The efficiency of regulatory arbitrage

VLAD TARKO, ANDREW FARRANT

PUBLIC CHOICE

Abstract: Classic public choice skepticism about the regulatory state, based on theories of rent-seeking, rent extraction and regulatory capture, is based on the unrealistic, and usually unstated, assumption of a monopolist regulator. In practice, the regulatory state is polycentric, involving numerous quasi-independent agencies with overlapping responsibilities. This has led to a more optimistic picture based on the idea of regulatory arbitrage: when firms can, to some extent, pick and choose their preferred regulator, regulatory agencies are constrained to deliver relatively efficient regulatory policies. In our view, this optimism is also unrealistic. We build a family of models that explores the possible regulatory outcomes, and use some aspects of Gordon Tullock’s critique of the common law as a conceptual foundation for the analysis of the efficiency of a polycentric regulatory system.

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The physiological basis of psychological disgust and moral judgments

TRACY, J.L., STECKLER, C.M., & HELTZEL, G.

JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

Abstract: To address ongoing debates about whether feelings of disgust are causally related to moral judgments, we pharmacologically inhibited spontaneous disgust responses to moral infractions and examined effects on moral thinking. Findings demonstrated, first, that the antiemetic ginger (Zingiber officinale), known to inhibit nausea, reduces feelings of disgust toward nonmoral purity-offending stimuli (e.g., bodily fluids), providing the first experimental evidence that disgust is causally rooted in physiological nausea (Study 1). Second, this same physiological experience was causally related to moral thinking: ginger reduced the severity of judgments toward purity-based moral violations (Studies 2 and 4) or eliminated the tendency for people higher in bodily sensation awareness to make harsher moral judgments than those low in this dispositional tendency (Study 3). In all studies, effects were restricted to moderately severe purity-offending stimuli, consistent with preregistered predictions. Together, findings provide the first evidence that psychological disgust can be disrupted by an antiemetic and that doing so has consequences for moral judgments.

The age of mass migration in Latin America

BLANCA SÁNCHEZ‐ALONSO

THE ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW

Abstract: The experiences of Latin American countries are not fully incorporated into current debates concerning the age of mass migration, even though 13 million Europeans migrated to the region between 1870 and 1930. This survey draws together different aspects of the Latin America immigration experience. Its main objective is to rethink the role of European migration to the region, addressing several major questions in the economics of migration: whether immigrants were positively selected from their sending countries, how immigrants assimilated into the host economies, the role of immigration policies, and the long‐run effects of immigration. Immigrants came from the economically backward areas of southern and eastern Europe, yet their adjustment to the host labour markets in Latin America seems to have been successful. The possibility of rapid social upgrading made Latin America attractive for European immigrants. Migrants were positively selected from origin according to literacy. The most revealing aspect of new research is showing the positive long‐run effects that European immigrants had in Latin American countries. The political economy of immigration policies deserves new research, particularly for Brazil and Cuba. The case of Argentina shows a more complex scenario than the classic representation of landowners constantly supporting an open‐door policy.

Locke, Nozick and the state of nature

JUSTIN P. BRUNER

PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES

Abstract: Recently, philosophers have drawn on tools from game theory to explore behavior in Hobbes’ state of nature (Vanderschraaf in Econ Philos 22:243–279, 2006; Chung in J Am Philos Assoc 1:485–508, 2015). I take a similar approach and argue the Lockean state of nature is best conceived of as a conflictual coordination game. I also discuss Nozick’s famous claim regarding the emergence of the state and argue the path to the minimal state is blocked by a hitherto unnoticed free-rider problem. Finally, I argue that on my representation of the Lockean state of nature both widespread conflict and lasting peace are possible. This, I contend, is in line with one popular interpretation of Locke (Simmons in Polit Theory 17:449–470, 1989).

Resisting Moralisation in Health Promotion

REBECCA C. H. BROWN

ETHICAL THEORY AND MORAL PRACTICE

Abstract: Health promotion efforts are commonly directed towards encouraging people to discard ‘unhealthy’ and adopt ‘healthy’ behaviours in order to tackle chronic disease. Typical targets for behaviour change interventions include diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption, sometimes described as ‘lifestyle behaviours.’ In this paper, I discuss how efforts to raise awareness of the impact of lifestyles on health, in seeking to communicate the (perceived) need for people to change their behaviour, can contribute to a climate of ‘healthism’ and promote the moralisation of people’s lifestyles. I begin by summarising recent trends in health promotion and introducing the notion of healthism, as described by Robert Crawford in the 1980s. One aspect of healthism is moralisation, which I outline (alongside the related term moralism) and suggest is facilitated by efforts to promote health via information provision and educational strategies. I propose that perceived responsibility plays a role in mediating the tendency to moralise about health and behaviour. Since I argue that states ought to avoid direct and indirect moralisation of people’s health-related behaviour, this suggests states must be cautious with regard to the use of responsibility-indicating interventions (including informational and educational campaigns) to promote health.

Empatía y moralidad: las dimensiones psicológicas y filosóficas de una relación compleja

BELÉN ALTUNA

REVISTA DE FILOSOFÍA

Resumen: Para algunos la empatía es “el centro del universo moral”, mientras que para otros juega un papel secundario o, en todo caso, éticamente poco fiable. Acudiendo tanto a sus precursores filosóficos –como Hume y Smith–, como a sus investigadores contemporáneos en el campo de la psicología – como Hoffman y Batson–, este artículo elabora una defensa ponderada del papel de la empatía en la motivación, el desarrollo y el juicio morales, reconociendo sus limitaciones.

Do dictatorships redistribute more?

PANTELIS KAMMAS, VASSILIS SARANTIDES

JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE ECONOMICS

Abstract: This paper examines the effect of political institutions on fiscal redistribution for a country-level panel from 1960–2010. Using data on Gini coefficients before and after government intervention, we apply a measure of effective fiscal redistribution that reflects the effect of taxes and transfers on income inequality. Our findings clearly indicate that non-democratic regimes demonstrate significantly greater direct fiscal redistribution. Subsequently, we employ fiscal data in an attempt to enlighten this puzzling empirical finding. We find that dictatorial regimes rely more heavily on cash transfers that exhibit a direct impact on net inequality and consequently on the difference between market and net inequality (i.e., effective fiscal redistribution), whereas democratic regimes devote a larger amount of resources to public inputs (health and education) that may influence market inequality but not the difference between market and net inequality per se. We argue that the driving force behind the observed differences within the pattern on government spending and effective fiscal redistribution is that democratic institutions lead survival-oriented leaders to care more for the private market, and thus to follow policies that enhance the productivity of the whole economy.