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

Fear of Punishment Distorts Bank Financial Reporting

When bank employees are afraid of punishment from regulators, they are likely to conceal information about their faulty decisions. This in turn...

Should The Competitive Process Test Replace The Consumer Welfare Standard?

Jonathan Kanter, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, recently gave a speech condemning the use of the consumer...

Delaware: The State Where Companies Can Vote

Adapted from What’s the Matter with Delaware: How the First State Has Favored the Rich, Powerful, and Criminal—and How It Costs Us...

The NCAA Goes After College Athletes’ NIL Money—Here are the Antitrust Implications for Workers and Consumers

Having lost in the Supreme Court on student-athlete academic benefits, the NCAA has signaled a continuing attempt to suppress competition in the...

Have Business Roundtable Companies Lived Up to Their Stakeholder Commitments?  

In 2019, more than 100 CEOs of US public companies signed a Business Roundtable statement in which they pledged to deliver value...

Do Protests Matter At All for Shifting Government Policy Around Economic Redistribution?

New research on the effectiveness of protests on government distributions provides insights into the political incentives of a country’s leadership and the...

Mergers and Smoking Guns

A recently uncovered memo from George Stigler and Richard Posner reveals how they thought about antitrust and merger policy in advising the...