Efficiency Ex Ante, Equity Ex Post

But I’m a big fan of clever policies, which means I always end up advocating too-clever-for-their-own-good policies. Since the telos of the nation is above my paygrade, I try to focus on the wonky, technocratic stuff: how do we achieve more output for the same effort, such that whatever our national goals are — a high average standard of living, environmental harmony, world conquest, moon colonies, whatever — are easier to achieve?

My outlook is fundamentally Coasian, in the sense that I view transaction costs as the biggest constraint on optimization. There are many…