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 Dan Mitchell; Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; and Kevin Williamson, Deputy Managing Editor, National Review; moderated by Brandon Arnold, Director of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.
With record levels of government spending and rising amounts of red ink, there is considerable debate about whether a “grand compromise” budget deal is needed to restore fiscal sanity in Washington. Proponents of this approach specifically say that the no-tax-hike pledge is hindering a budget agreement and thus ruining an opportunity to reduce the burden of government spending. Opponents counter by pointing out that the problem is the result of too much spending and that spending restraint is the obvious solution. Moreover, past experience demonstrates that promised spending cuts in budget summit agreements quickly evaporate, but the tax increases are permanent. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute and Kevin Williamson of National Review will debate whether the no-tax-hike pledge helps or hinders the fight for fiscal responsibility.