The length of modern legislation means that the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny is often compromised

The Constitution Unit Blog

In a new report published by the Centre for Policy Studies Daniel Greenbergidentifies a number of trends that he argues are reducing the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny of legislation. In particular, he suggests that the length of modern legislation is becoming so great that significant parts of bills often receive no detailed scrutiny at all. Here, he summarises his report and suggests action that might be taken to help remedy the situation.

Recent parliamentary practice discloses a number of dangerous legislative trends that threaten the effective protection of the rule of law, by diluting parliament’s power and influence, and concentrating power in the hands of the executive in general and the civil service in particular.

The length of new bills and the number of clauses that they include has become ever greater over recent decades, and the result of portmanteau bills in particular is that even if parliament wanted…

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Recommend reading for aspiring Market Monetarists

The Market Monetarist

The Market Monetarist school has emerged in the blogosphere as a clear competitor to mainstream Keynesians as well as to the Austrian school thinking. However, Market Monetarists have really not been very clear about their intellectual heritage.

In my recent paper on Market Monetarism I identify two overall Market Monetarist principles:

  1. Money matters.
  2. Markets matter.

These principles have some origin in economic literature. Here I present a short reading list that should get aspiring Market Monetarists up to date with the background on Market Monetarist thinking. The list is highly incomplete and I encourage others to pitch in with reading material, which is or should be important for the intellectual development of Market Monetarism.

Money Matters

Of course Milton Friedman is mandatory reading for anybody. Read everything Friedman wrote, but I think Money Mischief is an excellent introduction to a lot of Friedman’s thinking. Here you will learn why inflation…

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EU migratory challenge: Possible responses to the refugee crisis

European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Updated on 09 April 2016

Written by Piotr Bąkowski, Eva-Maria Poptcheva, Detelin Ivanov
Graphs by: Giulio Sabbati

Europe Migrant Crisis © gustavofrazao / Fotolia

With hundreds of thousands of people embarking on perilous journeys to reach the EU borders, the EU now faces an unprecedented migratory crisis. The following pages set out possible responses, some based on legislation already in force and others requiring a profound reform of the existing system. It is argued that the so-called Dublin system − defining the Member State responsible in individual cases for examining applications for international protection − has led to overburdening of Member States at the EU’s southern external borders. Meanwhile diverging asylum standards across the EU have resulted in a great number of asylum-seekers travelling to Member States with higher reception standards. Therefore the solutions proposed centre, on the one hand, on harmonising national asylum standards and, on the other hand, on distributing asylum-seekers more evenly…

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Why Thieves Steal Soap

Stealing soap is almost as good as stealing cash.

Soap and razor blades are surprisingly valuable to petty thieves because they are easy to offload at the pub or the local market stalls

Source: Why Thieves Steal Soap

Democracies Violate Rights Fighting COIN Wars

Will Opines

`We put a wrap on the Spring slate of CC Virtual Workshops discussing an interesting paper by Adam Scharpf that begins with offers the following figure as a puzzle: why would democracies and autocracies violate rights at equal levels when engaged in counter-insurgency when the former violate rights at substantially lower levels when not engaged in COIN operations?


Jessica Di Salvatore, Shanna Kirschner, Jonathan Powell, Jacob Shapiro and Juan Tellez served as discussants of the paper, “Regimes, Organizational Rivalry, and Repression in Counterinsurgency Wars,” and we had a fun, stimulating discussion. You can watch the video here.

Scharpf argues that slack is greater within coercive forces in democracies compared to autocracies, which permits inter-service rivalry to generate human rights violations in the COIN campaigns of democratic countries to rise to the level of those committed by autocratic regimes. That is, Scharpf argues that interservice rivalry produces…

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Sperm Bank Sued After Disclosure That Donor Responsible for 36 Had An Undisclosed History of Schizophrenia


sperm11n-2-webThere is an interesting lawsuit against a US sperm bank Xytex and its Ontario distributor, Outreach Health. At the center of the case is Donor 9623, James Christian Aggeles of Georgia, who claimed an IQ of 160, an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and a master’s degree in artificial intelligence. He also claimed that he was pursuing a PhD in neuroscience engineering. In reality, he was a formal mental patient with a felony conviction. His sperm was used to conceive at least 36 children in Canada, the US and Britain. The result is a $12 million lawsuit against the companies.

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And Now For Some Really Good News: Eating chocolate regularly ‘improves brain function’ according to new study!

American Elephants

Chocolate Shavings Background

Chocolate researchers used data from a Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS) in which 968 people between the ages of 23 and 96 were studied and measured for their dietary intake and their cardiovascular risk factors, as well as their cognitive function.

The Journal Appetite reported that although the impact of chocolate on cognitive function is not well understood, few other natural products have been claimed to have as many medicinal benefits as chocolate. It has been used from early times to reduce fever, treat childhood diarrhea, promote strength before sexual conquests, decrease ‘female complaints’, increase breast milk, encourage sleep and clean teeth. Who knew?

More recent interest has been directed to cardiovascular benefits and cognitive function. Chocolate intake was positively associated with cognitive performance, and the association between more frequent weekly chocolate consumption and cognitive performance remained significant. Significant association, not proven dietary fact, but who wants to risk the possibility…

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More on the Minimum Wage

Source: More on (Guess What?) the Minimum Wage – Cafe Hayek

Interesting critique of the Big Short (moral hazard)

Source: Managerial Econ: Interesting critique of the Big Short (moral hazard)

Zillow study finds more evidence that regulation drives rents

Urban Liberty

Sarah Mikhitnarian, an economic analyst at real estate listings company Zillow, published an analysis the other day comparing regulation on new construction to rent changes using the Wharton Residential Land Use Regulation Index and Zillow’s own data on rentals and home prices.


She found that rents grew three times as fast in restrictively-regulated cities over the last five years. Those same highly regulated cities experienced a drop in homes for sale and apartments to rent. She also found that the more regulated cities had more adults per household than in other cities.

“On average,” she wrote, “rents in the nation’s least restrictive cities rose 6.1 percent over the past five years, while rents in the most restrictive cities rose 16.7 percent.”

Boston, marked as a “more restrictive” city, had an increase in rents of around 40 percent since 2011 while San Francisco saw an increase of 42.4 percent while being…

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