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James Schneider: February 2014

An Author Archive by Month (11 entries)

Smoking Prevention: Nagging versus Taxing

James Schneider
Often times, government policies are ostensibly about providing knowledge, when they are actually about nagging. Consider cigarette warning labels. They now take up more space on the packaging than they did in the past, but they still provide surprisingly little... MORE

Bans Against Headscarves Can Backfire

Economics of Education
James Schneider
Modesty is usually imposed rather than prohibited. However, some countries place restrictions on the Islamic practice of wearing headscarves. Although the French restriction against religious symbols in public schools is not technically directed against Muslims in particular, many view it... MORE

Who Should We Revere?

James Schneider
Sifting through the coins in your pocket, you will likely find many images of politicians. In some sense, this conveys the impression that government leaders are the most important figures in society. However, everyday currency can honor other contributors to... MORE

Health Insurance as Collective Bargaining

Economics of Health Care
James Schneider
McKinsey has studied the hospital networks that are being used by plans on the new public health exchanges. They divide networks into three groups that they call broad, narrow, and ultra-narrow. Broad networks contain more than 70 percent of the... MORE

Rent Control Devalues the Whole Neighborhood

Price Controls
James Schneider
Rent control has numerous negative effects on the housing market. If a landlord is forced to charge below-market rent, it reduces the incentive to improve the property or even perform basic maintenance. Perhaps, even more importantly, it misallocates who lives... MORE

Don't Nudge Me, Man! - Health Insurance Edition

Economics of Health Care
James Schneider
Nudge's chapter on Medicare Part D discussed the difficulties people had making optimal plan choices. The elderly often faced such a bewildering array of plans that it would have been almost impossible to minimize out-of-pocket expenses based on the specific... MORE

Everest and the Quest for Status

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
James Schneider
I'm currently polishing up my behavioral health economics book The Seven Deadly Sins. The first five chapters discuss the core health concerns of diet, exercise, drinking, smoking, and sex. The last two "sins" are using heroin and climbing Everest. I... MORE

What Janet Yellen and Rick Santorum Have in Common

Economic Methods
James Schneider
Bryan has discussed the puzzling lack of social conservatives in economics. Economists use an agreed-upon framework that would seem to offer social conservatives a "safe harbor" to express their ideas, as long as they express them within the accepted framework.... MORE

Some take it as a matter of faith that increasing taxes will dull people's desire to work. However, higher taxes can sometimes cause people to work more. When higher taxes reduce the after-tax wage, people are poorer for any given... MORE

Deception-Based Medicine

Economics of Health Care
James Schneider
Emily Oster stirred a lot of controversy when she suggested that pregnant women could enjoy a drink of alcohol if they so chose. Why did she arrive at a view that clashed with much of the American medical establishment? She... MORE

The Sucker Tax

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
James Schneider
When people refer to humans as "sheep," it frequently sets my neck hair on edge. Mostly because I'm a speciesist, but also because people lump together a wide variety of disparate behaviors to imply that people "mindlessly" follow social norms.... MORE

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