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 Daniel Griswold, Director, Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute; author, Mad About Trade; and William A. Reinsch, President, National Foreign Trade Council.
For decades, the U.S. government has restricted sugar imports through a system of quotas designed to keep domestic prices artificially high, even though foreign producers can grow and sell sugar at much lower prices. Domestic growers maintain that they need the quotas to protect them from “dumped” imports. Critics argue that the program increases costs for U.S. consumers and hurts domestic confectioners and other sugar-using industries. It also inhibits development abroad by walling off the U.S. market from farmers in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. In a recent letter, the National Foreign Trade Council and other trade organizations urged the Obama administration to consider relaxing the quotas in the face of high global prices and the threat of domestic shortages. Isn’t it time to rethink the U.S. sugar program?