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.
Featuring the author Lawrence H. White, Professor of Economics, George Mason University; with comments by Sylvia Nasar, John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Business Journalism, Columbia University, Author, A Beautiful Mind and Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, moderated by James A. Dorn, Editor, Cato Journal, and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Cato Institute.
The last 100 years have seen dramatic experiments in economic policy, from the Bolshevik Revolution to the World Trade Organization. All the while government’s role in the economy has steadily grown. The recent global housing bubble and its subsequent burst — with ensuing bailouts, budget deficits, and sovereign debt crises — has rekindled old debates over fundamental policy issues: the monetary regime, the business cycle, state regulation and ownership of enterprises, and taxes and spending. In his new book, The Clash of Economic Ideas, Lawrence H. White examines the intellectual roots of today’s debates, tying the development of economic ideas to the key events in economic history. Along the way we learn why economists so often disagree about the kinds of government policies required for economic prosperity.