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 John Goodman, President, National Center for Policy Analysis; and Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics, Boston University, and Senior Fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis. With comments by
William Poole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, and Former President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Moderated by
William A. Niskanen, Chairman Emeritus and Distinguished Senior Economist, Cato Institute.
The Obama administration is expected to propose a comprehensive reform of the American financial system some time in June. Goodman and Kotlikoff find the administration’s financial strategy — fighting each financial fire one by one and rebuilding the old system pretty much as it was — deeply misguided. It treats the symptoms, not the disease, and will leave us financially and fiscally weaker. It is more important to offer a solution based on a simple principle: no one should be able to gamble with other people’s money, including the taxpayers’ money, without their consent.