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Antitrust actions against Facebook: IGM Forum survey

14 days ago

The US Federal Trade Commission and 46 states have brought antitrust cases against Facebook, which could potentially require the company to unwind its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. The IGM Forum at Chicago Booth invited its panels of leading US and European economists to express their views on whether requiring the company to make these divestments is likely to make society better off. As this column reports, a considerably larger proportion of experts on the European panel agree or strongly agree with the statement than the US panel (78% compared with 59%); nearly a quarter of US experts are uncertain; and just over a sixth of US experts disagree.

The US Federal Trade Commission and 46 states have brought antitrust cases against Facebook, which

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Antitrust in the digital economy: IGM Forum survey

November 30, 2020

Antitrust in the digital economy: Views of leading economists on the market dominance of technology giants
In October 2020, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a federal antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the technology giant of abusing its dominance in the market for internet search. Similar concerns have been expressed in Europe, where the European Commission is investigating the Google/Fitbit deal (Bourreau et al. 2020)
The IGM Forum at Chicago Booth, which, for nearly a decade, has been regularly polling some of the world’s top economic experts in the US and Europe for their views on topical issues of public policy, invited its US and European panels to express their views on the nature of the market dominance of Google and other technology

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Policy for the COVID-19 crisis: IGM Forum survey

March 31, 2020

Lockdowns, economic contraction and public investment in treatment capacity: Views of leading economists
Just three weeks ago, the likelihood of a major US recession as a consequence of the global pandemic was still in question. In the last few days of March, the number of claims filed for unemployment insurance hit record levels (Department of Labor 2020); the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States went past 150,000, already substantially higher than the totals in Italy and China (Worldometer 2020); and parts of the country have imposed lockdowns – closing non-essential businesses and requiring people to stay at home as much as possible (Ornelas 2020).
The IGM Forum at Chicago Booth, which, for nearly a decade, has been regularly polling some of the

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Economic impact of the pandemic: IGM Forum survey

March 14, 2020

Likelihood of a coronavirus recession: Views of leading US and European economists
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global pandemic as the coronavirus spreads rapidly across the world (WHO 2020). As tumbling stock markets reveal growing fears about the potential economic impact, a number of economists have responded quickly with research-based commentary on the likely damage, the mechanisms of economic contagion and what governments can do about it (Baldwin and Weder di Mauro 2020).
The IGM Forum at Chicago Booth, which, for nearly a decade, has been regularly polling some of the world’s top economic experts in the US and Europe for their views on topical issues of public policy, invited both its US and European panels to express their views on

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Helping people make better financial decisions: From insight to empowerment

September 6, 2017

How can people be empowered to make better financial decisions? Working with CEPR’s Household Finance Network, the Think Forward Initiative (TFI) has been seeking to build a bridge between research insights and action by the financial services industry and households themselves. Some of the results were presented at the second TFI Summit in Munich in March 2017, focused around three broad themes: daily financial affairs (budgeting, spending, and borrowing); finance for the future (savings, investment, and retirement); and financial literacy.
Money can buy happiness
A keynote address by social psychologist Michael Norton of Harvard Business School explored the relationship between money and happiness. His central message – if you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not

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Improving people’s financial decision-making

November 17, 2016

Household finance is a relatively new field of study that aims to develop a better understanding of how people make financial decisions. Its relevance and distinction from other fields of economics were highlighted by Harvard economics professor John Campbell in his 2006 presidential address to the American Finance Association: ‘The study of household finance is challenging because household behaviour is difficult to measure, and households face constraints not captured by textbook models’ (Campbell 2006).
It is questionable whether the lessons from this new field have been reflected to any great extent in the way that the banking and financial services industry works. Yet they should be: a better understanding of how and for what purposes people spend, save, invest and hold assets can act as a springboard for action by the industry to help consumers.
Working with the Household Finance Network of the Centre for Economic Policy research (CEPR), the Think Forward Initiative (TFI) is seeking to build a bridge between research and action. The TFI approach is to develop a deeper understanding of what drives people’s financial decision-making and to harness those insights to help them make better decisions – “economics in the service of society”.

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