43 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 28, 2017
Industry concentration has been rising in the US since 1980. Why? This paper explores the role of proprietary information technology systems (IT), which could increase industry concentration by raising the productivity of top firms relative to others. Using instrumental variable estimates, this paper finds that industry IT system use is strongly associated with the level and growth of industry concentration. The paper also finds that IT system use is associated with greater plant size, greater labor productivity, and greater operating margins for the top four firms in each industry compared to the rest. Successful IT systems appear to play a major role in the recent increases in industry concentration and in profit margins, moreso than a general decline in competition.
Keywords: information technology, computers, industry concentration, profit margins, antitrust, productivity dispersion
JEL Classification: D4, O33, L10, L4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Bessen, James E., Information Technology and Industry Concentration (September 28, 2017). Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 17-41. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3044730