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 author, Timothy Ferris, with comments by Jason Kuznicki, Research Fellow, Cato Institute; and Jonathan Rauch, Contributing editor, the Atlantic Monthly, and visiting scholar, The Brookings Institution. Moderated by Brink Lindsey, Vice President for Research, Cato Institute.
Award-winning author Timothy Ferris discusses the relationship between science and liberal government, arguing that the fortunes of science and liberty rise and fall together. The scientific revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries were, he argues, a powerful inspiration for the concurrent revolutions in government; together, they produced what we know as the modern world.
It was no accident that many of the American revolutionaries were also successful scientists, and it is no accident that today’s liberal societies produce vastly more scientific research than their dictatorial counterparts. In a book that spans centuries of world history, Ferris observes how scientific reasoning depends on open inquiry, free dissent, and the freedom to innovate. Liberal government, he says, enshrines these very virtues as well.