The Latest in Regulation

Would more vigorous antitrust enforcement reduce income inequalityHow should genetically modified organisms be regulatedHow should government regulate speech by professionals?

The answers to these questions can be found in the Winter issue of Regulation.

The short answer to the first question is no.  For the longer answer read Professor Dan Crane’s article.  The short answer to the second question, provided by Henry Miller and John J. Cohrssen, is that the regulation of biotechnology should be proportional to the risks it creates.  And those are generally less than the risks created by traditional cross breeding techniques that are widely accepted and unregulated.  Tim Sandefur rhetorically answers the third question by asking why can government regulate professionals’ speech, when non-professionals can freely engage in the same speech though they lack the professional expertise?

In another article on professional speech, University of Michigan, Flint professor Thomas Hemphill explores the implications of recent court rulings about what manufacturers can “say” to health professionals about so-called “off-label” uses of prescription drugs.

Many believe that early-childhood-intervention programs reduce the educational achievement gap between low-income and other children.  Many of these programs have been subject to random-assignment evaluation and the results often do not show positive effects.  Even though all policy professionals support the use of scientific evaluation of social programs in theory, many have resisted the implications of negative evidence for the particular programs they favor.  University of Missouri Law professor Philip Peters examines the evaluation of such programs and argues we should follow the evidence and terminate those programs that do not work.

Cal State, Northridge economist Robert Krol finds that transportation project projections consistently under predict costs by at least 25 percent.  They also over predict rail passenger traffic and under predict road utilization.  And these errors have not improved over time.

In “Using Delegation to Promote Deregulation” legal scholar Michael Rappaport argues that while libertarians would prefer that Congress enact statutes with explicit instructions for agencies, most laws delegate policy problem definitions and solutions to agencies.  Because efforts to fight Congressional delegation to agencies appear ill-fated, Rappaport advocates the creation of a special agency that would have the same incentives and abilities to deregulate that regulatory agencies have to regulate.

The review section contains reviews of books on a range of interesting topics. Included are reviews of Edwards Stringham’s new book Private Governance by Thomas Hemphill, Christopher and Rachel Coyne’s Flaws and Ceilings by David Henderson, and George Leef’s review of Daniel DiSalvo’s Government Against Itself.

Finally, my Working Papers column this issue describes papers on air pollution, CAFE standards, and cigarette taxation.

Read the full issue here.