In a new paper published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, economist Dima Yazji Shamoun and toxicologist Edward J. Calabrese show that shifting the debate to process objectivity would allow better evaluation of risk assessments. In doing so, the paper draws from the government’s own guidance for best practices for performing risk assessments. This paper provides a crucial first step toward enabling those who monitor regulatory agencies to hold them to those practices.
A new paper published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University explores several con- crete examples of how technology is helping to reduce market deficiencies, dealing a blow to demands for government regulation. The political pressure to increase regulations in fields as diverse as environmental policy and consumer protection ignores the evidence that advancing technology is providing customers and entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools to solve problems without government intervention.
An important concern to the efficiency of public finance systems is that voters suffer from various “fiscal illusions” that can politicians can exploit to expand the public sector. This paper contributes evidence of this effect on a public finance system through the revenue elasticity hypothesis, which is a form of fiscal illusion in which voters confuse tax rates with tax burdens in the approval of public spending. The applied empirical setting is Virginia cities and counties from 2001 to 2011, where the timing of mass property reappraisals is exogenous but known to local policymakers in setting the annual budget.
By 2010, the average US state had passed 37 health insurance benefit mandates (laws requiring health insurance plans to cover certain additional services). Previous work has shown that these mandates likely increase health insurance premiums, which in turn could make it more costly for firms to compensate employees. Using 1996–2010 data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and a novel instrumental variables strategy, we show that there is limited evidence that mandates reduce employment. However, we find that mandates lead to a distortion in firm size, benefiting larger firms that are able to self-insure and thus exempt themselves from these state-level health insurance regulations. This distortion in firm size away from small businesses may lead to substantial decreases in productivity and economic growth.
As the baby boom generation begins to retire, fewer and fewer private-sector workers have traditional defined benefit pension plans, which usually pay lifetime annuity benefits. Instead, they have accumulated considerable assets in 401(k) plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) that have no particular method of payout. Federal government policy, which has regulated defined benefit plans heavily and mandated plan designs for distributions, has tread more lightly on defined contribution plans because of their historical secondary nature.
The true US debt is 16 times larger than what the government reports. Closing this fiscal gap with taxes alone would require a massive, immediate, and permanent tax increase on every American family. The burden grows with each year of congressional and presidential inaction, threatening future standards of living. How would such a tax hike affect individual American households? A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University details how much Americans would have to pay to actually close the true fiscal gap with tax increases.
The current legislative and regulatory processes may not adequately inform Congress about the scope and economic consequences of legislation. Even if Congress had such information, no mechanism exists to allow Congress to easily act upon it. The budget process permits Congress to monitor and fund programs based on fiscal impact information. These processes could be improved to provide more, better, and actionable information about legislative and regulatory actions, especially through a reform that we term “legislative impact accounting.”…
This paper argues that the sharing economy—through the use of the Internet and real time reputational feedback mechanisms—is providing a solution to the lemons problem that many regulators have spent decades attempting to overcome.
In this paper I explain how the Department of Health and Human Services has taken on a powerful coordinating role in the provision of health care as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This paper analyzes the unfurling of that act using the Bootlegger–Baptist model of political economy. By tracing the development of the law and its effect on how health care is delivered, the analysis shows that economic interests became coordinated through the efforts of the White House and the central “televangelist” agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. This development will inevitably result in bureaucratic decisions replacing individuals’ choices as the agency takes on an increasingly active and interventionist role in how health care is provided.
A new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows that differences in these rules can have significant effects on policy. The study finds that states with separate taxing and spending committees spend less per capita than other states. Voters concerned about the growth of government may want to take a closer look at this phenomenon.
Earlier in July, Eurozone finance ministers agreed in principle to bailout Greece after the country implemented new economic reforms and help it recover from its massive financial crisis.
While the unemployment rate overall has hovered around 25% in Greece, Millennials have been hit hardest where one in two are unemployed.
Why should millennials care about what's going on in Greece? Scott Sumner, Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, believes that Greece is just an extreme example of what happened here in the United States.
Luigi Zingales, one of the world’s foremost thinkers on financial development and capitalism, will join Tyler Cowen for a conversation about the policies that will shape capitalism moving into the future.
This book presents 17 oral histories of Hurricane Katrina survivors from four diverse New Orleans communities. The oral histories explore how these individuals, families, and communities began to rebuild after the devastation.