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)

“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...

Latest news

“An Offer We Can’t Refuse”: How We Gave Away Our Data and Made Big Tech What It Is Today

WhatsApp’s new terms of service should come as no surprise. For years, Big Tech has been offering its users these “take it...

Paul Romer: “If You Think Moderation is Censorship, You’ve Got a Competition Problem”

During a Stigler Center keynote webinar, Nobel laureate Paul Romer discussed concentration problems in the US and possible solutions, including a “pigouvian”...

The “Next Frontier of Propaganda”: Micro-Influencers are Paid to Spread Political Messages, Disinformation

Online influencers aren’t in the business of promoting just products anymore. New research finds that micro-influencers are increasingly used to spread political...

Digital Markets Act: Policy Choices and Conditions for Success

Last month, the European Commission introduced an ambitious new set of rules for digital platforms, the Digital Markets Act. Here is what...

The Silent Coup

President Donald Trump's seditious actions are exposing the political power that Twitter, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook enjoy. Banning him from their...

How Will the Digital Markets Act Regulate Big Tech?

While the recently introduced Digital Markets Act rules might change prior to final approval, there is a lot to consider already. What...

Covid-19 Aggravates Existing Income, Gender, and Race Inequalities, and Further Increases Political Divisions

Seventy percent of Americans know someone who tested positive; one in five know someone who died from coronavirus, survey shows.