My IO reading list

Industrial Organization I, Tyler Cowen (x2312, 4910), [email protected]


Gordon, John Steele – An Empire of Wealth: An Epic History of American Economic Power

Lowenstein, Roger – When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management


There will be weekly quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam.


I. The Firm

Holmstrom, Bengt and Tirole, Jean.  “The Theory of the Firm,” in Handbook of Industrial Economics, vol.I.

Rotemberg, Julio. “A Theory of Inefficient Intrafirm Transactions.” American Economic Review (March 1991).

Holmstrom, Bengt and Roberts, John.  “The Boundaries of the Firm Revisisted.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 12, 4 (Fall 1998): 73-94.

Demsetz, Harold and Lehn, Kenneth.  “The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences.”  Journal of Political Economy  93 (December 1985): 1155-1177.

Gibbons, Robert. “Incentives in Organizations.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 1998): 115-132.

Chapters from Discover Your Inner Economist, by Tyler Cowen.

Montgomery, Cynthia.  “Corporate Diversification,” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Summer 1994): 163-178.

Rasmusen, Eric.  “Mutual Banks and Stock Banks.”  Journal of Law and Economics 31 (1988): 395-422.

Hansemann, Henry.  “Ownership of the Firm,” Journal of Law, Economics and Organization (Fall 1988).

Hansemann, Henry.  “The Role of Non-Profit Enterprise.” Yale Law Journal (1980): 835-901.

Cowen, Tyler. “Response to David Friedman,” Economics and Philosophy, at

Xavier Gabaix and David Laibson, “Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets,”

Glenn Ellison, “Bounded rationality in Industrial Organization,”

II. Capital structure and control

Miller, Merton, and commentators.  “The Modigliani-Miller Propositions After Thirty Years,” and comments, Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 1988): 99-158.

Myers, Stewart. “Capital Structure.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring 2001): 81-102.

Hart, Oliver.  “Financial Contracting.”  Journal of Economic Literature (December 2001): 1079-1100.

Easterbrook, Frank H. “Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends.”  American Economic Review (September 1984).

Fudenberg, Drew and Tirole, Jean. “A Theory of Income and Dividend Smoothing.”  Journal of Political Economy (February 1995): 75-93.

Baker, Malcolm and Wurgler, Jeffrey. “A Catering Theory of Dividends,” Journal of Finance (2004), available at

Baker, Malcolm and Ruback, Richard. “Behavioral Corporate Finance: A Survey,” found at

MacKinlay, A.C. (1997), “Event Studies in Economics and Finance”, Journal of

Economic Literature 35(1), 13-39.

“Symposium on Takeovers,” edited by Hal Varian, Journal of Economic Perspectives (Winter 1988): 1-82.

Andrade, Gregor, et. al. “New Evidence and Perspective on Mergers.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring 2001): 103-120.

Holmstrom, Bengt and Kaplan, Steven. “Corporate Governance and Merger Activity in the United States,” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring 2001): 121-149.

Gompers, Paul and Lerner, Josh.  “The Venture Capital Revolution.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Spring 2001): 145-168.

Stein, Jeremy C. “Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior.”  Quarterly Journal of Economics 104 (November 1989): 655-670.

Stein, Jeremy C.  “Takeover Threats and Managerial Myopia.”  Journal of Political Economy (1988): 61-80.

Scharfstein, David S. and Stein, Jeremy C.  “Herd Behavior and Investment.”  American Economic Review 80 (June 1990): 465-479.

Hall, Brian and Murphy, Kevin J, “The Trouble with Stock Options,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2003, also at

Murphy, Kevin J. and Zaboznik, Jan. “CEO Pay and Appointments,” American Economic Review, May 2004, also at

Jensen, Michael, Murphy, Kevin J., and Eric Wruck. “Remuneration: Where We’ve Been, How We Got to Here, What are the Problems, and How to Fix Them,” available at

Robert J. Gordon and Ian Dew-Becker, “Unresolved Issues in the Rise of American Inequality,”

III. Vertical control, antitrust, and related issues.

Tirole, Jean. “Vertical Control.” In Theory of Industrial Organization, Chapter 4.

Klein, Benjamin and Leffler, Keith.  “The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance.”  Journal of Political Economy 89 (1981): 615-641.

Klein, Benjamin and Murphy, Kevin. “Vertical Restraints as Contract Enforcement Mechanisms,” Journal of Law and Economics (October 1988).

Breit, William. “Resale Price Maintenance: What do Economists Know and When Did they Know It?” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (1991).

Bernheim, R. Doug and Whinston, Michael.  “Exclusive Dealing.” Journal of Political Economy (February 1998): 64-103.

Rasmusen, Ramseyer and Wiley, 1991, “Naked Exclusion,” American Economic Review, 1137-45.      

Bittlingmayer, George.  “Decreasing Average Cost and Competition: A New Look at the Addyston Pipe Case,” Journal of Law and Economics (October 1982).

Klein, Benjamin, and Kenney, Roy. “The Economics of Block Booking,” Journal of Law and Economics, (1983), 27, 3, 497-540.

Tirole, Jean.  “Information and Strategic Behavior: Reputation, Limit Pricing, and Predation.”  In Theory of Industrial Organization, Chapter 9.

Timothy Bresnahan, “Empirical Studies of Industries with Concentrated Power,” Handbook of Industrial Organization, vol.II.

Pakes, Ariel. “Theory and Empirical Work on Imperfectly Competitive Markets,” NBER Working Paper 14117, June 2008.

Sproul, Michael.  “Antitrust and Prices.”  Journal of Political Economy (August 1993): 741-754.

McCutcheon, Barbara.  “Do Meetings in Smoke-Filled Rooms Facilitate Collusion?”  Journal of Political Economy (April 1997): 336-350.

Hazlett, Thomas W. “Is Antitrust Anticompetitive?” Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, (Spring 1986).

Crandall, Robert and Whinston, Clifford, “Does Antitrust Improve Consumer Welfare?: Assessing the Evidence,”  Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 2003 ), 3-26, available at

IV. Theory and Regulation of Natural Monopolies

Sanford Berg and John Tschirhart, Natural Monopoly Regulation, Cambridge University Press.

pp. 21-275. 

Demsetz, Harold.  “Why Regulate Utilities?”  Journal of Law and Economics (April 1968): 347-359.

Williamson, Oliver.  “Franchise Bidding for Natural Monopolies – in General and with Respect to CATV.” Bell Journal of Economics (Spring 1976): 73-104.

Crandall, Robert W. “An End to Economic Regulation?” available at

Parente, Stephen L. and Prescott, Edward.  “Monopoly Rights: A Barrier to Riches.”  American Economic Review 89, 5 (December 1999): 1216-1233.

Shleifer, Andrei.  “State vs. Private Ownership.” Journal of Economic Perspectives (Fall 1998): 133-151.

Berg and Tschirhart, pp. 480-522.

Associated other topics in regulation, depending on your interests; reading suggestions will follow later in the semester.


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