Important work by cobrapost that illuminates high-powered incentives

The investigative journalism by cobrapost, their videos, and Monika Halan in Mint add up to an important story. Most of us have enormous respect for the achievements of Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank. But as Monika emphasises, there are also genuine problems there. We saw it first with the hard-driving mis-selling . . . → Read More: Important work by cobrapost that illuminates high-powered incentives

American Medicine is Sick

First, here’s this:

Cancer-busting chemotherapy can cause damage to healthy cells which triggers them to secrete a protein that sustains tumour growth and resistance to further treatment, a study said Sunday.

Researchers in the United States made the “completely unexpected” finding while seeking to explain why cancer cells are so resilient inside the human . . . → Read More: American Medicine is Sick

Welfare programs change behaviour

Many people like to envision worlds where the State will tax the rich and help “the needy” – this ranges from free health care to unemployment insurance to disability insurance, etc.

There are many problems with these schemes. One of them is the fact that people respond to incentives. We are not bricks, we . . . → Read More: Welfare programs change behaviour

Why Collectivism Fails

In the first place, it is helpful to define collectivism and failure. Collectivism refers to any and all economic and political systems where goods and services are publicly owned and operated; it is also popularly known as communism and socialism, among other terms. Failure is defined as failing to satiate the maximum number of . . . → Read More: Why Collectivism Fails

Why Not Sell?

Alex Tabarrok, in reference to encouraging people to become organ donors:

I am not in favor of messing with the insurance system for this purpose but have argued for a more direct approach. Under what I call a “no-give, no-take” rule if you are not willing to sign your organ donor card you go . . . → Read More: Why Not Sell?

Here’s The Problem

In case it hadn’t been made clear before:

No Child Left Behind requires all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Obama’s action strips away that fundamental requirement for those approved for flexibility, provided they offer a viable plan instead. Under the deal, the states must show they will prepare children . . . → Read More: Here’s The Problem

Book Review

Tabarrok focuses on four policy areas in which changes could yield very positive results. He kicks off the short eBook by focusing first on patent reform, noting that many areas of patent coverage (software, technical processes e.g.) have low innovation costs and, as such, are not worthy of patent protection. In fact, his recommended . . . → Read More: Launching The Innovation Renaissance by Alex Tabarrok

Eliminate the Complexity

That’s my recommendation for the corporate tax:

Those advocating a cut in the corporate tax rate today generally ignore the tax on dividends, as well as many other provisions of United States and foreign tax law that may reduce the effective tax rate well below the statutory rate.

A recent study found that only . . . → Read More: Eliminate the Complexity

When talking heads converge

The public finance wonk in me just loves this.  Just passing on what the CP had a few days ago actually.  Seems that even though everyone was talking about how important the film industry tax credit in Pennsylvania was to luring the mega Batman production to town, it seems that the producers did not . . . → Read More: When talking heads converge

A False Analogy

Robin Hanson makes a predictable mistake:

Similarly, the kinds of innovation activities and intellectual property rights that make sense depend on available institutions and technologies. I’m happy to admit that today intellectual property (IP) is not obviously a good idea. Such property can create large “anti-commons” transaction and enforcement costs that greatly raise . . . → Read More: A False Analogy