READING LISTS

Late last year, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (along with dozens of states attorneys general) filed landmark antitrust cases against Google and Facebook for anticompetitive tactics. Will these lawsuits succeed? What are the potential consequences? Catch up on ProMarket's coverage of the ongoing antirust cases against Big Tech.

Identifying the Market In the Facebook Antitrust Case

Facebook can be a monopolist over a cluster of noncompeting products that do not fit the standard economic definition of a “market.”...

Facebook Break-up Can Be Feasible, Efficient, and Ultimately Beneficial to Consumers

Is the relief sought by the FTC in its case against Facebook the right way to go? In principle, yes. However, the...

Reviewing Facebook’s Mergers Could Have Negative Ripple Effects

How the pre-merger notification regime came about and why we should be careful about discouraging useful mergers.

The Antitrust Cases Against Facebook And Google: In Search of a Smoking Gun

In the Microsoft antitrust case, Bill Gates’ emails were perhaps the government’s most compelling evidence. Now, as regulators pursue antitrust cases against Facebook...

Americans spend significantly more on health care than any other country. Why? Answers to this question range from hospital monopolies to perverse incentives to opaque pricing to medical licensing to pharmaceutical firms abusing IP practices to “creeping consolidation.” Why is the US health care system so broken? And what can antirust do about it? Catch-up on our coverage of antitrust and the US health care system.

How the FTC Protected the Market Power of Pharmacy Benefit Managers

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) were established in the 1960s to control drug costs but have since morphed into one of the most...

What Is the Price of a Prescription Drug?

Due to lack of transparency and mystery rebates, which are considered trade secrets, figuring out the price of a prescription drug is...

“The Way Insurance Companies Have Rigged Our Health Care System, They’re Probably Going to Emerge as Financial Winners from This”

Author and former health insurance executive Wendell Potter explains to ProMarket why the employer-based health care system in the US is “collapsing” and why health...

The Amazon of Health Care: How CVS Is Evolving From a Drug Store Chain into a Tech Platform

CVS is built on a dominant chain of drug stores, but it is now trying to turn itself into a "uniquely powerful platform" for...

George J. Stigler, one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1982 “for his seminal studies of industrial structures, functioning of markets, and causes and effects of public regulation.” His research upended the idea that government regulation was effective at correcting private-market failures. Stigler introduced the idea of regulatory capture, in which regulators could be dominated by special interests. These regulators would work for the benefit of large, monied organizations rather than the public good. Catch up on ProMarket's coverage of his legacy.

George Stigler’s Paper on Regulation and the Rise of Political Economy

George Stigler’s “The Theory of Economic Regulation” is not just the founding paper of economics of regulation. It is also a founding...

Stigler’s Interest-Group Theory of Regulation: A Skeptical Note

As a rule, regulation is not acquired by “the industry,” and it is not designed and operated primarily for its benefit. The...

The Durable Impact of Stigler’s Theory of Economic Regulation

George Stigler’s “The Theory of Economic Regulation” was an early application of public choice reasoning to a practical problem—the work of regulatory...

Economic Regulation After George Stigler

George Stigler’s “The Theory of Economic Regulation” has left a lasting impact on the academic and real-world practice of regulatory policy. Fifty...

As tech companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Twitter grew so did their influence over the US economy and politics. Are these companies too large to regulate? Should we break them up? Where do we go from here? Catch up on ProMarket‘s coverage on the political power of Big Tech.

“I Wanted to Call People’s Attention to the Extent of Amazon’s Takeover of Washington”

In an interview with ProMarket, author and ProPublica reporter Alec MacGillis discusses the rise of Amazon and regional inequality, the role of...

There Are Lots of Competition Problems on the Internet. Parler’s Takedown Is Not One of Them.

Parler’s antitrust case against Amazon is doomed, and there is no basis for Congress to impose any special duties on Amazon to...

“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”...

In November 2020, Joe Biden was elected to be the 46th President of the United States. What will his presidency look like? What issues will his administration tackle? Catch up on ProMarket's coverage of the Biden presidency.

Of Antitrust and Patents: the Quiet Return of the Status Quo at the DOJ’s Antitrust Division

Without Senate-confirmed political leadership, the Department of Justice quietly reverts to an Obama-era policy that favors Big Tech.

Morale At the DOJ’s Antitrust Division Has Plummeted. Here’s How to Fix It

The Biden administration should work to reverse the declining morale since a re-energized Antitrust Division will translate into more effective, innovative enforcement...

What Would Lina Khan’s FTC Nomination Mean For the Future of Antitrust Enforcement?

If confirmed, Khan’s nomination potentially heralds a profound shift in the way that antitrust law is enforced and discussed in the US.

What the Biden DOJ Can Learn From the Clinton and Obama Years on How to Tackle America’s Monopoly Problem 

The Clinton DOJ attacked international cartels. The Obama DOJ prioritized merger enforcement. The Biden DOJ needs to focus on America’s monopoly problem.

Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, which was enacted in 1996 before Google, Facebook and Twitter were founded, is often referred to as the 26-words that created the internet. It reads: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Recently, it has come under scrutiny from President Donald Trump, the FCC, the US Congress, and even President-elect Joe Biden, who previously said it should be revoked “immediately”. Catch up on ProMarket’s coverage of what’s next for Section 230.

False News Has a Long History—But Those In Power Failed To Heed It

In his book The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth, Samuel Woolley explores how governments failed...

Why Both Liberals and Conservatives Are Completely Wrong About Section 230

Abolishing Section 230 would not address disinformation and propaganda on social media nor charges of anti-conservative censorship. But its repeal would probably...

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.

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...

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis and the ensuing global outrage, an unprecedented focus on the causes of police violence and misconduct has emerged. Should the police be “defunded,” as many protesters demand, or should US law enforcement reformed in other ways? ProMarket investigates.

“Drive and Wave”: In Response to 1998 Police Reform, LAPD Officers Disengaged from Policing

A new paper documents how LAPD officers responded to two police reforms—one in 1998 and one in late 2002. It finds that...

Police Stops of Black Drivers Increase Following Trump Rallies, New Study Suggests 

A new study looks into how Trump's 2016 presidential campaign affected police behavior toward Black Americans and finds that the probability that...

Prison Labor Can Create Perverse Incentives for Incarceration and Reduce Trust in Legal Institutions

Government proponents of prison labor should be mindful of the potential for negative effects, including increased incarceration rates and citizens’ deteriorating views...

Few Bad Apples? New Study Finds That 40 Percent of Officers in a Large Police Force Are Discriminatory

A new paper seeks to examine whether police misbehavior is concentrated or diffuse by identifying whether highway patrol officers in Florida are...

What will be the impact of Covid-19 on the US and global economies? While it’s too early to make reliable predictions, it is clear that the crisis, which caused the bigger global recession on record and placed more than one-third of the world’s population on lockdown, will reshape every aspect of society. Catch up on ProMarket’s coverage of the coronavirus and its impact on politics and the world's economies.

Female Academics Are Disproportionately Affected By Covid-19 Disruptions In Childcare

A new paper finds that academics who are parents to young children, and especially mothers, have lost a significant amount of research...

The Unequal Toll of Covid-19

A pandemic is by definition universal but while it is true that the Covid-19 outbreak has affected everyone, it has not done...

One Year Into the Pandemic: Who Maintains Social Distancing and Who Doesn’t

A new study measures factors associated with the adoption of social distancing across America and finds that widespread adoption of social distancing...

Lack of Trust in Doctors Undermines Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy

Recent data from the Financial Trust Index (FTI) reveals that Americans are not as willing to be vaccinated as the government expects....

Alesina was born in Broni, Pavia, Italy. Alesina obtained his undergraduate degree in economics from Bocconi University. From 2003–2006, Alesina served as Chairman of the Department of Economics at Harvard. He was the Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy at Harvard. He visited several institutions including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tel Aviv University, University of Stockholm, The World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 2006, Alesina participated in the Stock Exchange of Visions project.

“Thank You and Farewell”: Francesco Trebbi on Alberto Alesina’s Intellectual Legacy

There are two main intellectual precursors of modern political economy in 20th Century: Social Choice and Public Choice. In founding modern political...

From Politics to Macroeconomics and Beyond

Alberto Alesina’s curiosity and intellect led him to a research path that opened up entire fields of research and deepened our understanding...

Political Economy, NBER Meetings, Gender Norms: How Alberto Alesina’s Research Changed Economics

Since the beginning of his career, Alberto Alesina has been a tireless proponent of the cross-contamination between economics and political science, psychology,...

How Alberto Alesina Challenged the Median Voter Theorem

"Alberto Alesina's insight was that the economy was driven neither by the opportunistic behavior of politicians nor by the pursuit of partisan...

Aaron Director, one of the founders of the so-called Chicago School of Law and Economics, died on September 11, 2004. To mark the 15th anniversary of his death, ProMarket is published a series of articles on his work and intellectual legacy.

Corporations and the Rise of the Chicago Law and Economics Movement

From its birth in 1946 onward, corporations made possible and crucially supported the rise of the Chicago law and economics movement. Aaron Director,...

Aaron Director and the Empirical Foundation for the Chicago Attitude on Antitrust

Empirical evidence, not just disembodied theory, was an important building block of Director’s view that competition could defeat concentration, writes Daniel Kuehn. Editor's note: Aaron...

How Powerful Ideas Can Shape Society: Aaron Director and the Triumph of Nihilism

The rise of giants like Amazon and Facebook proves the long-lasting influence of Director's approach. His intellectual and political legacy is...

If One Monopoly Is Good for the Firm, Are Two Always Better? Aaron Director and the Tie-in Problem

When IBM patented a punch card processing machine, it had the power to influence both the market of machines and punch cards, but this is...

Starting in 2004, a small number of intercontinental carriers recaptured control of industry oversight in Washington and Brussels, reversed thirty years of successful pro-consumer and pro-competitive aviation policies, and converted the world’s most important markets from robust competition to a permanent oligopoly/cartel of Too Big To Fail airlines. That consolidation movement undermined many of the mechanisms that had allowed the industry to restructure after past crises, and it is difficult to see how those mechanisms could rapidly be restored in order to help cope with today’s Coronavirus much larger crisis.

How Airline Alliances Convinced Regulators That Collusion Reduces Prices

The Department of Transportation granted antitrust immunity to Atlantic alliances that reduced competition on the basis of a single paper written by...

How Alliances Carriers Established a Permanent Cartel

American carriers faced the post 9/11 demand shock, while the European intercontinental flag carriers were facing increased competition in the Middle East...

The Airline Industry’s Post-2004 Consolidation Reversed 30 Years of Successful Pro-Consumer Policies

A small number of intercontinental carriers recaptured control of industry oversight in Washington and Brussels to convert the world’s most important markets...

Why Consolidation Undermined the Airline Industry’s Ability to Recover from the Coronavirus Crisis

A major factor contributing to the industry’s struggles during the current crisis was the loss of resiliency due to the consolidation...