The Illusion of Choice

February 25, 2020 Anti-Monopoly Policies & Enforcement

As consumers today, we seem to have more choices than ever. We can walk down a grocery aisle and choose from dozens of cereal varieties. We can walk into a drugstore and choose from a plethora of shampoo brands. Or we can go online and use dozens of flight and hotel booking services.

But these appearances are often deceptive. In dozens of major industries, a few large corporations control the majority of the products and brands we see. These monopolistic corporations dominate their markets in part by acquiring and hiding behind a multitude of brand names, which present the impression of robust choice and competition.

To help understand how monopoly power impacts our day-to-day lives, the American Economic Liberties Project is publishing The Illusion of Choice, a visual report that provides a snapshot of how a small number of corporations own a shocking number of brands and subsidiaries that many of us assume compete independently amongst each other. This resource is designed to increase our understanding of the small number of private institutions that increasingly govern our day to day experiences in the marketplace.