Thursday , November 14 2019
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Quantifying Regulation in US States

Regulation has traditionally been an understudied topic among economists because it is difficult to measure effectively, but that’s started to change in recent years. The size, scope, and complexity of federal regulation in the United States, as well as in other countries, is now better documented and, more importantly, quantified in various dimensions. However, regulation in the 50 US states has remained elusive because comprehensive, consistent measures of state regulation are difficult to...

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Some Challenges for Congress’s Proposed Reform of Insider Trading Plans

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) promulgated rule 10b5-1(c) as one component of a broad insider trading reform package in 2000. The rule offers an affirmative defense from insider trading liability for corporate insiders who trade in their own firm’s shares pursuant to qualified trading plans (Trading Plans). Studies suggest, however, that contrary to their intended purpose, insiders are using these Trading Plans strategically to trade based on material nonpublic information. The...

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Amazon and the Diffuse Power of Consumers

Franklin Foer’s article in the Atlantic on Jeff Bezos’s master plan offers insight into the mind of the famed CEO, but his argument that Amazon is all-powerful is flawed. Foer overlooks the role of consumers in shaping Amazon’s narrative. In doing so, he overestimates the actual autonomy of Bezos and the power of Amazon over its consumers.  The article falls prey to an atomistic theory of Amazon. The thinking goes like this: I am an atom, and Amazon is a (much) larger atom. Because Amazon is...

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New Research on Protectionism, CON Laws in Alaska and Florida, and FedNow

New Protectionism: Still Protectionism and Bad Economics Veronique de Rugy | Policy Brief Senior research fellow Veronique de Rugy’s latest research explores the era of “new protectionism,” exposing unfounded trade fears that have resulted in misguided policy prescriptions. She points to lessons from the past that should guide policy for the future, including examples from the US as well as the recent booming economies of East Asian countries. A misunderstanding of history and economics has...

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Regulatory Review Commission + Regulatory Budget = A Diet for Better, More Effective Regulations

All regulations, however well intended, create unintended consequences. Regulatory accumulation (that is, the buildup of rules over time) leads to slower economic growth and fewer small businesses, and it deepens wealth inequality as the burden of regulatory accumulation is disproportionately borne by low-income households. Furthermore, organizational and political incentives inherent to bureaucracies lead regulators to tirelessly create new rules while paying little attention to past...

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From Stagflation to Quantitative Easing: The History of the Cato Institute’s Monetary Conference

The US economy was still in the shadow of stagflation as the market-oriented Cato Institute held its first monetary conference in January 1983. The economists, journalists, and other policy wonks at that first Washington meeting could never have foreseen the dawn of a nearly 25-year “great moderation” of steady growth with low inflation. “In fact, we had an inflation rate peaking pretty much in about 1980, 13 percent or so,” Cato economist Jim Dorn, founding director of the conference,...

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Amazon and the Diffuse Power of Consumers

Franklin Foer’s article in the Atlantic on Jeff Bezos’s master plan offers insight into the mind of the famed CEO, but his argument that Amazon is all-powerful is flawed. Foer overlooks the role of consumers in shaping Amazon’s narrative. In doing so, he overestimates the actual autonomy of Bezos and the power of Amazon over its consumers.  The article falls prey to an atomistic theory of Amazon. The thinking goes like this: I am an atom, and Amazon is a (much) larger atom. Because Amazon is...

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George Selgin on the Past, Present, and Future of a Real-Time Payments System

George Selgin is the director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives and is a returning guest to the Macro Musings podcast. Today, George joins Macro Musings to talk about recent developments in the payment system. Specifically, George and David discuss the history of attempted payment system solutions, the challenges and costs facing the implementation of a real-time payment system, and why we should care about this issue today.    Read the Full Episode...

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