Contemporary Society and the Free-Rider Problem

White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) with Red-billed oxpeckers
White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) with Red-billed oxpeckers


  • From The New York Times: Coral Davenport, “Republican Governors Signal Their Intent to Thwart Obama’s Climate Rules” (July 2, 2015)

WASHINGTON — As President Obama prepares to complete sweeping regulations aimed at tackling climate change, at least five Republican governors, including two presidential hopefuls, say they may refuse to carry out the rules in their states … Two of the governors who have said that they might defy the regulations — Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana — are among at least four Republican governors who are expected to vie for the presidential nomination. Other governors who have issued threats over the rules include Greg Abbott of Texas, Mike Pence of Indiana and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma.


(Meanwhile, cf. this graph showing states by return on taxpayer investment, i.e., for every $1 its citizens pay, the amount of money each state receives back from the federal government:)


Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 9.43.37 AM


As compared with the undervaccinated children, the unvaccinated children were more likely to be male, to be white, to belong to households with higher income, to have a married mother with a college education, and to live with four or more other children. Other studies have shown that children who are unvaccinated are likely to belong to families that intentionally refuse vaccines, whereas children who are undervaccinated are likely to have missed some vaccinations because of factors related to the health care system or sociodemographic characteristics.

Summary: In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.

According to a new Pew Research Center analysis, six-in-ten Americans (60%) say that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while a third (33%) reject the idea of evolution, saying that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.” The share of the general public that says that humans have evolved over time is about the same as it was in 2009, when Pew Research last asked the question.


(Meanwhile, cf. Hicks and Taylor, “U.S. Outpatient Antibiotic Prescribing, 2010, N Engl J Med 368 (2013) 1461-1462: “Health care providers prescribed 258.0 million courses of antibiotics in 2010, or 833 prescriptions per 1000 persons … Rates were also higher in the South (936 prescriptions per 1000 persons, as compared with the 639 prescriptions per 1000 persons in the West.”)

  •  Miriam Jordan, “Georgia Town is Case Study in Immigration Debate: Some Employers Say Influx Has Helped Bottom Line,” Wall Street Journal (December 30, 2014):

DALTON, Ga.— Charles Carmical doesn’t like President Barack Obama’s politics and doesn’t endorse his recent move to enable millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. But, the furniture-store owner acknowledges, it might be good for his bottom line. “If these people make more money and feel stability, it will help my business,” said Mr. Carmical, standing in his Dalton Auctions showroom on South Dixie Highway.

When a new residential development (or industrial or commercial development) is built on the fringes of a municipality, a variety of new infrastructure investments are required. Some of these infrastructure costs are covered by the developers and are then passed on to buyers … However, many of the costs are left to the municipal government … Of course, development that takes place in any part of a city can entail costs to a municipal government. However, in established areas, much or all of the required infrastructure already exists, and so redevelopment and infill development typically entail significantly lower (sometimes zero) municipal capital spending. Sprawling suburban development, on the other hand, requires new infrastructure and thus new capital spending. This results in a city being responsible for a larger stock of infrastructure, which means higher maintenance and renewal costs in the future.


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