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)

Unusual Debate at Davos: Lobbying, Maximizing Shareholder Value and the Duty of CEO’s

BlackRock CEO, Larry Fink: “We can tell a company to fire 5000 employees tomorrow, or tell a company to do something that maybe is bad for...

“What We Have is Capture of the Regulators’ Minds, A Much More Sophisticated Form of Capture Than Putting Money in Their Pockets”

Barry C. Lynn, author and director of New America’s Open Markets program, explains how every major industry and marketplace in America came to be controlled...

Millennials Believe in Free Markets and Want a Scandinavian Welfare State

Millennials may view socialism more favorably than their parents, but their definition of socialism is very different than that of previous generations.  Millennials may view...

The Heirs of John D. Rockefeller Divest from Fossil Fuels, Slam Exxon Mobil as “Morally Reprehensible”

The Rockefeller Family Fund announced on Wednesday that it will be divesting entirely from fossil fuels, due to the industry’s stance on climate change.   The...

Stigler Center Talk: Robert Bilott on How to Protect Our Drinking Water

The lawyer who has been dubbed "DuPont's Worst Nightmare" will discuss the legal, regulatory, political, and scientific challenges of addressing unregulated chemical contaminants in drinking...

“The United States Has Lost the Will and Ability to Prosecute Top Corporate Executives”

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jesse Eisinger speaks about executive impunity and the key to justice in America.   In January, Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a scathing indictment...

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:...

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President-Elect Joe Biden and the Real Lessons of DuPont

Simply talking corporate America into being more responsible is not enough. It may get corporations to talk the talk, but not to...

How Companies Spin Off Environmental Liabilities to Avoid Legal Obligations

Environmental externalities are vexing for corporate decision makers, but some companies have figured out a way to deal with them: a spinoff....

How Pfizer’s Vaccine Announcement Demonstrates the Political Power of Firms

By timing the disclosure of the results of its vaccine trial, Pfizer could have influenced the 2020 presidential election. This is worrisome...

The Useful Distraction of Section 230

How the red-herring of a politicized Section 230 and “conservative censorship” distracts from a bipartisan national privacy act.

Institution Man: How Corporations Came to Dominate the US Economy

In the first chapter of his book Transaction Man, Nicholas Lemann explores how Adolf Berle, author of The Modern Corporation and Private...

Kicking Around Section 230: Don’t Confuse Politics and Policymaking

Congressional hearings may make for good TV and viral social media posts, but reforming Section 230 would be more difficult than it...

Big Tech Platforms and Schumpeter’s Creative Destruction

Schumpeter’s indirect entry theory fits the average tendencies of competition in digital industries. When the model is added to standard assumptions and...