Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

August 2004

A Monthly Archive (32 entries)

Evaluating Health Care Systems

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
How can you tell whether one country's health care system works better than another? In this essay (read the whole thing), I talk about how not to make the comparison. Overall, I think that it is a mistake to define... MORE

Data Request: Health Care Spending

Cross-country Comparisons
Arnold Kling
Gerard F. Anderson, Uwe E. Reinhardt, Peter S. Hussey, and Varduhi Petrosyan write, the United States spends more on health care than any of the other OECD countries spend, without providing more services than the other countries do. This... MORE

Overspending and Obesity

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
My post-vacation essay is somewhat wide ranging. by far the biggest indicator that middle-class squeeze is not quite what is portrayed in the media was the volume of construction and the prices of homes. Since our first vacation there almost... MORE

The Budget Issue

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
How does John Kerry reconcile his spending and tax proposals with his promise to balance the Budget? The Washington Post reports, Kerry says he would offset the cost of those programs with cuts in federal contracting, some agriculture subsidies and... MORE

Telephone Fees

Regulation and Subsidies
Arnold Kling
The Milken Institute Review has an article by Robert W. Crandall, Robert W. Hahn, Robert E. Litan and Scott Wallsten, who note that Jerry Hausman of MIT has estimated that taxes on interstate and international telephone revenues that are used... MORE

Disintermediation and Outsourcing

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
Julian Sanchez picked up from Gene Healy a Times of India story with a new twist on outsourcing. Says a programmer on Slashdot.org who outsourced his job: "About a year ago I hired a developer in India to do my... MORE

Business and Health Care Costs

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
In an essay arguing against relying on linking health insurance with employment, I write If employers bear the cost of health insurance, then I'm the Easter Bunny. It is fairy-tale economics to believe that "nice" employers give away health insurance,... MORE

Political Behavior

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
Steven Johnson reports on some brain scans to detect political differences, ...early data suggested that the most salient predictor of a ''Democrat brain'' was amygdala activity responding to certain images of violence... a recent study by Paul Goren at Arizona... MORE

Key Operating Ratio

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
Why are movie theaters gravitating toward large multiplexes? The Washington Post writes, With 16, 18 or 24 screens, the traffic in and out is constant and the popcorn sales never stop -- yet the staffing costs are only incrementally greater... MORE

Drug Companies and Rent-Seeking

Regulation and Subsidies
Arnold Kling
I discuss a suggestion that pharmaceutical companies should be treated like public utilities. Angell is accusing pharmaceutical companies of what economists call "rent-seeking," which Gordon Tullock defines as "special interest coalitions lobbying the government to transfer wealth to them." Her... MORE

Are Workers Getting Good Jobs?

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
Two pieces in the New York Times discuss the labor market. Alan Krueger talks about the issue of defining a "good job." Neoclassical economics hardly recognizes a distinction between good jobs and bad ones. All workers are supposed to be... MORE

Health and Taxes

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
In a rather disappointing conclusion to its series of editorials on economic policy, the Washington Post writes If all regions could emulate the most efficient fifth of the country, the cost of Medicare would fall by 30 percent. Enforcing efficiency... MORE

Neuroeconomics

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
Newsweek has a survey of what I think it should have called neuroeconomics. They use the term "behavioral economics," which I think of as looking at cognitive biases in decision making. Neuroeconomics links cognitive biases to brain science. Observing that... MORE

Mass Transit and Happiness

Public Goods
Arnold Kling
Peter Gordon reports on declining use of mass transit. As a group, the 20 largest U.S. metro areas declined in transit use (all trip purposes; thank you, Wendell Cox) in the 1990s. Not relative decline but absolute decline. As a... MORE

European Productivity

Cross-country Comparisons
Arnold Kling
The Economic Policy Institute, a left-wing think tank (well, the newspapers always refer to Cato and Heritage as right-wing think tanks, don't they?), writes, seven OECD countries have passed the U.S. in productivity: Norway, with 131 percent of U.S. productivity... MORE

Pharma a Public Utility?

Regulation and Subsidies
Arnold Kling
David Warsh has an interesting column on the pharmaceutical industry. "If only we could find a patient willing to pay $800 million for that first dose," said Judy Lewent at one point (she is executive vice president and chief financial... MORE

Economic Policy Analysis

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
Whoever is writing the lead editorials for the Washington Post (I suspect Sebastian Mallaby) on economic policy issues in this year's election is providing pieces that are highly educational. Today's editorial is called The Growth Mystery. we don't know how... MORE

Not a Dime's Worth of Difference

Regulation and Subsidies
Michael Munger
by Michael Munger Guest Blogger For those who, like Ralph Nader, think that there is no difference between the major party candidates, consider the regulatory process, which largely operates under the media radar, but affects all of us. Interesting in-depth... MORE

All's Fair in Politics

Public Choice Theory
Michael Munger
by Michael Munger Guest Blogger Economist Ray Fair's very simple model on presidential elections has some interesting things to say about the upcoming election. Given the macro-economic and macro-political factors that have mattered in the past, George W. Bush should... MORE

I Wish Tiebout Could See This

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Michael Munger
by Michael Munger Guest Blogger "Tiebout sorting", named after Charles Tiebout (1924-1968) is one of the ways that public economists have described the effects of differences in levels of public expenditure and variations in policy in a federal system. The... MORE

The Political Economy of Wishful Thinking

Price Controls
Michael Munger
by Michael Munger Guest Blogger States have some ridiculous laws on the books, but some of the most interesting, popular, and ridiculous are those on price regulation. At bottom, they come down to this: Wouldn't it be better if there... MORE

Privatizing Keynes

Macroeconomics
Michael Munger
by Michael Munger Guest Blogger John Maynard Keynes observed, only partly tongue in cheek, that the solution to unemployment is jobs, any jobs: If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with bank notes, bury them at suitable depths in... MORE

Time to Dump "Dumping"?

International Trade
Michael Munger
by Michael Munger Guest Blogger Dumping, or the practice of a producer in one market selling below cost in another market to drive out competition, has a dubious logical pedigree. But its political history is second to none: a perfect... MORE

The Economics of Wage Labor

Cost-benefit Analysis
Michael Munger
by Michael Munger Guest Blogger An amazing study was released August 2 by the UCal-Berkeley Labor Center. The conclusion? Wal-mart costs California $86 million a year. The nefarious company does this by cruelly (wait for it) employing 44,000 Californians as... MORE

Russia’s Hope

Cross-country Comparisons
Michael Munger
by Michael Munger Guest Blogger Things seem to be picking up for Russia, heart of the former Soviet Union and the world’s only third-world superpower. This year, using a purchasing power parity basis, Russian GDP stands at $1.287 trillion, or... MORE

Happiness Police

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
I have an essay on Robert Frank's use of "happiness research" to justify paternalism. Frank is fond of using thought experiments. I have one. Imagine that you could go back a few hundred years and ask people if they are... MORE

Support for Higher Education

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Jeff Madrick argues for more aid to higher education. the case for investing in higher education is stronger than ever. We of course all know some people with a great education who earn a lot less than their peers with... MORE

Physician Licensing

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Physician licensing is one of those issues where economics and ordinary intuition conflict. Most people believe that licensing serves to protect consumers from incompetent doctors. Economists worry that licensing is a form of supply restriction and rent-seeking. EconJournalWatch, a publication... MORE

Arithmetic and Google's IPO

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
Allan Sloan warns investors away from Google's IPO. A price of $135 a share would give Google a stock market value in the neighborhood of $36 billion...Google's profit and revenue have been exploding -- from $7 million on $86 million... MORE

Domestic Policy Issues

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
I argue that on domestic policy, President Bush should focus on Social Security and health care. Our existing system was designed when reaching the age of 65 meant that your active life was probably over, and you were likely to... MORE

Two Things

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Tim Worstall points to Glenn Whitman's post about the "two things" that can summarize a profession's wisdom. For economics, he nominates: One: Incentives matter. Two: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. I don't think I like this game.... MORE

Cuba's Economy

Cross-country Comparisons
Arnold Kling
Michael Munger, who will be guest-blogging here next week, has recently visited Cuba. Our hosts were professors and were also well paid, earning in some cases more than $20 per month. The idea that someone would pay nearly $30 to... MORE

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