Reader JohnH writes:
There is little discussion of the industry influence in the media, and even on Google, and certainly not among economists, who shun any discussion of power dynamics and corporate influence in the global economy like the plague.
JohnH is writing in regard to foreign policy, but I think this characterization is not apt in the general policy context, as it directly ignores the entire law and economics literature. As Joseph Kalt and Mark Zupan (AER, 1984) noted:
The economic theory of regulation long ago put public interest theories of politics to
rest. These theories have correctly been viewed as normative wishings, rather than
explanations of real world phenomena. They have been replaced by models of political
behavior that are consistent with the rest of microeconomics (Anthony Downs, 1957;
James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, 1965; George Stigler, 1971; Sam Peltzman, 1976).
In other words, it’s as if the commenter is completely unaware of the entire regulatory capture literature which has a long and esteemed lineage (in some interpretations, it begins with trade theory).