Events

Events

The George J. Stigler Center hosts conferences where members of the business, academic, and public policy communities gather to exchange views on and debate ideas about the center’s research agenda. The center also seeks to raise awareness of important economic and policy issues at events open to students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and other members of the public.

Upcoming Events

 Date

 Event

July 19, 2016

"Spaces of the Princes, Spaces of the People: On Machiavelli's Construction of a Political Topography" with Stefano Visentin (University of Urbino Carlo Bo)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Pick Hall 506
5828 S. University Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Discussant: Agatha Slupek

Co-sponsored with the Department of Political Science 

Past Events

Date Event
May 3, 2016

Panel Discussion: "Corporate Governance in the Era of Shareholder Activism" 

Why is shareholder activism so prevalent right now? What systematic changes could improve corporate oversight? What are the options for a dissenting director when he/she is in a minority position on fundamental issues? Join us for a lively discussion as Karla Scherer (Chairman, The Karla Scherer Foundation), Nell Minow (Vice Chair, ValueEdge Advisors), and Paola Sapienza (Professor of Finance, Kellogg School of Management) discuss this topic together with Jeff Gramm (hedge fund advisor and author of Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism).

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
4:30 p.m. reception
5:00 p.m. panel

Harper Center Room 104
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

Register »

April 28, 2016

Lunch Lecture: Insider Trading by Public Servants: Evidence from the Real Estate Transactions in a Developed Country
with Professor Sumit Agarwal (National University of Singapore)

A lunch lecture with Professor Sumit Agarwal to discuss his paper on insider trading by public servants.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
Harper Center Room C03

An Internal event for the University of Chicago community

April 19, 2016

"Work On Demand–Serving Chicago's Underserved" with David Plouffe (Uber)

Wage stagnation continues to pose a real challenge in today’s global economy. But what if people could work whenever they wanted to and earn extra money whenever they needed it? Enter Uber. Chief Advisor and Board Member David Plouffe heads to the University of Chicago for an exclusive presentation and fireside chat on our changing economy and why more people than ever are seeking flexible work.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
4:30 p.m. reception
5:00 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room 104
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

Register »

April 12, 2016

"Welfare, Competition, and Quality of Government" with Bo Rothstein, Casey Mulligan, and Luigi Zingales 

Is competition the natural evolution of every economic system? Is the best government the smallest government? How does welfare impact the efficiency of an economic system? Bo Rothstein (Oxford), Casey Mulligan (Chicago), and Luigi Zingales (Chicago Booth) will discuss this topic, bringing in different perspectives.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
5:00 p.m. reception
5:30 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room 104
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

Register »

April 11, 2016

"How Scandinavian Countries Became Non-Corrupt" with Bo Rothstein (Oxford)

What recipes do social scientists have to eradicate corruption and transform a country in an advanced democracy? Political scientist Bo Rothstein discusses the lessons he learned from 30 years of research on quality of government and institutions, with particular reference to the Scandinavian historical experience.

Monday, April 11, 2016
5:00 p.m. reception
5:30 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room 104
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

Register »

March 31, 2016

"Protecting Our Drinking Water" with Robert Bilott (Taft)

Described in the New York Times as “DuPont’s worst nightmare,” Robert Bilott, a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, took on an environmental lawsuit that changed his career and exposed a decades-long history of chemical contamination of drinking water near a DuPont plant in West Virginia. After his client settled with Dupont over contamination by the ‘unregulated’ chemical PFOA or C8, Bilott decided to push ahead in pursuing the truth and exposing that PFOA is a risk to human health. In 2001 Bilott filed a class action lawsuit, Leach, et al. v E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co, on behalf of about 70,000 people in six water districts in West Virginia and Ohio that contained high levels of PFOA, leading to an ongoing legal battle with DuPont.

Bilott will discuss the legal, regulatory, political, and scientific challenges of addressing unregulated chemical contaminants in drinking water.

Thursday, March 31, 2016
4:30 p.m. reception
5:00 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room C25
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

Register »

March 15, 2016

Climate Change: Why Journalism Failed with Alan Rusbridger

Climate change is perhaps the biggest story of our generation. If the planet warms up in line with the majority of informed predictions the likely consequences for the human race will be immense. Yet how often do you read a story about climate change on the front page of your regular newspaper? How often does the subject feature in television bulletins?

Why is it that journalism has failed to rise to arguably on of the most pressing issue of our times? Is the fault of journalists? Or are we - the apathetic readers - also to blame? Or is it something about the nature of journalism itself which sets it up for failure?

Alan Rusbridger–after editing the Guardian for 20 years–decided to end his editorship by running a five month campaign to try and get the issue into greater public consciousness. In doing so he broke all the conventional truths about journalism taught in J Schools. But, arguably, he succeeded in bringing about change.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
5:00 p.m. reception
5:30 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room 104
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

Register »

March 3, 2016

Big Pharma: The Business of Innovation and Regulation
with Luba Greenwood

Pharmaceutical companies have come under increasing scrutiny for large increases in drug prices over the past years. Some have blamed investors and M&A for pressuring companies to raise prices. Others have blamed a broken patent and regulatory framework that stymies effective competition.

In this talk, Luba Greenwood will explore the role of incentives, regulation, investment, and the patent system in driving the business model of modern pharma, and the ultimate impact of this system on patients.

Thursday, March 3, 2016
5:00 p.m. reception
5:30 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room C25
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

Register »

February 4, 2016

Why the news media failed the public before the financial crisis — and why it will fail again
with Dean Starkman

Dean Starkman, an award-winning journalist and media critic, is a big believer in the power of journalism to correct market failures, hold regulators and political leaders to account, and, even keep Wall Street itself in check. But, he argues, in the years leading up to the financial calamity of 2008, it didn’t, with catastrophic consequences. Why not?

The professional press provided reams of information about Wall Street and the financial system in the years before the crash — just the wrong kind, he says. For his book, the Watchdog that Didn’t Bark: the Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, 2014), Starkman sifted through an ocean of reporting on Wall Street and the financial system to discover the great paradox of the crisis: namely that while the press’s usual sources — insiders and elites — didn’t have the story, plenty of outsiders did. He reflects on the meaning of the crisis and its aftermath for journalism and explores how when it can live up to its irreplaceable role of providing oxygen to the public sphere and safeguarding the public interest against private externalities. Those expecting cheap and easy solutions will be disappointed. Journalism’s fact-gathering resources fell dramatically during and after the crisis, and its future is murky at best. But Starkman believes that while the crisis shook democracy both in the U.S. and around the world, it offers valuable lessons for journalism and the public that relies on it.

Thursday, February 4, 2016
5:00 p.m. reception
5:30 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room C25
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

January 26, 2016

The US Has a Drug Problem
with Kyle Bass, Hayman Capital Management L.P.

A small minority of drug companies are abusing the drug patent system in the U.S to sustain patents that contain no meaningful innovations, but serve to maintain their anti-competitive, high-price monopoly to the detriment of Americans suffering from illness. Kyle Bass will share his views on inefficient regulation and how eliminating improperly granted pharmaceutical patents promotes competition and innovation, which ultimately benefits consumers and taxpayers.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
5:00 p.m. reception
5:30 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room 104
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

January 5, 2016

The Rise of Executive Impunity: How the Justice Department Lost the Will and Ability to Prosecute Top Corporate Officers
with Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica

Jesse Eisinger will discuss his forthcoming book for Simon & Schuster on the Department of Justice. The book traces changes in the Justice Department culture, the law, policies, and practices—primarily from the Enron-era cases to today—to understand why the Justice Department has difficulty prosecuting top executives of the largest companies in the United States.

Eisinger is a senior reporter at ProPublica. He writes a regular column for the New York Times’s Dealbook section. (He is currently on book leave.) In April 2011, he shared the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series of stories on questionable Wall Street practices that helped make the 2008 financial crisis the worst since the Great Depression. He won the 2015 Gerald Loeb Award for commentary. He has twice been a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Baffler and on NPR and "This American Life." Before joining ProPublica, he was the Wall Street editor of Conde Nast Portfolio and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, covering markets and finance.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016
5:00 p.m. reception
5:30 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room C25
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

December 2, 2015

Why Banks Still "Own the Place"
with Professor Anat Admati (Stanford GSB)

Despite an enormously harmful financial crisis and despite rhetoric from politicians and regulators about the need to control Wall Street, the banking industry is still dangerous and distorted. What is wrong with banking and why is the industry so successful in virtually maintaining a bad status quo? This talk will describe the forces that explain why and how the banking industry maintains its economic and political power in the US and elsewhere. Professor Admati will discuss the basic economics of banking, trends in recent decades, and the unique governance issues that pervade the institutions within and around banking. Among the reasons for the success of the industry is the pervasive myth that banks are “special,” and the spin and narratives that maintain this myth and which have been used to justify the excessive privileges banks enjoy. Professor Admati will assess the state of financial regulations, calls for “breaking up the banks,” risk tax, and other approaches.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
5:00 p.m. reception
5:30 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room C25
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public


December 3, 2015

Lunch Lecture: What’s Wrong with Banking and What Academics Can Do About It
with Professor Anat Admati (Stanford GSB)

A lunch lecture with Professor Anat Admati to discuss her research on banking and regulation.

Thursday, December 3, 2015
12:15 - 1:15 p.m.
Harper Center Room C09

An Internal event for the University of Chicago community

November 20-21, 2015

Crisis in the Economic Theory of the Firm

Milton Friedman famously wrote that the only social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. Friedman's result is based, among others, on the assumption that the rules of the game are fixed: firms, in their profit maximizing behavior, cannot modify the rules to their own advantage. Ironically, the year after Friedman published “The social responsibility of business,” George Stigler, Friedman’s colleague at the University of Chicago, published “The Theory of Economic Regulation,” perhaps the most influential piece ever written on the problem of regulatory capture. A central thesis of this paper is that, as a rule, regulation is "acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit.” Hence, firms are not players in a game whose rules are exogenously set (as in Friedman’s view), but players that successfully lobby to modify the rules of the game to their advantage. From a normative point of view, in this world what should a firm maximize? Is Friedman's rule still valid, or should it be modified? If so, how? This is the topic we want to discuss in this meeting.

Co-organized with Harvard Business School

Friday, November 20 – Saturday, November 21

Harvard Business School
Baker Library, Bloomberg Center 102
3 Soldiers Field Road
Allston, MA 02134

See schedule for more details.

November 11, 2015

Thin Political Markets
A talk by Professor Karthik Ramanna

“Thin political markets” are the processes through which some of the most complex and critical institutions of our capitalist system are determined—e.g., our accounting-standards infrastructure; rules for bank-capital adequacy; actuarial standards; and auditing practice. In thin political markets, corporate special interests are largely unopposed because of their own expertise and the general public’s low awareness of the issues. This enables special interests to structure the “rules of the game” in self-serving ways. On one level, this behavior embodies the capitalist spirit articulated by Milton Friedman: “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” But the ethics of profit-seeking behavior are premised on the logic of competition and, as this session will demonstrate, this logic breaks down in thin political markets. The result is a structural flaw in the determination of critical institutions of the capitalist system, which, if ignored, can undermine the legitimacy of the system. Professor Ramanna will close with some ideas on how to fix the problem.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
5:00 p.m. reception
5:30 p.m. lecture

Harper Center Room 104
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

October 12, 2015

LATAM event: Fireside Chat with Mauro Cunha

A fireside chat with Mauro Cunha (CEO, AMEC) on the topic of "Asset Management and Corporate Governance in Brazil: landscape, opportunities and challenges. Mediated by Professor Luigi Zingales.

Monday, October 12, 2015
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Gleacher Center, Room 100

Exclusively for LABG members

October 12, 2015

Lunch lecture: The Great Pyramids of America

A lunch lecture with Professor Randall Morck to discuss his research on pyramidal business groups in the United States.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Harper Center, Room C05
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Internal event for the University of Chicago community

October 7, 2015

How Politics Impacts Financial Markets
A talk by Professor Randall Morck

The George Stigler Center at Chicago Booth presents the first in a new series of talks aimed at MBA students and the entire University of Chicago community. Professor Randall Morck of the Alberta School of Business will talk about his research on the influence of politics on financial markets.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
6:00 p.m. with refreshments to follow

Harper Center Room C25
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Free and open to the public

October 6, 2015

Lunch Lecture: Shareholder Rights and Regulatory Framework in Brazil: Lessons from the frontline

A lunch lecture with Mauro Cunha (CEO, AMEC) on corporate governance and financial markets in Brazil.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Harper Center, Room C10
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Internal event for the University of Chicago community

April 10, 2015

The Next Frontier of Climate Change: State and Local Action in Chicago

Lecture
Date: April 10, 2015
Location: University of Chicago

View Welcome and Introductory Remarks »

  • Robert Brennan, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, The New Republic
  • Michael Quigley, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-IL 5th)

View Headline Interview: EPA's Gina McCarthy »

Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency interviewed by Jeffrey Ball, Scholar-in-Residence, Stanford University's Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, and Contributor, The New Republic

View City Approaches to Confronting Climate Change »

  • Emma Berndt, Executive Director, Urban Energy and Sustainability Lab, University of Chicago
  • Katherine Gajewski, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Philadelphia
  • Amy Francetic, Chief Executive Officer, Clean Energy Trust
  • Gabriel Pacyniak, Climate Change Mitigation Program Manger, Georgetown Climate Center
  • Moderator: Jeffrey Ball, Scholar-in-Residence, Stanford University's Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, and Contributor, The New Republic

View State Efforts to Implement Climate Legislation »

  • Doug Scott, Former ICC Chair and IEPA Head, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Great Plains Institute
  • Michael Polsky, President and CEO, Invenergy
  • Moderator: Michael Greenstone, Director, Energy Policy Institute at Chicago

November 13, 2014

The Ninth B. Peter Pashigian Memorial Lecture

Harper Center, Classroom 06

3:30 p.m.

Featuring Professor Kevin Murphy

Competition, Negotiated Discounts and Contracts that Reference Rivals

Introductory Remarks: Robert Topel

View the lecture »

October 15, 2014

A Conversation with Peter Thiel, Cofounder of PayPal

Harper Center, Room 104

5 - 6:30 p.m.

Peter shares highlights from his new book, Zero to One

Co-sponsored with the Polsky Center

View coverage »

May 15, 2014

30 Years After the Failure of Continental Illinois Bank: Have We Solved Too Big to Fail?

May 15, 2014

Gleacher Center, Room 204

450 North Cityfront Plaza, Chicago, Illinois

A conference organized by the Stigler Center of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business with financial support from The Clearing House.

One day conference to analyze the impact of the Continental Illinois Bank’s failure and bail-out in 1984 on the development of “too big to fail” in the US and the subsequent regulatory, supervisory, and market changes that have affected expectations about perceptions of government support.

Background: On May 17, 1984, regulators took over the failing Continental Illinois Bank, one of the ten largest banks in the US at the time. The government provided complete protection to all depositors and liability holders against loss. When questioned about the intervention in a congressional hearing the following September, the comptroller of the currency said that roughly the largest 11 banks in the US would receive the same treatment if they were in trouble. This became the modern origin of “too big to fail” in the US. Concerned about the moral hazard problems and unequal treatment, Congress and regulators worked to change the perceptions of government support through various regulatory actions and the passage of FDIC Improvement Act of 1991. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act contains a number of provisions aimed at mitigating “too big to fail” and debate continues about their implementation and effectiveness. The conference speakers will contribute to this important policy debate.

Panel One

Panel Two

Panel Three

See agenda for more information.

May 9, 2013

Energy Policy Workshop with Epic, Chicago Booth

Booth School of Business, Room C02

Noon - 1:15 p.m.

April 25, 2013

Spring Energy Forum: Meghan Busse, Northwestern University: "Did Cash for Clunkers Deliver?"

Booth School of Business, Room C02

Noon - 1:15 p.m.

Dr. Meghan Busse at Northwestern University focuses her research on market structure and competition, with particular interest in pricing and price discrimination. Her areas of current interest are energy economics and the U.S. automobile industry; her study of the auto industry is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

She will speak on the question "Did Cash for Clunkers Deliver? The Consumer Effects of the Car Allowance Rebate System."

Lunch will be served.

Cost: Free

April 12, 2013

The Ronald Coase Institute & The Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State (PDF)

Roundtable Discussion:

The Role that Scholarly Ideas Have Played in Influencing Policy

December 6, 2012

The Energy Policy Series: Session Four

Erin Mansur, Datmouth College

Vertical Commitments and the Price Effects of Mergers: Evidence from Electricity Markets

Harper Center, Room C02

Noon - 1:15 p.m.

November 8, 2012

The Energy Policy Series: Session Three

Cynthia Wu, Chicago Booth

Risk Premia on Crude Oil Futures Prices

Harper Center, Room C02

Noon - 1:15 p.m.

October 29, 2012

The Eighth B. Peter Pashigian Memorial Lecture

Harper Center, Room 104

3:30 p.m.

Featuring Professors Jesse Shapiro and Matt Gentzkow

The Media and the State: Historical Evidence from U.S. Newspapers

Introductory Remarks: Robert Topel