Policy and Analysis

Does “Trophy Hunting” Reduce Wildlife Populations?

The hunting death of a lion sparked me to do some research on the economics of trophy hunting. You can still morally oppose trophy hunting (that’s your opinion), but there are objective economics of it. If the ultimate goal of conservation is to increase wildlife populations, then the trends of populations before and after trophy hunting are worth considering. My findings coincide with the economics of any valuable resource: for-profit privatization affects supply via a market price. (more…)

Understanding the Impact of Regulatory Burden

We often hear political groups advocate for economic regulations to address an externality or “protect” some group – usually consumers and labor. They only consider the initial and visible outcomes with little or no regard for the secondary and indirect consequences. At the same time, they fear America’s “unregulated capitalism”.

It is often thought that without regulation, corporations MIGHT carry out destructive acts that result in social externalities. Many of these regulations are crafted on the grounds of what MIGHT happen, as opposed to what has happened. Net neutrality is an excellent example. (more…)

The Case for Legalizing Child Labor

CHILD LABOR is one of the more controversial topics in economics. At face value, most people probably support restricting or banning it. Understandably, child labor evokes emotional responses and images of horrendous working conditions of the Industrial Revolution. Times have changed, however, and this discussion is worth revisiting. (more…)

A Welfare Reform That Can Save Budget and Reduce Poverty

Every year there is a heated battle between the left and right over the budget. Welfare reforms are always a politically sensitive issue. The left decries them as “hurting the poor to benefit the wealthy” and the right takes a fiscally conservative approach that we simply cannot afford it. They’re both right and wrong for their own reasons, but they almost never address actual structural reform that can ultimately benefit everyone. (more…)

Here’s Why Salads Cost More Than Burgers

Misleading Claim: “An unhealthy hamburger costs $1, but a healthy salad costs $5. Greedy capitalists are making our kids fat!”

Reality: Producers do not sell goods at arbitrary prices based on profitability or the desire to make people fat. In fact, prices are carefully calculated by consumer value/demand and external factors, such as subsidies. We can debunk this claim with thought experiments and an analysis of the U.S. farm price support programs. (more…)

The Environment Needs a Free Market; Not the EPA

In short time, the Environmental Protection Agency will release new standards for chemical plants and refineries to measure volatile organic compounds in their flares. The new regulations come in response to a past lawsuit that claims the EPA failed to enforce existing regulations under the Clean Air Act. This comes as no surprise because government is inherently motivated to fail. How else will they claim they need more funding? (more…)

Why We Need to Legalize Organ Sales

Rising costs of medical care have spurred calls for elaborate reforms such as Obamacare. While I doubt it will ultimately succeed, there is a less intrusive reform that could have a profound effect on costs and save thousands of lives. A quick internet search provides numerous stories of people who await organ transplants. Unfortunately, statistics are not in their favor. Most of them will pass away while on the wait list. (more…)

A Prediction for America

The United States has long been following a dangerous course at the will of the political elite. Government self-interest has led us to abusive policies both at home and abroad. While many people ignore this reality, some are waking up and speaking out. However, it may very well be too little too late. In fact, our history and current direction bare striking resemblance to the Roman Empire. I feel it is time for me to make a prediction for the American future, and that, my fellow citizens, is appears to be a painful future. (more…)