The Inequity of Federal Transit Funding

Federal transportation aid programs often create perverse incentives for states and metropolitan areas. The worst incentives are created by discretionary funds that encourage state and local governments to adopt wasteful programs in order to get the largest possible share of those funds.  In a new study, Cato scholar Randal O’Toole and Michelangelo Landgrave look at the incentives created by such funding and suggest that Congress should convert the New Starts and other discretionary funds to formula funds which incorporate user fees.

Marriage and Equality at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments over the constitutionality of gay marriage.  Vindicating conventional wisdom, the arguments suggested that the Court will find that states must both recognize and license same sex marriage.  And according to Cato scholar Ilya Shapiro, the Court should – and probably will – stay away from pontificating about marriage or philosophizing on the nature of rights. “The Fourteenth Amendment is silent as to marriage, as it is regarding all other possible objects of state regulation,” said Shapiro. “What it speaks to instead is the equal protection of the laws.”

The Limits of Model-Based Regulation

Following the financial crisis of 2008, policymakers around the world have concentrated their efforts on designing a regulatory framework that increases the safety of individual institutions as well as the stability of the financial system as a whole. An important innovation has been the introduction of complex, model-based capital regulation. New research from Markus Behn, Rainer Haselmann, and Vikrant Vig examines how the introduction of model-based capital regulation affected the measurement and the overall level of banks’ credit risk.

Cato University 2015

Cato University is the Cato Institute’s premier educational event of the year. This annual program – held this year at Cato in Washington, DC – brings together outstanding faculty and participants from across the country and, often, from around the globe – all sharing a commitment to liberty and learning. In a time of pitched battles over critical policy issues, our nation’s capital is the perfect setting to examine the roots of our commitment to limited government.

Recent Commentary


May 11

The U.S. National ID Law at Ten Years

Featuring Adam Candeub, Professor of Law and Director of the Intellectual Property, Information and Communications Law Program Michigan State University College of Law; Edward Hasbrouck, Consultant to the Identity Project (; Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel/Policy Advisor American Civil Liberties Union, Washington Legislative Office; moderated by Jim Harper, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

12:00pm Hayek Auditorium

May 12

Economic Interdependence and War

Featuring the author Dale C. Copeland, Associate Professor, University of Virginia; with comments from David M. Edelstein, Associate Professor, Georgetown University; Erik A. Gartzke, Professor, UC – San Diego; and John Mueller, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; moderated by Justin Logan, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

12:00pm Hayek Auditorium

Of Special Note

The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

Two long wars, chronic deficits, the financial crisis, the costly drug war, the growth of executive power under Presidents Bush and Obama, and the revelations about NSA abuses, have given rise to a growing libertarian movement in our country – with a greater focus on individual liberty and less government power. David Boaz’s newly released The Libertarian Mind is a comprehensive guide to the history, philosophy, and growth of the libertarian movement, with incisive analyses of today’s most pressing issues and policies. The Libertarian Mind is the ultimate resource for the current, burgeoning libertarian movement.

Special! 10 Copies for $10

Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

Cato Book

The Tyranny of Silence

With the tragedies in Denmark and Paris, self-censorship in the face of intimidation and the nature of free speech are at the forefront of public debate. No one knows this debate better than Flemming Rose, the editor of the Danish newspaper that published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in 2005 that set off a global firestorm. In Tyranny of Silence, published by the Cato Institute, Rose offers a deeply personal look at attempts to limit free speech in a multireligious, culturally borderless world.

Get your copy today.

The Beautiful Tree Audiobook

The Beautiful Tree Audiobook Now Available

Upon its release several years ago, The Beautiful Tree was hailed as “a masterpiece.” Author James Tooley braids together personal experience, community action, individual courage, and family devotion to tell the story of the small, parent-funded schools he first came upon in India that could help achieve universal education. Tooley details his travels from the largest shanty town in Africa to the mountains of China, and the children, parents, teachers, and entrepreneurs who taught him that the poor are not waiting for educational handouts. They are building their own schools and learning to save themselves.

This best selling and award winning Cato Institute book is now available as an unabridged audiobook for $24.95.