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  • Author: Todd C. Neumann, Jason E. Taylor, Jerry L. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Recent research on the Great Depression emphasizes the role New Deal economic policy played in slowing recovery. Policies promoting cartels and higher wage rates during a time that the economy was experiencing unprecedented unemployment were likely to have created a negative supply shock that exacerbated economic depression rather than helped to alleviate it. Still, for 22 months between two important Supreme Court rulings, labor and product markets were relatively free of intervention. In A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States (May 1935), the Court ruled that the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) was unconstitutional. In addition to setting up industry cartels, the NIRA had imposed relatively high minimum hourly wage rates and restrictions on work- weeks and required firms to recognize the right of labor to organize.
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James A. Dorn
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The purpose of this article is to delineate the legitimate functions of government in a free society. This exercise differs from determining the “optimal” size of government, which economists have estimated at 15 to 30 percent of gross domestic product. James Madison, the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution, was not primarily looking for an engine of economic growth; he was seeking an institutional design to limit the powers of government and protect individual rights. People would then be free to pursue their happiness and, in the process, create wealth.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Peter Clark
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: At one point during the recent financial crisis the queen of England reportedly asked economists at the London School of Economics a seemingly straightforward question: “Why did academic economists fail to foresee the crisis?” This question can be broadened to include central banks, the International Monetary Fund, and technical specialists on Wall Street (“quants”). Jerome L. Stein, professor of economics (emeritus) and research professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics at Brown University, has written a timely book that provides a cogent and convincing answer to this question.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Kam Hon Chu
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Many financial systems were plagued by bank runs or subject to the risk of contagion when the recent financial tsunami unfolded. The runs on the U.S. banks Countrywide and IndyMac, Britain's Northern Rock, and Hong Kong's Bank of East Asia, among others, occurred about a few years ago, but they are still vivid to us. These runs were, of course, the symptoms rather than the root cause of the financial tsunami. In response to the most severe systemic global financial crisis since the Great Depression, policymakers and regulators in many countries have implemented various drastic regulatory measures to rescue the financial systems from meltdowns and to avert deep economic downturns. Such measures vary from country to country, but generally speaking they include governments' takeovers of banks or capital injections, quantitative easing techniques, provisions of liquidity by lax lender-of-last-resort lending, lower discount rates, and more generous deposit insurance.
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Robert Carbaugh, Thomas Tenerelli
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: From 1775 when Benjamin Franklin was appointed as the first postmaster general of the United States, the agency known as the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has grown to become an institution that delivers about half of the world's mail in rain, snow, and the dark of night. Employing about 656,000 workers and 260,000 vehicles and operating about 38,000 facilities nationwide, the USPS is the second-largest civilian employer in the United States, after WalMart. If the USPS was a private sector company, it would rank 28th in the 2009 Fortune 500 (U.S. Postal Service 2010).
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Malou Innocent
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: In the Western mind, Afghanistan conjures up a rugged land of fractious, tribal people. From Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, to Tamerlane and Mughal emperor Babur, virtually no conqueror has escaped “the graveyard of empires” unscathed. Even modern, industrial empires—the British and the Russian— suffered heavy losses. Why have foreign attempts to conquer Afghanistan proved so ineffective? Why did the U.S. invasion fail to bring stability?
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Paul H. Rubin
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Markets, tort law, and regulation are alternative methods of achieving safety. Of these, the market is the most powerful, but it is often ignored in policy discussions. I show that both for the United States over time and for the world as a whole, higher incomes are associated with lower accidental death rates, and I discuss some examples of markets creating safety. Markets may fail if there are third-party effects or if there are information problems. Classic tort law is a reasonable (although expensive) way to handle third-party effects for strangers, as in the case of auto accidents. In theory, regulation could solve information problems, but in practice many regulations overreach because of different information problems—consumers are unaware of unapproved alternatives. A particularly difficult information problem arises in the case of what I call “ambiguous goods”— goods that reduce some risks but increase others (for example, medical care and malpractice.) Product liability focuses on these goods; over half of the litigation groups of the American Association for Justice are for ambiguous goods.
  • Topic: Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Matthew Carr
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Over the course of the last 35 years, traditional public school student achievement in the United States has been stagnant, despite myriad reform efforts and a doubling in total expenditures on K–12 education (Ravitch 2000, Hanushek 1986, Greene 2005). The ramifications of this academic achievement plateau on human capital development and thus the country's global economic standing are of paramount importance (Heckman and Masterov 2007). Thus, one of the most important public policy questions that government and society faces is how to improve the academic performance and quality of the nation's public education system.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James A. Dorn
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This is a valuable book for anyone who wants to gain an understanding of the key forces that have made China the world's second largest economy and opened the door for millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty. The book is divided into four parts, with the first three devoted to economic analysis of China's peaceful rise and the fourth reflecting on the U.S. economy and its future.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Vincent R. Reinhart, Carmen M. Reinhart
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The Federal Reserve's conduct of monetary policy casts a spell over market participants, commentators, and academics. The pages of financial newspapers parse subtle differences among the comments of Fed officials and delve deeply into potentially multiple meanings of official statements. Academic discussions argue that the path of the policy rate may (as in Taylor 2009) or may not (as in Bernanke 2010, and Greenspan 2010) have fueled a home-price bubble in the United States.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: United States