The Inegalitarian Spiral: How Industrial Concentration Increases Rents, Depresses Growth, and Disproportionately Harms Minority Communities


The “invisible hand” is quite absent from American markets, and the government has taken its place in creating and protecting monopolies, duopolies, and oligopolies through regulation (Posner & Weyl, 2018). The primary purpose of this essay is to synthesize the research findings of Pistor, Piketty, Philippon, Tepper & Hearn, and others, and to propose how increasing market concentration is augmenting economic inequality, particularly through (i) expanding the legal privileges of intellectual property (patents, copyright, and other intangible assets), (ii) creating new barriers to entry through state regulation, and (iii) allowing for higher market power rents and suppressed wage growth which increases the difference r - g. Furthermore, I seek to explain how/if industrial concentration disproportionately harms black American communities because (a) black Americans have lower average income than white Americans and therefore suffer more from monopoly pricing, and (b) are three times less likely to innovate than are white Americans (Bell, Chetty, Jaravel, Petkova, & Van Reenen, 2017), therefore suffering more from the lower levels of innovation created by increased industrial concentration. Overall, more rigorous data collection and research are necessary to support the central claim of this paper – that increased concentration leads to disproportionately lower levels of innovation for black Americans.