Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Saul Levmore (Chicago) presents From Helmets to Savings and Inheritance Taxes: Regulatory Intensity, Information Revelation and Internalities Internality Regulation Through Public Choice at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Alan Auerbach:
It is easy to overstate the link between information revelation and government intervention. I began by emphasizing that decisions about regulatory intensity require the extraction of private information, and advanced the idea that some regulatory schemes can enable individuals to self-reveal and customize their (self-) regulation.
Even when the scope of inquiry is narrowed to laws that can be understood as driven by internalities, information revelation problems seem more disparate than alike. Self-assessment strategies work where there is little coercion and moral hazard. In most cases, however, it is hard enough to discover the preferences of one’s own future self, and so much more difficult to discover another’s. I have suggested that there may be some areas, like savings, where moderately coercive experiments could reveal useful information about oneself and one’s peers. But such experiments, and mechanism design more generally, need to be sensitive to the political coalitions that make regulatory intervention possible.