I've been considering blogging for some time now, but Ezra Klein's recent re-post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/why-policy-relevant-academics-should-blog/2011/05/19/AGLLxEZH_blog.html) of Austin Frakt's comments on why policy-relevant academics should blog (http://blog.academyhealth.org/?p=259#more-259) finally pushed me into action.
This blog will cover the issues I care about the most: political economy in all its guises, from the global to the local level; economic development; and health care policy. The first two come from my professional interests, while the latter is personal – but as we know, the personal is political.
Professionally, I write primarily about competition for investment, especially the tax incentives and other subsidies that governments give to companies to attract them. Bidding for business can be seen at every level of government from the local to the supranational. Investment attraction is often seen as a potential motivation for races to the bottom in wages, taxes, or regulation: hence, my interests range from globalization to local economic development.
As I said health care issues are personal to me: I have battled insurance companies too many times over the years to think that our current for-profit health care system is a good one. You only need to look at the most basic data to see that the United States spends more and gets less than other developed countries. Though I'm only a consumer of health policy research, it's an issue I'm passionate about.
Today we face a situation where almost every state is under great fiscal pressure, yet state and local governments collectively give about $70 billion a year in subsidies to business, according to my most recent estimates (http://us.macmillan.com/investmentincentivesandtheglobalcompetitionforcapital). It means that one obvious way to address government economic stress is to reform subsidy policy, which will be the subject of my next post.
Welcome to my blog, and I look forward to many productive discussions!