Economic Regulation

Economic Regulation

Research

Adam Ozimek | Mar 12, 2014
Prediction markets are important information-aggregation tools for researchers, businesses, individuals, and governments. This paper provides an overview of why prediction markets matter, how they are regulated, and how the regulation can be improved. The value of prediction markets is illustrated with discussions of their forecasting ability and the characteristics these markets possess which give them advantages over other means of forecasting and information aggregation. The past, current, and future regulatory environment is surveyed.
Colleen Haight, Derek Thieme | Nov 19, 2013
Automobiles are ubiquitous. Most Americans take at least one car trip every day to get to work or school or to run household errands. The automobile has also never been safer. New technology has brought car frames that crumple to reduce the impact of a crash, airbags that cushion the blow of an accident, and cameras that show drivers what is behind the vehicle. In addition, rising standards of living have allowed consumers to purchase more safety equipment and to question the environmental impact of cars. While cleaner, safer automobiles certainly have benefits, as economists, we must ask, what do all these regulations cost the consumer? Costs arise from three sources: workplace safety regulation, environmental regulation, and consumer safety regulation. In this paper, we examine each area in turn, focusing on how the cost of regulations impacts the average automobile consumer.
James C. Cooper | Nov 05, 2013
Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act gives the FTC an undefined mandate to prosecute “unfair methods of competition.” For nearly 100 years, the Commission has searched tirelessly for the meaning of this amorphous concept. Since 1992, the FTC has continued to define Section 5 through a series of consent decrees. Absent any external constraint, the FTC appears to have broad discretion to define the reach of Section 5 beyond the Sherman Act. This discretion causes uncertainty, which is likely to deter beneficial conduct.
Antony Davies | Oct 25, 2013
This paper examines common arguments for and against the minimum wage, results of studies on the employment effects of the minimum wage, and data comparing changes in the minimum wage to changes in unemployment rates for workers with varying educational attainments. It also examines data comparing changes in the minimum wage to changes in income inequality at both the national and state levels. Applying the results to New Jersey’s likely upcoming minimum wage increase, I estimate that the unemployment rate for young workers without high school educations will rise by almost two percentage points while the unemployment rate for older workers without high school educations will rise by almost one percentage point.
Jerry Brito, Andrea Castillo | Aug 19, 2013
As the world’s first decentralized digital currency, Bitcoin has the potential to revolutionize online payments systems in a way that benefits individuals and businesses. Instead of using an intermediary such as PayPal or submitting credit card information to a third party for verification—both of which often include transaction fees and other restrictions—Bitcoin allows individuals to pay each other directly for goods or services.
Jerry Ellig, Rosemarie Fike | Jul 30, 2013
Numerous regulatory reform proposals would require federal agencies to conduct more thorough analysis of proposed regulations or expand the resources and influence of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which currently reviews executive branch regulations. We employ data on variation in current administrative procedures to assess the likely effects of proposed regulatory process reforms on the quality and use of regulatory impact analysis (RIA). Many specific types of activity by agencies and OIRA are correlated with higher quality analysis and greater use of analysis in decisions, and the effects are relatively large. Our results suggest that greater use of Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemakings for major regulations, formal hearings for important rules, articulation of retrospective review plans at the time regulations are issued, and expansion of OIRA’s resources and role may improve the quality and use of RIAs.

Testimony & Comments

Patrick McLaughlin | Feb 11, 2014
In examining the reforms under consideration, first, I will discuss why regulatory accumulation is a public policy problem: regulatory accumulation creates substantial drag on economic growth by impeding innovation and entrepreneurship.
Antony Dnes | Feb 27, 2012
This Public Interest Comment analyzes proposed changes to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations that would expand the scope of the regulations to include live-in home-care workers and other domestic services and suggests that the compliance costs of these changes cannot be justified for the proposals.
Jerry Ellig | Mar 29, 2011
Jerry Ellig testified before the House Judiciary Committee on improving pre-proposal regulatory analysis.
Jerry Ellig | Sep 29, 2010
The Commerce Clause allows states to discriminate against interstate commerce if they have actual evidence that such discrimination is necessary to accomplish a legitimate state goal that cannot…
Mark Adams | Aug 23, 2010
The boiler rule proposed by EPA is expected to generate net benefits, but the Regulatory Impact Analysis prepared by the agency fails to identify the benefits attributable to individual portions of the rule or how a more or less stringent rule would change costs and benefits.
| Dec 21, 2007
This public interest comment provides suggestions to the SBA in response to the Regulatory Review and Reform Initiative, which is designed to identify and address existing federal regulations…

Research Summaries & Toolkits

| Sep 24, 2013
The Mercatus State Policy Guide is intended to summarize and condense the best research available on the most relevant topics. It’s a starting point for discussion, not a comprehensive overview of economic policy. Each statement is supported by academic research, with links provided in the endnotes. Mercatus scholars are available to further explain the results of their studies. We hope the guide will prove to be a valuable tool in your economic policy research.
Christopher Koopman, Nita Ghei | Aug 27, 2013
In the mid-1970s behavioral economics began to challenge the neoclassical rational actor model by fusing the insights of psychology and economics. Over the course of the next 40 years, a prescriptive framework built around these insights shifted focus toward attempting to mitigate the harm individuals cause themselves as a result of what the agencies view as “irrational” behavior.
| Jul 23, 2013
The Mercatus Policy Guide is intended to summarize and condense the best research available on the most pressing topics. It serves as a starting point for discussion, not a comprehensive overview of economic policy. Anyone who wants to go deeper into these studies should consult the references listed at the back. Mercatus scholars are available to further explain the results of their studies. We hope the guide will prove to be a valuable tool in your evaluation of economic policy.
Mark Adams | Mar 04, 2013
The president’s recent proposal to increase the minimum wage to $9.00 is not the way to help low-income households. Raising the minimum wage is more likely to increase unemployment for some of the least skilled American workers and further impede a historically slow recovery. Research from the Mercatus Center shows that regulatory reform would help low-income families without causing more unemployment or slowing the recovery.
Joshua C. Hall, Michael Williams | Feb 05, 2013
The concern that American businesses are overly burdened by regulations has legitimate grounds. In 2011, American companies had to comply with over 1 million federal regulatory restrictions, compared with about 860,000 a decade earlier.[1] However, to truly address concerns about overregulation, policy makers cannot focus exclusively on the growth of new regulations. Attention must also be paid to the lack of an efficient and effective regulatory review process for preexisting rules.
Ted Gayer, W. Kip Viscusi | Aug 01, 2012
In recent years, federal agencies have issued energy-efficiency standards for everything from cars to light bulbs. These regulations are commonly billed as important efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. But, according to a new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the standards have a negligible effect on emissions.

Speeches & Presentations

Mercatus Regulatory Studies



Charts

This chart shows the relationship between the relative minimum wage (the minimum wage as a fraction of the average hourly wage) and unemployment rates for workers with different educational attainments.

Experts

Jerry Brito was a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and director of its Technology Policy Program. He also serves as an adjunct professor of law at George Mason University. His research focuses on technology and Internet policy, copyright, and the regulatory process.
James Broughel is a program manager of the Regulatory Studies Program at the Mercatus Center. Mr. Broughel is a doctoral student in the economics program at George Mason University. He earned his MA in economics from Hunter College of the City University of New York.
Susan Dudley directs the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center and is a Research Professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration.
Arnold Kling is a Mercatus Center–affiliated senior scholar at George Mason University and a member of the Financial Markets Working Group. He specializes in housing-finance policy, financial institutions, macroeconomics, and the inside workings of America’s federal financial institutions. He also is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC.
Michael L. Marlow is an affiliated senior scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and professor of economics and distinguished scholar at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Podcasts

Jerry Brito | August 26, 2013
Jerry Brito discusses Bitcoin on Marketplace.

Recent Events

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University invites you to join us for a Regulation University presentation by Dr. Patrick McLaughlin examining the economic consequences of regulatory accumulation and reform options that can help sort out problem-solving regulations from problematic regulations.

Books

Jerry Brito, Andrea Castillo | Jan 23, 2014
Como la primera moneda digital descentralizada del mundo, Bitcoin tiene el potencial de revolucionar los sistemas de pago en línea de una manera que beneficia a los consumidores y las empresas. En lugar de utilizar un intermediario, como PayPal, o entregar información de tarjeta de crédito a un tercer partido para su verificación—ya que los dos incluyen cargos de transacción y otras restricciones— Bitcoin permite que los individuos paguen directamente entre sí para bienes o servicios.

Media Clippings

Jerry Brito | Oct 03, 2013
Jerry Brito cited at The Wall Street Journal.
Jerry Brito | Oct 03, 2013
Jerry Brito cited at Los Angeles Times.
Jerry Brito | Aug 27, 2013
Jerry Brito cited at Wired.
Matthew Mitchell | Aug 21, 2013
Matt Mitchell cited at NPR.
Keith Hall | Aug 08, 2013
Keith Hall, a researcher at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, finds that nearly all jobs created in the past few months have been part-time gigs.
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