Arnold Kling  

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It's not the Sunday Outlook, but the Washington Post has a long op-ed that explains some important concepts in public choice. Charles Lane writes,


Not surprisingly, much political activity consists of trying to create, or keep, opportunities to collect economic rent. That's what lobbyists for various licenses, tariffs, tax breaks and subsidies -- from the sugar industry to Solyndra -- have in common.

Read the whole thing.


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CATEGORIES: Public Choice Theory



COMMENTS (6 to date)
Mark Brophy writes:

The author of the article says that he prefers medical licensing to quackery, but I've found that when I talk to Americans abroad, their biggest shock is how much cheaper quality medical care is in other countries. High doctor incomes are caused by medical licensing, especially quotas on the number of internships the government allows.

dave smith writes:

Mark...that quote soured me on the article, also.

Scrutineer writes:

@Mark Brophy

Can you link to comparative data regarding medical licensing costs and internship quotas?

Old Man writes:

@Mark Brophy

Doctors are licensed everywhere but make 3 times as much in the US as in England and France (with an even greater disparity elsewhere) because:
1. Doctor fees are set by AMA and Medicare cartels,
2. Unlike the rest of the world, we believe that doctors are very special people who deserve to be rich, which is why so many doctors from the rest of the world emigrate here.

What would happen if the market for medical services was more like the market for air fares?

Mark Brady writes:

Old Man writes:

"Unlike the rest of the world, we believe that doctors are very special people who deserve to be rich, which is why so many doctors from the rest of the world emigrate here."

That of itself would lower the fees that doctors charge.

fawful writes:
That of itself would lower the fees that doctors charge.

True, but it also has policy implications. The nationalized health care systems of Europe set doctor salaries as a monopsony. Because they don't share US style doctor-worship they can offer doctors lower salaries, leading to lower medical expenses.

In the United States we still can't even manage to avoid the "doc fix" to help control medicare costs, even though our doctors are the highest paid in the world.

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