Over the past few years, the federal government and local governments have increasingly turned to “nudges” as solutions to many problems caused by behavioral biases. Such efforts often run into opposition owing to their paternalistic nature, but nonpaternalistic nudges can be equally effective at improving consumers’ choices. In contrast to paternalistic nudges, nonpaternalistic policies do not impose policymakers’ errors on consumers if policymakers misdiagnose the underlying behavioral bias, and they thus avoid harming consumers by pushing them toward suboptimal choices.
When directives rather than contracts determine rights to water flows, agents will substitute away from securing water rights by contract toward securing them through political directives. Especially when they are legitimated by court rulings, such directives alter the rules that govern social interaction.
In 2002, Congress passed the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act, with the aim of pushing the FDA to speed up the approval process for medical devices. This law levied large user fees on medical device manufacturers in exchange for the promise of shorter review times by the FDA. Whether the act has resulted in shorter review times has been unclear. This study conducted a regression analysis to address this question, using data on FDA review times for devices seeking approval between 1991 and 2012.
This paper examines the US Department of Labor’s proposed regulation to extend overtime pay to employees with base salaries of $23,660 to $50,440. While the Department of Labor claims that this change will encourage additional hiring, improve the well-being of employees, and lead to higher paychecks, economic theory and empirical evidence suggest otherwise.
To the extent that transaction costs reduce economic efficiency, these costs provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to earn a profit by reducing these costs. We employ an extension of Epstein and Axtell’s (1996) Sugarscape to demonstrate this point one type of transaction costs: search costs.
This paper provides a comprehensive survey of the contributions of the Austrian school of economics, with specific emphasis on post-WWII developments. We provide a brief history and overview of the original theorists of the Austrian school in order to set the stage for the subsequent development of their ideas by Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek.
National defense is the textbook example of a public good. In order to understand how economists present public goods to undergraduates, we analyze 50 texts from across three widely taught undergraduate economics courses: principles of economics, intermediate microeconomics, and public finance.
In this paper, the authors restate Baumol’s simple but radical insight and apply it to the process of economic transition of Soviet Russia from communism to a free market economy. This case study illustrates the explanatory power and the limits of Baumol’s argument.
The two most ardent critics of collectivism in the 20th century were arguably Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. This essay discusses the relationship between these two modes of argumentation found in their work, what I will term the “head” and the “heart” arguments and why the “head” must be used to temper the “heart”.
Information, investment and innovation are the engines of economic growth in the 21st century. Yet regulatory accumulation and outdated regulatory processes are preventing both the private and public sectors from effectively using the three “I’s” to solve problems and grow the economy.
Mercatus PhD Fellow Vipin Veetil, along with Akshaya Vijayalakshmi and Srikanth Viswanathan, address Amartya Sen's criticism of cash-transfer programs such as education vouchers in the Wall Street Journal.
This study represents a serious challenge to conventional thinking in contemporary comparative systems, and the economics of socialism. It disputes the commonly accepted view of both the nature of the 'socialist calculation debate' of the 1930s and the lessons to be derived from it.