Frank Knight’s footnote on wise social policy

Footnote 16 in Frank Knight’s article, “Cost of production and price over long and short periods,” concluded with a sentence that ought likely to be added at the end of every expert’s policy proposal: Of course this does not mean that they should be required to change quickly to such a basis from the present… More Frank Knight’s footnote on wise social policy

Jonathan Rauch on the uncomfortable necessity of middlemen in transactional politics

In his recent work Jonathan Rauch has been writing about what I’ve unwillingly concluded are some uncomfortable home truths about politics. In a lot of places, especially the U.S., politics is more counterproductively fraught and fractious than it has been in the past century. This is true despite a near century of Progressive and populist… More Jonathan Rauch on the uncomfortable necessity of middlemen in transactional politics

Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing

Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing, or should we make it less profitable for policymakers to do anything? Abigail Hall, writing a pair of posts for the Independent Institute blog The Beacon, urges liberty-minded people not to get too excited about electing the “right people.” (First post, second)… More Should we make it politically profitable for policymakers to do the right thing

DOT’s airline price gouging investigation and a political economy-based prediction

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it had launched an investigation into possible “unfair practices (e.g., price gouging) affecting air travel during the period of time that Amtrak service along the Northeast Corridor was delayed or suspended as a result of the May 12th derailment.” Five airlines received letters from the agency seeking… More DOT’s airline price gouging investigation and a political economy-based prediction

You should probably raise prices a bit during emergencies

At the Master Resource blog today: “In Defense of Price ‘Gouging’ (lines and shortages are uneconomic, discriminatory).” In the essay I emphasize the unintended bias that results when consumer demand surges and supplies are tight, as for example when winter storm forecasts lead consumers to rush to the grocery store for bread and milk. Because… More You should probably raise prices a bit during emergencies

When does state utility regulation distort costs?

I suspect the simplest answer to the title question is “always.” Maybe the answer depends on your definition of “distort,” but both the intended and generally expected consequences of state utility rate regulation has always been to push costs to be something other than what would naturally emerge in the absence of rate regulation. More… More When does state utility regulation distort costs?

The spin on wind, or, an example of bullshit in the field of energy policy

The Wall Street Journal recently opined against President Obama’s nominee for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, Norman Bay, and in the process took a modest swipe at subsidies for wind energy. The context here is Bay’s action while leading FERC’s enforcement division, and in particular his prosecution of electric power market participants who manage to run afoul… More The spin on wind, or, an example of bullshit in the field of energy policy