Articles by Stefano Feltri:

The World Bank’s “Papergate”: Censorship Is Not the Best Way to Stop Development Aid From Fueling Corruption

A new study of World Bank data finds that aid disbursement to highly aid-dependent countries coincides with sharp increases in bank deposits in offshore financial centers. According to The Economist, the World Bank refused to release the study. Afterward, its chief economist resigned. Here is the full content of the allegedly-censored paper. 

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Data-Driven Ideology: The Problem With Economists’ Takeover of Policymaking

According to New York Times journalist Binyamin Appelbaum’s recent book The Economists’ Hour, economics is not the unbiased science that it pretends to be, but a useful tool that politicians have used in class warfare for the last forty years on behalf of the elite. However, his entertaining narrative raises some questions. The Stigler Center will host an event with Appelbaum on January 28. 

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The Epstein Report: How a Convicted Criminal Could Use MIT to Whitewash His Reputation

The only reason why a pedophile’s donations did not violate any MIT policy is that MIT does not have any policy to prevent embarrassing donors damaging the institution’s reputation. An independent investigation proved that many MIT executives were aware of Epstein’s gifts but they pretend they never checked Google or Wikipedia to get some information on his past. Two senior professors who helped Epstein to connect with MIT received money on their personal accounts or ventures. 

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Should We Let Facebook Decide the Next President of the United States?

Facebook admitted that only a binding regulation on political ads could prevent private corporations from influencing the outcome of US presidential elections. Without such regulation, digital platforms can favor a candidate by altering (or maintaining) their policies on digital advertising. Trump’s campaign was much more effective than Clinton’s in using micro-targeting to shape voters’ preferences in 2016, a new study shows. Facebook decided to confirm the same policies for the 2020 election.  

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Western Multinationals Can Improve Workers’ Safety, If They Want to: The Case of Bangladesh

In 2013, one of the largest factories in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,134 workers. Many multinationals committed to improving safety standards. A new study shows that Western corporations can improve labor standards in developing countries, without harming their competitiveness. The result is even more compelling because the study is co-funded by multinationals.  

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Twitter Refused to Promote the New Capitalisn’t Episode: This Is a Problem for Free Speech (and for American Health Care)

Twitter banned political ads from its platform but has full discretion in deciding what constitutes a “political ad.” The Stigler Center tried to promote a tweet announcing a new podcast by Luigi Zingales and Kate Waldock on health care, but Twitter refused to approve it because it allegedly violated its policy regarding political ads. Yes, health care is a topic with political implications, but should we allow digital platforms to silence public debate? 

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Why CEOs and Regulators Clash With the Duopoly of Proxy Advisory Firms

Institutional investors that own between 70 and 80 percent of the market value of US public companies often rely on investment advisers voting on behalf of clients. The SEC and corporate executives are willing to curb the power of the two largest proxy advisory companies, ISS and Glass Lewis. In a new episode of their podcast Capitalisn’t, Kate Waldock and Luigi Zingales discuss the new proposed regulation with SEC commissioner Robert Jackson.  

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Fake Letters Poisoned the Debate on SEC’s New Rules on Shareholder Votes and Proxy Advisory Firms

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton claimed that the draft regulation on shareholders’ votes and proxy advisory firms received approval by hundreds of “Main Street” Americans. A Bloomberg investigation reveals that many of the letters that the SEC published on its website are fake. This reform could change American capitalism. We deserve more serious debate. 

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A Financier Against the Russian Oligarchs: Why Bill Browder Is Putin’s Public Enemy No. 1

Bill Browder, Heritage Fund founder and the person behind the Magnitsky Act, will speak at the Stigler Center on November 8. Browder and professor Luigi Zingales will discuss crony capitalism in Russia and actions that could be taken to prevent Putin and the Russian oligarchs from corrupting the world. 

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The Other Side of Trump’s Shadow Diplomacy: After Ukraine, Quid Pro Quo in Italy Too?

The White House asked the Italian government for support in its “investigation on the investigators” to prove the existence of a Democratic plot against Donald Trump in 2016. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte secretly cooperated and then received a crucial public endorsement from Trump in the midst of a political crisis. The next episode of the impeachment story will be staged not in Kyiv, but in Rome.

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