2020 Conference on Corporations and Democracy
Corporations do not vote in elections, but their impact on democratic societies is immense. The Corporations and Democracy Conference brought together scholars and practitioners in various areas of law, business, and the media to examine the complex interactions and balance of power among corporations, governments, and individuals in democracies today. They also considered how those with power can be held more accountable to society’s broad interest.
- Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford Graduate School of Business
- Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University
- Stanford Law School
- The Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
- The Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School
- The Division of Research and Faculty Development at Harvard Business School
- The Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford
DAY 1: December 7
Corporation and Political Voice
Corporate Legal Rights and Democracy
Corporations are abstract persons. What legal rights have corporations gained and how? What rights should corporations have so that they can best serve the needs of democratic societies? How do we ensure that corporations do not expand their rights excessively or abuse them?
Related Reading: How American Corporations Used Courts and the Constitution to Avoid Government Regulation by Adam Winkler
Is Corporate Personhood to Blame for Money in Politics? by Elizabeth Pollman
DAY 2: December 8
Corporate Influence and Democratic Decision Making
Expertise, Incentives, and “Thin Political Markets”
Karthik Ramanna, University of Oxford Blavatnik School of Government
Sarah Bloom Raskin, Duke University School of Law
Tommaso Valletti, Imperial College London
Moderator: Paul Pfleiderer, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Thin political markets arise in areas where the issues have low salience to the general public and special interests have tacit knowledge that is relevant to policy. How might policy outcomes get distorted in these thin political markets? What are the incentives of experts, including those from academia, when they participate in policymaking? How can we mitigate special-interest capture?
Related Reading: George Stigler and the Challenge of Democracy by Anat Admati
DAY 3: December 9
Corporations and Democratic Accountability
Corporations, Corruption and Democracy
Kevin Davis, New York University School of Law
Alexander Wilson, United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York
Luigi Zingales, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Moderator: Larry Diamond, Stanford University
International corruption threatens democracies everywhere. Oligarchs and others attempting to preserve their ill-gotten gains use financial institutions in developed economies in corruptive ways. How well do anti-money laundering laws and anti-bribery laws deal with these challenges? This session will discuss a specific case involving European corporations helping a corrupt Nigerian politician.
Related Reading: Recovering from Kleptocracy: A 10-Step Program by Larry Diamond