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)

Stigler Center Talk: Corporate Governance in an Era of Shareholder Activism

The Stigler Center will host a panel on the prevalence of shareholder activism and how to improve corporate oversight on May 3rd.  Shareholder activism has experienced...

ProMarket Graph: Is There a Correlation Between Perception Measures and Reported Levels of Corruption?

New graph compares corruption perception indexes with reported cases of corruption.  What is the best way to measure corruption, and can there be a reliable way to...

What Makes M&A Reporters More Accurate?

A study by Kenneth R. Ahern and Denis Sosyura ranks M&A reporters based on their accuracy. Rumors and speculation have always been a part of...

“The President’s Executive Order is Pro‑Market and Anti‑Abusive Market Power”

Ten days after the White House issued an executive order and a brief that highlights growing concentration and decreasing competition in the US economy,...

Corporate Governance Externalities: How Directors’ Reputational Concerns Shape Governance of Other Firms

A new paper by Wharton’s Doron Levit and Carroll’s Nadya Malenko fleshes out the role that reputation plays in shaping the structure and effectiveness of...

The US Government Loses As Much As $111 Billion Annually Due to Corporate Tax Dodging

Report: For every dollar spent on lobbying, the 50 largest corporations received more than $4,000 in government support. The US government is losing as much...

The White House Acknowledges: The U.S. Has a Concentration Problem; President Obama Launches New Pro-Competition Initiative

President Barack Obama issues an executive order that calls on federal government agencies to promote competition within uncompetitive markets. President Barack Obama launched a broad new...

Stigler Center Talk: Uber and the Future of Work-On-Demand

David Plouffe,  board member and Chief Advisor at Uber, is coming to give a talk at the Stigler Center. Within seven years, Uber has managed...

Stigler Center Talk: Bo Rothstein on What Makes Scandinavian Countries Non-Corrupt

Oxford’s Bo Rothstein, one of the most influential political scientists in the world today, will discuss the historical experience of Scandinavian countries in eradicating...

Study: Journalists’ Fear of Appearing Biased Benefits Special Interests

New study that looks into the media coverage of climate change finds that special interest groups often take advantage of journalists’ desire to present...

Latest news

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...