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Menu Mandates and Obesity: A Futile Future

One provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that has been delayed until 2017 is a federal mandate for standard menu items in restaurants and some other venues to contain nutrition labeling. The stated motivation for such menu mandates is to reduce the number of overweight and obese Americans by reducing their consumption of calories. In a new Policy Analysis, Cato scholar Aaron Yelowitz finds that the impact of such labeling requirements on BMI, obesity, and other health-related outcomes is trivial.


Beyond the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act: Congress Should Get More Serious about Tariff Reform

by Daniel J. Ikenson

Although trade barriers have been reduced considerably since the end of the World War II, U.S. policy continues to reflect an intolerable amount of protectionism, including tariffs assessed on approximately one-third of all U.S. imports. In a new bulletin, Cato scholar Daniel J. Ikenson argues that eliminating—or at least reducing—those burdens should be a congressional priority because duties raise the cost of production, reduce investment and hiring, dissuade foreign companies from establishing operations in the United States, and encourage existing producers to relocate to countries where the burdens are less onerous.

Privatizing the U.S. Postal Service

by Chris Edwards

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is a major business enterprise operated by the federal government. But with the rise of electronic communications, mail volume has plunged, and the 600,000-worker USPS has been losing billions of dollars a year. In this bulletin, Cato scholar Chris Edwards argues that other countries facing falling mail volume have privatized their systems and opened them to competition. “America,” says Edwards, “should follow suit and liberalize its postal industry so that it can adjust to changes in the modern Internet-based economy.”

Research Briefs in Economic Policy


The Welfare Cost of Perceived Policy Uncertainty: Evidence from Social Security


Happy Birthday, You're Fired! The Effects of Age-Dependent Minimum Wages on Youth Employment Flows in the Netherlands


Keep the Kids Inside? Juvenile Curfews and Urban Gun Violence


The Evolution of Culture and Institutions: Evidence from the Kuba Kingdom

Volume 39, Number 1, Spring 2016

Cato Journal
Volume 36, Number 1, Winter 2016

What is Justice?

The goal of political philosophy is to determine the standards by which we judge different institutions good or bad, just or unjust. Political Philosophy: An Introduction serves as a primer on some of the major theories of justice, to the arguments philosophers have made for and against these theories, and, ultimately, to how to be more thoughtful and rigorous in your own thinking. Political Philosophy is the latest in a series of self-paced, online guides from These guides— videos and accompanying text—are taught by top professors and experts. They introduce the basic ideas and principles of a free and flourishing society and serve as a path to further learning. See details at
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