Found 40 article(s) for author 'Richard Zeckhauser'

Investing in the Unknown and Unknowable

Investing in the Unknown and Unknowable. Richard Zeckhauser, 2010, Book Chapter, “David Ricardo made a fortune buying bonds from the British government four days in advance of the Battle of Waterloo. 1 He was not a military analyst, and even if he were, he had no basis to compute the odds of Napoleon’s defeat or victory, or hard-to-identify ambiguous outcomes. Thus, he was investing in the unknown and the unknowable. Still, he knew that competition was thin, that the seller was eager, and that his windfall pounds should Napoleon lose would be worth much more than the pounds he’d lose should Napoleon win. Ricardo knew a good bet when he saw it.” Link

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Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes

Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes. Olga Rostapshova, Richard Zeckhauser, November 2009, Paper. “There is a low but uncertain probability that climate change could trigger “mega-catastrophes,” severe and at least partly irreversible adverse effects across broad regions. This paper first discusses the state of current knowledge and the defining characteristics of potential climate change mega-catastrophes. While some of these characteristics present difficulties for using standard rational choice methods to evaluate response options, there is still a need to balance the benefits and costs of different…” Link

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Health Insurance Exchanges — Making the Markets Work

Health Insurance Exchanges – Making the Markets Work. Richard Frank, Richard Zeckhauser, September 17, 2009, Article. “Americans purchase health insurance in various ways. Some buy individual policies. For them, medical underwriting is common, and preexisting conditions can preclude, limit, or dramatically increase the cost of coverage. Many buy insurance through small employers, which typically offer little or no choice of plan. Their premiums tend to be higher than those of consumers purchasing through large employers, which can bargain effectively on prices. Large employers usually offer a modest selection of high-quality…” Link

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The Trouble with Cases

The Trouble with Cases. Richard Zeckhauser, August 2009, Paper. “For several decades now a debate has raged about policy-making by litigation. Spurred by the way in which tobacco, environmental, and other litigation has functioned as an alternative form of regulation, the debate asks whether policy-making or regulation by litigation is more or less socially desirable than more traditional policy-making by ex ante rule-making by legislatures or administrative agencies. In this paper we step into this debate, but not to come down on one side or another, all things considered. Rather, we seek to show that any form of regulation that is…” Link

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Selection Stories: Understanding Movement Across Health Plans

Selection Stories: Understanding Movement Across Health Plans. David Cutler, Richard Zeckhauser, July 2009, Paper. “This study assesses the factors influencing the movement of people across health plans. We distinguish three types of cost-related transitions: adverse selection, the movement of the less healthy to more generous plans; adverse retention, the tendency for people to stay where they are when they get sick; and aging in place, where lack of all movement makes plans with initially older enrollees increase in cost over time. Using data from the Group Insurance Commission in Massachusetts, we show that aging in…” Link

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Generic Script Share and the Price of Brand-Name Drugs: The Role of Consumer Choice

Generic Script Share and the Price of Brand-Name Drugs: The Role of Consumer Choice. Richard Zeckhauser, January 8, 2009, Paper. “Pharmaceutical expenditures have grown rapidly in recent decades, and now total nearly 10% of health care costs. Generic drug utilization has risen substantially alongside, from 19% of scripts in 1984 to 47% in 2001, thus tempering expenditure growth through significant direct dollar savings. However, generic drugs may lead to indirect savings as well if their use reduces the average price of those brand-name drugs that are still purchased. Prior work…” (May require user account or purchase) Link

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Policymaking for Posterity

Policymaking for Posterity. Lawrence Summer, Richard Zeckhauser, September 2008, Paper. “Policymaking for posterity involves current decisions with distant consequences. Contrary to conventional prescriptions, we conclude that the greater wealth of future generations may strengthen the case for preserving environmental amenities; lower discount rates should be applied to the far future, and special effort should be made to avoid actions that impose costs on future generations. — Posterity brings great uncertainties. Even massive losses, such as human extinction, however, do not merit infinite negative utility. Given learning…” Link

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Simple Humans, Complex Insurance, Subtle Subsidies

Simple Humans, Complex Insurance, Subtle Subsidies. Jeffrey Liebman, Richard Zeckhauser, September 2008, Paper. “The behavioral revolution in economics has demonstrated that human beings often have difficulty making wise choices. The most widely chronicled difficulties arise for decisions made under conditions of uncertainty, those whose consequences unfold over significant amounts of time, and decisions made in complex environments. Unfortunately, these are precisely the elements involved when individuals choose a health insurance policy, or decide whether to consume health care services. In this paper, we argue that…” Link

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Clean Water Act Brief

Clean Water Act Brief. Robert Stavins, Richard Zeckhauser, July 21, 2008, Brief. “As economists, we believe that the Second Circuit’s ruling, by not allowing the consideration of important information about the relationships between the benefits and costs of alternatives, is economically unsound. In particular, we believe that, as a general principle, regulators cannot make rational decisions unless they are allowed to compare costs and benefits and to use the results, along with other factors as appropriate, to choose among alternatives. To the extent permissible under the statute and case law, EPA should be allowed to consider benefits…” Link

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Regulation by Generalization

Regulation by Generalization. Richard Zeckhauser, 2007, Paper, “Both criminal and regulatory laws have traditionally been skeptical of what Jeremy Bentham referred to as evidentiary offenses – the prohibition (or regulation) of some activity not because it is wrong, but because it probabilistically (but not universally) indicates that a real wrong has occurred. From Bentham to the present, courts and theorists have worried about this form of regulation, believing that certainly in the criminal law context, but even with respect to regulation, it is wrong to impose sanctions on a ‘‘Where there’s smoke there’s fire’’ theory of governmental interventionLink

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