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Tag Archives: Regulation

Some Non-Covid Links

GMU Law professor Joshua Wright is right, in this letter to the Wall Street Journal, about the FTC: It’s a touch ominous when a bureaucrat begins her tenure by sending bipartisan procedural safeguards to the paper shredder. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Lina Khan wasted no time making confetti of the guardrails at the FTC, including the Obama administration policy statement placing minimal limits on how the agency could use its theretofore undefined power to police “unfair methods of...

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What can we infer from the Swedish Covid policy?

There’s been a great deal of discussion of what we can learn from the Covid policy adopted by Sweden.  One side suggests that the Swedish outcome shows that lockdowns don’t have much impact on Covid infection rates, while the other side reaches the opposite conclusion.  I’m rather skeptical about the effectiveness of lockdown policies, but I don’t entirely agree with either side of the debate over Swedish policy.  (This article in The Economist is also mildly...

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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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Royal Caribbean’s Response to DeSantis’s Restrictions on Freedom of Association

Unintended consequences strike again. Earlier this month, the line [Royal Caribbean] said that certain venues on the ship would be off-limits to unvaccinated passengers, but it didn’t give specifics. This week’s listing of forbidden venues fleshes out the plan. The newly posted list includes: The Chef’s TableIzumi Hibachi & SushiR BarSchooner BarThe PubViking Crown NightclubSolarium BarSolarium PoolCasino Royale (the ship’s casino)Casino BarVitality Spa (the...

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Campusland

I rarely read a whole 300+ page novel in a day, but I did so on Saturday. It’s Campusland by Scott Johnston. Johnston, who worked at Salomon and opened some nightclubs in New York, also founded two tech start-ups. But those are not what the book’s about. It’s about Ephraim Russell, a young assistant professor of American literature who teaches at fictitious Devon University, a small elite private university with a multi-billion dollar endowment. Russell is up for...

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A Mildly Optimistic Note About America

At a time when majorities everywhere seem to believe that the market is imperfect and the government (the government each one thinks he would run, not the current one run by others) is perfect, America sometimes or perhaps often looks like a relatively enlightened spot. Compared to probably all advanced countries, a sizeable minority—if not sometimes a majority—of Americans hold opinions that are economically more realistic and more consistent with the ideal of a free...

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Strange moral calculations

The Economist has an interesting article discussing regulatory changes regarding child safety seats: During the Reagan era, only the truly wee—tots aged under three—had normally to be secured in child-safety seats. But states’ governments have, since then, gradually ramped up the requirements. Today, most places in America make children sit in safety seats until their eighth birthdays. That concern for youngsters’ safety has had the unintended consequence, Dr...

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Lincicome on Industrial Policy

Scott Lincicome and Huan Zhu have a new Cato working paper on industrial policy. The paper is very good and reviews—and builds on—the recent literature on the subject. It also makes a point of clarifying what industrial policy is and what is not, and what successes it can and what it cannot claim. Here’s an enlightening bit on industrial policy and Covid-19 mRNA vaccines: the COVID-19 vaccines developed under “Operation Warp Speed” have been heralded as a triumph of...

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The Case for Boarding Houses

Washington’s new bill will “increase housing unit inventory by removing arbitrary limits on housing options.” In plain English, what that means is that groups of people who aren’t family will be allowed to live together. Washington is one of many states with old laws on the books prohibiting such living arrangements — a vestige of zoning regulations aimed at prioritizing the nuclear family and limiting the availability of affordable housing through boarding houses....

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Temporary insanity (learning from mistakes)

One of the most interesting passages in Edward Nelson’s new book on Milton Friedman concerns wage and price controls as a tool for reducing inflation. Throughout history, economists have generally opposed price controls. Then around 1970, many prominent Keynesian economists suddenly began supporting the policy. Why? Here’s Ed Nelson (Vol. 2, p. 258): Indeed, what is remarkable about events during 1970 is the extent to which mainstream US macroeconomic thinking on...

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