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Academic Articles Awards > General Antitrust

Horizontal Shareholding

Einer Elhauge, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 109, No. 5, forthcoming 2016

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Horizontal shareholdings exist when a common set of investors own significant shares in corporations that are horizontal competitors in a product market. Economic models show that substantial horizontal shareholdings are likely to anticompetitively raise prices when the owned businesses compete in a concentrated market. Recent empirical work not only confirms the prediction of these models, but also reveals that such horizontal shareholdings are omnipresent in our economy. I show that such horizontal shareholdings can help explain fundamental economic puzzles, including why corporate executives are rewarded for industry performance rather than just individual corporate performance, why corporations have not used recent high profits to expand output and employment, and why economic inequality has risen in recent decades. I also show that stock acquisitions that create anticompetitive horizontal shareholdings are illegal under current antitrust law, and I recommend antitrust enforcement actions to undo them and their adverse economic effects.

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