Case Studies

woman teaching class

The Stigler Center recognizes that one of the biggest impediments to the teaching of issues related to regulatory capture, lobbying, and the subversion of competition by special interest groups is the absence of good business cases written on these topics. As a result, the Stigler Center has promoted and financed the writing of multiple business cases.


Theme: How regulation is used to prevent entry, especially in developing countries.

Cumplo is a peer-to-peer lender that broke into the oligopolistic world of consumer-financing in Chile. The incumbents pressured the regulator to criminally indict Cumplo for violation of the banking law. The founders were able to fend off this attack by promoting their image in the local and international press. Cumplo is now poised to become the main peer-to-peer lending platform in Latin America.

Suitable Courses: entrepreneurship, strategy, media, political economy.

Bigger picture: case illustrates how new business models, which challenge powerful incumbent industries, need to adopt a media strategy parallel to their business strategy.

Format: PDF

Publication Date: June 16, 2017

Length: 26 p, English PDF; 25 p, Spanish PDF

Teaching Note: A Teaching Note is a comprehensive guide to how to teach a case. You must be affiliated with a qualified institution to receive a Teaching Note. Submit your request now.

Download EN (PDF)

Download SP (PDF)


Theme: Bucking the trend in the media industry

Most notably, it manages to break even and make profits solely on subscribers’ revenues; it gets the French people to pay for online content; and it produces long-form investigative journalism and not just click-bait. What are the drivers of this seeming success story?

Suitable Courses: entrepreneurship, strategy, media.

Bigger picture: It is both an example of successful entrepreneurship in a very difficult industry and an alternative business model for investigative journalism.

Format: PDF

Publication Date: April 13, 2017

Length: 27 p, English PDF; 29 p, French PDF

Teaching Note: A Teaching Note is a comprehensive guide to how to teach a case. You must be affiliated with a qualified institution to receive a Teaching Note. Submit your request now.

Download EN (PDF)

Download FR (PDF)

Disney (Coming soon)

Theme: How much of the Disney Company’s business model is riding on its ability to change US copyright laws?

When MBA students discuss Disney, it is usually within contexts such as vertical integration, creativity and the like. But a large part of Disney’s revenues depend on constantly extending the copyright protections it enjoys. This is why every time that the copyright over Mickey Mouse is about to expire, Disney lobbies heavily–and successfully–to change federal laws and extend (retroactively!) the protection it enjoys. The Mickey Mouse case illustrates how policies meant to incentivize innovation can be co-opted to stifle it.

Suitable Courses: the case appeals to courses on business strategy, entertainment industry, and intellectual property, as well as regulation and political economy.

Bigger picture: raises issues of intellectual property protection–how much is too much from a societal perspective? And who gets to dictate the answers?

TheMarker (Coming soon)

Theme: Can a newspaper be a tribune of the people? Should it?

The Israel-based business magazine-turned newspaper TheMarker adopted an agenda of fighting against economic and political concentration. The paper’s active, constant campaign led to unprecedented socio-economic social protests, which were later translated into unprecedented legislation meant to reduce economic concentration. But at what cost to the media company? And at what benefit to society? TheMarker and its “parent,” Haaretz, suffered from an advertising boycott as a result of their activism. And the real impact of the concentration reform remains to be seen: the reform may die slowly in its implementation stage without actually improving the economy. The change may be short-lived and simply a congruence of events rather than a seismic shift.

Suitable Courses: The case is meant primarily for media-related courses. It can also appeal to macroeconomics and anti-trust related courses, as well as political economy and regulation.

Bigger picture: The case spotlights two types of big picture insights: one set of insights deals with what shapes regulation (public opinion and perception); the second deals with reputational concerns at the media level: can a media outlet create, maintain, and profit from having a reputation for representing the dispersed public?

Piraeus (Coming soon)

Theme: How banking regulators benefit banks

In the middle of the Cyprus solvency crisis the Greek bank of Piraeus received a large windfall in the form of Greek branches of a Cypriot bank. A tour behind the scenes reveals just how much thought and resources were invested in assuring that the public would finance this gift to Piraeus: advertising, charitable contributions, and personal connections.

Suitable Courses: Finance/banking, macroeconomics, media.

Bigger picture: fleshes out EU politics, and general “soft capture” dynamics: advertising as lobbying, corporate philanthropy as co-optation, and so forth.

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