Social Norms as Market Regulation: The Case of Pre-PPACA Nongroup Health Insurance

The debate over pre-PPACA (Obamacare) nongroup health insurance has heated up again recently, particularly on the issue of rescissions (cancellations of policies). John Goodman claims that before the PPACA, rescissions almost never happened except in cases of fraud. Nevertheless, one problem with the nongroup market in many states was denial of applications for coverage from … Continue reading Social Norms as Market Regulation: The Case of Pre-PPACA Nongroup Health Insurance

Marriage Equality. What is the Second Best Solution?

The Supremes are to hear two cases this week (California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act) that will speak directly to the issue of marriage equality. The issue is an interesting one for conservatives and libertarians. Traditionally, social conservatives have embraced states’ rights and heterosexual marriage. The problem, of course, is that states' … Continue reading Marriage Equality. What is the Second Best Solution?

*The Righteous Mind* by Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt is everywhere these days, giving interviews and TED talks, promoting his working papers in the media, writing for the websites yourmorals.org and civilpolitics.org, and publishing The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (New York: Pantheon Books, 2012). A moral psychologist by training, Haidt has successfully cleared the jump … Continue reading *The Righteous Mind* by Jonathan Haidt

David Brooks on Murray, Coming Apart

David Brooks reviews Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart in today’s NYT. Brooks has high praise: “I’ll be shocked if there’s another book that so compelling describes the most important trends in American society.” Back in 1963, where the story begins: Roughly 98 percent of men between the ages of 30 and 49 were in … Continue reading David Brooks on Murray, Coming Apart

Caplan on Parenting and Having Children

One of the books I read this summer was Bryan Caplan's Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think. Having already read works like Judith Rich Harris's excellent books The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do and No Two Alike: Human … Continue reading Caplan on Parenting and Having Children

Eye for an Eye: Retribution or Restitution?

I recently came across this interesting, five-year-old interview with law professor William Ian Miller on "talionic" law in the Middle Ages, which specified literal "eye for an eye" justice. Talionic law developed in societies that lacked stable state institutions, like Iceland and early England. As such, it was embedded in strong extended-family institutions that used … Continue reading Eye for an Eye: Retribution or Restitution?