Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Time to repeal some laws of unintended consequences?

A lot of those who moan about red tape (including clumsy and heavy over-regulation in public services) talk about the compliance costs (eg the former Better Regulation Commission’s first aim was in relation to “unnecessary regulatory and administrative burdens). There is less discussion of the nasty effects in the form of unintended consequences.

Stephen J. Dubner And Steven D. Levitt, the authors of the economics best-seller Freakonomics, have written a well-argued article about how the most powerful law is the law of unintended consequences.

Too often policy makers are far more aware of market-failure than they are of regulation-failure. Hopefully they will read the article by Dubner and Levitt.

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