In recent years governments have paid increasing attention to weighing the socioeconomic benefits of regulations against their costs. Rules and regulations governing economic activity are typically formulated with a view to their benefits. Their effects on the costs and inefficiencies, in particular the possible chilling effects on competition and innovation, have received limited attention.
Using applied general equilibrium methods to analyze recent debates about the conduct of U.S. foreign trade policy, de Melo and Tarr show that in terms of costs to the economy and to consumers, nontariff barriers in textiles, automobiles, and steel have more than reversed the benefits of cumulative tariff liberalization achieved in successive postwar GATT rounds.
The past twenty-five years have seen a significant evolution in environmental policy, with new environmental legislation and substantive amendments to earlier laws, significant advances in environmental science, and changes in the treatment of science (and scientific uncertainty) by the courts. This book offers a detailed discussion of the important issues in environmental law, policy, and economics, tracing their development over the past few decades through an examination of environmental law cases and commentaries by leading scholars.
Over the past twenty years, economic theory has begun to play a central role in antitrust matters. In earlier days, the application of antitrust rules was viewed almost entirely in formal terms; now it is widely accepted that the proper interpretation of these rules requires an understanding of how markets work and how firms can alter their efficient functioning.
Antitrust policy in the United States and Europe relies increasingly on economic analysis. Economic theory and empirical analysis play a central role in antitrust decisions in the courts and in the formulation and enforcement of policy. Antitrust cases are argued using sophisticated economic thinking; both plaintiffs and defendants in U.S. v. Microsoft, for example, made extensive use of game theory, the economics of information, and transaction cost economics in their arguments.
Shipping is among the most globalized of industries. Shipowners can choose where to register their vessels, based on cost, convenience, and the international and domestic regulations that would govern their operation. This system of open registration, also known as flags of convenience (FOC), can encourage a competition in regulatory laxity among states that want to attract shipping revenues--a race to the regulatory bottom. In Flagging Standards, Elizabeth DeSombre examines the effect of globalization on environmental, safety, and labor standards in the shipping industry.
The repeal of Britain's Corn Laws in 1846--one of the most important economic policy decisions of the nineteenth century--has long intrigued and puzzled political scientists, historians, and economists. Why would a Conservative prime minister act against his own party's interests? The Conservatives entered government in 1841 with a strong commitment to protecting agriculture; five years later, the Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel presided over repeal of the protectionist Corn Laws, violating party principles and undercutting the economic interests of the land-owning aristocracy.
In 2000, the average driver in US metropolitan areas endured 27 hours of traffic delays, a rise from 7 hours in 1980. In many other countries, traffic delays are considerably worse than in the United States, and in developing countries urban traffic congestion is increasing with alarming rapidity. For fifty years, economists have been advocating congestion pricing as the way to deal with urban traffic congestion; but today, even after some successes, congestion pricing is encountering considerable political resistance.
Recent business scandals point to a disturbing breakdown of values in corporate America. This book responds to the crisis by examining the responsibilities of "gatekeepers" -- corporate directors, regulators, auditors, lawyers, investment bankers, and business journalists -- who stand between corporate misconduct and the public. The essays, by prominent scholars and practitioners, argue that market pressures have made gatekeepers too focused on financial self-interest and too heedless of the public good to live up to society's legitimate expectations.