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 Christopher J. Conover, Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, Duke University; and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum, and Former Director, Congressional Budget Office; moderated by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute.
Nearly all taxes impose hidden costs by choking off economic activity. In a soon-to-be-released Cato Institute study, Duke University professor Christopher J. Conover estimates how much economic activity the recently enacted health care law — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — will destroy. Failing to account for those hidden costs of taxation and government spending can bias legislative decisions toward more costly policies. Conover argues that honest and transparent governance requires that Congress account for the “excess burden of taxation” in its legislative cost estimates, baseline budget projections, and budget options — much like the Office of Management and Budget already does.