Tag: Economic Dynamism

Accounting for Rising Corporate Profits: Intangibles or Regulatory Rents?

James Bessen

Since 1980, US corporate valuations have risen relative to assets and operating margins have grown. The possibility of sustained economic rents has raised concerns about economic dynamism and inequality. But rising profits could come from political rents or, instead, from returns to investments in intangibles. This paper explores these factors using new data on Federal regulation and data on lobbying, campaign spending, R&D, and organizational capital.