A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University argues that, beginning late in the 19th century, the informal rules that govern fiscal policy began to reward policymakers for increasing spending—even for increasing it beyond the capacity of federal revenues, and therefore at the cost of chronic deficits. Despite numerous legislative attempts to constrain spending over the past 40 years, these informal rules have trumped formal constraints, and the deficit problem has marched steadily on.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University examines how government financial statements that follow generally accepted accounting principles provide useful information to decision makers. Local government decision makers should learn how to use this information to design stronger governments that avoid fiscal distress.
We contribute to the post-crisis literature on macroeconomic stability by arguing that polycentric banking systems can better achieve stability than monocentric systems. Building on the theories of E. Ostrom, we engage the literature on free banking systems to show that these systems met the requirements of polycentric governance systems, and that the unintentional result of the underlying governance institutions was macroeconomic stability.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the first to look at broad-based government bidding preferences. It finds that in-state preference policies are associated with a $148 increase per capita in state construction costs and a $158 increase per capita in capital expenditures, which translates to an increase of more than $600 million for the median state in each type of cost.
A study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University offers a new and important perspective on how Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) creates work disincentives for older healthy workers. The study finds that the value of SSDI benefits, relative to taxes paid, declines as an individual grows older. In particular, SSDI discourages individuals from earning additional income starting around age 40 and from working at all beyond age 60. The paper also reviews a policy option that could reduce this disincentive for older workers. To read the study and learn more about its authors—Gopi Shah Goda of Stanford University, John B. Shoven of Stanford and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and Sita Nataraj Slavov of George Mason University and NBER—please see “Work Incentives in the Social Security Disability Benefit Formula.”…
A new empirical study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University finds that there is still little evidence that building stadiums or arenas for professional sports franchises leads to significant economic benefits. Sports-initiated development is unlikely to make a community wealthier, and subsidizing professional sports teams may actually reduce economic growth. If a local government is considering adopting economic growth policies, there are far better candidates than subsidizing professional sports franchises.
A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University assesses the numerous problems with Medicare’s price calculations and looks at how they affect prices in commercial insurance policies. The study proposes an arrangement of competitive bidding on bundles of services as a promising alternative to Medicare’s price-fixing regime.
A new paper for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University reviews the law and economics of consumer debt collection and its regulation and concludes that the CFPB should consider all the potential consequences of new regulation—both intended and unintended—to ensure that it will benefit consumers.
A new paper for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University conducts an economically rigorous analysis of the problems posed by space debris and concludes that the problem is significantly more legally, institutionally, and economically complicated than some may believe.
A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University finds that part of the problem can be traced to a flaw in the SSDI program’s administrative structure: even if an applicant is twice denied disability benefits by the Disability Determination Service, he or she can often obtain benefits by appealing the rejection to an administrative law judge (ALJ). This study analyzes ALJ decisions using case studies, economic literature, descriptive statistics, and econometric analysis.
As the holiday season approaches, there are predictions that upwards of 1,000,000 drones will be purchased by Christmas. The FAA is currently working to create regulations on these consumer drones. Eli Dourado discusses these regulations and what the FAA should do on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.
The Midas Paradox is a landmark treatise that solves mysteries that have long perplexed economic historians, and corrects misconceptions about the true causes, consequences, and cures of macroeconomic instability. Like Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz’s A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960, it is one of those rare books destined to shape all future research on the subject.