Experimenting With Food Labels

Dave Hoffman

Dave Hoffman is the Murray Shusterman Professor of Transactional and Business Law at Temple Law School. He specializes in law and psychology, contracts, and quantitative analysis of civil procedure. He currently teaches contracts, civil procedure, corporations, and law and economics.

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3 Responses

  1. Eric Goldman says:

    In the Internet context, this states-as-laboratories models doesn’t work. Among other problems, as we’ve seen with anti-spyware laws and data security breach notification laws, states often robotically clone/pile on a first mover’s laws well before there is any feedback from the “experiment.” When these “cybercascades” occur, we have all of the cost of multiplicious legislation with little of the benefit.

    I’m not convinced this phenomenon will occur with all types of legislation (there may be something uniquely irresistible about Internet regulation). However, my sense is that the pass-first, ask-questions-later state legislative process is prevalent enough across all industries to make federal solutions more beneficial than they might immediately appear. Eric.

  2. the benefits of permitting experimentation

    I thought that was the reason for federalism. Yes, there are trends and fads, just like there are in the marketplace. Should we therefor outlaw markets?

  3. This has nothing to do with principle, and everything to do with getting a more business-friendly standard at the federal level. Business is for preemption of consumer protection laws in the states, but they’re against preemption of state caps on lawsuit damages awards!

    What’s interesting about the federalism debate today is that is it now easier than ever to comply with differing state laws. (Remember the days when you had to calculate the state tax when ordering via catalog?) Differences in state law can be coded in and accomodated now more than ever.