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Why do legislatures pass laws that automatically expire? Why are so many tax cuts sunset? In this first book-length treatment of those questions, the author explains that legislatures pass laws temporarily in order to reduce opposition from the citizenry, to increase the level of information revealed by lobbies, and to externalize the political costs of changing the tax code on to future legislatures. This book provides a careful analysis which does not normatively prescribe either permanent or temporary legislation in every instance, but rather specifies the conditions for which either permanent or temporary legislation would maximize social welfare.

Containing comprehensive, theoretical and empirical analysis of temporary lawmaking, Law and the Limits of Government will appeal to academics in law, economic and political science, lawmakers and policy advocates.

Foreword by Francesco Parisi
Part I: Theory
1. Introduction
2. Short-to Medium-term Residual Effects
3. Long-term Residual Effects
4. Information and Commitment
5. Temporary Tax Legislation
Part II: Evidence
6. Passage Probability
7. Sponsor's Age
8. Conclusion