Superstar firms

Nov
07
12:30 PM - 06:00 PM

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A threat for competition and democracy?

At our anniversary edition of the Forum for Economic Dialogue we focus on questions around superstar firms and their impact on society. Do superstar companies like Google or Amazon undermine competition? Do they hold the wages of workers down? Do they endanger the prosperity of society and undermine the foundation of democracies? And if so, what can we do about it?

Keynote by Joaquín Almunia: Is there a problem with competition?

EU competition policy has become one of the strongest antitrust enforcers around the world. What makes the system so strong and what are its weak points? What kind of regulation and competition laws are needed for Europe to remain internationally competitive in the current political and economic environment? How must competition be regulated to unleash the power of well-functioning markets to deliver goods and services that benefit society as a whole?

Dr. Joaquín Almunia is Chairman of the Board of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Honorary President of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, and Visiting Professor at Sciences Po. He is a former member of the European Commission, where he served as Vice- President and Commissioner in charge of competition policy. He is a former member of the Spanish Government and Parliament, and a former leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE).

Q&A after the keynote with David Dorn, UBS Center, University of Zurich, moderated by Carolin Roth, freelance economic journalist.

Disputation: Superstar firms – more harm than good?

There is increasing evidence that, because of technological change and globalization, more and more companies nowadays have market power that they can exploit to their advantage. This raises several questions: Do these “superstar” companies undermine competition? Do they hold the wages of workers down? Do they endanger the prosperity of society? And if so, what can we do about it? Should we break the firms up into smaller companies, as many are demanding?

Our guests are: Cristina Caffarra (Partner and Head of Keystone Europe), Jan Eeckhout (ICREA Professor of Economics at UPF Barcelona), Eliana Garcés (Director, Economic Policy at Meta (Facebook)); Moderation: Carolin Roth, freelance economic journalist

Panel: How to save the market economy

Labor’s share of GDP has declined in industrialized countries over the past 30 years, meaning that a decreasing share of total income goes to workers while business owners receive more. While productivity has steadily increased, wages of nonsupervisory workers have stagnated and the share of start-ups in the total of all companies has steadily decreased since 1980. Does today’s market economy undermine democracy by producing increasingly unequal outcomes? Is the market economy broken? How can it be restored? What incentives, mechanisms, and regulations are needed?

Our guests are: Christoph Franz (Chairman of the Board of Directors of Roche Holding), Martin Schmalz (Professor of Finance and Economics at Oxford Saïd), Fiona Scott Morton (Theodore Nierenberg Professor of Economics at Yale School of Management); Moderation: Carolin Roth, freelance economic journalist

Zurich Lecture of Economics in Society by Eric A. Posner: What future for antitrust?

Recent studies show that labor markets are highly concentrated and that employers engage in practices that harm competition and suppress wages, such as no-poaching agreements, wage-fixing or mergers. Why has antitrust failed in the labor market? What are the implications of this failure for society and democracy and what strategies for judicial legislative reform are indicated?

Eric A. Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Arthur and Esther Kane Research Chair at University of Chicago Law School. Since 2022, he has been counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Law Institute. His research interests include antitrust law, international law, and constitutional law. His most recent books are How Antitrust Failed Workers (2021) and The Demagogue’s Playbook (2020).

Q&A after the keynote moderated by Carolin Roth, freelance economic journalist

We look forward to welcoming you at the Kongresshaus Zurich to exchange thoughts and ideas on this important topic with you. You will be able to join us on-site or via livestream on our website. Registration will open in due course.

At our anniversary edition of the Forum for Economic Dialogue we focus on questions around superstar firms and their impact on society. Do superstar companies like Google or Amazon undermine competition? Do they hold the wages of workers down? Do they endanger the prosperity of society and undermine the foundation of democracies? And if so, what can we do about it?

Keynote by Joaquín Almunia: Is there a problem with competition?

EU competition policy has become one of the strongest antitrust enforcers around the world. What makes the system so strong and what are its weak points? What kind of regulation and competition laws are needed for Europe to remain internationally competitive in the current political and economic environment? How must competition be regulated to unleash the power of well-functioning markets to deliver goods and services that benefit society as a whole?

Superstar firms – A threat for competition and democracy? © Raja Sen / unsplash
Superstar firms – A threat for competition and democracy? © Raja Sen / unsplash
Joaquín Almunia, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) © Friends of Europe / flickr
Joaquín Almunia, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) © Friends of Europe / flickr
Eric A. Posner, University of Chicago Law School © University of Chicago
Eric A. Posner, University of Chicago Law School © University of Chicago

Speakers

Chairman, Centre of European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Former Vice President, European Commission
Dr. Joaquín Almunia

Joaquín Almunia is Chairman of the Board of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Honorary President of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. He is Visiting Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po), where he teaches a master course on EU Competition Policy. From 2004 until 2014, he was a member of the European Commission, first responsible for Economic and Monetary affairs and from February 2010 as Vice-President and Commissioner in charge of Competition Policy. Almunia has been a member of the Spanish Government from 1982 to1991, a member of the Spanish Parliament from 1979 to 2004, and the leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) from 1997 to 2000. In 2018, he published his most recent book in Spanish Winning the future – How the EU and social democracy can overcome together their crises.

Kirkland & Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law, Arthur and Esther Kane Research Chair at University of Chicago Law School
Prof. Eric A. Posner

Eric Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Arthur and Esther Kane Research Chair at University of Chicago Law School. Since 2022, he has been counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Law Institute. His research interests include antitrust law, international law, and constitutional law. His most recent books are How Antitrust Failed Workers (Oxford, 2021) and The Demagogue’s Playbook (All Points Books, 2020).

UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets, Research Fellow CEPR

David Dorn received his doctorate from the University of St. Gallen in 2009. His work studies the impact of globalization and automation on the labor market and society. He showed that rapidly rising import competition from China had more profound impacts on the U.S. labor market than was previously assumed. The relative decline of employment and wages in trade-exposed locations is also associated with decreasing marriage rates, rising drug mortality, and increased electoral support for politicians with non-moderate ideologies. In other work, he studies how the automation of routine labor and the rise of superstar firms have contributed to various facets of inequality. David’s work has been cited in thousands of academic papers and hundreds of newspaper articles.

Partner and Head of Keystone Europe
Dr. Cristina Caffarra

Cristina Caffarra is managing partner at Keystone and leads the firm’s European operations, with a team of competition economists working out of offices in London, Brussels, and Rome. Before that she was Senior Consultant to the European Competition Practice, Charles Rivers Associates (CRA). She has directed and coordinated empirical and theoretical economic analyses on several of the high-profile cases that have appeared before the European Commission in the last 20 years. She is Visiting Professor at University College London, and on the Editorial Board of the European Competition Law Journal, and the Journal of European Competition Law & Practice. She has published articles in competition journals and presented papers on the economics of competition law at numerous international and academic conferences.

ICREA professor of Economics at UPF Barcelona
Prof. Jan Eeckhout

Jan Eeckhout is ICREA professor of Economics at UPF Barcelona. He is the author of the book The Pofit Paradox. He studies the macroeconomic implications of market power, and the economics of work. His research has featured in the media, including The Economist, WSJ, FT, NYT and Bloomberg. He has been tenured professor at the UPenn and UCL and has been Louis Simpson Visiting Professor at Princeton. He is fellow of the Econometric Society, EEA, and Academia Europaea.

Director, Economic Policy at Meta (Facebook)
Dr. Eliana Garcés

Dr. Eliana Garcés is a Director in the Economic Policy group at Meta (Facebook). She has a long experience in antitrust and regulatory issues in both the public and private sectors. She started her public career as a member of the Competition Chief Economist Team at the European Commission and later served in the Cabinet of European Commission Vice President for Competition Joaquin Almunia. Dr. Garcés also served as Deputy Chief Economist in the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market and Industry where she worked on European industrial competitiveness. From 2016 to 2017, she was a Visiting Senior Fellow at George Mason University, where she taught and researched regulatory aspects of digital innovation both in the United States and Europe. She was a Principal at The Brattle Group until she joined Facebook in 2019.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Roche Holding
Dr. Christoph Franz

Christoph Franz is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Roche Holding. He is Member of the Board of Trustees at the Ernst Goehner Foundation, Avenir Suisse, and the Lucerne Festival. He is also member of the Advisory Board and Honorary Professor for Business Administration at University of St. Gallen (HSG), member of the Assembly and the Counsel of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and member of the Board of the Swiss Study Foundation. Furthermore, he serves on the board of Zurich Insurance Group, Stadler Rail, and Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. Before joining Roche Holding, he served as Deputy Chairman, CEO, and then Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa from 2009 to 2014. Prior to that he was CEO of Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) for 5 years.

Professor of Finance and Economics at Oxford Saïd
Prof. Martin Schmalz

Martin Schmalz is Professor of Finance and Economics and the Head of the Finance, Accounting, Management, and Economics Area at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School. He is co-author of the book "The Business of Big Data. How to Create Lasting Value in the Age of AI" and the Academic Director of the Blockchain Strategy and Open Banking & AI in Finance Programmes at Oxford. He previously held faculty positions at the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Busines, where he was elected one of the “40 under 40” best business school professors worldwide at the age of 33. His research on how the ownership structure of firms affects firm behavior and market outcomes has affected policy-making and antitrust enforcement worldwide. His research has been published in the Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and Review of Financial Studies, and discussed in the world's major media outlets, including BBC, Bloomberg, Financial Times, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. He was invited to present to regulators and policy makers across the globe, including the US Department of Justice, The White House Council of Economic Advisers, European Commission, European Parliament, OECD, various central banks, and at universities across America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and a PhD in Economics is from Princeton University, USA.

Theodore Nierenberg Professor of Economics at Yale School of Management
Prof. Fiona Scott Morton

Fiona M. Scott Morton is the Theodore Nierenberg Professor of Economics at the Yale School of Management, where she has been on the faculty since 1999. The focus of her current research is competition in healthcare markets and the economics of antitrust. In 2011 and 2012, Professor Scott Morton served as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economic Analysis (Chief Economist) at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she helped enforce the nation’s antitrust laws. At Yale SOM, she teaches courses in the area of competitive strategy and antitrust economics. She served as Associate Dean from 2007 to 2010 and has won the school’s teaching award three times. She founded and directs the Thurman Arnold Project at Yale, a vehicle to provide more antitrust programming and policy projects to Yale students.

Freelance broadcast journalist for CNBC International
Carolin Roth

Carolin Roth is a freelance broadcast journalist for CNBC International and conference/events moderator, with a passion for complex topics in finance, economics and politics. She has 12 years of experience in live TV as an international finance and business journalist at CNBC.

Chairman, Centre of European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Former Vice President, European Commission
Dr. Joaquín Almunia

Joaquín Almunia is Chairman of the Board of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and Honorary President of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. He is Visiting Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po), where he teaches a master course on EU Competition Policy. From 2004 until 2014, he was a member of the European Commission, first responsible for Economic and Monetary affairs and from February 2010 as Vice-President and Commissioner in charge of Competition Policy. Almunia has been a member of the Spanish Government from 1982 to1991, a member of the Spanish Parliament from 1979 to 2004, and the leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) from 1997 to 2000. In 2018, he published his most recent book in Spanish Winning the future – How the EU and social democracy can overcome together their crises.

Kirkland & Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law, Arthur and Esther Kane Research Chair at University of Chicago Law School
Prof. Eric A. Posner

Eric Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Arthur and Esther Kane Research Chair at University of Chicago Law School. Since 2022, he has been counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Law Institute. His research interests include antitrust law, international law, and constitutional law. His most recent books are How Antitrust Failed Workers (Oxford, 2021) and The Demagogue’s Playbook (All Points Books, 2020).

UBS Foundation Professor of Globalization and Labor Markets, Research Fellow CEPR

David Dorn received his doctorate from the University of St. Gallen in 2009. His work studies the impact of globalization and automation on the labor market and society. He showed that rapidly rising import competition from China had more profound impacts on the U.S. labor market than was previously assumed. The relative decline of employment and wages in trade-exposed locations is also associated with decreasing marriage rates, rising drug mortality, and increased electoral support for politicians with non-moderate ideologies. In other work, he studies how the automation of routine labor and the rise of superstar firms have contributed to various facets of inequality. David’s work has been cited in thousands of academic papers and hundreds of newspaper articles.

Partner and Head of Keystone Europe
Dr. Cristina Caffarra

Cristina Caffarra is managing partner at Keystone and leads the firm’s European operations, with a team of competition economists working out of offices in London, Brussels, and Rome. Before that she was Senior Consultant to the European Competition Practice, Charles Rivers Associates (CRA). She has directed and coordinated empirical and theoretical economic analyses on several of the high-profile cases that have appeared before the European Commission in the last 20 years. She is Visiting Professor at University College London, and on the Editorial Board of the European Competition Law Journal, and the Journal of European Competition Law & Practice. She has published articles in competition journals and presented papers on the economics of competition law at numerous international and academic conferences.

Program

12.00 Door opening
12.30 Welcome address
David Dorn (UBS Center, University of Zurich)
12.45 Keynote: Is there a problem with competition?
Joaquín Almunia (Centre of European Policy Studies, former Vice President of the European Commission)
13.30 Coffee break
14.00 Disputation: Superstar firms – more harm than good?
Cristina Caffarra (Keystone Europe), Jan Eeckhout (Barcelona School of Economics), and Eliana Garcés (Facebook)
15.00 Coffee break
15.30 Panel: How to save the market economy
Christoph Franz (Chairman Roche), Martin Schmalz (Oxford), and Fiona Scott Morton (Yale University)
16.30 Reception
17.00 Zurich Lecture of Economics in Society: What future for antitrust?
Eric A. Posner (University of Chicago Law School)
18.00 End of event
12.00 Door opening
12.30 Welcome address
David Dorn (UBS Center, University of Zurich)
12.45 Keynote: Is there a problem with competition?
Joaquín Almunia (Centre of European Policy Studies, former Vice President of the European Commission)
13.30 Coffee break
14.00 Disputation: Superstar firms – more harm than good?
Cristina Caffarra (Keystone Europe), Jan Eeckhout (Barcelona School of Economics), and Eliana Garcés (Facebook)
15.00 Coffee break
15.30 Panel: How to save the market economy
Christoph Franz (Chairman Roche), Martin Schmalz (Oxford), and Fiona Scott Morton (Yale University)
16.30 Reception
17.00 Zurich Lecture of Economics in Society: What future for antitrust?
Eric A. Posner (University of Chicago Law School)
18.00 End of event

Venue

Kongresshaus Zürich

Claridenstrasse 5, 8002 Zürich
(Google Maps)

Livestream