Joel Waldfogel

Carlson School of Management

University of Minnesota


Professor Waldfogel’s main research interests are industrial organization and law and economics, and he has conducted empirical studies of price advertising, media markets, the operation of differentiated product markets, and issues related to digital products, including piracy, pricing, and revenue sharing. He was previously the Ehrenkranz Family Professor of Business and Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Vote History

Statement Vote Confidence Comments
The Business Roundtable’s new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation indicates a shift away from shareholder value maximization as the sole purpose of the corporation and toward a broader view of value creation.
This shift will have material impact on the well-being of U.S. workers.
Agree 4 “In the generation since Friedman admonished companies to worry only about their shareholders, median incomes have stagnated, inequality has grown — to the point that corporations don't want to be passive conduits of discontent. Policy makers are currently AWOL in regulating markets. It's remarkable that major firms are making a statement like this. Still, I'm not confident of rapid effects.”
A hard Brexit will have a significant negative impact on many businesses, even if they do not have a U.K. or European presence. Disagree 3 “It seems reasonable to expect short-term disruption and a longer-term negative effect on the U.K. These by themselves suggest only small impacts for firms outside of the EU or U.K. The larger impact is the 2016 surprise — in the U.K. as in the U.S. — that the electorates are so willing to break beneficial international arrangements that have long promoted peace and prosperity.”
In the next five years, the blockchain will have a transformative effect on finance in emerging markets. Agree 6 “I expect that the technology will have a bigger proportionate impact on financial markets in emerging [rather] than advanced markets. But I suspect that other factors, such as political instability, will constrain its ability to transform.”
In the absence of a carbon tax, industry self-regulation can help mitigate the worst fallout from climate change. Disagree 8 “Carbon emissions are a global issue, so the solution to this problem requires participation of companies around the world. Even if reputable firms in rich countries were to voluntarily curb emissions, firms in still-emerging economies would likely not voluntarily increase their costs, nor would their consumers be willing to pay extra for clean production.”
Amazon’s new $15 per hour minimum wage will force other companies to follow suit. Agree 7 “Amazon is one of the GAFAM ‘internet monopolies’ with an enormous market valuation and pays its skilled employees well. They are viewed as a big source of income inequality, so visibly paying a high minimum wage is both virtuous and good PR. I would expect similarly situated companies — GAFAMs and companies with respected consumer brands — to follow suit.”