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Business and Politics
Business and Politics: Which Drives Which?
Politics and Business appear to more intertwined than ever because politics is so salient and ubiquitous in the current American drama in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the policy debates over health, the budget, and regulatory reform policies. The popular charges are contradictory: politics and politicians intervene in business and the economy according to some, while others claim business intervenes, often by non-transparent means, in politics. We are in an age in which corporations and unions are given first amendment rights while political donations are veiled behind nonprofit organizations (the '527'). Lobbying is viewed as 'information' by many, but as 'legal corruption' by others. The financial crisis has surely rendered these issues more salient, where the stakes riding on regulation are reshuffling the flow of money and contributions, while a listless public shows signs of an activism missing from American public discourse for a few decades.
This conference draws on research and practice in a public forum to discuss the trends in the relations between American business and politics. The keynote speaker was Professor Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and former chief economist at the IMF, whose recent book Fault Lines places the origins of the financial crisis on a thesis of failed government policies to address poverty by a wayward intervention in mortgage markets coupled with a financial sector that successfully lobbied for deregulation and yet failed to self-govern. The subsequent panels consisted of academics who explained and debated what their research says about this thesis of an intervening government that misused markets for social policies and a business sector that influenced government policies to deregulate, and sometimes subsidize, their activities. The final panel was led by a prominent journalist and consisted of those at the front-line of these issues.
Co-hosted by: the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) and the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics
Friday February 24, 2012
8:30 a.m– 4:15 p.m.
Venue: The Italian Academy
|8:30 – 9:00 AM:||
Breakfast and Registration
|9:00 – 10:30 AM:||
Welcome Remarks, Introduction, and Opening Keynote
|10:30– 10:45 AM:||
|10:45 – 12:30 PM:||
Research Presentations and Panel Discussion
See video of the panel's presentations and discussion.
|12:30 – 12:45 PM:||
|12:45 – 2:00 PM:||
Lunch and Keynote Speaker
|2:00 – 3:40 PM:||
Closing Panel: "Broader Perspectives"
R. Glenn Hubbard
|3:40 – 3:50 PM:||
Closing Keynote and Remarks
R. Glenn Hubbard
|3:50 – 4:00 PM:||
Bertrand, Marianne, Bombardini, Matilde and Trebbi, Francesco, Is It Whom You Know or What You Know? An Empirical Assessment of the Lobbying Process, NBER Working Paper, February 2011, No. 16765.
Gordon, Brett and Hartmann, Wesley, Advertising Effects in Presidential Elections, Working Paper, February 2011.
Ragan, Raghuram, A Crisis in Two Narratives, Project Syndicate, January 2012.
Ragan, Raghuram, The Corporation in Finance, December 2011.
Watch the trailer for our interactive debate entitled “Financial Innovation: A Risky Business?”
The Small Worlds of Corporate Governance
Identifies "structural breaks" — privatization, for example, or globalization — and assesses why powerful actors across countries behave similarly or differently in terms of network properties and corporate governance.