A Stigler Center webinar explores how businesses lobby and compete for political power and whether mergers and industry concentration affect lobbying. 

Firms compete in markets, and markets are affected by regulators. But can we measure how much incumbent firms try to shape regulations in their favor? Or how much market power leads to political power?

To answer these questions, the Stigler Center recently hosted a conversation on lobbying and political influence in markets with Fiona Scott Morton, the Theodore Nierenberg Professor of Economics at Yale University School of Management; Tommaso Valletti, Professor of Economics and head of the department of economics and public policy at the Imperial College London; and Bo Cowgill, Assistant Professor of Management at Columbia Business School. The discussion was based on a project by Valletti and Cowgill, with Fabrizio Dell’Acqua, and Andrea Prat that studies how firms lobby in theory and in practice by looking at market data on lobbying spending and political contributions in the US over the past 20 years. It was moderated by Filippo Lancieri, a research fellow at the Stigler Center and JSD candidate at the University of Chicago Law School.

You can watch the webinar here:

This panel was part of the Stigler Center’s Antitrust and Competition Conference, held virtually in a series of free webinars from Spring 2020 to Winter 2021. In 2020, the webinar series explored the historical interconnection between market power and political power, discussing examples from Nazi Germany to the United StatesLatin AmericaIsrael, and South Korea. The second half of the conference series is dedicated to the discussion of the trade-offs involved in changes to antitrust policy to address this perceived connection. Topics include whether and how antitrust should be used to promote economic liberty or political liberty, and the development of new methods to assess the political power of large conglomerates.