Many states have certificate-of-need regulations, which prohibit hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulatory surgical centers from entering new markets or making changes to the existing capacity of medical facilities without first gaining approval from certificate-of-need regulators.
The US federal government’s response to the financial crisis was an unprecedented increase in government subsidies, grants, and contracts given directly to specific private businesses. The terms “crony capitalism” and “cronyism” are now widely used to describe the modern relationship between government and private business.
The $69 billion mortgage interest deduction (MID) is often viewed as an element of the tax code
that promotes middle-class prosperity. However, 64 percent of the benefits, as measured by effective tax reduction, goes to households earning more than $100,000 per year. The large variation in nominal benefits is one of the reasons why many economists state that the MID is regressive.
Transportation infrastructure, including roads, bridges, airports, and the like, significantly contributes to America’s prosperity by facilitating access to the workplace, shopping, and leisure activities, as well as giving employers easy access to labor, capital, and potential consumers. However, current capacity for transport has become increasingly strained, and travelers and shippers have experienced more congestion and delays. The public sector’s “strategy” to increase infrastructure spending fails to generate the large promised benefits because its pricing and investment and operating policies are so inefficient.
Over the decades, regulatory reforms have sought to increase agency accountability and improve the quality of regulatory analysis and decision-making, with varying success. In this paper, I draw upon previous reform experiences to identify four criteria for effective reforms.
As of 2011, the average US state had 37 health insurance benefit mandates, laws requiring health insurance plans to cover a specific treatment, condition, provider, or person. This number is a massive increase from less than one mandate per state in 1965, and the topic takes on a new significance now, when the federal government is considering many new mandates as part of the “essential health benefits” required by the Affordable Care Act.
The governments of American states often attempt to incentivize businesses to locate within their
borders by offering targeted benefits to particular industries and companies. These benefits come
in many forms, including business tax credits for investments, property tax abatements, and
reductions in the sales tax. Despite good intentions, policymakers often overlook the unseen and
unintended negative consequences of targeted-benefit policies. This paper analyzes two major
downsides of these policies: (1) they lead to a misallocation of resources, and (2) they encourage
rent-seeking and thus cronyism. We argue that these costs, which are often longer-term and not
readily observable at the time the targeted benefits are granted, may very well outweigh any
possible short-term economic benefits.
American International Group, Inc. (AIG), a large insurance company, received a massive bailout during the financial crisis in response to difficulties centered on the company’s multifaceted exposure to residential mortgage-backed securities. The company is back on its feet, albeit in more streamlined form and with a new overseer—the Federal Reserve. This paper focuses on a piece of the AIG story that is rarely told—the role of the company’s securities-lending program in imperiling the company and some of its insurance subsidiaries. The paper argues that regulatory responses to AIG have been inapt. AIG did not need another regulator, but better risk management. The markets would have conveyed that message clearly had regulators not intervened to ensure AIG’s survival. This paper adds the missing piece to the AIG story in an effort to challenge the notion that more regulatory oversight for companies like AIG will prevent future crises.
The F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the Mercatus Center invites you to a panel discussion featuring Peter Leeson and his new book, Anarchy Unbound: Why Self-Governance Works Better Than You Think.
To reflect on the significance of Hayek’s Nobel Prize and the various strands of influence his work has had in subsequent decades of scholarship, please join us for a keynote speech and panel discussion by some of Hayek’s most prominent colleagues and interlocutors.
In Homer Economicus a cast of lively contributors takes a field trip to Springfield, where the Simpsons reveal that economics is everywhere. By exploring the hometown of television's first family, this book provides readers with the economic tools and insights to guide them at work, at home, and at the ballot box.