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Home / Tag Archives: Law and Economics

Tag Archives: Law and Economics

The “good old days” that never were

Will Wilkinson has a post discussing how residential zoning laws were originally instituted to exclude certain minority groups: In 1926, the Supreme Court ruled that zoning was cool in Euclid v. Ambler Realty. However, despite the fact that Euclid’s lawyers insisted that their law had nothing to do with race, the district court judge whose decision the high court reversed didn’t see much difference between the law in Euclid Township, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) and...

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Libel Laws Should All be Repealed

Libel law is back in the news what with some public rethinking (more like wailing and gnashing of teeth) about New York Times v. Sullivan. Should public figures be more or less protected from being libeled is one issue that has arisen. Another is exactly who is and who is not a public figure? Then there is the question of whether or not “actual malice” should be a requirement for libel. And where does the First Amendment fit in to all of this? Justice Clarence Thomas...

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What about bribery?

This is a follow-up post to my recent proposal for banning corporations from paying ransom. Let’s think about another possible law, enacted to deal with the following scenario. Suppose that a US corporation has the best proposal to build a project in another country. Unfortunately, the government of that country won’t grant the contract unless a bribe is paid to a top official. The victimized company reluctantly pays the bribe, because paying the bribe reduces the...

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Ransom bleg

I’m no expert on extortion, so I’d be interested in what other people think of the following proposed law: Any person found guilty of paying ransom in order to protect corporate assets shall serve a sentence of not less than 20 years in a federal prison. The proximate goal would be to stop US corporations from paying ransom. The ultimate goal would be to reduce attempts to extort ransom. Would such a law make sense?

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Saying Just About Anything

Yesterday, I pointed out the flimsiness of President Joe Biden’s economics as expressed in his speech of last week before Congress. What he said in the same speech comparing the First and the Second Amendments does not make more sense. It confirms one conclusion of the economics of politics: for a politician, the cost of saying just about anything or of plain lying is low. In arguing for still more gun controls, he explicitly invited a comparison between the limits of...

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Did Trump Foment a Violent Assault?

“Today’s violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump,” Mattis wrote. “His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.” This is from Lara Seligman, “Mattis blames Trump for inciting ‘mob rule’“, Politico, January 6, 2020. Because I didn’t...

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My Work Continuage: A Confession

I have a confession: I continued working even though I was told not to. I was reminded of this by this article by Mckenna Dallmeyer, Texas Senior Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform. It’s titled “State auditor demands nearly $2k from Ole Miss prof who went on ‘illegal’ strike,” Campus Reform, December 14, 2020. Here’s what happened. I was a visiting assistant professor at Santa Clara University from September 1980 to December 1981. In the spring quarter of 1981,...

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RBG and the “Waypavers”

There have already been an extraordinary number of remembrances, celebrations, and criticisms written of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and work in the days since her passing. I’m grateful for her contributions to advancing gender equality in law, but I have no assessment of her overall judicial legacy to add to the outpouring. Instead, I’ll offer just a few thoughts about her success and why it means so much to so many people. One question that fascinates me when I...

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Tullock’s COVID Spike

There is perhaps no greater goal than promoting safe behavior during a pandemic.  Policy makers need to know the correct proscriptive policy to encourage, or perhaps force, citizens to act in safer ways.  For citizens themselves, the calculus is different.  Safe behavior can fall on a continuum of greater or lesser risk, but that typically corresponds with costs.  Some behavior that is very safe can be costly.  Gordon Tullock famously explored this trade off with his...

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The Supreme Court is a follower, not a leader

Both progressives and conservatives obsess about who is appointed to the Supreme Court, as if political ideology determines whether someone is a highly qualified judge. Or perhaps it is because they believe their preferred justices will produce a better set of public policies.  In fact, the hope of remaking the Court to fit one’s ideology remains a mirage, always hovering just over the horizon.  Here’s Janan Ganesh of the FT: Whoever was “right”, the evidence that...

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