This paper argues that the sharing economy—through the use of the Internet and real time reputational feedback mechanisms—is providing a solution to the lemons problem that many regulators have spent decades attempting to overcome.
In this paper we revisit the case for methodological individualism for the positive analysis of political economy. We argue that the basis of methodological individualism implies neither a necessary commitment to atomistic reductionism in explaining social phenomena nor philosophical individualism resulting in a laissez-faire policy. The point of engaging in spontaneous order analysis on methodologically individualist grounds is not to make precise predictions per se, but instead to render the purposive actions of individuals and the meaning of such actions intelligible.
Agent-based models, on the other hand, allow us to study interactions between artificial actors and the phenomena that emerge from these interactions. In so far as economic phenomena — like prices, firms, nation states and business cycles — are products of human action but not human design, agent-based models are a more productive way forward in formal modeling of complex adaptive systems such as a market economy.
We explain that the medical-vocational grid guidelines that are used to determine whether someone is disabled are an important part of the explanation for increased disability awards. The grid applies much looser standards for applicants as young as 45 and 50. We propose that age be eliminated as a deciding criterion, as well as language ability and education level. We also note that the guideline’s list of impairments is outdated and needs to reflect a modern workforce that has access to remedying medical technologies.
This study provides a systematic analysis of selective consumption tax policy. We detail both the
motivations behind selective consumption taxes and the policy’s shortcomings. Empirically, we
explore how consumption of 12 goods—alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, items sold at vending
machines, purchases of food away from home, cookies, cakes, chips, candy, donuts, bacon, and
carbonated soft drinks—varies across the income distribution by calculating the goods’ income-expenditure elasticities.
Using monthly US data on project-grant awards in 2009 and 2010, we study which objectives presidents pursue in distributing resources. We also address theoretical and empirical ambiguities regarding when and which congressional districts receive distributive benefits. Our results show that core constituencies of the president’s party receive more federal funding in both presidential and congressional elections.
In a new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, scholars Anna Mills and Edward J. Timmons examine differences in licensing requirements state-to-state and over time to explore the effect that optician licensing has on practitioner earnings.
In a new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, scholar Alexander William Salter examines several different proposed rules that the Fed could follow. Salter provides a framework to help policymakers better understand how incentives and information can affect monetary policy and discusses discretion-based and rule-based approaches to monetary policy.
Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is often read as a policy book and a political tract for its time. It is also often read as little more than a “slippery slope” argument, leading inevitably down a road from a free society to the gulag. In this paper I will try to counter both of those claims by explaining that Hayek’s book is part of a broader project dealing with the institutional infrastructure within which economic activity takes place. His argument, rather than being a slippery slope, is an imminent critique of the socialist program as advocated by British socialists, who were his primary target in the 1940s.
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.
Rebounding after disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods can be daunting. Communities must have residents who can not only gain access to the resources that they need to rebuild but can overcome the collective action problem that characterizes post-disaster relief efforts.