The Bulletin
Upcoming Event
"QuantLaw: Saul Levmore on Regulating Internalities"
Date/Time: Monday, March 10, 2014  04:00:PM
Location: College of Law - Room 168

Much health and safety regulation can be understood as the product of political coalitions between two groups. The first, consisting of persons with self-control issues, enlists the government as an intermediary. The second either expects to benefit from the success of the first, or anticipates gains from a tax imposed on the first group’s behavior. A political entrepreneur might plausibly turn these groups’ preferences into law. This public choice perspective on regulation provides a positive explanation of why it is more likely that a legal system will engage in some health and safety programs than in others. The important break from the conventional view of regulation, as something that either controls externalities or is imposed paternalistically, is in advancing the idea that the government is an intermediary deployed by those who want help. Internalities, associated with collective action problems or with time inconsistent preferences, deserve equal billing. The discussion considers smoking regulation and other health and safety regulation, and then contrasts these with anti-obesity efforts where private contracting is a more feasible means of controlling internalities, and where political coalitions are less likely. 

Contact: Nancy Stanley
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