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 the authors, Arnold Kling, Economist and blogger, EconLog; and
Nick Schulz, DeWitt Wallace Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and editor, American.com; with comments by Zanny Minton-Beddoes, Economics editor, The Economist. Moderated by Brink Lindsey, Vice President for Research, Cato Institute.
The discipline of economics is not what it used to be. For years, conventional economists told us an incomplete story that leaned on the comfortable precision of mathematical abstraction and ignored the complexity of the real world. What they left out of the story were the positive forces of creativity, innovation, and advanced technology that propel economies forward. They also left out the negative forces that can hold economies back: bad governance, counterproductive social practices, and patterns of taking wealth instead of creating it. From Poverty to Prosperity narrates and explains the revolutionary reorientation of economics in recent decades toward a new focus on understanding the huge differences in the standard of living across time and across borders. Mixing interviews with the world’s most important economists with their own clear and insightful analysis, Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz have produced an illuminating and thought-provoking guide to what they call “Economics 2.0.”