Economic History

“Old Chicago” and Freiburg: Why Ordoliberalism Was No “German Oddity”

Both the Chicago and Freiburg schools faced systemic fragility as the crucial property of societal orders. It was this fragility that served as the...

A New Antitrust Under Biden? Lessons From the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt

The early history of the Sherman Antitrust Act offers relevant insights to contemporary debates on how to best enforce antitrust laws. In fact, the...

How and Why Baseball’s Legal Monopoly Came to Be

Baseball’s antitrust exemption, currently the subject of fierce political backlash, has long been a historical curiosity. Why has a professional sports league enjoyed a...

American History Provides a Valuable Lesson on How Monopolists Use Exclusive Deals to Fortify Their Market Power

Since the Civil War, dominant firms have widely and repeatedly used exclusive agreements to exert, expand, and fortify their market power. History shows that...

Freiburg and Chicago: How the Two Worlds of Neoliberalism Drifted Apart Over Market Power and Monopolies

Early neoliberals tended to view market power and monopolies as phenomena that somehow had to be reined in by an institutional framework in order...

Henry Simons’s Positive Program for Laissez-Faire

The 1930s were a difficult time for classical liberals. In response to the Great Depression, the federal government undertook a massive expansion of its...

Harold Demsetz and Israel Kirzner Understood That Competition Regulates Markets

Economists Harold Demsetz and Israel Kirzner challenged the prevailing orthodoxy in microeconomic analysis and public policy beginning with their respective work in the 1960s....

How Protests Against the Jim Crow Credit Market Changed the Civil Rights Movement

Before the civil rights movement captured the nation’s attention, activists and community groups were protesting against exploitative credit and exclusionary lending practices rooted in...

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 industrial corporation...

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 later come...

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