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 Michele Boldrin, University of Minnesota with comments by John Rust, University of Maryland and moderated by Jagadeesh Gokhale, Cato Institute
The Social Security debate is focused on mundane financial issues: transition costs, benefit adequacy, the value of the Social Security Trust Fund, and so on. The program’s long-term impact on individual economic choices is much more important but generally neglected. Completely unheard in the debate, however, is the program’s potential to affect fundamental choices about family formation. A new study by Michele Boldrin and colleagues examines the link between government-provided old-age pensions and the continual dramatic reduction in fertility throughout the developed world during the twentieth century. Its compelling evidence suggests an issue that deserves serious attention as policymakers consider the future of Social Security.