Economic History Series

How a Wave of Corporate Takeovers Ushered In the Gospel of Shareholder Value

In an excerpt from his new book, Ages of American Capitalism, economic historian Jonathan Levy explains how "financiers blew up the postwar...

Iowa’s “Butter-Margarine War”: T. W. Schultz’s Fight for Academic Freedom

During the Second World War, economists at Iowa State College published a pamphlet titled “Putting Dairying on a War Footing,” which would...

James M. Buchanan Trusted Market Mechanisms Because He Trusted Individuals

James Buchanan, one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century, believed that individuals were able to voluntarily devise private and...

What Stakeholder Capitalism Can Learn From Jensen and Meckling

Jensen and Meckling’s 1976 article is an academic classic, but heavily criticized by stakeholder capitalists for arguing that corporate structures should be...

An Unusual History: A Conversation Between Two Economists About the Economics Department at the University of Chicago

In conversation with Sebastian Edwards, Arnold C. Harberger reflects on his time at the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago.

Why We Need To Re-think Friedman’s Ideas About Monopolies

Friedman’s New York Times Magazine article on the social purpose of business was a specific intervention in the debate over shareholder activism...

Are Intellectual Property Rights Neoliberal? Yes and No

Today’s global IP regime is often described by critical scholars bluntly as “neoliberal.” But in fact, the topic of intellectual property rights...

A Famed Economist’s Public Company U-Turn

Michael Jensen, a leading late 20th century economist, pivoted from praising public companies in the 1970s to assailing public company governance in...

The Most Famous Article on the Theory of the Firm is Widely Misunderstood

Michael Jensen and William Meckling’s famous 1976 Journal of Financial Economics article has been cited nearly 100,000 times and is often regarded...

“Power Is Evil in Itself”: The Ordoliberal Quest for a Privilege-Free Order

The lesson from the quest of German ordoliberals for a privilege-free order from the 1930s to the 1950s is that once in...

Latest news

New Study Warns Antitrust Inaction May Lead To Acceptable Collusion for Public Policy Considerations

The modernization of EU antitrust laws muddied the water with regard to the ways that antitrust authorities and courts should handle situations...

Dark Money Dominates Spending by Special Interest Groups and Sways Elections

New research on undisclosed and unlimited political contributions, or dark money, exposes the increasing role that such funds play in U.S. elections.

The “Conspiracy” of Consumer Welfare Theory

Matt Stoller argues there was a conspiracy. It was more of an association with a singular purpose.

Researchers Find Reduced Competition After Pandemic

The chart of the week comes from a new research paper that documents the increase in small business closures during the Covid...

Voters Still Believe Politics is About the Common Good, Not Just Rent-Seeking

Do voters still believe that politics can be a source for common-good policies and not just partisan bickering and rent-seeking? With political...

How to Design Data Protection Laws That Actually Work 

More and more countries are passing data protection laws, yet empirical studies show that these laws rarely deliver on their promises. A...

Are Monopolists or Cartels the True Source of Anticompetitive US Political Power?

Trade associations are often the biggest obstacles to competitive markets, especially when those organizations use their influence to change public policy in...