Week in Review

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State and local governments sue HHS over new federal conscience rule, D.C. Circuit upholds subpoena of President Trump’s financial records, and more…

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  • In a recent paper, Stefano Gagliarducci of the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Daniele Paserman of Boston University, and Eleanora Patacchini of Cornell University found that members of Congress from districts hit by hurricanes are more likely to support environmental regulation the year after a disaster. Gagliarducci and his coauthors found two characteristics that were associated with a permanent change in congress members’ beliefs. They found that change was more likely when a congress member already had strong electoral support or was predisposed to promote policies with short-term costs and long-term benefits.
  • In a new working paper, Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School argued that “procedural sludge”—excessive or unjustified administrative burdens—imposes significant costs on consumers and society. To combat the problem, Sunstein suggested that agencies and private institutions periodically review existing burdens to ensure that the benefits of any new sludge outweigh the costs.
  • In a recent article, Caroline Chen of ProPublica explored what she called the “largely unregulated” amniotic stem cell industry. Chen noted that FDA has been inconsistent in its enforcement of certain rules, which require manufacturers of stem cell therapies to apply to FDA for approval of the therapies as drugs. She claimed that the lack of FDA control of these treatments has already harmed desperate patients, who have suffered from serious infections due to contaminated samples and have spent large sums seeking relief from stem cell therapies, the efficacy of which has not been verified through adequate clinical trials.