Fall 2009

Lecture 1 of 3

Thursday, September 24, 2009 -- 5:15-6:45 P.M.
Engineering Building, Room 189
Eli Berman
"Radical, Religious, and Violent: The New Economics of Terrorism"

How do radical religious sects run such deadly terrorist organizations? In his book, RADICAL, RELIGIOUS, AND VIOLENT, Professor Berman approaches the question using the economics of organizations. He first dispels some myths: radical religious terrorists are not generally motivated by the promise of rewards in the afterlife (including the infamous seventy-two virgins) or even by religious ideas in general. He argues that these terrorists (even suicide terrorists) are best understood as rational altruists seeking to help their own communities. Drawing on parallel research on radical religious Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Berman shows that the most lethal terrorist groups have a common characteristic: their leaders have found a way to control defection. How have they done this? What's special about these organizations, and why are most of their followers religious radicals? To learn more come and here Professor Berman speak and answer questions.

Eli Berman is an associate professor of economics at U.C. San Diego and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research interests include economic development and conflict, the economics of religion, labor economics, technological change, economic demography, and applied econometrics. Recent grants from the National Science Foundation (2002 and 2005) have enabled him to look closely at relationships between religion and fertility from an economic standpoint.
His latest publications are "Religion, Terrorism, and Public Goods: Testing the Club Model" (with David Laitin) in the JOURNAL OF PUBLIC ECONOMICS (2008), and "The Economics of Religion," in the NEW PALGRAVE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ECONOMICS (with Laurence Iannaccone). Professor Berman received his Ph.D. in economics from HarvardUniversity.

Lecture 2 of 3

Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 5:15 pm to 6:45 pm
Morris Dailey Auditorium.
"Is the FDA Safe and Effective?",
Alex Tabarrok, Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Medical drugs and devices cannot be marketed in the United States unless the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants specific approval. FDA control over drugs and devices has large and often overlooked costs. Professor Tabarrok argues that FDA regulation of the medical industry has suppressed and delayed new drugs and devices, and has increased costs, with the net result of more morbidity and mortality. He presents a large body of academic research that has researched the FDA and with unusual consensus has reached the same conclusion.

Professor Alex Tabarrok is the Bartley J. Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center and an associate professor at George Mason University. He is also research director for The Independent Institute and a research fellow with the Mercatus Center. His research interests include empirical law and economics (tort reform, bounty hunters, judicial electoral systems, etc.), voting theory and alternative political institutions, and health economics (particularly the FDA). He is the co-author of an extensive website on the FDA, FDAReveiw.org and editor of a number of books including The Voluntary City, Entrepreneurial Economics, and Changing the Guard. He is co-author (with Tyler Cowen) of Modern Principles, two new texts in micro and macro economics. 

Lecture 3 of 3

Thursday, November 19, 2009, 5:15 pm to 6:45 pm
Morris Dailey Auditorium
"Safeway's Market-Based Approach to Healthcare"
Ken Shachmut, Senior Vice President Ð Safeway Inc., Executive Vice President Ð Safeway Health LLC

Safeway operates 1750 food and drugstores in the United States and Canada, with annual sales over $44 billion. Through Safeway Health LLC, a healthcare services company, Safeway works with other companies, union trusts, government agencies, and other organizations to help them achieve healthcare savings using a multi-year business model with shared savings. Safeway Health LLC only gets paid when it delivers savings to its clients. Its initiatives have had a dramatic effect on Safeway's own healthcare costs. Through these initiatives Safeway has flat-lined its all-in healthcare costs from 2005 to 2009 with no cost shifting between Safeway and its employees. The company has also shared its experience with several thousand business executives, members of Congress, and officials in the Obama Administration on the implementation of market-oriented changes that should underpin successful health care reform.

Mr. Shachmut is Senior Vice President and Executive Officer of Safeway Inc. in Pleasanton,California, as well as Executive Vice President of Safeway Health LLC. One of his core areas of responsibility is the design and implementation of cost-effective, integrated market-based health benefits programs for employees. Mr. Shachmut also has a leadership role in Safeway's national healthcare reform initiatives. He is a member of the Center for Corporate Innovation's West Coast Healthcare Executive Summit and McKinsey's Bay Area Chief Strategy Officer Roundtable. He serves on the Board of Directors of DestinationRx and the Advocacy Strategy Council of Health Promotion Advocates. Mr. Shachmut holds a BSE degree with honors in electrical engineering from Princeton University, and an MBA from Stanford University.