The Role of the State

Antitrust and Competition

A key distinction in economic viewpoints that goes oft-unnoticed is between pro-business and pro-market. A good bellwether to where someone stands on the pro-business/market continuum is his/her stance on antitrust policy: pro-business usually favors incumbents, while pro-market calls for aggressive antitrust enforcement to facilitate competition. “I would not dispute that even a monopoly-ridden market would be preferable to any economic system trying to operate without any kind of a market. But given the prevalence or the danger of substantial intrusion of monopoly into the market, the logic of the laissez faire defense of the market against state-intervention collapses and there is called for instead, by its very logic, state-suppression or state-regulation of monopoly practices, which one may wish to call, as Henry Simons called it, an instance of "positive laissez faire" or, as I prefer, as an instance of deliberate departure from laissez faire.” Jacob Viner - The Intellectual History of Laissez Faire (1960)

"There Is Convincing Evidence That Concentration Has Been Rising"

Our new interview series: "Is there a concentration problem in America?" On March 27-29, the Stigler Center will host a first-of-its-kind, three-day conference that will...

Conference: Is There a Concentration Problem in America?

On March 27-29, the Stigler Center will host a first-of-its-kind, three-day conference on the question of concentration in the U.S. economy that will bring...

Antitrust, Regulation and the “Chicago School”

Antitrust authorities, no less than regulatory authorities, are vulnerable to capture by the collective interests of groups having the most salient stakes in antitrust...

“We Are Arrogant – We hold On to Our Old Beliefs on the Gains of Trade”: ProMarket Interviews Bernard Yeung, Part 3

The third and final part of ProMarket's interview with Bernard Yeung, Dean of the National University of Singapore’s business school and one of the...

“In a System with Dominance, There is Built-In Resistance to Change”: ProMarket Interviews Bernard Yeung, Part 2

In the second part of his interview with ProMarket, Bernard Yeung—one of the economists who laid the foundations of scientific research on economic power...

How Pro-Competition Rules Can Benefit Consumers: A Look at the Wireless Industry

A new Stigler Center working paper examines the political factors that shape competition in the wireless sector around the world and finds that pro-competition rules...

“When There Isn't Enough Churning of Big Corporations, the Economy Stagnates”: Q&A with Bernard Yeung

Bernard Yeung, one of the predominantly non-U.S.-born economists who laid the foundations of scientific research on economic power concentration, offers insights relevant to the...

Monopsony Takes Center Stage

Bringing the powerful weapons the federal competition authorities have to bear on the problem of monopsony would be a substantial, but necessary departure from recent...

Do Mergers Benefit or Harm the Economy? Q&A with Bruce Blonigen

A new paper finds that mergers allow firms to raise prices, but finds no evidence that they improve productivity or efficiency. Do large mergers benefit or harm consumers? Over...

The Anti-Competitive Effects of Common Ownership: Q&A with Martin Schmalz

Martin Schmalz, assistant professor of business administration and finance at the University of Michigan, speaks about the anti-competitive effects of common ownership, a situation in...

Latest news

Why Have Uninsured Depositors Become De Facto Insured?

Due to a change in how the FDIC resolves failed banks, uninsured deposits have become de facto insured. Not only is this dangerous for risk in the banking system, it is not what Congress intends the FDIC to do, writes Michael Ohlrogge.

Merger Law Reaches Acquirer Incentives and Private Equity Strategies

Steven C. Salop argues that Section 7 of the Clayton Act prohibits mergers in which the acquiring firm’s unilateral incentives and business strategy are likely to lessen market competition.

Tim Wu Responds to Letter by Former Agency Chief Economists

Former special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy Tim Wu responds to the November 27 letter signed by former chief economists at the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department Antitrust Division calling for a separation of the legal and economic analysis in the draft Merger Guidelines.

Can the Public Moderate Social Media?

ProMarket student editor Surya Gowda reviews the arguments made by Paul Gowder in his new book, The Networked Leviathan: For Democratic Platforms.

Uninhibited Campaign Donations Risks Creating Oligarchy

In new research, Valentino Larcinese and Alberto Parmigiani find that the 1986 Reagan tax cuts led to greater campaign spending from wealthy individuals, who benefited the most from this policy. The authors argue that a very permissive system of political finance, combined with the erosion of tax progressivity, created the conditions for the mutual reinforcement of economic and political disparities. The result was an inequality spiral hardly compatible with democratic ideals.

Did the Meme Stock Revolution Actually Change Anything?

Many financial commentators thought that the surge of retail investors participating in the stock market, the most notable of whom boosted “meme stocks” like GameStop, would democratize corporate governance and improve prosocial firm behavior, including the promotion of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. In new research, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, and Yoon-Ho Alex Lee find evidence that the exact opposite took place.

The Kroger-Albertsons Merger Will Not Help Grocery Competition

Kroger and Albertsons say they need to merge to compete with Walmart. Claire Kelloway argues that what they really want is Walmart’s monopsony power, and permitting mergers on these grounds will only harm suppliers, workers, and consumers.