Economic History Series

James M. Buchanan Trusted Market Mechanisms Because He Trusted Individuals

James Buchanan, one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century, believed that individuals were able to voluntarily devise private and...

What Stakeholder Capitalism Can Learn From Jensen and Meckling

Jensen and Meckling’s 1976 article is an academic classic, but heavily criticized by stakeholder capitalists for arguing that corporate structures should be...

An Unusual History: A Conversation Between Two Economists About the Economics Department at the University of Chicago

In conversation with Sebastian Edwards, Arnold C. Harberger reflects on his time at the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago.

Why We Need To Re-think Friedman’s Ideas About Monopolies

Friedman’s New York Times Magazine article on the social purpose of business was a specific intervention in the debate over shareholder activism...

Are Intellectual Property Rights Neoliberal? Yes and No

Today’s global IP regime is often described by critical scholars bluntly as “neoliberal.” But in fact, the topic of intellectual property rights...

A Famed Economist’s Public Company U-Turn

Michael Jensen, a leading late 20th century economist, pivoted from praising public companies in the 1970s to assailing public company governance in...

The Most Famous Article on the Theory of the Firm is Widely Misunderstood

Michael Jensen and William Meckling’s famous 1976 Journal of Financial Economics article has been cited nearly 100,000 times and is often regarded...

“Power Is Evil in Itself”: The Ordoliberal Quest for a Privilege-Free Order

The lesson from the quest of German ordoliberals for a privilege-free order from the 1930s to the 1950s is that once in...

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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...

“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...

The Many Faces of Stigler’s Theory of Economic Regulation: Interest Group Politics Still Thrives—But Industry Often Comes Second

Stigler treats industry groups as the heavyweights in regulatory contests. But surprisingly often groups of farmers and workers knock them for a...

Why the FTC Should Consider Size in Drug Mergers

Large pharmaceutical firms retain their dominance through size-related advantages in three areas: contracting, marketing and selling, and financing. When reviewing pharmaceutical mergers,...

In FTC vs. Facebook, the Government Lost the First Round. It Could Still Win the Fight.

Despite some compelling allegations, a federal judge dismissed the FTC's antitrust complaint against Facebook due to the agency’s failure to explain how...

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...