Smoke or Vapor? Regulation of Tobacco and Vaping

Given the well-known health harms of smoking, tobacco is regulated and taxed nearly everywhere in the world. With the introduction of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), commonly known as e-cigarettes, new questions have arisen about the risks to health from their use and whether they should be regulated as strictly as tobacco. In some quarters, […]

Net Neutrality: Internet Regulation and the Plans to Bring It Back

Net neutrality is a term like pro-choice or right to work that sounds uncontroversial but is used by its proponents to refer to a specific and highly contentious policy. This chapter defines net neutrality as the policy adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) majority in its 2015 rule titled “Protecting and Promoting the Open […]

Governance for Networks: Regulation by Networks in Electric Power Markets in Texas

Governance for Networks: Regulation by Networks in Electric Power Markets in Texas Michael Giberson and L. Lynne Kiesling Most electricity consumers, whether households or small businesses, have few (if any) choices when it comes to their electricity supplier. The electric power business works a little differently in Texas, where most consumers can choose from among […]

Retail Electric Competition and Natural Monopoly: The Shocking Truth

During the past four decades, competition has come to several industries previously thought to be natural monopolies, including previously unlikely candidates such as telephone service and cable TV. Economic studies generally show that, contrary to what natural monopoly theory would predict, competition has produced cost reductions, price reductions, and other consumer benefits. Indeed, competition in these […]

Cooperation or Conflict: Two Approaches to Conservation

In 2012, the mayor of a southern Utah town found herself working to protect the local cemetery from an invasion of small rodents. The Utah prairie dog had made itself at home in the cemetery, digging burrows that sank headstones and created hazards for those visiting their loved ones. Paragonah Mayor Constance Robinson explained that […]

The Tradeoffs between Energy Efficiency, Consumer Preferences, and Economic Growth

The traditional economic rationale for government intervention in the economy is market failure. Underlying the market failure concept is the idea that, because of certain market frictions known as transaction costs, beneficial gains from trade are prevented from occurring that would otherwise increase social welfare. The usual cases where these kinds of transaction costs are present […]

Building Energy Codes: A Case Study in Regulation and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Including energy codes in building codes is a policy option for reducing energy consumption that has received increased attention since the 1970s, driven by concerns about energy security and climate change. How much have such building energy codes helped reduce energy consumption, and are they wise policies from the standpoint of society broadly conceived? This […]