July 30th Edition

Today AAF has an event on the “gig economy” and the increasing use of independent contractors, which builds on a recent paper designed to shed light on the magnitude of these labor force developments. For those new to the area, there are three interrelated phenomena: (1) the gig economy – workers with alternative work arrangements, (2) the online gig economy – workers who utilize new technologies, markets and platforms for alternative work arrangements, and (3) the “sharing economy” – goods and services that employ under-utilized assets via online marketplaces or decentralized networks.

July 27th Edition

Health insurance mergers have hit the headlines recently. Aetna and Humana led off by announcing their merger, followed by the agreement by Cigna to be purchased by Anthem. To some, the most notable outcome of these mergers is that they yield two very large insurers, and leave the U.S. with three large health insurers with annual revenues in the $150 billion range. In this populist, “big is bad” era there are already calls for the Justice Department to step in and prevent the mergers. Let’s think this through step by step.

July 22nd Edition

The best energy policy is letting markets work. A great testimony to this is the recent revolution in oil and gas production. It was due to market-driven technological advances that built on some government basic research and further industry development. It would be beneficial for consumers and producers alike if even more market forces were put in to play — namely to permit domestic producers to export crude oil (and accelerate the granting of permits to export liquified natural gas).

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