March 24, 2009
Crime and Incarceration
James Q. Wilson, whose work I admire immensely and who is one of the most careful scholars of crime and criminal justice policy, has a marvelous column today at AEI summarizing what we know and do not know about the effects of incarceration (or punishment, generally) on crime levels. The article is available here.
March 8, 2009
North Carolina and Car Sharing
I'm sitting outside the Weaver Street Market in Carboro, North Carolina (just outside Chapel Hill), on a delightful Spring morning. I've visiting my dear friend Mitu Gulati, who is off at a spinning class while I drink coffee and catch up on some work. We are going to meet another dear friend, Richard McAdams, in a while to eat Allen & Sons barbecue and go to the UNC-Duke basketball game this afternoon. Barbecue, law and economics with two of the best practitioners of the genre, delightful weather, and UNC-Duke basketball -- this is as good as it gets.
I highly recommend an article about Zip Cars in this morning's New York Times Sunday Magazine: Mark Levines, "Share My Ride" -- available here. The story of the growth of the company (including the painful dismissal of one of its founders) is fascinating, as is the idea of substituting shared for wholly owned automobiles. The University of Illinois has recently joined the Zipcar network. I'm not certain how many of their cars are available on our 40,000-student campus in Urbana-Champaign, but the attraction to the company of having that many people away from home and, possibly, cut off from the use of the family car must make the campus an attractive business proposition. I'm eager to find out more about the availability on our campus.
You can access the Zipcar website at www.zipcar.com, where there is a link to the New York Times article mentioned above.
March 5, 2009
Droit de Suite
For years I have used a discussion of the droit de suite (the artist's right to share in the proceeds of sales of his or her work beyond the first sale) to teach my law students about transaction costs, social subsidies to creative and expressive activities, and more. The State of California since 1977 has had such a practice (requiring subsequent sales of an artist's work to remit 5 percent of the sale price to the artist if the sale is over $1,000 and not between art dealers). There is a wonderful story -- available here -- in today's Wall Street Journal about a California state official whose job it is to track down artists who are entitled to payment.