Topic: Regulation
Aug. 20, 2017

The regional cost of renting has surged at double the pace of overall inflation so far this century. Renters in Los Angeles and Orange counties give more of their paychecks to the landlord than any other metro in the nation. And perhaps three-quarters of Southern California’s renters claim they are ready to bolt. An exaggerated upswing in Southern California rent is frequently blamed on an economic mismatch: solid employment growth outstripping the developers’ ability to build enough apartments to meet demand, especially for those not seeking luxury digs. Rising home prices also nix ownership for many. So, a growing flock of renters is chasing too few vacant units, and that supply shortfall pushes up rent prices.

Aug. 18, 2017

Pot shops are sprouting across California after voters last year legalized marijuana for recreational use. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sowed fears on the left that the feds will try to nip California’s pot industry in the bud. The bigger threat may be parasitic lawyers.

Plaintiff firms have filed some 800 complaints against marijuana businesses alleging violations of the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). The 1986 law requires businesses to post warnings if their products contain one of the more than 900 chemicals that state regulators have deemed hazardous or carcinogenic.

. . . Plaintiff attorneys eye a business opportunity in pot legalization, which is expected to grow California’s cannabis market by $5 billion. They are now raiding mom-and-pop pot shops, vaping cartridge manufacturers, edible producers and co-ops. One plaintiff has filed more than 600 Prop. 65 violation notices.

Aug. 15, 2017

Overall, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers. Our estimates suggest that an increase of the minimum wage by $1 (based on 2015 dollars) decreases the share of lowskilled automatable jobs by 0.43 percentage point (an elasticity of −0.11). However, these average effects mask significant heterogeneity by industry and by demographic group. In particular, there are large effects on the shares of automatable employment in manufacturing, where we estimate that a $1 increase in the minimum wage decreases the share of automatable employment among low-skilled workers by 0.99 percentage point (elasticity of −0.17). Within manufacturing, the share of older workers in automatable employment declines most sharply, and the share of workers in automatable employment also declines sharply for women and blacks.

Aug. 11, 2017

Nuclear plants in New York will continue to receive payments collected from all in-state load serving entities (LSE) in recognition of their clean energy contributions. Those payments, which might be as high as $8 billion over a ten year period, may also be as low as zero during years in which the average wholesale price of electricity rises to a level at which selling power becomes profitable for the qualifying plants. In a decision filed July 25, Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed the motions filed by various electrical generators and trade groups of electrical generators that challenged the constitutionality of the New York Public Service Commission’s decision to create a Zero Emission Credit program.

Aug. 11, 2017

“The traditional view has been that the license is just a barrier to entry,” said Clemson University economist Peter Blair, who co-authored the paper with Clemson graduate student Bobby Chung. But, he said in an interview, licenses also provide potential employers with information about the workers who have them: Many require special training or bar people with criminal records.

The study suggests women are rewarded because a license signals training and job skills, while black men benefit when a license signals they don’t have a felony conviction.

“Licensing may not be the most efficient way to convey this information, but we need to acknowledge that licensing is providing this information,” Mr. Blair said.

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