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.
Director of Health and Welfare Studies, Cato Institute
With President Bush’s call for comprehensive Social Security reform bogged down in the morass of partisan politics, many reform advocates have suggested smaller steps to get the process started. Recently, leading reformers in both the House and Senate have proposed legislation to rebate Social Security surpluses to workers in the form of contributions to personal accounts. The House is reportedly considering voting on a measure as early as this month. Michael Tanner, director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Social Security Choice, will examine the leading proposals, including S. 1302, the Stop the Raid on Social Security Act of 2005, and H.R. 3304, known as GROW for Growing Real Ownership for Workers. Tanner will discuss how these plans would impact workers, the federal budget, and the ongoing effort for larger reforms.