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Frank Fagan

A legal cycle is legislation that takes effect contingently, where contingent factors are ex ante known to fluctuate with some level of predictable regularity. Apart from broad constitutional mandate, lawmakers have historically and suboptimally responded to legal cycles with general and patchwork patterns of legislation involving repeal, amendment, and new enactment. This is true across nearly all domains of codified law. This chapter develops a normative theory of how lawmakers should respond to legal cycles by setting forth the optimal architecture of stabilization rules. Under a general set of conditions, stabilization rules work toward smoothing fluctuations in rulemaking and exert downward pressure on short-term legislative pathologies that result from cognitive bias and interest group politics. The potential of welfare-enhancing stabilization rules is discussed across banking law, budget law, environmental law, health law, national security law, and criminal sentencing. Keywords: timing rules, contingent law, legal cycles, stabilization rules, climate change, budget law, availability bias

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Eric A. Posner

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Jonathan Klick

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Edited by Jonathan Klick

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Edited by Jonathan Klick

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Edited by Jonathan Klick

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Edited by Jonathan Klick

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Brian Galle

I present for the first time in the literature a quantitative analysis of the efficacy of the “political safeguards of federalism.” I also test the popular theory that congressional control of state authority to tax maximizes national welfare. Both analyses rely on a hand-collected data set of every federal statute from 1789 to 2011 affecting state power to tax. Overall, the data suggest that federal decisions to curtail state autonomy are influenced by congressional self-interest. Conditional on enactment, statutes affecting state taxing power are more likely to reduce state authority when a concentrated special interest group stands to benefit and also when the reduction would diminish competition between states and Congress. I argue that these results suggest that state power to influence Congress is not absolute, and that they should cast doubt on recent calls to grant control of state taxing authority solely to Congress.
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  • Elgar Research Reviews in Economics

Richard A. Posner and Francesco Parisi

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Eugene Kontorovich and Francesco Parisi