipon that this has a lot to due with lack of antitrust enforcement. It seems that the government is looking for excuses to approve mergers rather than the other way around. It is always refreshing to get a foreigners take on the USA, especially when they now live in the USA.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Philippon is an academic financial economist who actually looked at empirical data and spent about 300 hours researching and writing this book. It is not a book written based on ideology. He had spent equal amounts of time in his native France and America and was surprised when he looked at competition between the 2 regions. Europe used to have less competition, higher prices and lower growth. Those have been reversed since the 21st century. 1. There is more market concentration in America than Philippon is an academic financial economist who actually looked at empirical data and spent about 300 hours researching and writing this book. It is not a book written based on ideology. He had spent equal amounts of time in his native France and America and was surprised when he looked at competition between the 2 regions. Europe used to have less competition, higher prices and lower growth. Those have been reversed since the 21st century. 1. There is more market concentration in America than Europe. This led to higher prices, poorer services, less investment, lower wages and higher return for owners. 2. He investigated the Chicago school’s Star hypothesis that big companies are more efficient and thus deserved their high prices. He found that to be untrue. Big companies just spend more on lobbying and stock buy backs and nothing much else. 3. Europe’s external competition regulators (The Brussels bureaucrats) are actually more independent from regulatory capture, because it’s hard to capture other countries’ Politicians. They are thus able to ask Google to pay back Ireland owed taxes, and to improve competition in airlines and broadband services. 4. Foreign competition is often used to justify mergers. He found the results to be mixed at best, meaning that bigger companies may not be able to compete well, just like smaller ones. 5. American financial and health care markets are actually less efficient than European ones. 6. Big firms now can charge Low prices (Amazon) because they have monopsonies. That is the power to charge suppliers and Labor by insisting on lower prices from those. That is the reason middle class income in America had dropped relative to Europe. What to do? 1. Ensure free entry to markets. 2. Let regulators fail. Regulators are fallible human beings after all. 3. Protect privacy. Let users own their data and not big firms like Google and Facebook own it. 4. Ensure competition with anti-trust laws. Facebook should never had been allowed to buy WhatsApp and Instagram. At least those apps still exist. Sometimes Google would just buy ascending competitors and then kill the App. One of the best economic books I have read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    It turns out it takes a lot of work to keep markets free and competitive, and over the last twenty years Europe has been doing a better job in this regard than the US, as evidenced by lower prices on air travel and cellular service. Economist Philippon gets a little deep in the wonky weeds, but he shows why the US should be more aggressive on antitrust, reduce the power of lobbyists, remove barriers to market entry, and not be afraid to regulate the big internet companies.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Athan Tolis

    This has been the year when the reading public was deemed ready to deal with the topic of market power. A wide variety of great books have come out, like Tim Wu’s treatise on Bigness, Uwe Reinhardt’s posthumous book on American health care, a full legal manual on antitrust by Jonathan Baker and of course the two books that hatched from Barry Lynn’s Open Market Institute: Rana Faroohar’s polemic against the FANGs, “Don’t be Evil” and Matt Stoller’s very readable and comprehensive history of 20th This has been the year when the reading public was deemed ready to deal with the topic of market power. A wide variety of great books have come out, like Tim Wu’s treatise on Bigness, Uwe Reinhardt’s posthumous book on American health care, a full legal manual on antitrust by Jonathan Baker and of course the two books that hatched from Barry Lynn’s Open Market Institute: Rana Faroohar’s polemic against the FANGs, “Don’t be Evil” and Matt Stoller’s very readable and comprehensive history of 20th century American populism, the appropriately named “Goliath.” It’s also been the year of tremendous popular Economics books like Shleifer and Gennaioli’s “Crisis of Beliefs,” Alesina, Favero and Giavazzi’s “Austerity” and blockbuster sequels from both Acemoglu & Robinson and the prolific Thomas Piketty. Thomas Philippon trumps them all. He’s written the book of the year. The Great Reversal succeeds at so many levels, it’s impossible you will not find something to like about it. It’s in five parts (even if they are labelled as four): 1. The Economics of market power in America 2. The European Experience of increasing competition 3. Corruption of the US political system as a potential explanation of market power 4. Industry examples in the US 5. What’s to be done Comfortably the best, and worth buying the book for, is the first part, which is itself split into five chapters. In the first chapter Philippon explains that the essence of capitalism is competition. Competition for resources allows us to discover prices (p.22) and prices drive the allocation of resources. Free competition allows new companies to enter a profitable field and allows us employees to quit our jobs and go work for a competitor of our employer. Philippon quotes my favorite author, Mancur Olson, here, to ominously add that spontaneous defense of competition is unlikely, because the interests who stand to lose from competition are far more concentrated than all of us are, who stand to benefit. In the second chapter he defines the opposite of competition, market power. He tells us where to look for it (high concentration, high profits and high prices are the tell-tales) and lays out the economic ills it entails: 1. inequality, as consumer surplus becomes economic rent that accrues to the much more concentrated managers and owners of corporations 2. dead weight losses, shown on a chart, amounting to profits neither the producers nor the consumers make when oligopoly leads to cuts in production relative to output under competition Philippon also explains what’s good about market power: super-efficient producers like Walmart can often channel profits into even more efficient production, from which we all benefit. In the third chapter he establishes that over the past two decades market power has soared in the US. He does the math first, to account for all sorts of issues, including that 1. some markets are local, some national and some international 2. efficiency in some industries has increased due to the concentration among market leaders 3. we enjoy more free goods than we used to 4. there was no escaping domestic consolidation in industries facing foreign competition and still arrives at the inescapable conclusion that the US is much less of a free market than it used to be. There are fewer companies than before, profits have soared as a percent of GDP, and companies make much bigger distributions to their owners as a percent of the assets they control. In the fourth chapter he lists the evidence regarding the decline in corporate American investment and productivity: relative to what went before, the past two decades have seen unmistakable overall declines in net investment as a part of corporate profits, and even larger declines for high concentration industries. The decline also holds for investment in intangible assets such as patents. The conclusion is clear: yes, we cannot a priori know if market power will lead to more or less investment. Sensible arguments can be made both ways. The evidence, however, is of (i) significantly higher concentration having gone hand-in-hand with (ii) significantly higher payouts to the owners of capital and (iii) significantly lower investment. That’s the way it’s gone, period. And that’s bad for long-term growth. The fifth chapter about America shows a potential source for this lack of dynamism over the past two decades: any way you care to measure things, there’s fewer young firms in the US. Additionally, the number of IPOs is a shadow of its former self and there’s fewer listed companies as well, with mergers among existing companies running at twice the levels experienced today than when Michael Douglas starred in Wall Street. What’s stopping free entry? The author argues that increased regulation probably has a lot to answer for. Next, Philippon moves on to Europe, which, remarkably, has travelled in the opposite direction! First, he shows conclusively that Europe has not suffered from the same increases in profit margins, rises in industry concentration or fall in the labor share of income as the US. Next, he shows that prices have risen a lot slower in Europe than in the US over the past two decades, with at most half of the difference being potentially attributable to differences in income growth. From there, the author hazards an explanation: clearly, the competition authorities in Europe have more teeth than their US counterparts; perhaps that is because it’s more important to Germany, for example, that they be independent from French influence, than it is that they accommodate occasional German interests. So Europe has had more success running the American model than America itself. And then again, Philippon argues, maybe we need to wait a bit longer and regulatory capture will also make it to the East coast of the Atlantic. But for now, it resolutely hasn’t and the benefits are there for all to see. The next part of the book, regarding lobbying, money and politics in the US was, quite simply, sickening. The math is laid out and (astonishingly clever!) research is listed that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that lobbying (i) is targeted very well and (ii) bears results. The numbers actually are not enormous, but a very strong argument is made that money spent to buy influence is an “endogenous” variable, and thus impossible to measure correctly. This observation apart, however, there’s nothing Philippon notes that you cannot read elsewhere. Regardless, many people will read here first that the prime occupation of a US representative is to raise money. Not good. Chapters follow on how these findings relate to Banking, Healthcare and the FANGS. I found all three rather facile and not to the standard of the rest of the book. The observations made are of the kind you’d make from 10,000ft: finance still takes the same vig out of the economy as it did a century ago; US healthcare delivers poor results for money that is not explainable by observing that the US is a rich country that should consume more of high-end stuff (like healthcare) and the FANGS are no bigger a part of the S&P 500 than GM once was but are less well-integrated in the economy because they hardly employ anybody. Yawn. And the connections are not made to the front of the book. Next comes a chapter about the monopsony power our employers exercise on us when there’s so few of them left and this leads to the conclusions. The book does get the strong closing chapter it deserves. The author first expresses his astonishment at the fact that free markets have turned out to be rather fragile. The idea that they were inevitable seems to be at odds with the facts, basically. Next, he puts a number on how much money we’ve all lost due to the rise of market power. (Buy the book and read it, it’s on page 293) Philippon closes with three recommendations: 1. we must fight for free entry: we must protect new entrants from incumbents, and we must be very afraid of incumbents who remain perennially profitable 2. if the government is never guilty of over-regulating, then it’s not regulating enough 3. protect transparency, privacy and data ownership amen

  7. 5 out of 5

    Soumaya Keynes

    When Thomas Philippon first arrived in America, he noted how much cheaper things like flights and phone connections were than in Europe. But now, he says, the situation is reversed. The Great Reversal is about how competition in America has declined, or at least is not as stiff as it should be. He explores the various causes of this phenomenon, including swampish lobbying, lacklustre enforcement of antitrust rules, and uncompetitive practices from big incumbents. As a Brit arriving in America it When Thomas Philippon first arrived in America, he noted how much cheaper things like flights and phone connections were than in Europe. But now, he says, the situation is reversed. The Great Reversal is about how competition in America has declined, or at least is not as stiff as it should be. He explores the various causes of this phenomenon, including swampish lobbying, lacklustre enforcement of antitrust rules, and uncompetitive practices from big incumbents. As a Brit arriving in America it felt nice having something to blame for some relatively high prices I saw. And it built on priors built up by reading The Economist's Hour by Binyamin Applebaum and The Chickenshit Club by Jesse Eisinger. The book will obviously not be the last word on the topic, which is unsettled. But it lays out clearly and powerfully the case to be concerned.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alfonso

    Noi Europei (e specialmente noi Italiani) non ci rendiamo conto che, pur con tutti i suoi limiti e le tante cose da completare e modificare, l'Unione Europea è quanto di meglio lo sviluppo sociale ed economico è riuscito a produrre. Non saremo così competitivi come gli USA dal punto di vista tecnologico e militare, ma l'anima e il sogno Europeo sono straordinari elementi di speranza. Lavoriamo per rafforzarla e completarla.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Chan

    If you read a single book in 2020, it should be this one.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    The thesis is interesting--the US has become less competitive over the past 20 or so years while the EU has become more competitive. My anecdata suggests this is true. The majority of the book is a theoretical analysis, with a lot of data. Philippon does as good a job as you can do with this; he explains economics clearly for the layperson. It makes a lot of the book a little dry, though; the more narrative sections, such as the discussion of EU politics and how the EU has developed a more The thesis is interesting--the US has become less competitive over the past 20 or so years while the EU has become more competitive. My anecdata suggests this is true. The majority of the book is a theoretical analysis, with a lot of data. Philippon does as good a job as you can do with this; he explains economics clearly for the layperson. It makes a lot of the book a little dry, though; the more narrative sections, such as the discussion of EU politics and how the EU has developed a more independent competition regulator, have more verve. The last third looks at specific industries, which helps put the principle into practice. I would have enjoyed more narrative and more details of specific examples, such as concentration in the airline industry, but I learned a lot.

  11. 5 out of 5

    TJ Hedin

    I learned a *lot* from this book. You may have seen a graph about how productivity has been increasing over time, but wages have not, leading to a divergence between the two. This graph may have (rightfully) made you mad. This book will help explain trends in the US economy which lead to some groups doing exceptionally well, while others are no better off than they were a decade ago. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politi... Phillippon's thesis is as follows: "US markets have become less competitive, I learned a *lot* from this book. You may have seen a graph about how productivity has been increasing over time, but wages have not, leading to a divergence between the two. This graph may have (rightfully) made you mad. This book will help explain trends in the US economy which lead to some groups doing exceptionally well, while others are no better off than they were a decade ago. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politi... Phillippon's thesis is as follows: "US markets have become less competitive, and US firms charge excessive prices to US consumers. Excess profits are used to pay out dividends and to buy back shares, not to hire and invest. At the same time, barriers to entry have increased, and antitrust enforcement has weakened. These trends in the US were not exported to Europe, and in a stunning reversal of history, many European markets (airlines, cell phones, and internet providers, among others) are now more competitive and cheaper than their American counterparts." The effect of this is illustrated by the decreasing labor share of income in the United States, but not in Europe. Phillipon clearly yet rigorously walks the reader through various competing hypotheses, evaluating the implications and flaws in each. He covers topics such as lobbying, money in politics, globalization, the healthcare and tech industries, and more. He is transparent in his analysis, freely admitting where he does or doesn't have answers, and why he reaches the conclusions he does. He has a Ph.D. in economics from MIT, but writes clearly enough for a non-economist to follow. Regardless of background, everyone can expect to learn from this book. I would say this is one of the best 5 economics books I've ever read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Richard Marney

    A must read. The author presents the material in a manner that permits the non-economist to follow the discussion with ease. Why are prices higher in the US for internet and prescription drugs than in Europe? The author addresses this and other related questions by moving from “impressions and anecdotes” to rigorous data-supported proofs of hypotheses of what is happening and why. The book provides compelling support to the argument that political polarization, lobbying, bought elections, and A must read. The author presents the material in a manner that permits the non-economist to follow the discussion with ease. Why are prices higher in the US for internet and prescription drugs than in Europe? The author addresses this and other related questions by moving from “impressions and anecdotes” to rigorous data-supported proofs of hypotheses of what is happening and why. The book provides compelling support to the argument that political polarization, lobbying, bought elections, and excessive deregulation (amongst other factors) have contributed to increased concentration in the economy, reduced entry of new competitors, higher prices and profits, lower investment, falling real wages, heightened inequality, etc. Policy and politics in the US are moving the country progressively away from free markets and in so doing strengthen the negative feedback loop responsible in great measure for the current lamentable state of affairs in America. The situation in the US stands in contrast to Europe. A generation ago, Europe was criticized for stifling free markets. By many measures, surprisingly, Europe is now more free market-friendly. As is clear in recent regulatory actions, for example. Big Tech has far more to fear in Brussels than in Washington. Europe has adopted the US liberal economic playbook, now increasingly abandoned by Americans. As a post-script: whenever reading in this topic area, I have the same thought, “how much better we’d all be if the energy used to game the system were used to strengthen opportunities for all.”

  13. 5 out of 5

    Asani

    This is a thought provoking book on the state of market competition in USA and Europe. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Europe has now more competitive markets than U.S. as a result, European consumers enjoy lower internet prices and air fare and better heath services, among other things. Thomas Philippon traces the roots of this surprising development. The main culprits are lax anti trust policies and lobbying. The book is written in a relaxed fashion, providing facts without being preachy. I This is a thought provoking book on the state of market competition in USA and Europe. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Europe has now more competitive markets than U.S. as a result, European consumers enjoy lower internet prices and air fare and better heath services, among other things. Thomas Philippon traces the roots of this surprising development. The main culprits are lax anti trust policies and lobbying. The book is written in a relaxed fashion, providing facts without being preachy. I recommend it highly.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nick Clark

    Balanced exposition of a pressing economic issue of high complexity. Comprehensive and well-argued, and readable despite this being a relatively 'dry' topic.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    Important topic. Clearly presented thesis, well-argued points. I just have such a hard time forcing myself to pay attention to economics! It's a character flaw.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Slavisa

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gary Werchan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Herbert J. Walberg

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Jones

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Eagan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vlad Popescu

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jim Cao

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joe Rigodanzo

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tora

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tiago Tavares

  26. 5 out of 5

    Linn D Havelick

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Beierholm

  28. 4 out of 5

    Martin Mäesalu

  29. 5 out of 5

    Arne Stegvik

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andy Pardue

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