The Effects of Concentration in the Asset Management Industry on Stock Prices

The asset management industry has become increasingly concentrated in recent decades. Regulators are concerned about the systemic risks this may pose. Using data from the US, this column suggests that the increased concentration has led to more volatile prices of stocks held by large institutional investors. This poses challenges for regulators trying to weigh price efficiency and economies of scale.  

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Protecting the Independence and Integrity of Research: Introducing the Academic Capture Warning System

Inappropriate financial donor influence at institutions of higher education appears to be on the rise and risks eroding public trust in academic research. In order to defend academic freedom and institutional independence, we have decided to create a new database to document clear violations of well-accepted norms involving financial donations.  

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Do the Sons of Rich Families Recover After a Large Wealth Shock? Evidence From the US Civil War

One striking feature of many underdeveloped societies is that economic power is concentrated in the hands of very small powerful elites. Why is it the case that some elites show remarkable persistence and even retain their power after major economic disruptions, like civil wars or democratization? The fortune of wealthy white southern households and their sons after the American Civil War is one such case in point.  

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Study: Political Connections Lower Companies’ Tax Rates and Risk of Being Audited

How does the revolving door between Congress and corporate America affect the enforcement of tax policy? A new study examines how tax rates change when firms hire former members of Congress, finding that companies’ tax bills and the probability of being audited decrease markedly when they hire a former legislator.  

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How Finance Affects Income Inequality

There is mounting evidence that income inequality and disparities in wealth have been rising in advanced economies in the recent decades. Using data on advanced and emerging economies, this column investigates the link between an economy’s financial structure—that is, the mix of bank-provided versus market-provided funds—and income inequality. Results show that the relationship is not monotonic. More finance reduces income inequality up to a point, but beyond that point inequality rises, especially if finance is expanded via market-based financing.    

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