Monthly Archives: January 2016

Opting out of hand-washing regulation: a great case-study in not understanding regulation

My attention was called to this story (which I don’t think is a parody, but it is sometimes hard to tell), in which a U.S. Senator proposed a thought experiment of “easing the regulatory burden” by letting restaurants opt out of (real) public health rules requiring employees to wash their hands after visiting the toilet. His claim was that the market can take care of this: If the restaurant were simply required to post a notice that they have opted out of that regulation, customers would stop going there and the problem would be solved. Continue reading