Elected leaders delegate rulemaking to federal agencies, then seek to influence rulemaking through top-down directives and statutory deadlines. This paper documents an unintended consequence of these control strategies: they reduce regulatory agencies’ ability and incentive to conduct high-quality economic analysis to inform their decisions.
As the battle to trim American waistlines heats up, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has joined in the fray with not one, but two rules aimed at improving the nation’s diet. The rules constitute the biggest change to the Nutrition Facts label in over two decades.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently proposed expanding its regulatory authority over tobacco products to include the regulation of cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), and other novel tobacco products such as dissolvable products and gels. Cigars are the most commonly used among this group, though e-cigarette use is rapidly expanding.
Libertarians intuitively understand the case for patents: just as other property rights internalize the social benefits of improvements to land, automobile maintenance, or business investment, patents incentivize the creation of new inventions, which might otherwise be undersupplied.
This article explains what cryptocurrency is and begins to answer the new questions that it raises. To understand why cryptocurrency has the characteristics it has, it is important to understand the problem that is being solved. For this reason, we start with the problems that have plagued digital cash in the past and the technical advance that makes cryptocurrency possible. Once this foundation is laid, we discuss the unique economic questions that the solution raises.
The papers in our series tell an important story about how federal regulators—whether by design or by effect—circumvent both the APA and OIRA oversight. Regulators thus can achieve their ends without adhering to the standard regulatory procedures that represent part of the checks and balances of American government. These procedures have been designed to ensure that technical expertise drives regulatory decisionmaking, as well as to ensure a certain degree of democratic accountability of regulators to the public.
Income inequality is often attributed to declines in income mobility following the Great Gatsby curve, but this relationship is of secondary importance in determining the factors of income mobility if one considers that changing rules is more important than changing outcomes under defined rules.
Privacy law today faces two interrelated problems. The first is an information control problem. Like so many other fields of modern cyberlaw — intellectual property, online safety, cybersecurity, etc. — privacy law is being challenged by intractable Information Age realities. Specifically, it is easier than ever before for information to circulate freely and harder than ever to bottle it up once it is released. …
Scholars and practitioners have documented how regulatory agencies have increasingly relied on guidance, best-practice documents, policy statements, and other informal pronouncements to achieve regulatory ends. Agencies often do so to avoid executive regulatory review and other accountability measures that ostensibly slow the regulatory process. This paper adds to this growing literature to incorporate policymaking through the issuance of completely unenforceable threats.
In recent years, environmental advocacy groups have increasingly succeeded in using a faux litigation strategy to effectively trample the statutory regulatory framework and to shut out the states from important policy decisions. This policy-making process— called “sue-and-settle” or “suit-and-settlement”—not only violates the statutory framework, but also leads to haphazard policy making that should violate the standards of any serious policy analyst.
The F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center invites you to a panel discussion featuring Todd Zywicki and his new co-authored book Consumer Credit and the American Economy.