Managing Expectations Is Critical to Ensure Compliance with Stay-at-Home Measures

A study of a representative sample of Italians finds that 50 percent of respondents reported having adopted all recommended actions, including staying at home, not meeting people, and going to the grocery store as infrequently as possible. People’s intentions to comply depend on whether the length of the extension matches their expectations (or not)

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The Darkest Side of Monopsony: The South Korean Case

“Chaebols”, large business groups controlled by founder families, are usually considered a crucial ingredient of South Korea’s economic miracle. But after a process of consolidation, big chaebol firms such as Hyundai established exclusive supply chains with suppliers of parts and components and began to engage in price squeezing and intellectual property extortion in bargaining with its suppliers. 

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The Trump Administration Attacks the Stigler Report on Digital Platforms

President Trump’s 2020 Economic Report finally confronts the issue of antitrust enforcement both in the traditional economy and in the digital one. While it criticizes the demand for more antitrust enforcement on the ground of insufficient evidence, it dismisses the conclusions of the Stigler Report on a purely a priori argument, ignoring all the evidence contained in the report. 

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The World Bank’s “Papergate”: Censorship Is Not the Best Way to Stop Development Aid From Fueling Corruption

A new study of World Bank data finds that aid disbursement to highly aid-dependent countries coincides with sharp increases in bank deposits in offshore financial centers. According to The Economist, the World Bank refused to release the study. Afterward, its chief economist resigned. Here is the full content of the allegedly-censored paper. 

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How Allowing a Little Bit of Dissent Helps the Chinese Government Control Social Media

A new study on three major social networks in China finds that tolerating small, relatively free platforms helps the Chinese government maintain sufficiently high market-level censorship in an overall low-pressure environment. However, larger platforms censor more content than small competitors.

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Data-Driven Ideology: The Problem With Economists’ Takeover of Policymaking

According to New York Times journalist Binyamin Appelbaum’s recent book The Economists’ Hour, economics is not the unbiased science that it pretends to be, but a useful tool that politicians have used in class warfare for the last forty years on behalf of the elite. However, his entertaining narrative raises some questions. The Stigler Center will host an event with Appelbaum on January 28. 

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How Do Members of Congress React to the Potential of Lucrative Private Sector Employment?

Many fear that the potential for well-paid post-elective jobs can make legislators give rewards to their future employers. A new study finds that career prospects in the private sector do induce legislators to leave office and that US senators become more moderate before they voluntarily leave office through the revolving door. They also become more productive and more aligned with the priorities of special interest groups.   

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Should We Let Facebook Decide the Next President of the United States?

Facebook admitted that only a binding regulation on political ads could prevent private corporations from influencing the outcome of US presidential elections. Without such regulation, digital platforms can favor a candidate by altering (or maintaining) their policies on digital advertising. Trump’s campaign was much more effective than Clinton’s in using micro-targeting to shape voters’ preferences in 2016, a new study shows. Facebook decided to confirm the same policies for the 2020 election.  

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Who Benefits When State Governments Award Incentives to Politically-Connected Companies?

A new study finds that a company is nearly four times more likely to receive an economic incentive in a state where the company makes political contributions to state-level candidates. The results also show that awarding economic incentives to politically-connected firms is not the most effective use of taxpayer funds. 

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