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Cato Papers on Public Policy

Volume 1

About the book

This new publication is an annual volume of innovative, original articles on current and critical economic and public policy issues. Each article is written by a recognized national expert, most often a senior member of a prestigious university. The overarching goal of the publication is to provide in‐​depth, imaginative new research on key economic and public policy matters combined with a range of potential improvements and solutions.

Articles in this volume:

Can the Treasury Exempt Its Own Companies from Tax? The $45 Billion General Motors Net Operating Loss Carryforward
How the U.S. Treasury used arcane provisions of the tax code to manufacture a tax break for political supporters during the bailout of General Motors, masking the true cost of the bailouts of GM and other firms.

Free to Punish? The American Dream and Harsh Treatment of Criminals
In comparison to many penal systems in the rest of the world, Americans are much harsher in their treatment of criminals. This article looks at the causes, revealing how the American Dream may be to blame.

Competition and Innovation
Compelling analysis of how patents that are easily assigned and strictly enforced for a long period of time do not promote innovation, but instead impede it.

Labor Market Dysfunction during the Great Recession
The impact of mortgage modifications on the labor market recovery, showing that reductions in mortgage payments based on borrowers’ current income skews incentives for households to relocate to a stronger labor market and lowers both employment and productivity.

About the Editor

Jeffrey A. Miron is a senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Professor Miron earned his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and chaired the economics department at Boston University prior to joining the Harvard faculty.


J. Mark Ramseyer

Eric B. Rasmusen

Rafael Di Tella

Juan Dubra

Michele Boldrin

Juan Correa Allamand

David K. Levine

Carmine Ornaghi

Kyle F. Herkenhoff

Lee E. Ohanian