Benjamin M. Blau | Oct 24, 2013
This paper analyzes the characteristics of banks that received emergency loans from the Federal Reserve during the recent financial crisis. Using unique data consisting of emergency loan transactions, I provide evidence that larger banks, in terms of assets and market capitalization, were more likely to receive emergency support.
Jerry Ellig, James Broughel | Jul 16, 2013
For more than three decades, presidents have instructed executive branch agencies to use the results of Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIAs) when deciding whether and how to regulate. Scores from the Mercatus Center’s Regulatory Report Card—an in-depth evaluation of the quality and use of regulatory analysis conducted by executive branch agencies— show that agencies often fail to explain how RIAs affected their decisions. For this reason, regulatory reform should require agencies to conduct analysis before making decisions and explain how the analysis affected the decisions.
Timothy P. Roth, Adam C. Smith | Dec 20, 2012
The collapse of the federal budget process and the decline in trust in government threaten the stability of the self-governing republic that we inherited from our nation’s founders. Informed by their moral and political philosophy, we suggest an approach to reforming the budget process aimed at reclaiming that institutional trust. We argue that budget process reform must be animated by two related ideas: First, that post-constitutional statutory law must be impartial, and second, that both citizens and their elected representatives have a right to participate in, and to influence, the political process.
Matthew Mitchell, Nick Tuszynski | Jun 01, 2012
Matt Mitchell and Nick Tuszynski discuss two institutions that have been successful at controlling spending: separate taxing and spending committees, and item-reduction vetoes.
Jeff Milyo | May 02, 2012
The value of some firms is strongly affected by which party controls political power. Stock market reactions to political events demonstrate this. However, contrary to common perception, event studies do not indicate that the ability to make unlimited campaign contributions enhances a firm’s value. Geographic and personal connections to political actors matter more, although there is some evidence that personal connections may be rented via professional lobbying.
Michael L. Marlow, Sherzod Abdukadirov | Mar 01, 2012
This working paper analyzes the methods and outcomes of government efforts to control obesity rates.

Testimony & Comments

Veronique de Rugy | Dec 04, 2013
Despite Washington’s recent focus on the disastrous Affordable Care Act website rollout, policymakers are missing what the rollout glitches symbolize: the fundamental flaws that imbue government intervention. The work of public choice economists such as Nobel laureate James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, Mancur Olson, and William Niskanen has shown that, despite good intentions and lavish use of taxpayer resources, government solutions are not only unlikely to solve most of our problems—they often make problems worse.
J. W. Verret | Apr 17, 2012
After a careful review of the legislative requirements that the SEC consider investor protection, efficiency, competition and capital formation in adopting new rules, I would like to simply offer a list of six items that would demonstrate a sincere commitment by the SEC to fulfill its statutory mission. The first five I will list are in fact required by law if one carefully reads the legislative and judicial history of the SEC’s mandate to consider the economic impact of new rules.
Maurice P. McTigue | Oct 20, 2011
Maurice McTigue testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs on ways FEMA can become more effective and efficient in reacting to disasters.
Jerry Brito | Mar 09, 2011
Jerry Brito testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, and Procurement Reform on open government and government transparency through technology.
Richard Williams | Jul 27, 2010
In this testimony, Richard Williams, Director of Regulatory Studies and Government Accountability at the Mercatus Center, addresses the key question of whether there are sufficient checks and…
Richard Williams, Jerry Ellig, John Morrall | Jul 06, 2010
As always, OMB has produced a very thorough report based on the instructions provided in the Regulatory-Right-to Know Act. Nevertheless, it is time to re-examine this report to see if it can be made…

Research Summaries & Toolkits

W. Kip Viscusi, Ted Gayer | Aug 06, 2012
In the recent Mercatus Center study, “Overriding Consumer Preferences with Energy Regulation,” Ted Gayer, co-director of the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution, and W. Kip Viscusi, University Distin- guished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management at Vanderbilt, examined the economic justification for recent U.S. energy regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study found that the energy-efficiency standards have a relatively minor effect on greenhouse-gas emissions, and—per the regulating agencies’ own estimates—cannot pass cost-benefit analyses based on their environmental benefits alone. To justify these regulations, the agencies relied on estimated benefits derived from correcting consumer “irrationality.”…
Jerry Ellig, Jason J. Fichtner, Maurice P. McTigue | Sep 12, 2011
Congress should conduct rigorous oversight of federal agencies and programs not just to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse, but also because current levels of spending are unsustainable, making spending cuts inevitable.
Veronique de Rugy | Jul 12, 2010
There are many budget gimmicks that U.S. government officials use to hide the size of deficits, debts, program costs, and revenue losses. Some strategies include pretending spending does not exist,…
John Garen | Jul 12, 2010
Americans are starting to understand that the rapid rise in federal spending and the associated increase in federal deficits is a matter of great concern. As the federal debt amasses, credit markets…
Arnold Kling | Jul 12, 2010
The United States long-term fiscal outlook is considered by many experts to be unsustainable. If no policy changes are made, the projections beyond 2030 are not really plausible, because by then the…
Veronique de Rugy | Jul 12, 2010
The understandable temptation to take action during a crisis should not lead lawmakers to take counterproductive actions. In response to the financial crisis, Congress passed the American Recovery…

Speeches & Presentations

Expert Commentary

By Nita Ghei |
Sep 30, 2013

Desperation is driving some politicians to go where no government has gone before. The City Council of Richmond, Calif., voted in September to use the power of eminent domain to condemn 624 mortgages in which the homeowners owed more than the current market value of the property. The vote threatens to bring mortgage financing for residents to a crashing halt. If successful, the move will expand the power of eminent domain well beyond any previous boundary by applying it not to the home, but the mortgage, which is entirely separate. It would cause tremendous damage to the residents of the city in both the short term and in the long term.
Aug 14, 2013

Dodd-Frank's missing pillar, housing finance reform, has finally found its way into the halls of Congress and the speeches of the President. But this pillar will be rotten from the start if it is built around the fallacy that undergirds the current housing finance system-the notion that Americans cannot purchase and finance their homes without the help of Uncle Sam.
Aug 12, 2013

When waste, fraud, and abuse in government is exposed, the first response is often that we need more oversight. For instance, when it came to light that millions in farm subsidies were paid to dead farmers, many in Washington, including the Government Accountability Office, blamed the problem on poor oversight.
Aug 07, 2013

Spending on monthly Social Security disability insurance payments is exploding as the number of recipients has skyrocketed in the last 30 years, even though medical advances during the same period allow many more people to remain on the job longer than ever before.
By Nita Ghei |
Aug 02, 2013

The United States’ financial sector has historically been extremely competitive globally, as is evident from the dominance of Wall Street in world financial markets. This competitive edge, however, can be lost all too easily if destructive regulatory and tax regimes are put into place. Decreasing transparency, increasing probability of bailouts and a higher regulatory burden can all work to erode competitiveness.
By Antony Davies, James R. Harrigan |
Jul 29, 2013

The July 1 deadline for preventing the doubling of government-subsidized student loan rates has passed, and lawmakers continue to hash out the details of a plan to move beyond the current impasse.


This week’s chart, which uses 2012 data from the Office of Management and Budget’s “High-Error Programs Report” to display improper payment amounts and improper payment rates of federal transfer programs, shows that over $100 billion in taxpayer funds were improperly spent in 2012.



Veronique de Rugy | June 06, 2014
Veronique De Rugy Discusses State Occupational Licensing on Jimmy Barrett

Recent Events

The Mercatus Center invites you to a timely lunch discussion about political and economic institutions as the nation prepares for this year's presidential election.


Jerry Brito | Feb 2010
When government refuses to make itself transparent and open and fails to make public information meaningfully available, hackers will liberate the data. It has happened many times over, and it will…

Media Clippings

Keith Hall | Oct 03, 2013
Keith Hall cited at The Wall Street Journal.
Keith Hall | Sep 30, 2013
Keith Hall cited at The Wall Street Journal.
Keith Hall | Sep 30, 2013
Keith Hall cited at The Wall Street Journal.
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.
Keith Hall | Aug 07, 2013
[Keith Hall] tells McClatchy newspapers Washington Bureau that 97 percent of net job creation over the last six months has been part-time work.
' '