Economic History Series

“Old Chicago” and Freiburg: Why Ordoliberalism Was No “German Oddity”

Both the Chicago and Freiburg schools faced systemic fragility as the crucial property of societal orders. It was this fragility that served...

A New Antitrust Under Biden? Lessons From the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt

The early history of the Sherman Antitrust Act offers relevant insights to contemporary debates on how to best enforce antitrust laws. In...

How and Why Baseball’s Legal Monopoly Came to Be

Baseball’s antitrust exemption, currently the subject of fierce political backlash, has long been a historical curiosity. Why has a professional sports league...

American History Provides a Valuable Lesson on How Monopolists Use Exclusive Deals to Fortify Their Market Power

Since the Civil War, dominant firms have widely and repeatedly used exclusive agreements to exert, expand, and fortify their market power. History...

Freiburg and Chicago: How the Two Worlds of Neoliberalism Drifted Apart Over Market Power and Monopolies

Early neoliberals tended to view market power and monopolies as phenomena that somehow had to be reined in by an institutional framework...

Henry Simons’s Positive Program for Laissez-Faire

The 1930s were a difficult time for classical liberals. In response to the Great Depression, the federal government undertook a massive expansion...

Harold Demsetz and Israel Kirzner Understood That Competition Regulates Markets

Economists Harold Demsetz and Israel Kirzner challenged the prevailing orthodoxy in microeconomic analysis and public policy beginning with their respective work in...

How Protests Against the Jim Crow Credit Market Changed the Civil Rights Movement

Before the civil rights movement captured the nation’s attention, activists and community groups were protesting against exploitative credit and exclusionary lending practices...

How a Wave of Corporate Takeovers Ushered In the Gospel of Shareholder Value

In an excerpt from his new book, Ages of American Capitalism, economic historian Jonathan Levy explains how "financiers blew up the postwar...

Iowa’s “Butter-Margarine War”: T. W. Schultz’s Fight for Academic Freedom

During the Second World War, economists at Iowa State College published a pamphlet titled “Putting Dairying on a War Footing,” which would...

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Beefing Up Merger Enforcement by Banning Merger Remedies

The unraveling of the T-Mobile/Sprint remedy continues a trend of failed merger consent decrees. One solution, proposed by two antitrust scholars, is...

Reaching for Influence: Do Banks Use Loans to Establish Political Connections?

A new study examines whether privately-owned banks seek political influence by offering preferred loan terms to corporate borrowers with valuable political connections,...

The New Challenges of Assessing Big Tech’s Impact

Big Tech firms are facing the biggest wave of antitrust legislation in their history. Academic literature reveals the complexity of possible consequences...

The Metaphysics of Regulatory Capture

Stiglerian capture and corrosive cultural capture, its left-leaning parallel, are ostensibly symbionts, two attempts at identifying impediments to keeping markets competitive by...

The Aristocracy of Talent: Business Intelligence

In the following excerpt from his new book, The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World, Adrian Wooldridge traces "how universities...

Why Privacy Experts Need a Place at the Antitrust Table

Antitrust enforcers have tended to stay narrowly “in their lane,” failing to engage with how data is collected and used by digital...

Assessing George Stigler’s Economic Theory of Regulation

Despite its flaws and limitations, Stigler’s seminal article on the theory of economic regulation remains an important piece of scholarship worthy of...