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Fair Innings? The Utilitarian And Prioritarian Value Of Risk Reduction Over A Whole Lifetime, Matthew D. Adler, Maddalena Ferranna, James K. Hammitt, Nicolas Treich Jan 2021

Fair Innings? The Utilitarian And Prioritarian Value Of Risk Reduction Over A Whole Lifetime, Matthew D. Adler, Maddalena Ferranna, James K. Hammitt, Nicolas Treich

Faculty Scholarship

The social value of risk reduction (SVRR) is the marginal social value of reducing an individual’s fatality risk, as measured by some social welfare function (SWF). This Article investigates SVRR, using a lifetime utility model in which individuals are differentiated by age, lifetime income profile, and lifetime risk profile. We consider both the utilitarian SWF and a “prioritarian” SWF, which applies a strictly increasing and strictly concave transformation to individual utility.

We show that the prioritarian SVRR provides a rigorous basis in economic theory for the “fair innings” concept, proposed in the public health literature: as between an older ...


The Shadows Of Life: Medicaid's Failure Of Health Care's Moral Test, Barak D. Richman, Kushal T. Kadakia, Shivani A. Shah Jan 2019

The Shadows Of Life: Medicaid's Failure Of Health Care's Moral Test, Barak D. Richman, Kushal T. Kadakia, Shivani A. Shah

Faculty Scholarship

North Carolina Medicaid covers one-fifth of the state’s population and makes up approximately one-third of the budget. Yet the state has experienced increasing costs and worsening health outcomes over the past decade, while socioeconomic disparities persist among communities. In this article, the authors explore the factors that influence these trends and provide a series of policy lessons to inform the state’s current reform efforts following the recent approval of North Carolina’s Section 1115 waiver by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The authors used health, social, and financial data from the state Department of Health and ...


The Long Environmental Justice Movement, Jedediah Purdy Jan 2018

The Long Environmental Justice Movement, Jedediah Purdy

Faculty Scholarship

The standpoint of environmental justice has become integral to environmental law in the last thirty years. Environmental justice criticizes mainstream environmental law and advocacy institutions on three main fronts: for paying too little attention to the distributive effects of environmental policy; for emphasizing elite and professional advocacy over participation in decision making by affected communities; and for adhering to a woods-and-waters view of which problems count as “environmental” that disregards the importance of neighborhoods, workplaces, and cities. This Article highlights the existence of a “long environmental justice movement” that, like the long movements for racial equality and labor organizing, put ...


Building Multilateral Anticorruption Enforcement: Analogies Between International Trade & Anti-Bribery Law, Rachel Brewster, Christine Dryden Jan 2018

Building Multilateral Anticorruption Enforcement: Analogies Between International Trade & Anti-Bribery Law, Rachel Brewster, Christine Dryden

Faculty Scholarship

In the last twenty years, the United States government has put substantial resources behind the fight against .foreign bribery by using the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to prosecute unilaterally foreign and domestic companies who engage in corruption abroad. The United States is not entirely alone in this effort, but other countries have been far less vigorous in investing resources in investigations and prosecuting cases. Because of the unilateral and extraterritorial nature of FCPA prosecutions, these cases are sometimes controversial as foreign governments resist American influence in their commercial relations.

In response to this international tension, as well as a ...


N.C. Medicaid Reform: A Bipartisan Path Forward, Barak D. Richman, Allison Rice Jan 2017

N.C. Medicaid Reform: A Bipartisan Path Forward, Barak D. Richman, Allison Rice

Faculty Scholarship

The North Carolina Medicaid program currently constitutes 32% of the state budget and provides insurance coverage to 18% of the state’s population. At the same time, 13% of North Carolinians remain uninsured, and even among the insured, significant health disparities persist across income, geography, education, and race.

The Duke University Bass Connections Medicaid Reform project gathered to consider how North Carolina could use its limited Medicaid dollars more effectively to reduce the incidence of poor health, improve access to healthcare, and reduce budgetary pressures on the state’s taxpayers.

This report is submitted to North Carolina’s policymakers and ...


A Better Calculus For Regulators: From Cost-Benefit Analysis To The Social Welfare Function, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2017

A Better Calculus For Regulators: From Cost-Benefit Analysis To The Social Welfare Function, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

The “social welfare function” (SWF) is a powerful tool that originates in theoretical welfare economics and has wide application in economic scholarship, for example in optimal tax theory and environmental economics. This Article provides a comprehensive introduction to the SWF framework. It then shows how the SWF framework can be used as the basis for regulatory policy analysis, and why it improves upon cost-benefit analysis (CBA).

Two types of SWFs are especially plausible: the utilitarian SWF, which sums individual well-being numbers, and the prioritarian SWF, which gives extra weight to the well-being of the worse off. Either one of these ...


Patriotic Philanthropy? Financing The State With Gifts To Government, Margaret H. Lemos, Guy-Uriel Charles Jan 2017

Patriotic Philanthropy? Financing The State With Gifts To Government, Margaret H. Lemos, Guy-Uriel Charles

Faculty Scholarship

Federal and state law prohibit government officials from accepting gifts or “emoluments” from outside sources. The purpose of gift bans, like restrictions on more explicit forms of bribery, is to protect the integrity of political processes and to ensure that decisions about public policy are made in the public interest — not to advance a private agenda. Similar considerations animate regulations on campaign funding and lobbying. Yet private entities remain free to offer gifts to government itself, to foot the bill for particular public projects they would like to see government pursue. Such gifts — dubbed “patriotic philanthropy” by one prominent donor ...


Changing The Tax Code To Create Consumer-Driven Health Insurance Competition, Regina Herzlinger, Barak D. Richman Jan 2017

Changing The Tax Code To Create Consumer-Driven Health Insurance Competition, Regina Herzlinger, Barak D. Richman

Faculty Scholarship

Because current tax laws exclude employer-paid health insurance premiums from employees’ taxable wages and income, employer-sponsored insurance remains the primary source of health insurance for most employed Americans. Economists have long blamed the employer-based insurance tax exclusion for inflating health care costs, and, more recently, for constraining income growth and exacerbating income inequality.

We execute a simulation to test the effect of permitting employees to receive their employers’ premium contribution directly and then purchase health insurance themselves, using tax-free funds. Employees could deduct for income tax purposes the amount used for insurance and, if they spend less than the amount ...


Trade In Environmental Goods: A Review Of The Wto Appellate Body’S Ruling In Us — Countervailing Measures (China), Rachel Brewster, Claire Brunel, Anna Maria Mayda Jan 2016

Trade In Environmental Goods: A Review Of The Wto Appellate Body’S Ruling In Us — Countervailing Measures (China), Rachel Brewster, Claire Brunel, Anna Maria Mayda

Faculty Scholarship

In this paper we claim that, in the WTO Appellate Body (AB)’s ruling in US-Countervailing Measures (China), the AB decision has essentially left unchanged the practice of imposing countervailing duties (CVDs) on environmental goods. While the US has formally “lost” the case, a change in the procedures and tests used to motivate the CVD will allow the US to continue using this policy tool. From an economic point of view, this is not welcome news since CVDs have the standard distortionary effects of tariffs and could go against environmental goals. From a political-economy point of view, the CVDs in ...


Hiv/Aids Care And Prevention Infrastructure In The U.S. Deep South, Susan S. Reif, Kristen Sullivan, Elena Wilson, Miriam Berger, Carolyn Mcallaster Jan 2016

Hiv/Aids Care And Prevention Infrastructure In The U.S. Deep South, Susan S. Reif, Kristen Sullivan, Elena Wilson, Miriam Berger, Carolyn Mcallaster

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Environmental Regulation Going Retro: Learning Foresight From Hindsight, Jonathan B. Wiener, Daniel L. Ribeiro Jan 2016

Environmental Regulation Going Retro: Learning Foresight From Hindsight, Jonathan B. Wiener, Daniel L. Ribeiro

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Neighborhoods By Assessment: An Analysis Of Non-Ad Valorem Financing In California, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Ellen C. Seljan Jan 2016

Neighborhoods By Assessment: An Analysis Of Non-Ad Valorem Financing In California, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Ellen C. Seljan

Faculty Scholarship

Non-ad valorem assessments on property are a fiscal innovation born from financial stress. Unable to raise property taxes due to limitations, many localities have turned to these charges as an alternative method to fund local services. In this paper, we seek to explain differential levels of non-ad valorem assessment financing through the analysis of property tax records of a large and diverse set of single family homes in California. We theorize that assessments, as opposed to other forms of taxation, will be used when residents hold anti-redistributive preferences. We show that assessment financing is most common in cities with high ...


Marriage On The Ballot: An Analysis Of Same-Sex Marriage Referendums In North Carolina, Minnesota, And Washington During The 2012 Elections, Craig M. Burnett, Mathew D. Mccubbins Jan 2016

Marriage On The Ballot: An Analysis Of Same-Sex Marriage Referendums In North Carolina, Minnesota, And Washington During The 2012 Elections, Craig M. Burnett, Mathew D. Mccubbins

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Elections, Ideology, And Turnover In The U.S. Federal Government, Alexander D. Bolton, John De Figueiredo, David E. Lewis Jan 2016

Elections, Ideology, And Turnover In The U.S. Federal Government, Alexander D. Bolton, John De Figueiredo, David E. Lewis

Faculty Scholarship

A defining feature of public sector employment is the regular change in elected leadership. Yet, we know little about how elections influence public sector careers. We describe how elections alter policy outputs and disrupt the influence of civil servants over agency decisions. These changes shape the career choices of employees motivated by policy, influence, and wages. Using new Office of Personnel Management data on the careers of millions of federal employees between 1988 and 2011, we evaluate how elections influence employee turnover decisions. We find that presidential elections increase departure rates of career senior employees, particularly in agencies with divergent ...


Years Of Good Life Based On Income And Health: Re-Engineering Cost-Benefit Analysis To Examine Policy Impact On Wellbeing And Distributive Justice, Richard Cookson, Owen Cotton-Barrett, Matthew D. Adler, Miqdad Asaria, Toby Ord Jan 2016

Years Of Good Life Based On Income And Health: Re-Engineering Cost-Benefit Analysis To Examine Policy Impact On Wellbeing And Distributive Justice, Richard Cookson, Owen Cotton-Barrett, Matthew D. Adler, Miqdad Asaria, Toby Ord

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Public Sector Personnel Economics: Wages, Promotions, And The Competence-Control Trade-Off, Charles M. Cameron, John De Figueiredo, David E. Lewis Jan 2016

Public Sector Personnel Economics: Wages, Promotions, And The Competence-Control Trade-Off, Charles M. Cameron, John De Figueiredo, David E. Lewis

Faculty Scholarship

We model personnel policies in public agencies, examining how wages and promotion standards can partially offset a fundamental contracting problem: the inability of public sector workers to contract on performance, and the inability of political masters to contract on forbearance from meddling. Despite the dual contracting problem, properly constructed personnel policies can encourage intrinsically motivated public sector employees to invest in expertise, seek promotion, remain in the public sector, and develop policy projects. However, doing so requires internal personnel policies that sort "slackers" from "zealots." Personnel policies that accomplish this task are quite different in agencies where acquired expertise has ...


Benefit-Cost Analysis And Distributional Weights: An Overview, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2016

Benefit-Cost Analysis And Distributional Weights: An Overview, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

Standard cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is insensitive to distributional concerns. A policy that improves the lives of the rich, and makes the poor yet worse off, will be approved by CBA as long as the policy’s aggregate monetized benefits are positive. Distributional weights offer an apparent solution to this troubling feature of the CBA methodology: adjust costs and benefits with weighting factors that are inversely proportional to the well-being levels (as determined by income and also perhaps non-income attributes such as health) of the affected individuals.

Indeed, an academic literature dating from the 1950s discusses how to specify distributional weights ...


Aggregating Moral Preferences, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2016

Aggregating Moral Preferences, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

Preference-aggregation problems arise in various contexts. One such context, little explored by social choice theorists, is metaethical. “Ideal-advisor” accounts, which have played a major role in metaethics, propose that moral facts are constituted by the idealized preferences of a community of advisors. Such accounts give rise to a preference-aggregation problem: namely, aggregating the advisors’ moral preferences. Do we have reason to believe that the advisors, albeit idealized, can still diverge in their rankings of a given set of alternatives? If so, what are the moral facts (in particular, the comparative moral goodness of the alternatives) when the advisors do diverge ...


Presidential War Powers As A Two-Level Dynamic: International Law, Domestic Law, And Practice-Based Legal Change, Curtis A. Bradley, Jean Galbraith Jan 2016

Presidential War Powers As A Two-Level Dynamic: International Law, Domestic Law, And Practice-Based Legal Change, Curtis A. Bradley, Jean Galbraith

Faculty Scholarship

There is a rich literature on the circumstances under which the United Nations Charter or specific Security Council resolutions authorize nations to use force abroad, and there is a rich literature on the circumstances under which the U.S. Constitution and statutory law allows the President to use force abroad. These are largely separate areas of scholarship, addressing what are generally perceived to be two distinct levels of legal doctrine. This Article, by contrast, considers these two levels of doctrine together as they relate to the United States. In doing so, it makes three main contributions. First, it demonstrates striking ...


Priority For The Worse Off And The Social Cost Of Carbon, Matthew D. Adler, David Anthoff, Valentina Bosetti, Greg Garner, Klaus Keller, Nicolas Treich Jan 2016

Priority For The Worse Off And The Social Cost Of Carbon, Matthew D. Adler, David Anthoff, Valentina Bosetti, Greg Garner, Klaus Keller, Nicolas Treich

Faculty Scholarship

The social cost of carbon (SCC) is a monetary measure of the harms from carbon emission. Specifically, it is the reduction in current consumption that produces a loss in social welfare equivalent to that caused by the emission of a ton of CO2. The standard approach is to calculate the SCC using a discounted-utilitarian social welfare function (SWF)—one that simply adds up the well-being numbers (utilities) of individuals, as discounted by a weighting factor that decreases with time. The discounted-utilitarian SWF has been criticized both for ignoring the distribution of well-being, and for including an arbitrary preference for earlier ...


Towards A New International Law Of The Atmosphere?, Peter H. Sand, Jonathan B. Wiener Jan 2016

Towards A New International Law Of The Atmosphere?, Peter H. Sand, Jonathan B. Wiener

Faculty Scholarship

Inclusion of the topic ‘protection of the atmosphere’ in the current work programme of the UN International Law Commission (ILC) reflects the long overdue recognition of the fact that the scope of contemporary international law for the Earth’s atmosphere extends far beyond the traditional discipline of ‘air law’ as a synonym for airspace and air navigation law. Instead, the atmospheric commons are regulated by a ‘regime complex’ comprising a multitude of economic uses including global communications, pollutant emissions and diffusion, in different geographical sectors and vertical zones, in the face of different categories of risks, and addressed by a ...


Justice, Claims And Prioritarianism: Room For Desert?, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2016

Justice, Claims And Prioritarianism: Room For Desert?, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

Does individual desert matter for distributive justice? Is it relevant, for purposes of justice, that the pattern of distribution of justice’s “currency” (be it well-being, resources, preference-satisfaction, capabilities, or something else) is aligned in one or another way with the pattern of individual desert?

This paper examines the nexus between desert and distributive justice through the lens of individual claims. The concept of claims (specifically “claims across outcomes”) is a fruitful way to flesh out the content of distributive justice so as to be grounded in the separateness of persons. A claim is a relation between a person and ...


Would You Choose To Be Happy? Tradeoffs Between Happiness And The Other Dimensions Of Life In A Large Population Survey, Matthew D. Adler, Paula Dolan, Georgios Kavetsos Jan 2015

Would You Choose To Be Happy? Tradeoffs Between Happiness And The Other Dimensions Of Life In A Large Population Survey, Matthew D. Adler, Paula Dolan, Georgios Kavetsos

Faculty Scholarship

A large literature documents the correlates and causes of subjective well-being, or happiness. But few studies have investigated whether people choose happiness. Is happiness all that people want from life, or are they willing to sacrifice it for other attributes, such as income and health? Tackling this question has largely been the preserve of philosophers. In this article, we find out just how much happiness matters to ordinary citizens. Our sample consists of nearly 13,000 members of the UK and US general populations. We ask them to choose between, and make judgments over, lives that are high (or low ...


Coming Into The Anthropocene, Jedediah Purdy Jan 2015

Coming Into The Anthropocene, Jedediah Purdy

Faculty Scholarship

This essay reviews Professor Jonathan Cannon’s Environment in the Balance. Cannon’s book admirably analyzes the Supreme Court’s uptake of, or refusal of, the key commitments of the environmental-law revolution of the early 1970s. In some areas the Court has adapted old doctrines, such as Standing and Commerce, to accommodate ecological insights; in other areas, such as Property, it has used older doctrines to restrain the transformative effects of environmental law. After surveying Cannon’s argument, this review diagnoses the historical moment that has made the ideological division that Cannon surveys especially salient: a time of stalled legislation ...


Eco-Environmental Risk Management, Jonathan B. Wiener Jan 2015

Eco-Environmental Risk Management, Jonathan B. Wiener

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Equity By The Numbers: Measuring Poverty, Inequality, And Injustice, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2015

Equity By The Numbers: Measuring Poverty, Inequality, And Injustice, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

Can we measure inequity? Can we arrive at a number or numbers capturing the extent to which a given society is equitable or inequitable? Sometimes such questions are answered with a “no”: equity is a qualitative, non-numerical consideration.

This Article offers a different perspective. The difficulty with equity measurement is not the impossibility of quantification, but the overabundance of possible metrics. There currently exist at least four families of equity-measurement frameworks, used by scholars and, to some extent, governments: inequality metrics (such as the Gini coefficient), poverty metrics, social-gradient metrics (such as the concentration index), and equity-regarding social welfare functions ...


Responding To Agency Avoidance Of Oira, Nina A. Mendelson, Jonathan B. Wiener Jan 2014

Responding To Agency Avoidance Of Oira, Nina A. Mendelson, Jonathan B. Wiener

Faculty Scholarship

Concerns have recently been raised that US federal agencies may sometimes avoid regulatory review by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). In this article, we assess the seriousness of such potential avoidance, and we recommend a framework for evaluating potential responses. After summarizing the system of presidential regulatory oversight through OIRA review, we analyze the incentives for agencies to cooperate with or avoid OIRA. We identify a wider array of agency avoidance tactics than has past scholarship, and a wider array of corresponding response options available to OIRA, the President, Congress, and the courts. We argue ...


Book Review, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2014

Book Review, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Consumption, Risk And Prioritarianism, Matthew D. Adler, Nicolas Treich Jan 2014

Consumption, Risk And Prioritarianism, Matthew D. Adler, Nicolas Treich

Faculty Scholarship

In this paper, we study consumption decisions under risk assuming a prioritarian social welfare function, namely a concave transformation of individual utility functions. Under standard assumptions, there is always more current consumption under ex ante prioritarianism than under utilitarianism. Thus, a concern for equity (in the ex ante prioritarian sense) means less concern for the risky future. In contrast, there is usually less current consumption under ex post prioritarianism than under utilitarianism. We discuss the robustness of these results to learning, and to other forms of prioritarian social welfare functions.


Extended Preferences And Interpersonal Comparisons: A New Account, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2014

Extended Preferences And Interpersonal Comparisons: A New Account, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.