Friday, April 29, 2011

Smoking Bans

Some employers are moving toward smoking bans - a policy that gives the firm a legal right to refuse to hire smokers. The ones cited in the New York Times article are hospitals, that argue smoking bans fit with their overall mission. Fair enough, so what about not hiring obese or overweight individuals?

While there are externalies with tobacco smoking and being overweight, the bans seem to be a case of reducing economic welfare (sum of consumer and producer surplus), and thus if this is the case, are inefficient; meaning that a market with these policies has less economic welfare than a market without these policies.

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