The Foundation of Corporate Personhood: A Look at the Charles River Bridge Case of 1837

Some 130 years before Friedman could begin arguing that a corporation’s sole responsibility was to make a profit for its shareholders, Boston’s Charles River Bridge Company had to convince the Supreme Court that corporations were private entities whose interests could diverge from the public interest. While it lost that case, the partial success of the Charles River Bridge Company’s reasoning with the court laid the foundations for corporate personhood as it exists today.  

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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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Return of the State: Banking on Diplomacy

If, as California political legend Jesse M. Unruh once quipped, “money is the mother’s milk of politicians,” it’s reasonable to expect that countries might wield their financial power for geopolitical purposes on the world stage. Accordingly, a fascinating new paper slated to be presented at the upcoming Stigler Center Political Economy of Finance conference tracks how China punishes countries whose heads of state accept meetings with the Dalai Lama by curbing bilateral lending flows from its state banks.  

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