Hidden Government Spending in the Tax Code

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has a revealing report out about hidden spending through the U.S. tax code. Instead of simply lowering rates, the U.S. tax code tries to encourage and discourage certain behaviors by writing preferences into the tax code. So rather than giving people money to buy a house or buy health insurance, […]

Markets Shape Human Behavior (And Not Always For The Better)

If markets are to maximize individual well-being, then it is important that markets serve human preferences, but do not shape them. Advertising is one way in which markets can shape human behavior, causing us to want a good we may not have previously known existed. Another way is the psychological mechanism of priming. Priming works […]

The Philosophy of Classical Economics

It is a common claim among economists that economics is morally neutral. Economics studies choice and efficiency. It is usually assumed there is a trade-off between efficiency and equity, but economics does not attempt to make this choice, but rather to illustrate the size of the trade-off   Economics, however, has several philosophical underpinnings and makes a large number […]