Contemporary Policy Issues

Articles

Vol. 11, No. 4, October

Returns Paid to Early Social Security Cohorts
I. INTRODUCTION The combined benefit and contribution structure of the U.S. Social Security program generates substantial income transfers within and across generations. A highly progressive benefit formula transfers income from high-wage to low-wage...
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GATT Trade Rules and the Environment
I. INTRODUCTION This paper focuses on the relationship between trade rules contained in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the ability of the signatories to these agreements...
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Willingness to Pay for Air Quality: The Case of Outdoor Exercise
I. INTRODUCTION The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reviewed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone. The 1970 Clean Air Act requires setting national primary standards for ambient air quality at levels to protect...
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Wage Mobility and Wage Inequality among Young Workers
I. INTRODUCTION Individuals undergo a great deal of job mobility and wage variation during their early years in the labor market. Previous research indicates that about two-thirds of all lifetime job changes and nearly two-thirds of lifetime wage growth...
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Effects of Price and Availability on Abortion Demand
I. INTRODUCTION Following the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973, the rate of legal abortion in the United States increased from 16.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 1973 to 29.3 in 1981, but then declined to 27.3 by 1988. (Data...
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Life Insurance Company Risk Exposure: Market Evidence and Policy Implications
I. INTRODUCTION Failures of several large life insurance companies (LICs)--such as Mutual Benefit and Executive Life in 1991--raise the possibility of pervasive failures in yet another category of financial intermediaries that would require government...
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Youth Alcohol Use and Public Policy
I. INTRODUCTION Between 1970 and 1975, 29 states lowered their minimum legal drinking ages for alcohol to comply with a change in the voting age from 21 to 18 in 1970. In 1976, concern about youth drinking and its consequences reversed this trend. The...
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Valuing Effects of Climate Change and Fishery Enhancement on Chinook Salmon
I. INTRODUCTION Recent considerations for listing some Pacific Northwest salmon stocks as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act highlight the numerous environmental threats to these stocks. To the traditional anthropogenic threats...
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Gender Differences in Ph.D. Economists' Careers
I. INTRODUCTION Previous studies of women's participation in traditionally male-dominated scientific and technical fields suggest that women are more likely than men to be placed in lower-ranked departments in academia, less likely to enter academia,...
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What Should Banks Really Do?: Comment
I. INTRODUCTION Lawrence J. White (1992) argues that the nature of financial intermediation and market competition makes banks susceptible to runs. Such bank runs naturally become banking panics when depositors at all banks, unable to distinguish safe...
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What Should Banks Really Do?: Reply
In my original article (White, 1992), I tried to sharpen the focus of the current policy debate over the proper structure and activities of depository institutions ("banks") and the concomitant safety-and-soundness regulation that would be appropriate....
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Vol. 11, No. 3, July

Medical Research and Genetic Resources Management: The Case of Taxol
I. INTRODUCTION Cancer treatment is a major focus of biotechnology research in the United States. In 1988, over two-thirds of U.S. biotechnology patents were in the health care field and half of biotechnology medicines tested on humans or awaiting...
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Limiting U.S. Oil Imports: Cost Estimates
I. INTRODUCTION U.S. concern about limiting oil imports had its root in the late 1950s when the possibility that inexpensive Middle East crude oil would replace domestic supply first became a real threat (Bohi and Russell, 1978). The oil shocks...
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The Minimum Wage, Wage Subsidies, and Poverty
I. INTRODUCTION April 1, 1991 marked the first day of a significant rise in the minimum wage, from $3.80 to $4.25 an hour. Critics charge that a minimum-wage earner still is consigned to poverty. The 1991 poverty thresholds for families of one,...
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Impact of Child Quality on Earnings: The Productivity-of-Schooling Hypothesis
I. INTRODUCTION Discussion concerning discrimination against non-whites in the educational system and in the work place has moved from a concentration on the black experience to a more general consideration of multiple minority groups. This changing...
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Prohibition versus Taxation: Reconsidering the Legal Drinking Age
I. INTRODUCTION In 1972, ratification of the 26th amendment extended the right to vote to 18-year-olds. In its wake, 29 states also lowered their legal drinking ages. By 1988, however, all states had returned to the legal drinking age of 21....
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Motivating Recycling: A Marginal Cost Analysis
I. INTRODUCTION As landfill space becomes increasingly scarce, many solid waste management areas (SWMA) have turned to recycling programs as a means of diverting waste from landfills. A SWMA is a geographical, political, and legal entity whose...
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Ocean Shipping Economics: Free Trade and Antitrust Implications
I. INTRODUCTION This paper argues that, contrary to much conventional wisdom, ocean shipping economics closely resembles airline, trucking, and railroad economics. All employ some variation on hub-and-spoke networks to achieve tremendous scale...
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Ocean Shipping Economics: Comment
The international ocean shipping industry is one of the few remaining bastions of regulation, having escaped the deregulation process in transportation during the past two decades. Ocean shipping on U.S. international trade lanes has been subject to...
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Energy Intensity Improvements in Steel Minimills
I. INTRODUCTION Over the past 20 years, U.S. steel manufacturing has experienced an episode of creative destruction. Iron-ore based steel plants closed over 50 million tons of annual capacity while scrap-based steel plants concurrently constructed...
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Impact of Pricing Structure Selectivity on Urban Water Demand
I. INTRODUCTION Interest in demand management policies has intensified as the demand for residential water has grown in the United States. While municipal utilities historically have emphasized education and conservation programs, they recently...
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Vol. 11, No. 2, April

Economic Integration and the Future of the Nation-State
what it is able to do. Each year, the G7, whether they meet in Munich or London or Tokyo, puts on a bigger and better show. But they also show their decreased ability to do anything useful. That may be a slight exaggeration, but not much. I would like...
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National Health Care and Quality of Service: Lessons from Medicaid
I. INTRODUCTION Recently, public concern over U.S. health care has grown at a rate nearly equal the growth in health care expenditures as a percent of GNP. Both the political left and the political right, and both strict neoclassical economists and...
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Effects of Workfare Saturation on AFDC Caseloads
I. INTRODUCTION The Family Support Act (FSA) of 1988 substantially changed conditions of welfare dependency by requiring Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients to participate in work-related programs. FSA state-specific participation...
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Japanese Antitrust: Reconciling Theory and Evidence
I. INTRODUCTION Recent policy debate has focused on U.S. and Japanese antitrust. While Japan's Antimonopoly Law originally was modeled closely after its American counterpart--the Sherman Act--post-war amendments created exemptions for many vertical...
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The Dollar's International Role
I. INTRODUCTION The dollar was the dominant international currency following World War II. During the Bretton Woods system, most currencies were pegged to the dollar, much trade and finance was done in dollars, and the international reserve currency...
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University Technology Transfers: Impacts on Local and U.S. Economies
I. INTRODUCTION The gap between advanced scientific knowledge and application of this knowledge through technological innovation is becoming narrower over time. Evolution of the computer industry and, more recently, of the biotechnology industry illustrates...
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Carbon Reduction Costs in New England's Power Sector
I. INTRODUCTION Growing international concern over the threat of global climate change has led policymakers to propose insuring against this threat by reducing carbon emissions (carbon dioxide) and other greenhouse gases below current levels. In 1988,...
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Integrated Pest Management and Water Quality
I. INTRODUCTION The popular media, the general public, policymakers, regulators, administrators, farmers, and researchers in biological, physical, and social sciences presently are devoting considerable attention to alternative farming strategies. These...
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