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Concepts in Law and EconomicsA Guide for the Curious$
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Jim Leitzel

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190213978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190213978.001.0001

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Squeezing a Balloon

Squeezing a Balloon

(p.71) 4 Squeezing a Balloon
Concepts in Law and Economics

Jim Leitzel

Oxford University Press

New regulations designed to produce a certain outcome frequently induce alterations in behavior that counter the intention of the laws. If the offsetting behavior is sufficiently potent, then perhaps the new rules will leave the intended target unaffected, or even lead to a perverse outcome. Offsetting responses to new rules are sometimes referred to as Peltzman effects, after economist Sam Peltzman, who identified such offsetting responses in the case of automobile safety regulations. Taxes and subsidies are examples of rules that potentially are subject to significant offsetting effects. The Internet has led to a de facto liberalization of copyright. Incentives to create new content, however, seem to have survived the altered copyright regime. The newspaper industry has seen its traditional business model severely undermined by the Internet, presenting the possibility that there will be long-term damage to investigative journalism, and consequently, to the quality of state and non-state institutions.

Keywords:   offsetting behavior, Sam Peltzman, copyright, Internet, newspapers

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