Obesity remains a serious health problem and it is no secret that many people want to lose weight. Behavioral economists typically argue that “nudges” help individuals with various decisionmaking flaws to live longer, healthier, and better lives. In an article in the new issue of Regulation, Michael L. Marlow discusses how nudging by government differs from nudging by markets, and explains why market nudging is the more promising avenue for helping citizens to lose weight.
In Bootleggers & Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics, economists Bruce Yandle and Adam Smith explain how money and morality are often combined in politics to produce arbitrary regulations benefiting cronies, while constraining productive economic activities by the general public.
With the return of one-party government, major policy changes in health care seem all but inevitable. Yet fundamentally divergent interests in both Congress and the health industry will make consensus difficult to obtain. The most dangerous proposals are those that expand political control over patients’ health care decisions: mandates, price controls, and government-run health care for the middle class. How will centrists and market proponents recognize the forms these mistakes might take, and how can they defend against them? Please join Cato scholar Michael Cannon for an exploration of these and related issues.