The Effect of Economists and Other Professions on Economic Growth
There is a literature on the effects of lawyers on economic growth that suggests that much legal activity is either unproductive or rent-seeking. While the empirical results in this literature are mixed, there is a larger question of why does the... continue reading
Alchian-Allen Effect in Higher Education
The Alchian-Allen Theorem states that when there are two substitute goods of differing quality and a fixed per unit amount is added to the cost of the product, consumption will shift towards the higher quality good as it is relatively cheaper. The... continue reading
The Effect of Smoking Bans on Exercising by Non-smokers
Smoking bans have shown to have many effects, some intended, some unintended, like Adams and Cotti's (2008, Journal of Public Economics) finding that smoking bans led to more fatal accidents from drunk driving. The mechanism is that smokers were... continue reading
The Economics of Meal Plan Requirements in Higher Education
Many colleges and universities require full-time undergraduate students to purchase a full meal plan as long as they live on-campus. To students this can often feel like they are being exploited, especially given the high average meal cost of... continue reading
Textbook Coverage of Inframarginal Externalities
Externalities are an important concept in economics as they are one of the many potential issues with markets. Negative externalities, for example, occur when costs are imposed on others outside the market system. Air pollution is but one example.... continue reading
The Political Economy of the National Historic Register
In 1966, the U.S. Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act. The Act created the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) to catalog all of the nation’s important historical objects, buildings, and areas. The National Register is... continue reading
A Comparative Historical Political Economy Approach to Tariffs and Economic Development
In his influential book, Kicking Away the Ladder (2002), Ha-Joon Chang explains that developed nations like the US used protectionist policies like high tariffs to develop. This argument is in direct contrast to the view that laissez-faire... continue reading
Geographic Isolation and Pork Barrel Projects
In The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics (Journal of Political Economy, 1981), Weingast, Shepsle and Johnsen lay out the costs and benefits of geographically earmarked pork barrel spending.... continue reading
Property Tax Limitations, Hoarding Disorder, and Observed Hoarding Behavior
Individuals with a hoarding disorder (HD) have difficulty discarding or giving away possessions. HD often leads to an accumulation of materials over time that can greatly affect the quality of life for hoarders and their families. To my knowledge... continue reading
Marginal Cost of a Public School Student Depends on the State Funding Formula
The marginal cost of a public education is important, as public schools must take all students in their area. The higher fixed costs are as a proportion of total costs, the more difficult it is for public schools to adjust spending in response to... continue reading
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