Monday, January 21, 2008

Unintended Consequences:Do-Good Laws Often Fail

From "Economics: Public and Private Choice" by Gwartney, Stoup, Sobel and Macpherson:

Pitfall #2 to Avoid in Economic Thinking: "Good intentions do not guarantee desirable outcomes."

In a Sunday NY Times article "Unintended Consequences," Freakonomics authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner explain why "do-good" laws often fail:

1. The Endangered Species Act is actually endangering, rather than protecting, species.

2. The Americans with Disabilities Act, enacted in 1992, has led to a sharp drop in the employment of disabled workers.


At 1/21/2008 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add to that, Depression era farm subsidies are actually hurting, not helping small farms.

At 1/21/2008 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are there any Do Bad Laws?

I believe that the people who write the laws (mostly attorneys) intentionally put in loop holes or just plain holes for their gain or their colleagues gain.

And if this isn't the case then there is a good argument to bring in personal liability for politicians.

Barring that then privatize the drafting of legislation and attach personal liability to the private firms that draft legislation in the public interest.

Just kidding...but don't we really deserve what we get?


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