This paper argues that health advocates are too quick to blame consumers for the ineffectiveness of information disclosure policies. Using the NFP as an example, the paper shows that information disclosures are often poorly designed and fail to actually inform consumers. They often fail to account for how consumers perceive and interpret information or for the differences in their socioeconomic backgrounds. Thus, it may not be consumers’ behavioral biases but rather poor policy design and implementation that is be responsible for the NFP’s ineffectiveness. Consequently, the paper argues that nutrition labels should follow smart disclosure principles, which emphasize information salience and usability.
We explain that the medical-vocational grid guidelines that are used to determine whether someone is disabled are an important part of the explanation for increased disability awards. The grid applies much looser standards for applicants as young as 45 and 50. We propose that age be eliminated as a deciding criterion, as well as language ability and education level. We also note that the guideline’s list of impairments is outdated and needs to reflect a modern workforce that has access to remedying medical technologies.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the first to rigorously assess the details of the proposed regulation using empirical methodology widely accepted in the financial industry and comparing the proposed illustration to the Social Security statement. The regulation would require all defined contribution plans to inform their participants of the life annuity income equivalents of the current and projected balances in their individual accounts. The study examines several changes the Department of Labor can make to improve its proposal.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the first to examine whether public pensions that are funded at various levels will have sufficient assets to pay all promised future benefits. The study also looks at the distribution of the potential accumulation of assets for pensions that do have sufficient assets. Examining PSERS and SERS using financial modeling over a period of years, the study presents two conclusions applicable to all public pensions.
In a new study based on empirical research for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, agricultural economist Jayson L. Lusk concludes that the reduction or elimination of subsidized crop insurance, SNAP, and ethanol production mandates would reduce food prices for many consumers, benefit food producers who are not heavily subsidized by the government, and provide an overall economic benefit to taxpayers across the United States by potentially decreasing taxes.
In an article to be published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy in conjunction with
the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, legal scholar Timothy Sandefur explores the
history, theory, and operation of CPCN laws, also known as “Competitor Veto” laws, focusing on
evidence uncovered as part of litigation challenging such laws in Missouri and Kentucky. The
article concludes that because these laws are designed to protect incumbent businesses, there
must be reforms on the federal level to abolish them. Several possible reforms are considered,
along with objections.
This paper focuses on disability insurance but makes the case for considering reforms in tandem—that is, (1) developing disability program reforms that accommodate plausible retirement program reforms while properly aligning incentives to support work and savings and (2) providing a financially secure, vital safety net for disabled Americans.
We review four major regulatory reform statutes passed since the legal enshrinement of the
regulatory state by the Administrative Procedure Act in 1946. None of the four statutes can be
said to have accomplished its substantive goals (which usually involved reducing the burden of
This study provides a systematic analysis of selective consumption tax policy. We detail both the
motivations behind selective consumption taxes and the policy’s shortcomings. Empirically, we
explore how consumption of 12 goods—alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, items sold at vending
machines, purchases of food away from home, cookies, cakes, chips, candy, donuts, bacon, and
carbonated soft drinks—varies across the income distribution by calculating the goods’ income-expenditure elasticities.
Tyler Cowen and Jeffrey Sachs discuss the resource curse, why Russia failed and Poland succeeded, charter cities, Sach's China optimism, JFK, Paul Rosenstein-Rodan, whether Africa will be able to overcome the middle income trap, Paul Krugman, Sach's favorite novel, premature deindustrialization, and how to reform graduate economics education.
The Mercatus Center invites you to join Dr. Veronique de Rugy for an examination of the justifications supporting continued authorization of the Export-Import Bank and the economic realities of those claims.
This book demonstrates unmistakably that the growth of government stymies entrepreneurship and threatens prosperity—a demonstration that, it is hoped, will help inspire efforts not just to slow, but to reverse, this growth and return to prosperity.