Government regulation is intended to improve the efficiency of markets and protect people from harms they cannot identify or prevent on their own. But, for decades, advocates have debated whether the regulatory process and rules developed through it are too strict or too lax; whether they properly account for all the things society values; and even whether they make society better or worse off on balance. The Journal of Law, Economics & Policy’s Symposium on Regulatory Reform, Transparency, and the Economy explored these and related questions as leading scholars and practitioners examined a number of recent regulatory proposals impacting a broad swath of the American economy – from banking and finance to energy and the environment, and from employment law to the internet economy. Speakers considered and debated how well these proposals would perform their intended functions and how they might be improved.
The symposium featured discussions of research papers prepared by experts working on the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project. The proceedings of the Conference were published in a special symposium issue of George Mason’s Journal of Law, Economics & Policy.Watch this video
Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, colloquially known as the Jones Act, requires that shipments between two U.S. ports be on U.S.-built, U.S.-manned, and U.S.-owned vessels. Because of the Jones Act, it is often more expensive to ship supplies between U.S. ports than it is to ship supplies abroad. The Act was adopted in 1920 to support naval preparedness by boosting the U.S. shipbuilding industry.
But is it time to scale back the Jones Act? The U.S. energy export boom is leaving U.S. consumers behind because it is cheaper to ship oil and liquefied natural gas all the way to Europe or Asia than to the U.S. East Coast. And the Jones Act, long a drag on Puerto Rico’s economy, is also raising the cost of all the aid necessary to help the island recover from Hurricane Maria. This expert panel explores the Jones Act controversy and discusses whether it can be reformed without endangering national security.Watch this video
The legal fate of Flytenow, a ridesharing platform for small planes, was sealed by the FAA’s determination that it acted as a common carrier despite Flytenow’s claim that it was engaged in permissible expense sharing. What are common carriage and expense sharing? A variety of experts discuss the legal aspects of the Flytenow case.Watch this video
Flytenow, founded by Alan Guichard and Matt Voska, was a ridesharing platform for small planes. Hailed as the “Uber of the Sky,” Flytenow aimed to serve as an online bulletin board to connect pilots of small planes with those willing to offset the pilots’ costs. However, the FAA deemed the online nature of Flytenow to be impermissible and Flytenow was unable to take flight. Learn the story of Flytenow in this Fourth Branch video.Watch this video
In 2012, Celeste Kelly received a cease-and-desist letter from the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board for engaging in horse massage therapy without being a licensed veterinarian. Hear Celeste’s story and learn more about occupational licensure in this Fourth Branch video.Watch this video
How have the regulations emanating from Washington changed over the years? Chris DeMuth, Distinguished Fellow at the Hudson Institute, draws from personal experience as he discusses the transformation of the regulatory state over the decades.Watch this video
While the goals of regulations are often admirable, regulations may come with unintended consequences. Sometimes, regulations can hurt those they were intended to benefit. Susan Dudley, Director of the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center, discusses these unintended costs and her work at the Regulatory Studies Center.Watch this video
How do individual regulators operate within agencies to create and maintain regulations? Are regulators incentivized to pursue policy goals defined by Congress, their own policy preferences, or other factors? How does the regulatory institution itself contribute to policy goals? George J. Terwilliger, III examines these questions.Watch this video
Can providing market incentives produce desirable and more efficient outcomes in regulation? Chris DeMuth, Distinguished Fellow at the Hudson Institute, presents as a case study President Ronald Reagan’s permitting solution to the problem of lead in gasoline.Watch this video