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EconNews Online is South-Western's service to provide summaries of the latest economics news stories. Review the brief summaries and, for stories of interest, select the full summary.
MARKET FAILURE, REGULATION, AND PUBLIC CHOICE 
Title  Brief Summary 
School Choice Programs Get Empirical Support Globally
Full Summary 
School choice programs tend to bring out polarized opinions about the programs' success and usefulness in fighting poverty. And supporters have just received more support for their argument that vouchers improve educational attainment.
(Updated May, 2007)
Deregulation Doesn't Make Electricity Market More Competitive
Full Summary 
After deregulation, prices in the trucking, airline and long-distance telephone markets all fell, some more significantly than others. But ten years after opening up the utilities market to competitive forces, no such price reductions have appeared. Why?
(Updated October, 2006)
At the Heart of the Matter
Full Summary 
Canada seems to be determined to continue its war against drug companies. Just when pharmaceutical firms thought that they had prevented Canada from supplying U.S. citizens with cheap drugs from across the border, a Canadian firm ignored a patent and issued a generic drug on its own. The companies owning the patent were not happy.
(Updated September, 2006)
Who Watches the Watchers?
Full Summary 
Rather than go through protracted and expensive court cases, the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) prefers to arbitrate disputes between securities dealers and their clients because arbitration is a low-cost, fast way of resolving disputes relative to taking cases to court. Under arbitration, both parties in a dispute argue their case to a three-person panel, and agree to submit to the panel's decision of the panel. The problem? Securities dealers won client-broker disputes 57% of the time in 2005, compared to only 46% of the time in 2001.
(Updated July 2006)
With New Regulations, Monopoly May Become Just a Board Game in Mexico
Full Summary 
The Mexican government recently voted to strengthen existing antitrust laws to increase competition among firms. The new regulations should have a significant negative impact on local monopolies, opening the doors for competitive U.S. firms.
(Updated June 2006)
Taking the Bull by the Horns Can Cost States Plenty
Full Summary
Recent state efforts to enact health insurance legislation, environmental restrictions and to create incentives to engage in scientific research are noble, and reflect impatience with the federal government's inability to carry out these vital activities. But states incur disproportionate costs by taking the bull by the horns on such issues.
(Updated May, 2006)
Here in Quebec, We Know the Difference Between Butter and Margarine
Full Summary
Wal-Mart has found itself in the center of a firestorm again...but it’s not the company’s fault. Canadian dairy farmers are lobbying to prevent Wal-Mart from selling yellow margarine.
(Updated December, 2005)
Brain Drain or Brain Gain?
Full Summary
Developing countries have long decried the “brain drain” involved when the countries’ best citizens leave for developed nations seeking higher salaries. This phenomenon has always been considered detrimental to the home country. But recent research suggests secondary effects that could outweigh the damage done when the “best and brightest” leave a country.
(Updated December, 2005)
Funeral directors conspire to fix casket prices.
Full Summary 
Consumer watchdog groups have filed suit against some of the biggest funeral home chains and the top U.S. casket maker, arguing that the organizations have conspired to inflate the casket costs.
(Updated June, 2005)
All the news that's fit to print--as long as it's from more than one publisher...
Full Summary 
The U.S. Justice Department is investigating proposed plans by some major newspaper publishers to buy additional newspapers.
(Updated April, 2005)
National forests to be managed more locally, rather than nationally
Full Summary 
The Bush Administration issued new rules designed to more efficiently manage the nation's 155 national forests, allowing regional forest managers to determine appropriate usage, such as logging, drilling, or cell-phone tower construction.
(Updated April, 2005)
College education just got more expensive.
Full Summary 
Beginning with the 2005-06 academic year, the government seeks to save approximately $300 million by giving out smaller Pell Grants to recipients, and to eliminate funding for some prospective students.
(Updated March, 2005)
Brother, can you spare a cheap fare anywhere in the US?
Full Summary 
Southwest Airlines can fly anywhere it wants, as long as it's not more than one state away from its home airbase. Or so says the Wright Amendment.
(Updated February, 2005)
A Postal Rate Increase? AGAIN???
Full Summary 
The US Postal Service will probably be seeking an increase in its postage rates to cover what it calls "inflationary pressures."
(Updated January, 2005)
Road trip to Canada for drugs!
Full Summary
The current U.S. system of rewarding drug companies with patents for innovation is drawing significant criticism. While new medications are extremely cheap to produce, they are very expensive to create, giving the government an incentive to reward drug companies with patent for their work.
(Updated January 2005)
Here's an Idea: Let's Just All Raise Our Prices Together...NOT!
Full Summary
A U. S. Justice Department amnesty program is succeeding in encouraging violators who report themselves--and others--during an investigation of price fixing among numerous chemical companies.
(Updated September, 2004)
Maybe the West Was Never Meant to be Won-or Irrigated
Full Summary
In 1922, hydrologists estimated the annual average flow of the Colorado River and helped several states broker a deal to divide up the water's flow for irrigation, drinking water, and other uses. The hydrologists' estimates were wrong-they estimated a much greater annual average flow than what actually occurs. And the West is now fighting to make up for that mistake.
(Updated July, 2004)
Price Fixing Among Computer Chip Makers is Not a Good Thing, According to Federal Trade Commission
Full Summary
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking into possible charges that computer chip makers, including Samsung Electronics, Hynix Semiconductor, Micron Technology, and Infineon Technologies, have conspired to raise prices of memory chips.
(Updated April, 2004)
Now You Have to Buy an SUV!
Full Summary
Driving around in an SUV may make you safer, but it is more dangerous to those around you, especially if car drivers are in an accident with an SUV.
(Updated February, 2004)
How Many Consumers Does It Take to Screw in an Energy-Efficient Light Bulb?
Full Summary
Energy prices are predicted to increase significantly in 2004, resulting from a significant increase in demand. Higher prices are prompting a move toward greater energy efficiency in the home and in consumers' purchases.
(Updated January 4, 2004)
New Runway at Heathrow Creates Many Environmental Costs
Full Summary
A proposal to create a new runway at London's Heathrow Airport is based on dubious cost analyses that do not consider the full costs, including environmental costs, of flying.
(Updated Septembe 10, 2003)
Anti-spamming laws? Businesses want them, consumer groups don't
Full Summary
New regulations being proposed in Congress to limit the ability of businesses to send spam email is gaining the support of numerous businesses, but the opposition of consumer groups traditionally known to fight for an end to spam email.
(Updated August 27, 2003)
Amid Fight Over Teen Drinking, Panel Weighs New Alcohol Tax
Full Summary
A new study from the National Academy of Sciences is reported to endorse heavy increases in excise taxes and curbs on advertising of alcohol in an attempt to reduce underage drinking.
(Updated August 27, 2003)
Dentsply Monopoly: A Test of Antitrust Law's Teeth
Full Summary
Dentsply, the dominant supplier of artificial teeth, is alleged to have engaged in illegal exclusive-dealing arrangements with its dealers, contributing to its monopoly position and higher prices than would otherwise have occurred.
(Updated October 10, 2002)
No Smooth Sailing for Cruise Line Merger
Full Summary
Royal Caribbean and P&O Princess Cruises wish to merge, but Carnival has mounted a rival hostile offer. Which, if any, merger will be allowed by regulators depends on the definition of the market and the implications of any market dominance for competition.
(Updated April 1, 2002)
Peak Power Prices
Full Summary
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has imposed price controls on three electricity-generating companies because they wield too much power in times of peak demand.
(Updated January 15, 2002)
Domination of Dallas
Full Summary
The Justice Department is appealing the decision of a district court judge to throw out a lawsuit alleging predatory pricing by American Airlines against start-up airlines at its Dallas/Fort Worth hub.
(Updated August 1, 2001)
Stadium Sticker Shock?
Full Summary
Phoenix is the latest jurisdiction to approve a tax increase on rental cars to fund a new football stadium. Car rental companies and the Travel Industry Association are not in favor. However, the Phoenix Travel and Sports Authority states that visitors will benefit from the stadium and that the tax will not be noticed by consumers.
(Updated April 1, 2001)
Airlines of Prey Protected by Government Inaction
Full Summary 
The outgoing Clinton Administration does not propose to regulate predatory pricing by major airlines to thwart smaller airlines. This is in spite of indicating the opposite back in 1998. In the interim, intense lobbying has occurred by the major airlines.
(Updated February 1, 2001)
Power to the People Threatened
Full Summary
California state regulators have recommended emergency electricity rate hikes. A booming economy and increasingly costly wholesale power purchases in the context of frozen prices threaten the viability of the utilities.
(Updated February 1, 2001)
Price-Fixing or Market Forces?
Full Summary 
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating high gasoline prices in the Midwest. The issue is whether they were caused by higher costs or illegal communication between producers.
(Updated October 1, 2000)
Bridgestone Deflated by Tire Separation
Full Summary 
Firestone tires have a tread separation problem. Mounting numbers of deaths and injuries in the U.S. and overseas have been attributed to faulty tires. The Venezuelan authorities are recommending the filing of criminal charges.
(Updated October 1, 2000)
Turkish Treasures Delight Archaeologists
Full Summary 
Cultural treasures dating from Roman times have been found during the construction of a dam in southern Turkey. The government is determined to go ahead with filling the dam in spite of the archaeological excavation being unfinished.
(Updated July 1, 2000)
The Economics of Ergonomics
Full Summary 
New ergonomics rules are being issued. There is debate between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and business groups over the true financial costs and the benefits in terms of reduced repetitive strain injuries.
(Updated January 1, 2000)
Microsoft Trial: Competition Bundled Out?
Full Summary 
In the Microsoft trial, the government alleges that Microsoft unfairly bundles its internet browser with Windows 98, in which it has a near monopoly, and also alleges that Microsoft engaged in deals and threats to deter competition. Microsoft responds that it is simply making its products easier to use.
(Updated December 1, 1998)
Microsoft Makes a Bundle and Incurs Wrath of Congress 
Full Summary 
A Senate panel criticized Microsoft's bundling of its web browser with its Windows software because it could reduce competition. There are both legal questions and concerns that Microsoft is not showing public responsibility.
(Updated June 5, 1998)
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