B School for Public Policy
Antitrust in Labor Markets
Seminar by Professor Herbert Hovenkamp
Today, the share of economic output that goes to workers in the form of wages or salaries, is historically low. A number of factors may contribute to this: labor-reducing machine production; anti-union policies; innovation and high fixed costs; refusals of minimum wage laws to keep up; but also anticompetitive practices. This talk by Professor Herbert Hovenkamp addresses whether and what antitrust policy might be able do about this problem. Unreasonably low wages in relation to output are not in and of themselves an antitrust problem. However, antitrust policy is properly concerned with anticompetitive conduct that serves to suppress wages or salaries. The talk will focus on a variety of these practices – namely, “anti-poaching” agreements; mergers that enable wage suppression; employee non-compete agreements covering various categories of employees; and overly restrictive occupational licensing requirements.