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.
Transit agencies regularly splurge on expensive but little-used rail transit lines, then declare them to be great successes. And for good reason: if they admitted that federally subsidized rail lines were failures and quit running them, they would have to reimburse the feds. How can you know whether a rail transit line is really successful or whether the transit agency is trying to avoid admitting that it wasted so much money? To answer this question, Cato scholar Randal O’Toole developed six different tests, including profitability and effects on ridership, and used them to evaluate more than 70 rail transit systems in dozens of cities. Please join Randal O’Toole and Ron Utt of the Heritage Foundation to discuss how rail transit measures up and how it affects urban mobility.