Ashutosh Bhagwat argues in new research that expecting social media platforms to serve as gatekeepers for the “truth” flounders on economic, organizational, and democratic grounds. In fact, the end of media gatekeepers and elite control over public discourse may be what is necessary to reinvigorate the marketplace of ideas and reduce political polarization.
In new research, Arseniy Samsonov builds a model showing how having available to the public a multitude of media outlets and social media platforms would not help reduce misinformation from politicians. Rather, monopolistic power could enable these outlets to retain control over the narratives around the information that these politicians provide to journalists and platforms in exchange for publicity and coverage, thus reducing misinformation.
Will increasing the liability of internet platforms mitigate disinformation? Economists weighed in on the effects of limiting or repealing protections for Big Tech through a recent survey from the Forum for the Kent A. Clark Center for Global Markets—previously the Initiative on Global Markets—at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
The “Next Frontier of Propaganda”: Micro-Influencers are Paid to Spread Political Messages, Disinformation
Online influencers aren’t in the business of promoting just products anymore. New research finds that micro-influencers are increasingly used to spread political...
The Good News: Fewer Americans Were Exposed to Fake News in 2018. The Bad News: This Probably Won’t Last
As it turns out, a majority of the American public is not bad at identifying disinformation. But as the 2020 election nears, the online...
A peculiar feature of WhatsApp groups has made the spread of misinformation much easier. We need better design guidelines for platforms like WhatsApp, ones...
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.
ESG, Corporate Governance & Future of the Firm
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.
Antitrust and 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.
Does an inventor’s political identity influence their productivity? In a new paper, Joseph Engelberg, Runjing Lu, William Mullins, and Richard Townsend examine the impacts of the 2008 and 2016 United States presidential elections on Democrat and Republican inventors, with a particular focus on the quantity and quality of patents after the country elects a new president.
Antitrust and Competition
Letter to the Editor: Former FTC and DOJ Chief Economists Urge Separation of Economic and Legal Analysis in Merger Guidelines
Seventeen former chief economists of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division urge current Agency heads to separate the legal and economic analysis in the draft Merger Guidelines to strengthen the role of the latter in merger review.