So I’ve just finished writing a book (hence my long hiatus from Truth on the Market). Now that the draft is out of my hands and with the publisher (Cambridge University Press), I figured it’s a good time to rejoin my colleagues here at TOTM. To get back into the swing of things, I’m planning to produce a series of posts describing my new book, which may be of interest to a number of TOTM readers. I’ll get things started today with a brief overview of the project.
The book is titled How to Regulate: A Guide for Policy Makers. A topic of that enormity could obviously fill many volumes. I sought to address the matter in a single, non-technical book because I think law schools often do a poor job teaching their students, many of whom are future regulators, the substance of sound regulation. Law schools regularly teach administrative law, the procedures that must be followed to ensure that rules have the force of law. Rarely, however, do law schools teach students how to craft the substance of a policy to address a new perceived problem (e.g., What tools are available? What are the pros and cons of each?).
Economists study that matter, of course. But economists are often naïve about the difficulty of transforming their textbook models into concrete rules that can be easily administered by business planners and adjudicators. Many economists also pay little attention to the high information requirements of the policies they propose (i.e., the Hayekian knowledge problem) and the susceptibility of those policies to political manipulation by well-organized interest groups (i.e., public choice concerns).
How to Regulate endeavors to provide both economic training to lawyers and law students and a sense of the “limits of law” to the economists and other policy wonks who tend to be involved in crafting regulations. Below the fold, I’ll give a brief overview of the book. In later posts, I’ll describe some of the book’s specific chapters. Continue Reading…