The Project for the Study of American Capitalism

The Project for the Study of American Capitalism

Created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and the government’s subsequent responses, the Project for the Study of American Capitalism at The Mercatus Center is a research program responding to the increased concern about the role of political favoritism in American business.  The project explores the implications of this emerging character of the economy, examining the effects it has on the standard of living in the United States and public perceptions of the legitimacy of government and business. Does it make any difference to average Americans whether ours is a more or less free market? And what can policymakers do to ensure competition and to commit in a credible way to equality of opportunity?

Drawing on hundreds of academics from around the world, the Project for the Study of American Capitalism helps scholars and policymakers investigate the nature of these problems and identify real and sustainable solutions.

Research

Matthew Mitchell | Jan 06, 2014
In recent years, food stamps have constituted about 80 percent of farm bill spending, which may be why nearly 100 percent of public debate has focused there. Unfortunately, with all of the attention on food stamps, both political parties have missed the opportunity for reform that lies in the remaining 20 percent of the farm bill.
Adam Thierer, Brent Skorup | Jul 01, 2013
The danger of creeping cronyism in the high-tech field is that it will dull entrepreneurialism and competition in this highly innovative sector. The opportunity costs of pursuing favors are significant.
Adriana Cordis, Jeff Milyo | Apr 24, 2013
The Supreme Court has long held that campaign finance regulations are permissible for preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption. Yet the implied hypothesis that campaign finance reforms are effective tools for combating public corruption has gone essentially untested. We conduct the first systematic evaluation of the effects of campaign finance laws on actual corruption rates in the states. We examine the effects of state reforms on both convictions and filings in public corruption cases over the last 25 years.
Matthew Mitchell | Feb 01, 2013
In the end, he endorses a “zero tolerance” approach to subsidies and tax loopholes while he is more comfortable with regulatory interventions. This is curious. The regulatory process is opaque and complex, arguably making the code of federal regu- lations an easier place to hide a targeted privilege than the federal budget or the tax code. But Zingales hasn’t enough time to dwell on such considerations; he has too many other interesting and creative ideas to consider.
Jeremy Horpedahl, Brandon Pizzola | Oct 25, 2012
This study documents the economic distortions and inefficiencies that result from a tax system filled with tax expenditures. We review each of the ten largest tax expenditures for individuals and corporations, focusing the following distortions of economic activity: spending on goods and services, capital allocation, the distribution of income, and lobbying and rent-seeking.
Randall G. Holcombe | Oct 24, 2012
The ability to target those benefits is a result of the spending and regulatory power of government, so cronyism is caused by big government. One remedy often suggested for cronyism is more government regulation and oversight of the economy, but this remedy misunderstands the cause of cronyism. The economic literature on the components of crony capitalism shows that big government is the cause of crony capitalism, not the solution.

Testimony & Comments

Veronique de Rugy | Jul 18, 2012
The Department of Energy’s loan guarantee programs have been the focus of much public attention since energy companies Solyndra, Beacon Power, and Abound went bankrupt, leaving taxpayers to shoulder hundreds of mil- lions of dollars in loan guarantees. The evidence strongly suggests that these programs fall short of their stated goals of developing clean energy and creating jobs.
Todd Zywicki | Jul 10, 2012
Much of the government’s political intervention in the bankruptcy cases appears to have been motivated to benefit the UAW rather than the companies themselves over U.S. taxpayers, who put billions of dollars at risk to fund the bailouts.
Veronique de Rugy | Jun 19, 2012
For obvious reasons, more than any other recent events, the waste of taxpayers’ money due to Solyndra’s failure has attracted much attention. However, the problems with loan guarantees are much more fundamental than the cost of one or more failed projects.
| May 25, 2011
Anthony Sanders testified before the House Committee on Financial Services about steps to end the GSE bailout.
Todd Zywicki | May 24, 2011
Todd Zywicki testified before the House Subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs.
Lawrence J. White | Apr 15, 2009
This statement for a roundtable of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission examines the changes in regulation that elevated the judgments of the credit rating agencies about the creditworthiness…

Speeches & Presentations

Charts

Matthew Mitchell | Mar 26, 2014
This week’s chart shows the average aggregate contributions that members of Congress received from agribusiness PACs in each of the last three quarters of 2013. The data are separated by members’ votes on the final bill.  …

Experts

Videos

Matthew Mitchell | January 23, 2014
Matt Mitchell Discusses The Project for the Study of American Capitalism and the Importance of Economic Freedom.

Podcasts

Matthew Mitchell | April 09, 2014
Matthew Mitchell Discusses Film Tax Credits on WFSU

Books

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