104 Geo. L.J. Online 1 (2015-2016)

handle is hein.journals/gljon105 and id is 1 raw text is: 










Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Inequality


JONATHAN B. BAKER AND STEVEN C. SALOP*


                              INTRODUCTION

    Economic inequality recently has entered the political discourse in a
highly visible way. Inequality and middle-class economics were the cen-
terpieces of President Obama's 2015 State of the Union address.1 Leading
potential Republican presidential nominees have also spoken out on the
problem of inequality in the United States. 2
    This political impact is not a surprise. As the U.S. economy has begun
to recover from the Great Recession since mid-2009, the rising tide has
not lifted all boats. To the contrary, median income and wealth both de-
clined in real terms between 2010 and 2013.3 Over essentially the same
period, the real income of the top 1% grew by 31.4%,4 and the income


  * Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law, and Professor
of Economics and Law, Georgetown University Law Center, respectively. The authors
are grateful to Andrew Gavil, William Kovacic, and John Woodbury for helpful com-
ments and discussions.
   1. President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address
(Jan. 25, 2015), available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/20/
remarks-president-state-union-address-j anuary-20-2015.
  2. See Catherine Rampell, Republicans Have Started to Care About Income Inequality,
WASH. POST (Jan. 22, 2015), http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/catherine-rampell
-republicans-have-started-to-care-about-income-inequality/2015/01/22/fl ee7686-a276-
I 1e4-903f-9f2faf7cd9fe-story.html.
  3. Edward N. Wolff, Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1962-2013: What
Happened Over the Great Recession? 49 tbl. 1 (Nat'l Bureau of Econ. Research, Working
Paper No. 20733, Dec. 2014).
  4. Updated Tables and Figures (2013) to Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, Income
Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998, 118 Q.J. ECON. 1 (2003), http://elsa.berkeley.
edu/-saez/Tab Fig2012prel.xls (last visited Mar. 18, 2015). During the 2009 to 2013 eco-
nomic recovery, the top 1% of the income distribution captured 95% of the economy's
overall income growth. Id. A recent study purporting to challenge this claim nonetheless
acknowledges that the lion's share of growth still went to the top 1% of the income
distribution, even after accounting for changes to the tax law that provided incentives for
the wealthy to take capital gains in 2012 rather than 2013. STEPHEN ROSE, INFO. TECH.
AND INNOVATION FOUND., THE FALSE CLAIM THAT INEQUALITY ROSE DURING THE
GREAT RECESSION 4 (2015), available at http://www2.itif.org/2015-inequality-rose.pdf.
That study also contends that income inequality decreased between 2007 and 2009, pri-
marily because the incomes of the wealthiest experienced substantial capital losses from
securities market fluctuations while public policies involving taxes and transfers partially

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