Edward Lopez Archive

Segway Police: Unsafe at Any Speed?



Today at SFO’s teeming passenger pick up curb, I saw about 20-25 San Francisco police passing through on their Segways. A long line of them was making and winding its way between people, very much as though they were on their way somewhere. They also seemed to be in training. I saw a lot...
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A Conversation about Gasoline Prices



According to yesterday’s weekly federal report, This Week in Petroleum, the average price of regular gasoline is up to $3.96 per gallon, just 15 cents shy of its July 2008 peak. A friend writes: So I’m deciding to ask an economist. It appears to me that the oil companies are really just gouging the...
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Cy pres in Class Action Lawsuits: Alive and Well?



Last Friday an Illinois court resurrected a previously overturned $10.1 billion tobacco verdict, sending the case back to Madison County, Ill., for a possible retrial. According to Yahoo! News carrying the AP story: In 2003, now-retired Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron found that Philip Morris misled customers about “light” and “low tar” cigarettes...
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Carry on Baggage Fees: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?



From today’s Associated Press: Spirit Airlines: no hitch with carry-on fees By ANDREW VANACORE August 2, 1010 7:06 am EDT NEW YORK—Spirit Airlines’ controversial carry-on fees took effect Sunday, catching some customers unhappily by surprise. But the low-fare carrier contends that the move will cut down on flight delays, potentially allowing Spirit to add...
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The Pursuit of Justice and Private Interests in the Law



This is the third in a series of posts on my new book, The Pursuit of Justice: Law and Economics of Legal Institutions. In this post I will discuss how the law evolves instrumentally—that is, to serve private interests rather than the public interest. Law is often assumed to be a public good that...
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The Pursuit of Justice and Elected vs. Appointed Judges



In my earlier post I outlined the way that economics is applied to analyze incentives in the legal system. The most fruitful area of research in this vein, and arguably the most important one, has focused on the behavior of judges. Unlike consumers and producers in market settings, the relevant incentives for judges’ behavior...
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What is The Pursuit of Justice?



After returning home to the United States from a trip abroad, I almost always experience a comforting sense of security. The surroundings look familiar, traffic is relatively sane, and I always know where to find a great burger when I need one. But there is something deeper going on as well. Here in the...
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