HKS Affiliated Authors


June 30, 2021, Audio: "President Joe Biden is considering issuing an executive order that would direct the federal government to tighten the reins on industries dominated by a few large companies.  The precise wording of the order is not yet known, but the gist of it is that instead of relying on antitrust enforcement, agencies should use regulation to promote competition in industries from agriculture to health care.  It’s a relatively new approach to preventing big companies from concentrating market power — one first tried by the Barack Obama administration.  The problems the executive order is aimed at solving arise when just two or three companies dominate a particular business. The government can use antitrust law in those situations, but there are caveats. “It’s affected by decisions of every department of the government, whether it’s the Department of Transportation or Health and Human Services or the Agriculture Department — all of them can make decisions that lead to more monopolies or fewer monopolies in those areas,” said Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under Obama. In 2016, just months before Donald Trump was elected president, Furman helped craft an executive order that leveraged the power of all those industry regulators."

HKS Author - Jason Furman