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 Benjamin Zycher, Senior Fellow, Pacific Research Institute; Stephen S. Fuller, Dwight Schar Faculty Chair and University Professor, Director, Center for Regional Analysis, George Mason University; and Stephen Moore, Editorial Board Member, Senior Economics Writer, Wall Street Journal; moderated by Christopher Preble, Vice President, Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute.
The Budget Control Act passed by Congress directs that on January 2, 2013, the Obama administration must cut the defense budget by at least $55 billion, and the same amount from domestic discretionary spending. The prospect of such reductions has led to assertions that they will damage the economy and increase unemployment. Meanwhile, many who view excessive government spending as economically counterproductive nevertheless oppose Pentagon cuts, partly in the belief that military spending is good for the economy and an important source of jobs. Others, however, claim that limiting Pentagon spending would make resources available for more productive uses in the private sector and lower the burden on the taxpayer. Is military spending different from other forms of government expenditures? Could the impending, mandatory cuts actually benefit the economy? Please join us for a spirited debate that will provide some much-needed perspective on the economic effects of military spending.