How China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign Is Moving Financing Away from State-Owned Enterprises

Are anti-corruption reforms effective in reducing economic rent seeking and constraining the influence of special interests? New research from Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance finds that anti-corruption investigations in China are associated with credit reallocation from less productive state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to more productive non-SOEs. The series of investigations constitute staggered events to identify the causal impact of anti-corruption reforms on bank financing.

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Rethinking Stigler’s Theory of Regulation: Regulatory Capture or Deregulatory Capture?

Much government regulation does not fit the logic of Stigler’s theory of anti-competitive regulatory capture. In a new book, Steven Vogel of Berkeley argues that the theory of regulation needs to account for the phenomenon of captured regulators bent on deregulating—and that the critical consideration facing regulators is no longer how to enhance competition, but how different governance models favor different actors.  

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Editors’ Briefing: This Week in Political Economy (May 4–May 12)

A whistleblower alleges fraud in the audits of Silicon Valley companies; AT&T acknowledges that hiring Michael Cohen was a “bad mistake”; new analysis finds that Amazon has not been consistent with the stated selection criteria for HQ2; and a majority of Americans back a constitutional amendment that would outlaw Citizens United. This week in political economy.   

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Education Quality Has Less to Do with Adult Outcomes Than You Might Think

A new paper assesses the contributions of education and labor markets to differences across regional labor markets in the United States and finds that differences in access to high-quality elementary and secondary schools are not a key channel driving the strength of the association between parents’ incomes and their children’s incomes when they reach adulthood.  

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Return of the State: Banking on Diplomacy

If, as California political legend Jesse M. Unruh once quipped, “money is the mother’s milk of politicians,” it’s reasonable to expect that countries might wield their financial power for geopolitical purposes on the world stage. Accordingly, a fascinating new paper slated to be presented at the upcoming Stigler Center Political Economy of Finance conference tracks how China punishes countries whose heads of state accept meetings with the Dalai Lama by curbing bilateral lending flows from its state banks.  

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Marx and Modern Microeconomics

Few economists doubt that Marx flunked economics, a judgement mostly based on his labor theory of value. But this column argues that Marx’s representation of the power relationship between capital and labor in the firm is an essential insight for understanding and improving modern capitalism. Indeed, this insight is incorporated into standard principal–agent models of labor and credit markets.  

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Glen Weyl: “The Very Structure of Capitalism Is Inherently Monopolistic”

In an interview with ProMarket, Glen Weyl, co-author of the wildly ambitious (and wildly controversial) new book Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society, talks about antitrust, data as labor, and why he thinks the free market system is not actually free. “The entire business community has been speaking with one voice in the common interest of capital as a class,” he says.  

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