Taming Market Power Could (also) Help Monetary Policy

By Romain Duval, Davide Furceri, and Marina M. Tavares Some central banks are currently debating whether to tighten monetary policy to fight inflationary pressures, after having eased decisively in response to the COVID-19 shock. In making such decisions, central bankers have to consider how much businesses and consumers will respond. The structure of the financial system and the future expectations of consumers and businesses are key drivers of how effective monetary policy actions will be. Yet there’s another, overlooked, driver: corporate market power. New IMF staff research has found ever larger and more powerful companies are making monetary policy a less potent tool for managing the economy in advanced economies, all else equal. Market power has risen in many advanced economies and emerging market countries in recent years, as seen in price markups—the ratio of a good or service’s price to its marginal cost of production, concentration, or profits. For example, recent IMF work finds that global price markups have increased by more than 30 percent, on average, across listed firms in advanced economies since 1980, and twice as fast in digital sectors. In addition, the COVID-19 recession is likely to amplify these trends. Large corporations are expected to gain market share vis-à-vis small businesses, … Continue reading Taming Market Power Could (also) Help Monetary Policy