Infrastructure Investment: A State, Local, and Private Responsibility

Despite huge and ongoing budget deficits, some policymakers are proposing to increase federal spending on infrastructure. President Obama on Thursday unveiled a new federal infrastructure initiative, and he has been campaigning for Congress to pass a long-term highway bill. The president and other leaders believe that more federal spending on roads, rail, and other assets will boost growth and create jobs. Cato scholar Chris Edwards, however, argues for devolving infrastructure activities to the states and the private sector.

GOP Foreign Policy and “Isolationism”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s ongoing dust-up over the future of the GOP’s foreign policy has raised several important issues. Unfortunately, Perry has used the opportunity to raise the spectre of “isolatonism” when discussing Paul’s policy outlook. As we at Cato have discussed before, what interventionists like Perry call “isolationism” is really just a foreign policy of restraint. Say Cato scholars Christopher A. Preble and Benjamin H. Friedman, “A security strategy of restraint would keep us out of avoidable trouble and husband our resources, ultimately making us safer and richer.”

Unaccompanied Minors and Unintended Consequences

The recent surge in unaccompanied immigrant children (UAC) is portrayed by many immigration restrictionists as a failure of immigration enforcement. But according to Cato scholar Alex Nowrasteh, American policies crafted in the 1990s likely unintentionally had a role in incentivizing some of the migration and the smugglers that carry many of the migrants. “The law of unintended consequences,” says Nowrasteh, “combined with partisan politics has created a profoundly disturbing crisis at the border.”

Political Reform in China: Elections, Public Goods, and Income Distribution

The control of large bureaucracies is a difficult task. In autocratic countries, controlling local officials is further complicated by the weakness of established channels to receive feedback from citizens. To address this problem, several autocratic governments have introduced local elections in recent years. New research from Monica Martinez-Bravo, Gerard Padró i Miquel, Nancy Qian, and Yang Yao provides a rigorous empirical analysis of how village-level elections in China that were instituted in the 1980s and 1990s changed the incentives for local officials.

Recent Commentary


July 24

Debate: Libertarianism vs. Conservatism

Featuring Cato Institute Interns; and Heritage Foundation Interns; with an introduction by Chip Bishop, Director of Student Programs, Cato Institute; moderated by Matt Lewis, Senior Contributor at the Daily Caller and Contributing Editor at The Week.

6:30pm Hayek Auditorium

Of Special Note

Constitution Day 2014

Constitution Day 2014

To celebrate Constitution Day and the publication of the thirteenth annual Cato Supreme Court Review, the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies Presents a Symposium:

The Supreme Court: Past and Prologue
A Look at the October 2013 and 2014 Terms

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
10:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

This annual event features leading legal scholars analyzing the most important decisions of the Supreme Court’s recent term, and a look ahead at what to expect during the Court’s next term.

Details and registration

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.

2014 Cato University

2014 Cato University

Cato University is the Cato Institute’s premier educational event of the year, bringing together like-minded people to share ideas on how to advance, enhance, and defend the principles of liberty, free markets, and individual rights. This annual program, held this year at the magnificent Rancho Bernardo Inn just a few miles north of San Diego, brings together outstanding faculty and participants from across the globe — all sharing a commitment to liberty and learning.