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


Big Business Is Not Perfect, but Its Essential Virtues Are Underrated

By Ryan Bourne. UK Telegraph. April 19, 2019.

Some ‘Big Ideas’ for the President Two Years In

By Doug Bandow. American Spectator (Online). January 2, 2019.

Congress Shouldn’t Have to Pass the Farm Bill to Find out What’s in It

By Chris Edwards. Daily Caller. December 6, 2018.

Cato Studies

The Impact of Corporate Taxes on Firm Innovation: Evidence from the Corporate Tax Collection Reform in China

By Jing Cai, Yuyu Chen, and Xuan Wang. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 154. March 13, 2019.

Reforming Federal Farm Policies

By Chris Edwards. Tax and Budget Bulletin No. 82. April 12, 2018.

All the President’s Friends: Political Access and Firm Value

By Jeffrey Brown and Jiekun Huang. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 83. August 23, 2017.

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.


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

Featuring Ralph Nader, Daniel McCarthy, Tim Carney, & Brink Lindsey. June 27, 2014. Book Forum.

Liberalism and Cronyism: Two Rival Political and Economic Systems

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

Countervailing Calamity: How to Stop the Global Subsidies Race

Featuring Daniel J. Ikenson. October 9, 2012. Policy Forum.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Economic Development Administration

By Chris Edwards and Tad DeHaven. April 2018.

Agricultural Subsidies

By Chris Edwards. October 2016.

Terminating the Small Business Administration

By Tad DeHaven. August 2011.