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About the Conference

The standard (economic) theory of the firm is silent on the role firms can play in shaping the rules of the game under which they operate. In reality, many firms lobby politicians and try to capture regulators in order to modify the rules of the game in their favor. Some scholars have argued that the resources devoted to these activities are relatively so small that they are likely to have insignificant effects, and/or that regardless of how much firms invest in political activities, in a well-functioning democracy there are countervailing forces that effectively level the playing field. Other scholars have noted that the resources firms devote to shaping the rules of the game to their own advantage are sufficiently large and their effects sufficiently important to warrant a rethinking of the standard economic theory of the firm. Which of these two views has more empirical support? If the latter, should the economic theory of the firm be modified? If so, how, and is the potential fix better or worse than the existing problem?

To address these questions, the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Harvard Business School, and Oxford University will organize a conference in Chicago on March 3–4, 2017.

The conference is by invitation only.


The conference venue is the Gleacher Center, located in downtown Chicago at 450 N Cityfront Plaza Dr. There are a number of hotels in the area with special University of Chicago rates, details below. Ask for the University of Chicago rate when making your booking.

InterContinental Chicago
505 N. Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60611
(800) 628-2112

Club Quarters Wacker at Michigan
75 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 357-6400; Reservations: (203) 905-2100

LondonHouse Chicago
85 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 357-1200

Omni Chicago
676 N. Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 944-6664


Gleacher Center 204
450 N Cityfront Plaza Dr

Friday, March 3

 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. Lunch

Presentation: Disney and Piraeus Case Studies
Roy Shapira, IDC Herzliya, Stigler Center
1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Is Pollution Value Maximizing? The DuPont Case Study

Roy Shapira, IDC Herzliya, Stigler Center
Luigi Zingales, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Discussants: Efraim Benmelech, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Cary Coglianese, University of Pennsylvania Law School
2 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Break
2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Capture and Competition (with Sudarshan Jayaraman and S.P. Kothari)

Karthik Ramanna, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
Discussant: Robert Gertner, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Break
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Disguised Contributions and Corporate Political Spending (with Adam Fremeth and Brandon Schaufele)

Brian Kelleher Richter, University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business
Discussants: John de Figueiredo, Law School and Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Steve Haber, Stanford University
6 p.m. Dinner (Gleacher 250)

Keynote Address
Mark Mizruchi, University of Michigan

Saturday, March 4

 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Should a Company Pursue Shareholder Value?

Oliver Hart, Harvard University
Luigi Zingales, Chicago Booth
Discussants: Bruce Kogut, Columbia University
John Matsusaka, USC
9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Break
9:45 a.m. -10:45 a.m. Lawyering and Lobbying: Why Banks Shape Rules

Brian Libgober, Harvard University
Dan Carpenter, Harvard University
Discussants: Paul Tucker, Harvard University
Stephen Ansolabehere, Harvard University
10:45 a.m. - 11 a.m. Break
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Political Risk: Measurement and Effects (with Stephen Hollander, Laurence van Lent, and Ahmed Tahoun)

Tarek A. Hassan, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Discussant: David Primo, University of Rochester
12 p.m. Lunch (Gleacher 250)

For more information contact:

Sarah Niemann, Assistant Director, Stigler Center

Conference Organizers

  • Luigi Zingales, Chicago Booth
  • Karthik Ramanna, Oxford University
  • David Moss, Harvard Business School
  • Rebecca Henderson, Harvard Business School