Big companies raced ahead during the Covid-19 pandemic, leveraging the changes driven by the deepest business disruption in decades to grab a larger slice of the economic pie.
Now, as the rich world bounces back from the shock, the heavyweights are extending that lead, spending more on investments and acquisitions, snapping up talent, employing big data and leveraging new technologies.
Their success could set up a clash with antitrust regulators.
The Biden administration is pushing new policies aimed at promoting competition in the U.S. economy, warning that fewer large players are controlling more of the market. The European Union’s powerful antitrust regulator is re-evaluating how it polices the digital economy.
Economists believe the gap between large and small companies helped explain poor productivity growth before the pandemic. Traditionally, innovations spread from company to company, helping the broader economy. But in recent years, big companies have accrued the outsize rewards of scale and large swaths of small companies have struggled to keep up.