Wednesday, 23 July 2003

Libertarians and the do-not-call list

Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber has a lengthy response to Tyler Cowan’s (Volokh Conspiracy) libertarian counter-argument against the federal do-not-call list; Will Baude (Crescat Sententia) and Radley Balko (The Agitator) have other, thoughtful libertarian arguments against the do-not-call list.

I don’t have any particular thoughts to add on either side. I do wonder why Mississippi went ahead and created a separate, state-specific do-not-call list this year that covers less types of marketing and fewer numbers (only residential landline telephones) while the FTC action was pending; undoutably the program is solely an election-year boondoggle that a few incumbents can point to to justify their continued occupation of space in the legislature.

However, as a self-interested social scientist, these events may significantly improve the response rates for telephone surveys (which have dropped substantially since the telemarketing industry took off), so at least the part of me that likes getting publications has no problems with the do-not-call list whatsoever.