Can Credit Tightening Spur Social Unrest? Evidence from 1930s China

In 1933 the United States launched its Silver Purchase program, which raised silver prices worldwide, drained China’s silver stock, and caused credit to Chinese firms to contract sharply. In a new paper, economists at Tilburg and Bocconi universities use the incident as a natural experiment to examine whether economic shocks can trigger labor unrest and boost support for fringe political parties.  

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How China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign Is Moving Financing Away from State-Owned Enterprises

Are anti-corruption reforms effective in reducing economic rent seeking and constraining the influence of special interests? New research from Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance finds that anti-corruption investigations in China are associated with credit reallocation from less productive state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to more productive non-SOEs. The series of investigations constitute staggered events to identify the causal impact of anti-corruption reforms on bank financing.

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Rethinking Stigler’s Theory of Regulation: Regulatory Capture or Deregulatory Capture?

Much government regulation does not fit the logic of Stigler’s theory of anti-competitive regulatory capture. In a new book, Steven Vogel of Berkeley argues that the theory of regulation needs to account for the phenomenon of captured regulators bent on deregulating—and that the critical consideration facing regulators is no longer how to enhance competition, but how different governance models favor different actors.  

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Editors’ Briefing: This Week in Political Economy (May 4–May 12)

A whistleblower alleges fraud in the audits of Silicon Valley companies; AT&T acknowledges that hiring Michael Cohen was a “bad mistake”; new analysis finds that Amazon has not been consistent with the stated selection criteria for HQ2; and a majority of Americans back a constitutional amendment that would outlaw Citizens United. This week in political economy.   

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