When a Mask Is Like a Lunch

Looking at the past and now, we can see the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions for reducing COVID-19 fatalities.

Why China’s Scientists Got the Wrong Message

In 2016 it appeared that China had become a research powerhouse. In 2017 they discovered a problem. This is the story of how incentives can have unintended consequences. Chinese R&D In 2016, the numbers told a phenomenal story. China was…

Why Flood Insurance Creates Unintended Consequences

Flooding 34 times in 32 years, a $69,000 home in Mississippi received close to $663,000 in payouts. Similarly, for 16 floods in 18 years the owners of a Houston home valued at $115,000 got $800,000. The insurance industry calls them…

Why Grade Inflation is a Problem

With many more students getting A’s, we could have a grade inflation bubble that, like price inflation, creates distorted information and incentives.

The Healthcare Incentives We Cannot Avoid

The healthcare incentives that shape patient demand and physician supply do not necessarily cut cost and improve well-being.

The Data That Keep Track of Us at Work

When worker performance is monitored through data collection of what we do and how long it takes, productivity increases but perverse incentives result too.

Venezuela’s Biggest Economic Problem

The perverse incentives created by Venezuelan price controls result in shortages, underutilized resources, wasted time, soaring inflation and hoarding.

The Unintended Consequences of Banning Ivory Sales

New US ivory regulations have had unintended consequences. During November 2013, the US government “pulverized” nearly 6 tons of elephant ivory from Asia and Africa. Intending to send a message to elephant poachers, the Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed ivory that…

Venezuela Has Cheap Gas But No Cars

At the official exchange rate, Venezuelans pay 5 cents a gallon for premium gasoline while the real price is closer to one half penny a gallon. The dark purple country at the northern tip of South America (below), Venezuela has the…