Antitrust and Competition

Corporate Governance

The system of formal and informal rules by which a company is governed. Corporate governance shapes more than just a given's company value - it dictates who controls the capital in the economy and so how this capital is being put the use. Corporate governance therefore affects and is affected by the degree of cronyism and rent-seeking in society.

Media

Effective media scrutiny can help mitigate many of the problems that lead to regulatory capture, by helping the polity to become informed and mobilized. But what are the conditions that create effective media scrutiny? And why do we observe so little of it in reality? “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” Justice Louis D. Brandeis

Regulatory Capture

When regulation protects narrow interests – usually the interests of the incumbent industry – at the expense of the public interest. Capture occurs in various ways: from straightforward bribes and threats, to more implicit quid pro quos such as the lucrative future employment (revolving door), to softer forms of cognitive/cultural capture. “... as a rule, regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit.” George Stigler - The Theory of Economic Regulation (1971)

Special interest groups

Special interest groups: Groups with preferences that differ from the preferences of the median voter. There is nothing wrong with special interests forming groups per se; the trouble starts when they disproportionally sway policy in their favor. “...the great enemy of democracy is monopoly, in all its forms: gigantic corporations, trade associations and other agencies for price control, trade-union… Effectively organized functional groups possess tremendous power for exploiting the community at large and even sabotaging the system.” Henry Calvert Simons - A Positive Program for Laissez Faire (1934)

The True Price of Media Capture: “We’ll Be Living in a State of Perpetual Shock and Amazement”

Journalist and media critic Dean Starkman, author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark, speaks about capture in business media and explains how journalists missed the...

“There Is Regulatory Capture, But It Is By No Means Complete”

Kenneth J. Arrow, one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, reflects on the benefits of a single payer health care system,...

Can a CEO in Good Conscience Not Be a Crony Capitalist?

The above question — posed by Brucest1, a reader of this blog — is extremely important and deserves a fully articulated answer. Brucest1 seems to conclude that a...

Why This Blog?

There is an issue that– while extremely important today–receives little attention not only in the traditional media but also in the blogosphere, and academia:...

From Mancur Olson to Bernie Sanders

Professor George Stigler, the Nobel Laureate (1982) who in some ways invented the idea of “regulatory capture,” and Professor Mancur Olson, who developed some...

"Capture is Everywhere – It Happens at the Highest Levels of Our Democracy"

Armed with research on drug patents and a spate of internal emails from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, hedge fund manager Kyle...

Stigler Fellow of the Month: Beyond the Traditional Capture Theory

Harvard Business School's Rafael Di Tella is "Stigler Fellow of the Month". He talks about how any theory of regulation should consider the roles...

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The Challenges to (Re)forming a Platform Economy for the People

Measured antitrust enforcement and a more comprehensive regulatory regime can ensure that we continue to benefit from digital markets. In attempting to...

Spectrum Auctions: There Is Elegance in the Mundane

As a student, Booth School Professor Anthony Lee Zhang was puzzled that Paul Milgrom chose to spend so much of his time...

Antitrust as Economic Stimulus

By attacking power imbalances, competition policy can steer income to workers and independent merchants who are more inclined to spend than monopoly...

The Monopolists and the Pandemic: What Covid-19 Teaches Us About Concentrated Power

In the preface of his new book Liberty from All Masters: The New American Autocracy vs. the Will of the People, Barry...

Bethany McLean’s Weekend Reading List: Insider Trading, Central Banking, and the Fall of the CDC

Corruption, lobbying, corporate malfeasance, and frauds: a weekly unconventional selection of must-read articles by investigative journalist Bethany McLean. 

“Amazon Is Getting Richer by the Moment —But There’s a Limit to How Many People Jeff Bezos Can Buy”

In an interview with ProMarket, Barry Lynn discusses the current state of American antimonopoly, what the Covid-19 crisis has taught us about...

Politics, Inconsistent Economic Policies, Destructive Dissatisfaction: The Roots of Hong Kong’s Malaise

In 2019, proposed amendments to the Extradition Bill triggered social unrest that has lasted for more than a year. Moving forward, Hong...