Joe Kennedy is a senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. He focuses on economic policy.
For almost three decades, he has provided legal and economic advice to senior officials in the public and private sector. Much of this advice has been directed at public policies involving technology, competitiveness, and the social contract. He also consults privately on these issues.
Dr. Kennedy previously served as the chief economist for the U.S. Department of Commerce where he oversaw a staff of 15 economists and regularly briefed the secretary of commerce on economic issues including the financial crisis and immigration reform. He has held numerous other positions in government, serving on committees in both houses of Congress and in the executive branch. As senior counsel for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, he helped oversee investigations of the credit counseling industry, music downloading, and the United Nations Oil for Food Program. As senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee, he authored papers on telecommunications policy and nanotechnology.
While at the Pew Charitable Trusts, he started and oversaw the Financial Reform Project, which was widely credited with bringing timely, objective information to Congress and the administration. As part of the project he helped put together and support a task force of leading financial experts co-chaired by Martin Bailey of the Brookings Institution and Peter Wallison of the American Enterprise Institute. This task force produced the only bipartisan comprehensive blueprint for reform introduced during the debates.
Dr. Kennedy spent 10 years at the Manufacturers Alliance working with senior executives from the nation’s leading manufacturing companies. He recruited and ran peer learning councils on strategic planning, technology, and supply chain logistics at which vice presidents and directors shared information about how to respond to the challenges of a dynamic, global economy. He also wrote a number of articles on subjects including government entitlements, tort reform, global warming, encryption, regulatory policy, and the future of manufacturing. He has also practiced corporate and environmental law for a large Washington, DC, firm.
Dr. Kennedy has served as the president of the board for the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless. He teaches a course in law, economics, and international policy at Georgetown University. He has received the Quality of Communication Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association and is the author of Ending Poverty: Changing Behavior, Guaranteeing Income, and Transforming Government (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008).
Dr. Kennedy has a law degree and a master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in economics from George Washington University.
Monopoly Myths: Are Superstar Firms Stifling Competition or Just Beating It?
Antitrust advocates allege market-leading “superstar” firms—particularly in digital industries—succeed through anticompetitive conduct. But evidence shows they outperform competitors by investing in innovative technologies and global operations that create more value.
When Is Success Illegal?
There is a sea change underway in U.S. antitrust policy, and it has the potential to wreak havoc on corporations and harm consumers in the process.
Concentration Is Not Producing Higher Profits or Markups
Lax antitrust enforcement has supposedly led to diverse harms such as the stagnation in wages, fewer startups, increased political influence, and reduced innovation. Two of the most important claims are that profits and markups are rising in many industries. But on closer inspection, both claims appear weaker than asserted.
The Antitrust “Challenge” of Digital Platforms: How a Fixation on Size Threatens Productivity and Innovation
A careful review of both the individual markets and the general issues reveals that the challenges big tech companies pose, while slightly different from previous markets, are not entirely new. Moreover, in most cases legitimate competition policy issues, especially those related to structure, are limited and can be effectively addressed within the confines of existing antitrust law and jurisprudence.
Monopoly Myths: Is Big Tech Creating “Kill Zones”?
Critics accuse big tech companies of stifling innovation by buying start-ups just to kill them or by exerting such dominance that entrepreneurs don’t want to enter their markets. Neither claim holds up to logic or evidence.
President-Elect Biden’s Agenda on Technology and Innovation Policy
The president-elect’s overall approach to technology and innovation policy appears to be formulated to engage the government as an active partner alongside industry in spurring innovation—but also as a tougher regulator of many tech industries and technologies.
Monopoly Myths: Is Concentration Eroding Labor’s Share of National Income?
Pundits and activists have looked at the reduced share of U.S. national income going to workers and have simply asserted that the cause is increased market concentration. This assessment is misplaced.
Parsing the Democratic and Republican Judiciary Committee Reports on Big Tech and Antitrust: Some Areas of Bipartisan Agreement, Many Differences
The majority should seize this opportunity to take a deliberative, bipartisan approach to advancing the public interest instead of adopting drastic, ill-advised measures that would harm consumers and deter innovation.
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do—So Don’t Do It
Rather than carefully applying antitrust law to address clear problems, Chairman Cicilline and his Democratic colleagues would seek to restructure markets to achieve significantly more competition. Such a broad attack would harm consumer welfare and inhibit innovation.
Trump vs. Biden: Comparing the Candidates’ Positions on Technology and Innovation
Tech policy broadly defined becomes more important each presidential election, and this one is no different. As it has in every cycle since 2008, ITIF provides a side-by-side comparison of the nominees’ positions on key issues related to the progress of technological innovation.
Uber’s Proposal to Benefit Gig Workers
Much of our system for delivering legal rights, disability protection, pensions, and health insurance is built on the traditional employer/employee model in which workers give up control over how and when they work and employers provide both pay and benefits. This model ties workers to their employers and leaves little space for those who do not want to fit into the traditional mold. We need a better system.
Recent Events and Presentations
Antitrust and Platform Regulation
On August 13, 2020 Joe Kennedy participated on a panel organized by TPRC 48 regarding efforts to apply stronger antitrust policy to the largest Internet platforms such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
Do Digital Services Taxes Unfairly Target U.S. Internet Companies?
ITIF hosted an expert panel discussion on the implications of Digital Service Taxes for the digital economy and international tax law.
Moving America: How Policymakers Can Accelerate Automation in Freight Transportation
From Silicon Valley to Detroit, a well-publicized race is on to develop self-driving passenger cars. But properly supervising rapidly developing technology also presents regulators with significant challenges to effectively ensure both safety and robust innovation; especially given the fact that each freight industry answers to a different authority, lawmakers and regulators should carefully consider the knock-on effects of any rules they draft.
Scaling Innovation: Why We Should Preserve the Consumer Welfare Standard in Antitrust Policy
For the last 40 years, antitrust policy has been guided by what is known as the consumer welfare standard, but some activists have advocated for going back to a time when government actively pushed back against the formation of large firms.
Clean Energy Innovation: Making a Carbon Tax More Affordable
How to Ensure That America’s Life-Sciences Sector Remains Globally Competitive
Please join ITIF for an event discussing needed policies to ensure sustained U.S. life-sciences leadership.
Three Paths to Update U.S. Labor Law for the Gig Economy: Adapt It, Fix It, or Suspend It
Please join ITIF to discuss a new report arguing that the common law-based distinction between employees and independent contractor no longer serves workers or companies well and should be updated.
Healthy Funding: Ensuring a Growing and Predictable Budget for National Institutes of Health
Join ITIF and UMR to discuss a new report, "Healthy Funding: Ensuring a Growing and Predictable Budget for NIH."