This paper discusses the history of spectrum management and the commercial and federal uses of the radio frequencies. Several policy proposals for reclaiming federal spectrum are presented, along with recommendations for rationalizing spectrum management.
The Supreme Court has long held that campaign finance regulations are permissible for preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption. Yet the implied hypothesis that campaign finance reforms are effective tools for combating public corruption has gone essentially untested. We conduct the first systematic evaluation of the effects of campaign finance laws on actual corruption rates in the states. We examine the effects of state reforms on both convictions and filings in public corruption cases over the last 25 years.
This paper draws on the literature that applies economic analysis of regulation to evaluate Dodd-Frank’s centralized-layers financial regulatory structure, which continues a shift toward greater horizontal consolidation of regulation at the federal level but now also vertically integrates US financial regulation within the FSOC.
Driven by the need to reform unsustainable entitlement programs, policymakers today are looking to the successful example of welfare reform—specifically, to its block grants to states. To inform this discussion, a new Mercatus Center at George Mason University study by Daniel Sutter reviews arguments in the debate over block grants versus matching grants for joint federal-state programs, examines the effects of shifting control of welfare programs to the states, and considers how the lessons from welfare reform can inform the current debate about Medicaid block grants.
Concern over the impact of regulations on jobs and job growth is not new, but the efforts of federal agencies to forecast the likely impact of regulatory changes have never focused effectively on labor market impacts.
Banks have failed throughout US history. The worst years for such failures were during the Great Depression: roughly 9,000 of about 25,000 banks failed, with nearly half of the failures occurring in 1933 alone. Depositors everywhere became concerned that their banks were on the verge of insolvency, and they rushed to withdraw their funds. This forced banks to sell off their assets at fire sale prices, thereby turning illiquidity problems into insolvency problems throughout the banking industry. The result was a major disruption in the payments system and a severe tightening of available credit, with a devastating impact on economic activity.
This paper addresses three criticisms of sin taxes: First, the traditional Pigouvian justification applied to sin goods, such as alcohol and tobacco, is frequently misapplied to a progressively broader base of goods and services where the “sin good” label is questionable, such as automobile tires, candy, soft drinks, and fast food.
The sustainability of public sector pension plans is an issue of great fiscal concern for state and local governments in the United States. According to government reports, state public sector pension plans confront a total unfunded liability of $842 billion. Underfunding of this magnitude presents a serious fiscal problem for individual governments and will require a growing amount of budgetary resources to fund benefit promises to retired workers.
The authors evaluate the capital and RBC ratios of US commercial banks from 2001 through 2011 and find the standard capital ratio to be a significantly better predictor of bank performance than the RBC ratio. The results have significant implications for US banking regulation.
This paper describes the current economic and regulatory landscape for prepaid cards. The market appears to be robustly competitive, as recent years have seen declining costs and increasing functionality as well as entry of major players such as American Express and several large banks. Nor is there any evidence that consumers systematically err in the cards that they choose. Absent a demonstrable competitive market failure or systematic consumer abuse, prescriptive regulation of the terms and substance of prepaid cards would likely have unintended consequences that would exceed the benefits to consumers. On the other hand, there are some regulations that might be enacted that could promote competition and consumer welfare in this rapidly evolving market.