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Full-Text Articles in Law

Irrational Ignorance At The Patent Office, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman Jan 2019

Irrational Ignorance At The Patent Office, Michael D. Frakes, Melissa F. Wasserman

Faculty Scholarship

There is widespread belief that the Patent Office issues too many bad patents that impose significant harms on society. At first glance, the solution to the patent quality crisis seems straightforward: give patent examiners more time to review applications so they grant patents only to those inventions that deserve them. Yet the answer to the harms of invalid patents may not be that easy. It is possible that the Patent Office is, as Mark Lemley famously wrote, “rationally ignorant.” In Rational Ignorance at the Patent Office, Lemley argued that because so few patents are economically significant, it makes sense to ...


The Economics Of Healthcare Rationing, Michael D. Frakes, Matthew B. Frank, Kyle Rozema Jan 2017

The Economics Of Healthcare Rationing, Michael D. Frakes, Matthew B. Frank, Kyle Rozema

Faculty Scholarship

This article examines the economics of healthcare rationing. We begin with an overview of the various dimensions across which healthcare rationing operates, or at least has the potential to operate, in the first place. We then describe the types of economic analyses used in healthcare rationing decision-making, with particular reference to cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis. We also discuss healthcare rationing in practice, such as how economic analyses inform decisions regarding which services to cover, and conclude by discussing various practical and conceptual challenges that may arise with economic analyses and that span both economics and ethics.


A Different Class Of Care: The Benefits Crisis And Low-Wage Workers, Trina Jones Jan 2017

A Different Class Of Care: The Benefits Crisis And Low-Wage Workers, Trina Jones

Faculty Scholarship

When compared to other developed nations, the United States fares poorly with regard to benefits for workers. While the situation is grim for most U.S. workers, it is worse for low-wage workers. Data show a significant benefits gap between low-wage and high-wage in terms of flexible work arrangements (FWAs), paid leave, pensions, and employer-sponsored health-care insurance, among other things. This gap exists notwithstanding the fact that FWAs and employment benefits produce positive returns for employees, employers, and society in general. Despite these returns, this Article contends that employers will be loath to extend FWAs and greater employment benefits to ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.


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 ...


The Social Value Of Mortality Risk Reduction: Vsl Vs. The Social Welfare Function Approach, Matthew D. Adler, James K. Hammitt, Nicolas Treich Jan 2014

The Social Value Of Mortality Risk Reduction: Vsl Vs. The Social Welfare Function Approach, Matthew D. Adler, James K. Hammitt, Nicolas Treich

Faculty Scholarship

We examine how different welfarist frameworks evaluate the social value of mortality risk reduction. These frameworks include classical, distributively unweighted cost–benefit analysis—i.e., the “value per statistical life” (VSL) approach—and various social welfare functions (SWFs). The SWFs are either utilitarian or prioritarian, applied to policy choice under risk in either an “ex post” or “ex ante” manner. We examine the conditions on individual utility and on the SWF under which these frameworks display sensitivity to wealth and to baseline risk. Moreover, we discuss whether these frameworks satisfy related properties that have received some attention in the literature ...


Happiness Surveys And Public Policy: What’S The Use?, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2013

Happiness Surveys And Public Policy: What’S The Use?, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

This Article provides a comprehensive, critical overview of proposals to use happiness surveys for steering public policy. Happiness or “subjective well-being” surveys ask individuals to rate their present happiness, life-satisfaction, affective state, etc. A massive literature now engages in such surveys or correlates survey responses with individual attributes. And, increasingly, scholars argue for the policy relevance of happiness data: in particular, as a basis for calculating aggregates such as “gross national happiness,” or for calculating monetary equivalents for non-market goods based on coefficients in a happiness equation.

But is individual well-being equivalent to happiness? The happiness literature tends to blur ...


Better Ways To Study Regulatory Elephants, Jonathan B. Wiener, Brendon Swedlow, James K. Hammitt, Michael D. Rogers, Peter H. Sand Jan 2013

Better Ways To Study Regulatory Elephants, Jonathan B. Wiener, Brendon Swedlow, James K. Hammitt, Michael D. Rogers, Peter H. Sand

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Diffusion Of Regulatory Oversight, Jonathan B. Wiener Jan 2013

The Diffusion Of Regulatory Oversight, Jonathan B. Wiener

Faculty Scholarship

The idea of cost-benefit analysis has been spreading internationally for centuries — at least since an American named Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter in 1772 to his British friend, Joseph Priestley, recommending that Priestley weigh the pros and cons of a difficult decision in what Franklin dubbed a “moral or prudential algebra” (Franklin 1772) (more on this letter below). Several recent studies show that the use of benefit-cost analysis (BCA), for both public projects and public regulation of private activities, is now unfolding in countries on every habitable continent around the world (Livermore and Revesz 2013; Quah and Toh 2012; De ...


Happiness Research And Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler, Eric A. Posner Jan 2010

Happiness Research And Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler, Eric A. Posner

Faculty Scholarship

A growing body of research on happiness or subjective well-being (SWB) shows, among other things, that people adapt to many injuries more rapidly than is commonly thought, fail to predict the degree of adaptation and hence overestimate the impact of those injuries on their SWB, and, similarly, enjoy small or moderate rather than significant changes in SWBg in response to significant changes in income. Some researchers believe that these findings pose a challenge to cost-benefit analysis, and argue that project evaluation decision-procedures based on economic premises should be replaced with procedures that directly maximize subjective well-being. This view turns out ...


Contingent Valuation Studies And Health Policy, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2010

Contingent Valuation Studies And Health Policy, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Using Decision Analysis To Improve Malaria Control Policy Making, Jonathan B. Wiener, Randall A. Kramer, Katherine L. Dickinson, Richard M. Anderson, Vance G. Fowler, Marie Lynn Miranda, Clifford M. Mutero, Kathryn A. Saterson Jan 2009

Using Decision Analysis To Improve Malaria Control Policy Making, Jonathan B. Wiener, Randall A. Kramer, Katherine L. Dickinson, Richard M. Anderson, Vance G. Fowler, Marie Lynn Miranda, Clifford M. Mutero, Kathryn A. Saterson

Faculty Scholarship

Malaria and other vector-borne diseases represent a significant and growing burden in many tropical countries. Successfully addressing these threats will require policies that expand access to and use of existing control methods, such as insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) and artemesinin combination therapies (ACTs) for malaria, while weighing the costs and benefits of alternative approaches over time. This paper argues that decision analysis provides a valuable framework for formulating such policies and combating the emergence and re-emergence of malaria and other diseases. We outline five challenges that policy makers and practitioners face in the struggle against malaria, and demonstrate how decision ...


Risk Equity: A New Proposal, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2008

Risk Equity: A New Proposal, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Inequality And Uncertainty: Theory And Legal Applications, Matthew D. Adler, Chris William Sanchirico Jan 2006

Inequality And Uncertainty: Theory And Legal Applications, Matthew D. Adler, Chris William Sanchirico

Faculty Scholarship

"Welfarism" is the principle that social policy should be based solely on individual well-being, with no reference to 'fairness" or "rights." The propriety of this approach has recently been the subject of extensive debate within legal scholarship. Rather than contributing (directly) to this debate, we identify and analyze a problem within welfarism that has received far too little attentioncall this the "ex ante/ex post" problem. The problem arises from the combination of uncertainty-an inevitable feature of real policy choice-and a social preference for equality. If the policymaker is not a utilitarian, but rather has a "social welfare function" that ...


Welfare Polls: A Synthesis, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2006

Welfare Polls: A Synthesis, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

"Welfare polls" are survey instruments that seek to quantify the determinants of human well-being. Currently, three welfare polling formats are dominant: contingent valuation (CV) surveys, quality-adjusted life year (QALY) surveys, and happiness surveys. Each format has generated a large, specialized, scholarly literature, but no comprehensive discussion of welfare polling as a general enterprise exists.This Article seeks to fill that gap.

Part I describes the trio of existing formats. Part II discusses the current and potential uses of welfare polls in governmental decisionmaking. Part III analyzes in detail the obstacles that welfare polls must overcome to provide useful well-being information ...


Qalys And Policy Evaluation: A New Perspective, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2006

Qalys And Policy Evaluation: A New Perspective, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Against “Individual Risk”: A Sympathetic Critique Of Risk Assessment, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2005

Against “Individual Risk”: A Sympathetic Critique Of Risk Assessment, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Fear Assessment: Cost-Benefit Analysis And The Pricing Of Fear And Anxiety, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2004

Fear Assessment: Cost-Benefit Analysis And The Pricing Of Fear And Anxiety, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Cost-Benefit Analysis, Static Efficiency And The Goals Of Environmental Law, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2004

Cost-Benefit Analysis, Static Efficiency And The Goals Of Environmental Law, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Risk, Death And Harm: The Normative Foundations Of Risk Regulation, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2003

Risk, Death And Harm: The Normative Foundations Of Risk Regulation, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

Is death a harm? Is the risk of death a harm? These questions lie at the foundations of risk regulation. Agencies that regulate threats to human life, such as the EPA, OSHA, the FDA, the CPSC, or NHTSA, invariably assume that premature death is a first-party harm - a welfare setback to the person who dies - and often assume that being at risk of death is a distinct and additional first-party harm. If these assumptions are untrue, the myriad statutes and regulations that govern risky activities should be radically overhauled, since the third-party benefits of preventing premature death and the risk ...


The Positive Political Theory Of Cost-Benefit Analysis: A Comment On Johnston, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2002

The Positive Political Theory Of Cost-Benefit Analysis: A Comment On Johnston, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Risk, Death And Time: A Comment On Judge Williams’ Defense Of Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2001

Risk, Death And Time: A Comment On Judge Williams’ Defense Of Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Implementing Cost-Benefit Analysis When Preferences Are Distorted, Matthew D. Adler, Eric A. Posner Jan 2000

Implementing Cost-Benefit Analysis When Preferences Are Distorted, Matthew D. Adler, Eric A. Posner

Faculty Scholarship

Cost-benefit analysis is routinely used by government agencies in order to evaluate projects, but it remains controversial among academics. This paper argues that cost-benefit analysis is best understood as a welfarist decision procedure and that use of cost-benefit analysis is more likely to maximize overall well-being than is use of alternative decision-procedures. The paper focuses on the problem of distorted preference. A person's preferences are distorted when his or her satisfaction does not enhance that person's well-being. Preferences typically thought to be distorted in this sense include disinterested preferences, uninformed preferences, adaptive preferences, and objectively bad preferences; further ...


Introduction, To Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler, Eric A. Posner Jan 2000

Introduction, To Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler, Eric A. Posner

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Rethinking Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler, Eric A. Posner Jan 1999

Rethinking Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler, Eric A. Posner

Faculty Scholarship

This paper analyzes cost-benefit analysis from legal, economic, and philosophical perspectives. The traditional defense of cost-benefit analysis is that it maximizes a social welfare function that aggregates unweighted and unrestricted preferences. We follow many economists and philosophers who conclude that this defense is not persuasive. Cost-benefit analysis unavoidably depends on controversial distributive judgments; and the view that the government should maximize the satisfaction of unrestricted preferences is not plausible. However, we disagree with critics who argue that cost-benefit analysis produces morally irrelevant evaluations of projects and should be abandoned. On the contrary, cost-benefit analysis, suitably constrained, is consistent with a ...


Incommensurability And Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler Jan 1998

Incommensurability And Cost-Benefit Analysis, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Law And Incommensurability: Introduction, Matthew D. Adler Jan 1998

Law And Incommensurability: Introduction, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.