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 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:...

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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Dislocation, Dislocation, Dislocation: Covid, the Retail Crisis, and REITs

In an excerpt from his new book Retail Recovery, retail expert and author Mark Pilkington explores the impact of the sector's decline...

Addressing Climate Change Must Begin with Verifiable Carbon Accounting

Robert Kaplan and Karthik Ramanna propose a new approach for verifiable accounting on indirect corporate emissions that would apply to all corporations,...

The FTC Was Correct to Withdraw the Vertical Merger Guidelines

The 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines, now withdrawn by the FTC, did not represent sound merger policy, argues Steven Salop; rather, they were...

The Chicago Planning Program and the Interdisciplinary Tradition of the Chicago School

The Chicago Planning Program, an interdisciplinary program that operated at the University of Chicago between 1947 and 1956, is an often-neglected part...

Why a “Whole-of-Government” Approach is the Solution to Antitrust’s Current Labor Problem

For the majority of America’s regulatory history, the problem of employer monopsony was understood as a competition policy issue that required direct...

Antitrust Law’s Unwritten Rules of Unfair Competition

Does the Sherman Act actually “protect competition, not competitors”? An examination of the case law reveals a more nuanced picture, in which...

The New Brandeis Movement and International Antitrust Enforcement

US competition authorities’ top officials, being appointed by a recently-elected president to represent the will of the voters, have the legitimacy to...