Corporate welfare refers to subsidies and regulatory protections that lawmakers confer on certain businesses and industries. When considering budget issues, federal policymakers are supposed to have the broad public interest in mind. Unfortunately, that is not how the federal budget process usually works in practice. Many federal programs are sustained by special-interest groups working with policymakers seeking narrow benefits at the expense of taxpayers and the general public.

More on Corporate Welfare


Cato Studies

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act: Time to End the Corporate Welfare

By Robert J. Rhee. Policy Analysis No. 736. September 10, 2013.

Corporate Welfare in the Federal Budget

By Tad DeHaven. Policy Analysis No. 703. July 25, 2012.

Time to X Out the Ex-Im Bank

By Sallie James. Trade Policy Analysis No. 47. July 6, 2011.

Public Filings

Corporate Welfare Spending vs. the Entrepreneurial Economy

By Chris Edwards and Tad DeHaven. Testimony. June 1, 2012.

Indiana State Police Pension Trust v. Chrysler LLC

By Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. October 6, 2009.

Ramifications of Auto Industry Bankruptcies

By Daniel J. Ikenson. Testimony. July 22, 2009.

Cato Reviews & Journals

54. Special-Interest Spending and Corporate Welfare

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).

Challenging Ex-Im’s Corporate Welfare

Policy Report. March/April 2016.

Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State by Ralph Nader

Fred L. Smith, Jr.. Cato Journal. Fall 2014.


Liberalism and Cronyism: Two Rival Political and Economic Systems

Featuring Dalibor Rohac. September 27, 2013. Book Forum.

Driving in the Wrong Direction: The Sordid Details and Lasting Consequences of the Bush/Obama Auto Industry Intervention

Featuring Daniel J. Ikenson. October 15, 2009. Policy Forum.

The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money

Featuring Stephen Slivinski. July 18, 2006. Book Forum.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Agricultural Subsidies

By Chris Edwards. October 2016.

Terminating the Small Business Administration

By Tad DeHaven. August 2011.

Special-Interest Spending

By Chris Edwards. April 2009.