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 Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ); Michael O’Grady, HHS; and Tom Miller, Joint Economic Committee.
Thousands of federal and state regulations govern the sale of health insurance, restricting who may buy coverage, which benefits must be included, and how coverage is priced. These regulations – which vary widely by state – drive up the cost of health insurance and increase the number of uninsured. An innovative solution to the problem exists: allow people to buy coverage regulated in any state they choose (not just their own). Consumers could shop for the level of coverage they want at a price they can afford, insurers could compete for their business, and states would move to reduce onerous regulations. The panelists will examine the potential bonuses and pitfalls of legislation to enable a nationwide marketplace for health insurance, what the states can do to help, and how consumers would be empowered by a broader marketplace.