Discussion paper

DP18772 Antitrust Enforcement Increases Economic Activity

We hand-collect information describing all 3,055 antitrust lawsuits brought by the Department of Justice (DOJ) between 1971 and 2018. Using confidential U.S. Census microdata, we show that DOJ lawsuits targeting past anticompetitive conduct in local industries cause a persistent 5.4% increase in employment and 4.1% increase in business formation compared to the same industries in other states. We further find (1) a sharp increase in payroll exceeding the increase in employment, (2) an economically and statistically insignificant increase in sales, and (3) a precise increase in the labor share. Our results show that government antitrust enforcement increases economic activity.


Babina, T, S Barkai, J Jeffers, E Karger and E Volkova (2024), ‘DP18772 Antitrust Enforcement Increases Economic Activity‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 18772. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp18772