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.
While transportation planners debate investing in highway capacity or building rail transit and high-speed rail, another alternative may make more sense. As discussed in O’Toole’s recently published book Gridlock, new technologies can cost-effectively increase the capacity of existing highways to move people faster and safer while using less energy. Many of these innovations are already available, ranging from adaptive cruise control now being sold on many cars up to completely automated vehicles. The main obstacles to more widespread deployment are not technical but institutional and bureaucratic. Please join O’Toole and Huhnke to find out how transportation could be transformed in just a few years.