Recent empirical research purports to demonstrate that institutional investors' "common ownership " of small stakes in competing firms causes those firms to compete less aggressively, injuring consumers. A number of prominent antitrust scholars have cited this research as grounds for limiting the degree to which institutional investors may hold stakes in multiple firms that compete in any concentrated market. This Article contends that the purported competitive problem is overblown and that the proposed solutions would reduce overall social welfare. With respect to the purported problem, we show that the theory of anti-competitive harm from institutional investors' common ownership is implausible and that the empirical studies supporting the theory are methodologically unsound. The theory fails to account for the fact that intra-industry diversified institutional investors are also inter-industry diversified, and it rests upon unrealistic assumptions about managerial decision-making. The empirical studies purporting to demonstrate anti-competitive harm from common ownership are deficient because the inaccurately assess institutional investors' economic interests and employ an endogenous measure that precludes causal inferences.
Thomas A. Lambert and Michael E. Sykuta,
The Case for Doing Nothing about Institutional Investors' Common Ownership of Small Stakes in Competing Firms, 13 Virginia Law and Business Review 213
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/facpubs/961