Barriers to prosperity: the harmful impact of entry regulations on income inequality



Abstract: Entry regulations, including fees, permits and licenses, can make it prohibitively difficult for low-income individuals to establish footholds in many industries, even at the entry-level. As such, these regulations increase income inequality by either preventing access to higher paying professions or imposing costs on individuals choosing to enter illegally and provide unlicensed services. To estimate this relationship empirically, we combine entry regulations data from the World Bank’s Doing Business Index with various measures of income inequality, including Gini coefficients and income shares to form a panel of 115 countries. We find that countries with more stringent entry regulations tend to experience more income inequality. In countries with average inequality, increasing the number of procedures required to start a new business by one standard deviation is associated with a 7.2% increase in the share of income accruing to the top decile of earners, and a 12.9% increase in the overall Gini coefficient. This result is robust to the measure of inequality, startup regulations, and potential endogeneity. We conclude by offering several policy recommendations designed to minimize the adverse effects of entry regulations.

‘A Burthen Too Heavy For Humane Sufferance’: Locke on Reputation



Abstract: Locke emphasized that a concern for reputation powerfully shaped the individual’s conduct. Most scholarship suggests that Locke portrayed this phenomenon in negative terms. This article complicates this picture. A concern for reputation served a constructive role in Locke’s theory of social development, which offered a powerful alternative explanation of the origins of moral consensus and political authority to Hobbes’s. Locke nonetheless suggested that misunderstandings engendered in Christian commonwealths regarding the nature of political and religious authority had impacted negatively on the moral regulation of societies. The forces governing society, which once habituated individuals in beneficial ways, now led them astray.

Marsilius of Padua on Representation



Abstract: The concept of representation plays an important role in Marsilius of Padua’s major work, the Defensor Pacis. Yet, with a few notable exceptions,Marsilius’ concept of representation has received relatively little attention among recent scholars. The main purpose of this article is to fill this gap and scrutinizeMarsilius’ concept of representation as an autonomous theoretical and political problem in the Defensor Pacis. The paper first surveys the different meanings of repraesentatio that appear in Marsilius’ 1324 work. It then identifies an understanding of political representation — repraesentatio identitatis — that unites most cases in which Marsilius explicitly deploys a political language of representation, whether in the context of secular or church governance. Marsilius’ usage of the concept of repraesentatio identitatis is particularly innovative as it turns a notion coming from corporate theory in civil and canon law into a specifically philosophical-political theory.

Democracy before, in, and after Schumpeter



Abstract: The classical model of democracy that Schumpeter criticizes is manufactured out of a variety of earlier ideas, not those of any one thinker or even one school of thought. His critique of the central ideals by which he defines the model—those of the common will and the common good—remains persuasive. People’s preferences are too messy and too manipulable to allow us to think that mass democracy can promote those ideals, as he defines them. Should we endorse his purely electoral model of democracy, then, and accept that people do not exercise any control over government? Not necessarily. We can expand democracy to include the constitutional and contestatory constraints that people impose on their rulers. We may hope that people can rely on such democratic controls to ensure that government operates by community standards.

The Golden Thread of Religious Liberty: Comparing the Thought of John Locke and James Madison



Abstract: The views of the American founders on religious liberty provide fertile ground for a range of different interpretations of the extent of legal protections for religious liberty and how religious liberty is justified. Although John Locke’s arguments for religious liberty were influential on the American founders, several founders, including James Madison, departed from or developed Locke’s arguments in a way that emphasizes how a human being’s religious obligations can limit the power of civil government. Contemporary religious liberty scholars have emphasized Madison’s apparent departure from Locke in order to help justify legal exemptions for religious practices. Although Locke did not directly link the duty of human beings to worship God according to one’s conscience to the right of religious liberty, I argue that each part of Madison’s argument is already present in Locke.

Edmund Burke on the Question of Commercial Intercourse in the Eighteenth Century


THE REVIEW OF POLITICS, Volume 79, Issue 4

Abstract: Scholars have noticed that Edmund Burke’s impassioned economic tract in favor of market liberty, Thoughts and Details on Scarcity, appears to be at odds with his political philosophy and rhetorical temperament of prudence and restraint. This essay challenges this interpretation. I contend that Burke’s emotional statements in the writing reflect strong continuities with his earlier reflections and political activities regarding economic issues. From his earliest days in Parliament to his final years, Burke was a firm supporter of commercial liberty, both domestic and foreign. I conclude by arguing that we cannot properly understand Burke’s belief in gradual reform unless we grasp his idea of incremental commercial improvement.

Max Scheler and Adam Smith on Sympathy


THE REVIEW OF POLITICS, Volume 79, Issue 3

Abstract: Recent efforts to theorize the role of emotions in political life have stressed the importance of sympathy, and have often recurred to Adam Smith to articulate their claims. In the early twentieth-century, Max Scheler disputed the salutary character of sympathy, dismissing it as an ultimately perverse foundation for human association. Unlike later critics of sympathy as a political principle, Scheler rejected it for being ill equipped to salvage what, in his opinion, should be the proper basis of morality, namely, moral value. Even if Scheler’s objections against Smith’s project prove to be ultimately mistaken, he had important reasons to call into question its moral purchase in his own time. Where the most dangerous idol is not self-love but illusory self-knowledge, the virtue of self-command will not suffice. Where identification with others threatens the social bond more deeply than faction, “standing alone” in moral matters proves a more urgent task.