On January 24, 2007, Lior Strahilevitz delivered a Chicago's Best Ideas talk on his notion that we should all be subject to a program like the "How's My Driving?" program you see on the backs of trucks. The truck program saves lives, and Professor Stahilevitz argues that in this case, more is better. Strahilevitz also hinted that this sort of communal feedback system could be used for much more than our nation's roadways. Intrinsically fascinating, and caused half the packed room to raise hands for questions. You can hear this talk here. For those who want to read the full paper and have access to SSRN, here's the link. Description from the posters after the jump.
Continue reading "Strahilevitz: How's My Driving? For Everything and Everyone" »
Danny Sokol, a former student of mine now teaching antitrust
at Wisconsin, has arranged a series of posts on his Antitrust &
Competition Policy blog addressing how different professors approach
teaching antitrust. Here is what I said.
This year, I am teaching three classes—Antitrust, Network
Industries and Copyright—and one seminar, Antitrust and IP Policy. I think of
Antitrust and Network Industries as a nice, somewhat integrated two-quarter—we
do quarters at Chicago—sequence: Antitrust, a class on the regulation of
artificial monopoly, and Network Industries, a class on the regulation of
natural monopoly. (We also have a separate Telecommunications Law class and
there is some overlap between that class and Network Industries.) The name of
the seminar really should be Whatever Randy Wants to Read Right Now; last year,
it was classics in the secondary copyright literature; this year it is recently
published articles or draft articles on antitrust.
Continue reading "Teaching Antitrust at Chicago" »
Assume state run lotteries. (We do have them after all, so it is not as if we need always start from first principles. If there were a good reason to prefer the privatization of Illinois's or another state's lottery, then of course we should proceed even if the first-best world had been one with no state-sponsored lottery. Besides, there are some good arguments for a lottery, and indeed for one that does not have a thin profit margin. Even a good libertarian could say that inasmuch as the government is not coercing persons to play the lottery, and there are many private alternatives for gamblers, a state lottery is not the worst of all evils. Some people might actually like playing it, and that must count for something, just as some small investors seem to like paying for stock market advice.)
Continue reading "Privatizing the Lottery - and other Things" »
Recently the Bush administration has submitted its warrantless surveillance program to examination by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, after maintaining vigorously that it need not do so. It is unclear what, exactly, the administration is asking the Court to do, and the administration refers obscurely to “new legal developments”; but let us suppose that at least part of the administration’s motive is to avoid a judicial and legislative test of the program’s legality, by rendering litigation moot and dampening the impetus for congressional oversight. In litigation over the detention of enemy combatants, the administration has sometimes pulled off a similar maneuver, as when it transferred Jose Padilla from military detention to the criminal justice system in order to moot pending litigation. Many critics find these actions objectionable. Are they?
Continue reading "Bickel, Jackson – and Bush" »
Apparently the government has a new strategy for raising
revenues: first declare that only the government can provide a service and
then, after deciding that the private sector might actually do a better job of it,
auction off the right to the highest bidder. Voila! The government gets a bunch
of money and doesn’t have to raise taxes. I hate to sound like what everyone
thinks that we sound like at Chicago but am I the only one offended—deeply
offended actually—by the suggestion that Illinois is going to sell
its lottery to private parties? My ire isn’t about private lotteries; rather it
is about fake government monopolies and the hidden taxation that they
Continue reading "Selling the Illinois Lottery" »
For several years, Richard Thaler and I have been working on the topic of "libertarian paternalism." The basic idea is that private and public institutions might nudge people in directions that will make their lives go better, without eliminating freedom of choice. The paternalism consists in the nudge; the libertarianism consists in the insistence on freedom, and on imposing little or no cost on those who seek to go their own way. (Our principal paper, Libertarian Paternalism Is Not an Oxymoron, can be found in the University of Chicago Law Review, on the website of the AEI-Brookings Joint Center on Regulatory Policy, and on ssrn.com.) A core example of libertarian paternalism is Thaler's Save More Tomorrow plan, by which workers can sign up to devote some of their future wage increases to savings. Another example is the automatic enrollment plan, by which workers are automatically enrolled in a savings plan, but can opt out with no trouble and at no expense if they choose to do so. We could easily imagine a Give More Tomorrow plan, for charitable giving, or automatic enrollment for the same purpose (with costless opt-out).
Continue reading "Libertarian Paternalism" »