Justifying Regulations

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 4, Issue 2 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece. 

This paper evaluates the efficacy of agencies’ cost benefit analysis. To assess a policy’s given benefits, the paper describes multiple indices for performance, using case studies that trace regulatory policy across various branches and levels of the federal government. In assessing these policies to determine whether agencies realize the benefits they claim for regulations, the author looks to determine whether the regulation addresses a systemic problem in a market or government, then seeks to determine if the regulation explains how it will solve the problem it is intended to resolve. Through this process, this paper documents the validity of the claims federal agencies make with respect to the benefis of their regulatory actions, and illuminates several shortcomings in traditional regulatory analysis practices, focusing on both monetary and nonmonetary factors.

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Sherzod Abdukadirov is a Research Fellow at the Mercatus Institute, George Mason University.

The Future of Philanthropy

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 4, Issue 2 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece. 

Philanthropy today has reached an impasse in both theory and practice. This article maps a way beyond that impasse by taking us back to philanthropy’s core function and traditional values. The standard academic model sees philanthropy as subordinate and supplemental to our society’s other public sectors, the market and the state, and uses their metrics to measure its performance. Current law, best reflected in the federal income tax code, closely parallels that perspective. This article proposes to reverse the dominant theoretical perspective and reveal a radically different relationship among society’s three public sectors, the market, the state, and the philanthropic. Following both classical Western philosophy and the three Abrahamist faiths, this perspective places philanthropy first and measures everything, including our current economic and political systems, by a neo-classical philanthropic standard: the highest good of all humankind.

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Rob Atkinson is a Greenspoon Marder Professor at Florida State University College of Law.

Lessons from a Plague

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 4, Issue 2 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece. 

This Article argues that we ought to examine this country’s early AIDS crisis for lessons on addressing HIV as well as to improve the ongoing social movement of sexual minorities in the United States. In the 1980s and early 1990s, AIDS influenced sexual minorities’ advocacy efforts as both liberationists working to deregulate sexuality and integrationists seeking access to heterosexual privilege recognized that their agendas needed to acknowledge this new crisis.

Over time, a liberationist response to AIDS emerged and dominated the social movement because sexual minorities had to publicly defend their differences in order to stay alive. Decades later, without the horrific, unifying force of the early AIDS crisis, elites at the helm of the social movement have taken an integrationist turn. Movement elites now favor integrationist objectives like marriage, neglecting the pressing needs of their marginalized movement counterparts. By honoring key lessons from the early AIDS crisis and using the momentum of the modern integrationist movement to advance more liberationist goals, sexual minorities have the power to propel society toward greater justice for all.

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Max D. Siegel is a Ryan H. Easley Research Fellow at University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Thank you to the journal for its incredible work as well as to Sanjay De, Sue McCarty, and Danielle Keats Citron.

Clarifying Costs

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 4, Issue 2 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece.

As healthcare expenditures continue to climb, politicians, business leaders, and patients avidly search for new methods to reduce healthcare costs. In an eleven-point plan released in 2012, a group of the nation’s top healthcare experts listed “full transparency of prices” as one potential solution to reduce healthcare costs. The experts, some of whom helped write the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, argued that price transparency would allow consumers to compare prices before choosing a provider or hospital and, consequently, better anticipate their overall costs. In turn, they argued that making price information publicly accessible would also reduce excess healthcare spending by encouraging providers to offer more competitive pricing.

Other health services research, however, suggests that legislative and regulatory effort to promote price transparency may result in increased healthcare costs depending on the market conditions and the various stakeholders targeted. Consequently, any price transparency initiative must not only make prices transparent, but also account for the differences between markets, either by reducing the economic inefficiencies that keep price transparency from being effective or by precisely targeting the specific regions where the market would support such an initiative.

This article analyzes whether price transparency initiatives can effectively reduce healthcare costs, and if so, what conditions must exist for them to do so. The features of a well designed price transparency initiative will vary depending upon the targeted population (patients, employers, providers, or insurers) and the particular features of the target market. We argue that the most effective solutions will mandate disclosure of price and quality information at the appropriate stakeholder levels and, simultaneously, break down provider market leverage where it prevents price transparency from helping consumers. Together, these two elements have the potential to lower healthcare costs. Finally, we present four possible price transparency initiatives that represent a range of possible alternatives,including litigation, legislation, regulation, and consumer driven initiatives.

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Morgan A. Muir is a Research Fellow at UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy; Attorney, Morgan Muir Law.

Stephanie A. Alessi is J.D. at University of California, Hastings College of the Law; Research Fellow, UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy.

Jaime S. King is a Professor of Law at University of California, Hastings College of the Law and Associate Director of the UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy.