Antitrust and Competition

Antitrust and Labor

Does antitrust have a labor market problem? The last few years have seen growing interest among academic scholars in the causes and effects of concentration in US labor markets. Concurrently (and not unrelated), there has been an explosion of interest among policymakers and the general public in the impact that firms with market power may have on wages and working conditions. What do the data say regarding employer concentration and its effect on workers? Is antitrust in its current form equipped to address issues related to labor market power? In an attempt to answer these questions and more, we have decided to launch a series of articles on antitrust and the labor market.

Corporate Governance

The system of formal and informal rules by which a company is governed. Corporate governance shapes more than just a given's company value - it dictates who controls the capital in the economy and so how this capital is being put the use. Corporate governance therefore affects and is affected by the degree of cronyism and rent-seeking in society.

Media

Effective media scrutiny can help mitigate many of the problems that lead to regulatory capture, by helping the polity to become informed and mobilized. But what are the conditions that create effective media scrutiny? And why do we observe so little of it in reality? “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” Justice Louis D. Brandeis

Regulatory Capture

When regulation protects narrow interests – usually the interests of the incumbent industry – at the expense of the public interest. Capture occurs in various ways: from straightforward bribes and threats, to more implicit quid pro quos such as the lucrative future employment (revolving door), to softer forms of cognitive/cultural capture. “... as a rule, regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit.” George Stigler - The Theory of Economic Regulation (1971)

Special interest groups

Special interest groups: Groups with preferences that differ from the preferences of the median voter. There is nothing wrong with special interests forming groups per se; the trouble starts when they disproportionally sway policy in their favor. “...the great enemy of democracy is monopoly, in all its forms: gigantic corporations, trade associations and other agencies for price control, trade-union… Effectively organized functional groups possess tremendous power for exploiting the community at large and even sabotaging the system.” Henry Calvert Simons - A Positive Program for Laissez Faire (1934)

ProMarket Interview: “The Lobbyists and the Regulators Were Really, Socially and Culturally, the Same People”

University of Connecticut’s law professor James Kwak explains the mechanisms that drive cultural capture, and why he think it is less prevalent today. In his...

ProMarket Interviews Bo Rothstein, Part II: On Strong Markets and Quality Government

In the second part of ProMarket's interview with Bo Rothstein, the Swedish political scientist discusses corruption, social trust and unions. After decades in which the...

Do Courts Have a Pro-Business Bias?

Existing evidence are not enough to determine whether courts are pro-market or pro-(incumbent)business. President Obama’s plan to nominate Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court...

Are Business Schools Responsible For Strengthening Ethical Norms Among Students and Alumni?

A panel at Fordham University discusses the social signals business schools communicate to students. Are business schools partly to blame if their alumni engage in...

ProMarket Interview: Bo Rothstein on the Role of Government in Market Economies

Bo Rothstein, one of the most influential political scientists in the world today, explains how countries can become less corrupt, and why the Nordic...

How to End Too-Big-To-Fail? At Minneapolis Fed Symposium, Participants Reject Big Bank Breakup

Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke: "Size is not the only relevant attribute of banks.” Should big banks be broken up in order to ensure the...

Alan Rusbridger is Gone from The Guardian, But Is There Still a Business Model for Independent Journalism?

Many people like to think of media as another market where competition drives innovation, quality, and integrity. But this is not always the case. The following...

Are Newspapers Captured by Banks? Evidence From Italy

The inaugural piece of a new ProMarket mini-paper series. Preamble In the intellectual debate there is a gap between academic papers and policy opinions, even those...

Alan Rusbridger: “The Level of Scrutiny That the Press Would Apply to its Own Failures is Minimal”

ProMarket interview: Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The Guardian, on media capture. In 2003, Rebekah Wade (now Brooks), the former editor of the British tabloid...

Why Most Boards Fail

A Stigler Center panel debate examines the impact of activist shareholders and the role of dissenting board members. Corporate governance has seen some substantial reforms...

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Should the European Union Require Tech Firms to Adopt a Common Charger?

According to a new European Commission directive expected to be approved in the next few months, tech firms will have to use...

Chart of the Week: Economists Don’t Think Congress Should Make Price Gouging Illegal

Most economists disagree with a new bill in the US that would set limits on "unconscionably excessive prices," according to a recent...

Neoliberal Economists Are Giving Biden Bad Advice on Inflation

To spare the economy from the pain of further interest rate hikes, the President should aggressively pursue anticompetitive conduct by companies in...

How Would the Big Tech Self-Preferencing Bill Affect Users? 

The Senate looks to be nearing a vote on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which would prohibit gatekeeping digital platforms...

New eBook Revisits George Stigler’s Theory of Regulatory Capture 50 Years Later

To mark the 50-year anniversary of George Stigler’s seminal piece, “The Theory of Economic Regulation” we are publishing a new eBook examining...

Firms Gerrymander Ownership of Polluting Plants to Reap Public and Regulatory Benefits

New research has discovered that many companies who appear to sell, or ‘divest,’ their toxic plants, actually retain relationships with their buyers....

How Should Antitrust Deal With Facebook? A Stigler Center Panel Investigates

Panelists at the Stigler Center’s recent antitrust conference look at the antitrust case against Facebook and discuss potential theories of harm, as...