Network utilities, such as electricity, telephones, and gas, are public utilities that require a fixed network to deliver their services. Because consumers have no choice of network, they risk exploitation by network owners. Once invested, however, a network's capital is sunk, and the bargaining advantage shifts from investor to consumer. The investor, fearing expropriation, may be reluctant to invest. The tension between consumer and investor can be side-stepped by state ownership.
Until the 1980s, it was presumed that technical change in most communications services could easily be monitored from centralized state and federal agencies. This presumption was long outdated prior to the commercialization of the Internet. With the Internet, the long-forecast convergence of voice, video, and text bits became a reality. Legislation, capped by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, created new quasi-standards such as "fair" and "reasonable" for the FCC and courts to apply, leading to nonstop litigation and occasional gridlock.
"This book is about the relationship between law, a quasi-judicial administrative agency, and politics, in the volatile arena of labor policy and the balance of power between labor and management.... It is about the rule of law and the role of labor law in a modern economy."
—from the Introduction
Generations at Risk presents compelling evidence that human exposure to some toxic chemicals can have lifelong and even intergenerational effects on human reproduction and development. The result of a collaboration involving public health professionals, physicians, environmental educators, and policy advocates, this book examines how scientific, social, economic, and political systems may fail to protect us from environmental and occupational toxicants.
Public and private pensions control almost a quarter of the United States' tangible wealth—equivalent to all of the country's residential real estate. They account for most current saving in the country, are a crucial component of household retirement resources, and have significant effects on labor market mobility and efficiency. Collectively, they hold a tremendous proportion of all common stock.
Since 1991, Robert Barro has been a lively contributor to the Wall Street Journal and other popular financial media. Getting It Right brings together, updates, and expands upon these writings that showcase Barro's agility in applying economic understanding to a wide array of social issues.
Regulatory reform had its beginnings in the United States in the 1970s, and today it is taking place around the globe. One of the central questions for industrial policy is how to regulate firms with market power. Regulatory Reform tackles this important policy issue in two parts: it describes an analytical framework for studying the main issues in regulatory reform, and then applies the analysis to the British experience in four utility industries—telecommunications, gas, electricity, and water supply.
Coping with the challenges of global warming is a daunting task for both scientists and economists, who must understand future changes, and for policy makers, who must ultimately choose policies to balance risks and costs. Managing the Global Commons presents a unique effort to encompass economic, scientific, and policy aspects of this great geophysical experiment.
How does risk labeling information on hazardous household chemicals and pesticides influence consumer behavior? While many studies speculate on the effects of risk information, Magat and Viscusi draw on a series of extensive surveys to assess the likely response. Their set of original studies of household chemicals, energy audits, and food risk labeling establishes guidelines for the design and evaluation of these informational regulations.
This collection of work by economist, consultant, and expert witness Franklin M. Fisher constitutes an integrated body of the economic analysis of the law, with particular emphasis on antitrust issues. Fisher's involvement with applying economic analysis to real disputes and to problems of microeconomic policy has resulted in valuable lessons. These lessons are incorporated in themes running through many of these essays about the uses and abuses, achievements and shortcomings, of economic analysis.