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Randal O'Toole

Cato Institute
Senior Fellow
Randal O’Toole is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute specializing in land-use and transportation policy. In 1975, he founded the Thoreau Institute, an organization dedicated to protecting the environment without big government. His 1988 book, Reforming the Forest Service, showed that government agencies work primarily to maximize their budgets, and if poorly designed will tend to follow their incentives rather than their missions. Since then, he has written four more book critical of government planning and land management. His latest book, American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership, shows that zoning and land-use regulation is effectively a form of class warfare that both takes away people’s property rights and reduces the ability of working-class families to own their own homes. Prior to working for Cato, he taught environmental economics at Yale, the University of California at Berkeley, and Utah State University.