Whipping

by Harry on March 13, 2019

If you were an MP, and your party was in government, and it proposed a motion, but promised that you could have a free vote on that motion, but then at the last minute whipped you to vote against a slightly modified version of that same motion (the motion it, itself, had proposed, minus one statement of fact which, though removed, everyone knows still to be a fact), how long would it take you to get back to your constituency and prepare for a general election? And, more generally, what would you be thinking?

And, does this count as a victory for May? The motion she proposed passed, after all, despite her orders for her party to vote against it.

Why is carbon pricing so hard?

by John Quiggin on March 13, 2019

I’ve just published a piece in Aeon (an excellent and free online magazine) drawing on the analysis in my (about to be published) book Economics in Two Lessons. I make the case that carbon pricing, whether through a tax of an emissions trading scheme, is the most cost-effective way to stabilize the global climate. Moreover, it’s straightforward to offset any adverse effects on low-income earners, displaced workers and others.

That raises the obvious question: if carbon pricing is so good, why is it so hard to implement, compared to less efficient alternatives like mandatory renewable targets. One factor, which I discuss, is that the creation of property rights over previously open-access resources creates obvious, and often powerful losers.

I was limited by space, so I couldn’t discuss the more puzzling problem of why regulations are more politically salable than prices even in the absence of income effects.