Rent-seeking diary: It’s only Tennessee whiskey if it’s Jack Daniel’s

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article, Jack Daniel’s Faces a Whiskey Rebellion, that highlights how politically powerful industries can use industry-protecting regulation to raise their rivals’ costs: At the company’s urging, Tennessee passed legislation last year requiring anything labeled “Tennessee Whiskey” not just to be made in the state, but also to be made … More Rent-seeking diary: It’s only Tennessee whiskey if it’s Jack Daniel’s

Political economy and dealer franchise laws

Tesla Motors is doing more than shaking up the automobile industry by producing an exciting high-end electric vehicle and establishing a network of battery-swapping stations. Tesla wants to sell directly to consumers, bypassing established dealer franchising that dominates the industry. But such dealer franchising has not been a mere transaction-cost-driven Coasian outcome — it’s undergirded … More Political economy and dealer franchise laws

Adam Smith opposes “shock therapy” for developing and transitioning economies

Michael Giberson “Get the prices right!” was the rallying cry of some economists in the aftermath of the break up of the Soviet Union. Don’t plan the transition, stop planning and let markets sort it out. Similar advice goes out to developing economies around the world. Don’t ease your way to liberalization, throw open the … More Adam Smith opposes “shock therapy” for developing and transitioning economies

Why did water utilities in the U.S. become mostly publicly owned?

Michael Giberson Among U.S. water utilities, some are publicly owned and some are privately owned. Same thing for gas utilities and electric utilities. But unlike in the gas and electric power industries, the water business has become predominantly organized by publicly-owned utilities. Scott Masten explores why it was that public utility ownership became dominant among … More Why did water utilities in the U.S. become mostly publicly owned?

Bootleggers and Baptists alert: RIAA and radio broadcasters

Lynne Kiesling Bruce Yandle, call your office — it’s another bootleggers and Baptists alert! This time it’s RIAA and radio broadcasters, who usually are at loggerheads over things like song royalties but have found common cause and joined forces to lobby the FCC to mandate that all mobile devices have an FM receiver implanted in … More Bootleggers and Baptists alert: RIAA and radio broadcasters

The Blagojevich saga: the psychology of power, and rent-seeking

Lynne Kiesling Two items have kept my attention over the holidays with respect to the Blagojevich fiasco. First, back when the story first broke, our local NPR station interviewed my colleague Adam Galinsky on the psychology of power. Adam’s research is fascinating, and in this interview he communicates very effectively how positions of power affect … More The Blagojevich saga: the psychology of power, and rent-seeking