Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

April 2011

A Monthly Archive (109 entries)

Accounting and Financial Crises

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
Hernando de Soto writes, Knowing who owned and owed, and fixing that information in public records, made it possible for investors to infer value, take risks, and track results. The final product was a revolutionary form of knowledge: "economic facts."... MORE

Two From Mark Thoma

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
1. He points to Noah Smith's description of learning Dark Age Macro. I absolutely don't blame Chris House for teaching what he taught. Our curriculum was considered to be the state of the art by everyone who mattered. Without a... MORE

Keynes v. Hayek, Round 2

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
I'll try to hit highlights that other people haven't mentioned (much) on the latest video by John Papola and Russ Roberts. Big picture, though: I think it's even better than the first one, both in content and in "production values."... MORE

Soros on Hayek

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
Yesterday, I attended an invitation-only event at the Cato Institute, featuring a new edition of the Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty. [UPDATE: now available on youtube]. The panel consisted of Bruce Caldwell, Richard Epstein, and George Soros. In terms of... MORE

Greider's Ad Hominem

Finance
David Henderson
Examples of clearcut ad hominems, I've found, are rarer than I thought before I started looking for them. On closer inspection, most ad hominem arguments have a trace of logic or reason, however weak, that accompany them. But William Greider's... MORE

Marginal vs. Average Tax Rates

Taxation
David Henderson
From Anthony R. Palmer, M.D.'s letter in the April 26 Wall Street Journal: I got out my calculator and found that the President and Mrs. Obama paid 26.6% and Vice President and Mrs. Biden paid 22.8% of their adjusted gross... MORE

Ibsen Against the Wisdom of Crowds

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Here's a position even I consider too strong.  But as poetry, it's hard to beat.  From Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People:The majority never has right on its side.  Never, I say! That is one of these social lies... MORE

How Will I Rejoin the Developed World?

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
MIT Technology Review reports, In 2010 consumers bought more than 300 million smart phones--devices that include complete operating systems, and for which advanced software can be written--plus nearly 18 million tablet computers. (Meanwhile, more than 1.1 billion simpler phone handsets... MORE

A Misconception Worth Emphasizing

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
Charles Hugh Smith writes, Back at the top of the bubble, the middle class had $6 trillion more assets on the books. Considering the Mortgaged Middle Class now owns about $6 trillion in net assets, then the bursting of the... MORE

Keynes and Hayek, Round 2

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Wow. Mike Munger, a political science professor at Duke, gives an Oscar-caliber performance as a security guard in the opening scene. Keynes argues that we cannot simply sit back and watch unemployment mount up. Hayek argues that the economy is... MORE

10-year Budget Projections

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Will Wilkinson writes (on Facebook), Tell me what you think about the usefulness/uselessness of 10-year budget/deficit projections. You can think of this as three questions. 1. Are the projections useful? I think they are useful if understood as conditional forecasts.... MORE

Choose Your Metaphor

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
I suspect that a lot of the intractability of the disputes between people holding divergent political opinions reflects differences in the metaphors that we implicitly hold about government. It would be interesting to try to make these metaphors more explicit.... MORE

Robert Solow on Sustainability

Energy, Environment, Resources
David Henderson
In the comments on my post on sustainability, commenter Bill referenced a talk by Bob Solow in 1991. It's quintessential Solow. The talk has his trademark sense of humor and his trademark clarity. A few of his points: 1. Like... MORE

Housing Policy

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
I spoke at a forum on housing finance reform. I have low energy these days, but viewing the talk it is not bad. It starts about minute 3 and goes to about minute 26. One of my themes is that... MORE

Of Kids and Kardashians

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Check out Steve Sailer's appreciative review of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids.  In many ways, we see eye to eye.  But passages like this show just how far apart we are.  Steve:Let me say that Caplan has written a... MORE

Interpreting Data

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Two interesting examples. 1. John Taylor attempts to take on Krulong. He writes, For all of 2007, spending was 19.6 percent of GDP. For all of 2021--after the impacts of the recession and the final year of the budget window--the... MORE

Random Recommendations

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
1. Robin Hanson writes, We humans are much better at coming up with reasons for opinions than at choosing coherent sets of opinions He shows a video of students asked about a proposal to redistribute grade-point averages by forcing the... MORE

Cowen Contra Pacifism

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I don't have time just now to reply to the many new comments on my pacifism, but I can't let Tyler Cowen's critique go unanswered.  At the outset, let me say that I realize how crazy and naive my position... MORE

Break Up the Banks

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
James Kwak writes, There is no inconsistency between this proposal and Macey's general skepticism about regulation. What he is skeptical about is the government's ability to precisely engineer desired market outcomes. Instead, what he prefers is a simple rule that... MORE

Not a Fable, Unfortunately

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
From The Telegraph: On Saturday Jurgen Stark, an executive board member of the ECB, warned that a restructuring of debt in any of the troubled eurozone countries could trigger a banking crisis even worse than that of 2008. Of course,... MORE

Think on the Margin

Taxation
David Henderson
Donald Trump's potential candidacy for President reminds me of a proposal he made in 1999 and Bruce Bartlett's analysis of his proposal in the Wall Street Journal. Trump had proposed a one-time 14.25% net-worth tax on those with a net... MORE

Pacifism and Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma

Game Theory
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen argues with Bryan on pacifism. There is also a Lucas critique issue of how the bad guys start behaving once they figure out that the good guys are pacifist, and I don't see him discussing that either. I... MORE

Jail a Policeman?

Economics of Crime
David Henderson
In his recent post on pacifism, co-blogger Bryan cites an earlier post on the same issue. He wrote: Even if militaries don't deliberately target innocent bystanders, they almost always wind up recklessly endangering their lives. If a policeman fought crime... MORE

Big-Picture Finance Questions

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
John Cochrane writes, Most of macroeconomics focuses on variation in a single intertemporal price, "the" interest rate, which intermediates saving and investment. Yet in the recent recession...interest rates paid by borrowers (and received by any investors willing to lend) spiked... MORE

Pacifism Defended

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
It's time to reply to my critics.  Here goes:Mike DC writes:Suppose some jerk burns a Koran, and devout Muslims respond with by killing every American they come across. Should I, and other Americans not organize for our collective defense? Whether... MORE

Reply to Aeon Skoble

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Like Aeon Skoble, I think my co-blogger Bryan Caplan has overstated the case for pacifism and against defensive war. Also, in his article to which he linked, Professor Skoble makes some important distinctions that libertarians sometimes fail to make and... MORE

A Fiscal Fable

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
Once upon a time, everyone worked for the MyTeaEst corporation, which produced one million loaves of bread in the year 2000. It paid its workers in bread, and they ate the one million loaves. MyTeaEst also gave half of its... MORE

Rights: A License to Kill?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I am a libertarian and a pacifist.  Contrary to many, the two are not merely compatible; given the ugly realities of the world, the former implies the latter.  As I've put it before:I'm a pacifist not because I oppose self-defense,... MORE

David Friedman on "Sustainability"

Energy, Environment, Resources
David Henderson
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my university is big on "sustainability;" it has just been having an extended event designed to boost the idea. I responded to an email urging faculty members to introduce sustainability into one of... MORE

I'm looking for estimates of the PDV of a newborn American baby from the point of view of the consolidated government budget, a.k.a. the "fiscal externality" of a birth.  Other than Lee and Miller (1990), I'm not finding much.  Anything... MORE

Where is My Free Lunch?

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Mark Thoma writes, It seems to me that there is far too much discussion of cutting services, and not enough about how to control costs without affecting services (e.g., using the government's purchasing power to reduce the amount the government... MORE

Stanley Fischer on Moral Hazard

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
He says, in a variety of financial crises, I have arrived at the following guide to conduct: if you find yourself on the verge of imposing massive costs on an economy - that is on the people of a country... MORE

WSJ Reviews SRtHMK

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The Wall St. Journal likes my second book quite a bit more than my first:...Mr. Caplan is doing more than taunting the Tiger Mothers. He is making an economic argument. Analyzing scads of research on the effects of nature and... MORE

Price Floors on Trial

Regulation
Bryan Caplan
The Institute for Justice is suing to overturn Nashville's sedan and limo price floors:Can government force transportation businesses to charge a minimum price to protect politically connected companies from competition? That is the question the Institute for Justice (IJ) and... MORE

Applied Ignorance

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
A key premise of my pacifism:2. The long-run benefits of war are highly uncertain.  Some wars - most obviously the Napoleonic Wars and World War II - at least arguably deserve credit for decades of subsequent peace.  But many other... MORE

The GMU Difference

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
How are GMU economists different from normal economists?  Many ways, but here's one that's struck me lately:Them: Impossibly high intellectual standards for a handful of high-status research questions - and embarrassingly low intellectual standards for all other questions.Us: Reasonably high... MORE

TANSTAAFL vs. Futurism

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
While writing my target essay for May's Cato Unbound, I decided I ought to take another look at Edwin Dolan's TANSTAAFL: The Economic Strategy for Environmental Crisis.*  First published in 1971, it is one of the earliest works of free-market... MORE

The Long-term Debt Issue

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
The NYT Room for Debate on the S&P downgrade includes some posts that I think contain some really misleading statements. The term "room for debate" is rather inapt, since we write on our own, with no opportunity to comment on... MORE

The Uneasy Case for Progressive Taxation

Taxation
David Henderson
I posted on David Cay Johnston's article on taxation recently. I appreciate his acceptance of my apology and his willingness to discuss the issues. In his comment on another comment by Joe Barnett, Mr. Johnston defends "progressive" taxation, that is... MORE

Mail Delivery: Drop Saturday or?

Business Economics
David Henderson
. . . Wednesday. I gave a talk at Hoover Institution's retreat yesterday and in the Q&A, someone suggested cutting government spending by cutting Saturday mail delivery. After my talk ended, a woman came up and said that she thought... MORE

Home Prices During the Great Depression

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Home prices did amazingly well during the Great Depression.  According to Schiller's index, it looks likes inflation-adjusted prices fell from about 74 to 69 between 1929 and 1933 - about a 7% decline.  By 1940, they were up to about... MORE

Women Won't Marry Down

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
So Kay Hymowitz asserts. the biggest reason we probably won't see a lot more college-educated women walking down the aisle with their plumber is one we don't like to say out loud: they want to have smart kids. Educated men... MORE

Mercantilism, "Chopsticks" and Otherwise

Labor Market
David Henderson
Last week at the APEE meetings in Nassau, I saw economist George Ayittey give a talk on why most African economies are in such sad shape. He blamed the things free-market oriented economists tend to blame: foreign aid, the absence... MORE

My Perspective on the Budget Fight

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
I don't think of the long-term budget fight as being between Democrats and Republicans or between rich and poor. I look at it as a fight between people with funded retirements and unfunded retirements. If I have saved enough to... MORE

Mike Munger on Microfinance

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
A podcast with Russ Roberts, recommended. I am still trying to unpack the model Munger alludes to at the end, in which it does not pay women to become educated in countries where there is little physical capital. I am... MORE

Wittman-Caplan Debate Video

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The video from my 2007 debate with my lovable nemesis Donald Wittman is now up.  P.S. If you enjoy it, thank Liya Palagashvili and the GMU Econ Society.... MORE

Using Loopholes

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Suppose an economist tells you about an obscure tax loophole: You can reduce your taxes without going to jail.  You've never taken advantage of it because you've never even heard about it.  But when you investigate his factual claims, they... MORE

Nature, Nurture, and Me in the NYT

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Check out Motoko Rich's new piece on nature and nurture in the NYT.  Academics often complain that journalists treat them unfairly, but once again, that's not my experience.  Highlight: Professor Heckman pointed to research showing that moving children from bad... MORE

The Education Hierarchy and Signaling

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Lorenzo links to a post by Xavier Marquez. Marquez talks about a personality cult as a signaling device in a dictatorship. One of Marquez' commenters writes, suppose that instead of a single dictator, there is an elite class, which has... MORE

Tyler Cowen on the Euro

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
His NYT column is a must-read. The bottom line: the euro, in retrospect, appears to have been a misguided attempt to equalize the values for some very unequal assets, namely the bank deposits of strong countries and those of weak... MORE

How Pacifist Was the Last Anti-War Movement?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Not very, unfortunately.  Here's the WSJ on Heaney & Rojas:many antiwar Democrats saw the election of President Barack Obama as a sufficient victory for their cause and withdrew from the streets. The researchers conducted 5,398 surveys at 27 antiwar protests... MORE

David Cay Johnston Plays with the Facts

Taxation
David Henderson
In the latest issue of our local left-wing weekly, the Monterey County Weekly, David Cay Johnston has an article, "Tax Facts Hardly Anyone Knows." He lists and discusses 9 purported tax facts. Many of them are right. But I want... MORE

Quibbling with Mankiw

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
In this talk, Greg Mankiw says a number of wise things. For instance, he says that in health care, the main issue is whether spending restraint is going to be conducted top-down from government or bottom-up from individual choice. But... MORE

Two Systems

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Here is an idea I am playing with. It is about two systems for obtaining, retaining, and enforcing status. I need to come up with names for the systems. How Status isSystem ASystem BObtainedmarket acceptancecredentials RetainedcompetitiontenureEnforcedchoiceauthority This table is inspired... MORE

Finally, Some Justice

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
President Obama recently complained about the technological backwardness of the White House. According to news reports, he said: "The Oval Office, I always thought I was going to have really cool phones and stuff. I'm like, c'mon guys, I'm the... MORE

A Suggested Tax Calculator Tool

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
In a comment on this post, Daniel Kuehn explains what is going on with the new government tax receipt tool. It simply allocates Social Security taxes to OASDI and Medicare taxes to Medicare. What is left to allocate are income... MORE

Live Chat Highlight: A 4-Minute Reply to Will

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Here's my favorite part from today's WSJ Live Chat:1:58 Allison Lichter:  On the Ideas Market blog, Will Wilkinson argues that your argument really only applies to a narrow range of people: middle-and-upper class couples whoalready have at least one child,are... MORE

Adding to a High School Economics Course

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
I teach an AP economics course, that covers both micro and macro. I do not much care for the AP curriculum, so I try to do things differently. Here are some thoughts, below the fold, on material that I plan... MORE

A Tax Receipt

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
The government now has a tool that supposedly tells you where your tax money is going. You can try it here. I did not have my own tax data handy, so I used the generic family with $80 K in... MORE

In his post yesterday, Arnold stated, "I want to know what his [Greenspan's] great deregulatory accomplishments were." He also sees Brooksley Born as "a typical bureaucratic empire-builder." Greenspan did deregulate something--more on that in a minute--but on the issue Arnold... MORE

Libertarian Seder Questions

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
With Passover coming, something to ponder. We know that Pharoah was part of a long line of autocrats that ruled Egypt. Passover is sometimes called a "festival of freedom." In that case, 1. Why did the Egyptians not attempt to... MORE

Household Production Bleg

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
I'm looking for the best pieces written about the effect of labor-saving devices (dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, disposable diapers, microwaves, etc.) on female labor force participation and gender roles.  Economic historians, labor economists, sociologists, autodidacts - what can you tell me?... MORE

WSJ Live Chat: SRtHMK Edition

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
I'm doing a Wall St. Journal Live Chat today.  Got questions?  Submit them!... MORE

Bleg 2: Science Fiction

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I have read hardly any science fiction. However, I have found that it is often easy to explain some of my economic ideas in terms of The Diamond Age or Snow Crash. What other science fiction books do you recommend... MORE

Bleg 1: Economic History

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Suppose that you were going to teach an economic history course to high school students. The goal is to offer a better perspective on economic growth and macroeconomic issues than one gets from the usual ahistorical approach. What eras/episodes would... MORE

Carroll, Wilkinson, and Four Demand Curves

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
WSJ.com now features my target essay on my parental odyssey, replies by Laura Carroll and Will Wilkinson, and my replies to their replies.  I successfully suppressed my urge to send a bunch of demand curves to the WSJ.  But I... MORE

Two Questions for Libertarians

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
These occurred to me after the Association for Private Enterprise Education conference over the past few days. 1. How should libertarians frame government? (a) as a criminal enterprise; or (b) as a service provider that does a bad job, largely... MORE

Greenspan the Deregulator

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
John Cassidy writes, Anatole Kaletsky, an economic commentator for the Times of London, made a pertinent point: it was Brown himself who had given an honorary knighthood to Alan Greenspan, the great deregulator. I have a question. If you do... MORE

Brink Lindsey on Innovation and Growth

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
The Kauffman Foundation describes a new paper. According to the paper, when countries are poor and less advanced, the economic future is relatively predictable. The example of rich countries allows policymakers in less developed countries to peek into the future... MORE

Epistocracy and the Anti-Authority Tenet

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
While you're waiting for Jason Brennan's The Ethics of Voting to arrive in the mail, check out his new article in The Philosophical Quarterly.  In the book, Brennan merely argues that uninformed and irrational voters should voluntarily abstain.  In the... MORE

If You're Happy and You Know it

Politics and Economics
Arnold Kling
You are more likely to be libertarian. At least if the James Lindgren paper cited by Tyler Cowen says what I think it does. Apparently, the phrase "angry left" contains a redundancy. I find this a plausible story. David Henderson... MORE

David Leonhardt quotes economic historian Alexander Field: In 1941, the U.S. economy produced almost 40 percent more output than it had in 1929, with virtually no increase in labor hours or private-sector capital input Sounds like a jobless recovery. The... MORE

Jason Brennan's The Ethics of Voting

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Jason Brennan is my favorite philosopher under the age of 40.  Now he's published a marvelous book, The Ethics of Voting, with Princeton University Press.  In 210 short pages, he raises and resolves a series of ethical dilemmas every potential... MORE

Garett Jones on IQ and Economic Growth

Growth: Causal Factors
David Henderson
I'm at the same APEE meetings in Nassau that Arnold's at and I saw another paper presented by Garett Jones. It was titled "A Political Coase Theorem for the Intelligent." It was on how high-IQ pairs in experimental games do... MORE

Garett Jones on Ultramasculine Economics

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
I heard him give a talk yesterday. He commits what he calls the "Summers heresy" and suggests that there are important gender differences. On mathematical/spatial reasoning, men have a higher mean and, more important, a higher variance. So the upper... MORE

Posner on Means-Testing

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
From Richard Posner, the man who possibly inspired me to stay in econ:Perhaps some politician will be bold enough to advocate that all entitlements programs, including social security as well as Medicare, be means-tested, as Medicaid is. There is no... MORE

How Twin Research Changed My Life

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
My autobiographical essay, "How Twin Research Changed My Life," is now up at the Wall St. Journal's Idea Market.  They changed my title to "Twin Lessons: Have More Kids.  Pay Less Attention to Them," which isn't exactly my style or... MORE

School Nurses and Econ 101

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Most people flip out when economists suggest relaxing government regulation of medical quality.  How dare we point out the trade-offs between price, quality, and access?  But Robin notes an amazing example we've all known about since kindergarten: the school nurse.Most... MORE

Corporate Profits

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
In the comments on other posts, I have seen questions addressed to me about "excessive corporate profits." I am going to answer this question in very basic terms. The way that national income accounting works, we have: net private saving... MORE

Great Out the Gate?

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
At the Kauffman Foundation econ bloggers' conference, Tyler Cowen repeated his novel argument about CPI bias.  As he puts it in The Great Stagnation:In fact, income measures are most likely to understate growth during times when a lot of new... MORE

Morning WaPo

Politics and Economics
Arnold Kling
Two items caught my attention. 1. A front-page story on the prospects for requiring higher down payments on mortgages. The story is all about how horrible this would be. It makes extensive use of quotes from an organization called the... MORE

NCH Watch

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Mark Whitehouse of the WSJ blog writes, Annual public and private health-care spending in the U.S. stands at $7,538 per person, 2.41 times the OECD average and 51% more than the second-biggest spender, Norway. Meanwhile, average U.S. life expectancy is... MORE

Is Capitalism Pro-Kid?

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
I'm pro-capitalism and pro-kid, and I'd like the two to be complementary.  So I have to smile when Corinne Maier, author of No Kid: 40 Good Reasons Not To Have Children, blames capitalism (plus the French government) for high birth... MORE

Recommended Reading

Politics and Economics
Arnold Kling
1. Bryan's 40 aphorisms. 2. The latest Robin Hanson aphorism. many economically-puzzling regulations and policy inclinations tend to make everyone act like high status folks act, regardless of how appropriate that is for their situation. I think that describes the... MORE

Child Labor vs. Child Slavery

Labor Market
David Henderson
In his comment on my post on child labor, Ryan Chamberlain argues against child labor, emphasizing child slavery, as if I had advocated child slavery. This is truly strange, given that I wrote: In other words, school goes beyond child... MORE

40 Things I Learned in My First 40 Years

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Today I turn 40.  To ease the pain, I've decided to write a list of important lessons I've learned during my first four decades.  In no particular order:Economics1. Supply-and-demand solves countless mysteries of the world - everything from rent control... MORE

Michael Huemer Profile

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Don't miss this great profile of my favorite living philosopher, the noble Michael Huemer of the University of Colorado.  Intro:Michael Huemer asks his students to imagine being a neighborhood vigilante. Suppose, he says, you live in a crime-ridden neighborhood, and... MORE

Here's the most open-ended question I included on last week's Graduate Public Choice midterm: Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} Suppose... MORE

Why Not Health Care Austerity?

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Like Arnold, I just read Kotlikoff's plan to reform American health care.  I realize that my first-best proposal - separation of health and state - has almost zero political support.  But I'd still like to know why Kotlikoff ignores a... MORE

If Economists Designed Health Policy

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
They would come up with something like this. 1. All Americans receive a voucher each year to purchase a standard plan from the private-plan provider of their choice. 2. Vouchers are individually risk-adjusted; those with higher expected healthcare costs, based... MORE

Anti-Child Labor or Anti-Market?

Labor Market
David Henderson
Robin Hanson has an excellent post on child labor that co-blogger Bryan Caplan has cited. I think Robin doesn't go far enough, though, in one respect. He points out that tiger moms often force their kids to do things that,... MORE

What would Scott Sumner Say?

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
Patricia Minczeski writes on the WSJ blog, U.S. wages as measured in the Labor Department's employment report have been largely stagnant over the past few months, despite improvements in the job market. In fact, many industries saw more wage growth... MORE

What I'm Reading

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
A review copy of Markets on Trial: The Economic Sociology of the US Financial Crisis, edited by Michael Lounsbury and Paul M. Hirsch. One of the essays, by Ezra Zuckerman, says, sociologists' opposition to neoclassical economics generally, and to the... MORE

Genetics, Politics, Culture, and the Future

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
On Facebook, I opined that boosting libertarians' Total Fertility Rate to 3 is the most realistic long-run path to liberty.  The underlying assumption is that political philosophy, libertarianism included, is fairly heritable.  Will Wilkinson then presented an interesting objection:Even if... MORE

Morality and Medicare

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
M.S. writes (for the Economist blog), Mr Ryan's plan ends the guarantee that all American seniors will have health insurance. The Medicare system we've had in place for the past 45 years promises that once you reach 65, you will... MORE

Future of Political Philosophy Bleg

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Will any fundamentally new political philosophy emerge in the Western world during the next fifty years?  If not, why not?  If so, what is it likely to be?... MORE

Hypocrisy and Child Labor

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Robin Hanson on child labor:Kids work hard at school, housework, sports, practicing music, supporting clubs, etc. and none of this cruelty is prevented by "child labor" laws. Such laws only prevent getting paid to work; they don't even stop kids... MORE

Would You Give Up Your Health Insurance?

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
A question from lunch: If you could give up your health insurance in exchange for the cash required to pay for it, would you do so?  Sure, the cash would be taxed.  But if you buy the empirical evidence on... MORE

Joseph Keckeissen, 1925-2011, RIP

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
David Henderson
I just learned that Josepk Keckeissen, an economics professor at Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala, has died. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Mont Pelerin Society meetings in Guatemala in November 2006. He had a spark in... MORE

Mercantilism Lives

International Trade
David Henderson
They're baaaack. Mercantilists, that is. Charles Hooper writes: Whether they realize it or not, many modern politicians of various stripes are mercantilists. Just watch the news and you'll see those in our government and in the media expressing predominantly mercantilist... MORE

Desert Defended

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Matt Zwolinski responds at length to my two earlier posts on poverty and desert.  I'm going to limit myself to his most telling points.1. Discerning desert is doubly difficult:It's important to distinguish between two kinds of problem we might have... MORE

The KC Bloggers' Forum

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
The videos are here. When you follow the link, you can watch Tyler and/or scroll down to choose other speakers. In terms of recommendations for videos to watch, I thought that Bryan and Megan gave the must-see presentations. Tyler's presentation... MORE

A Problem With Minimum Requirements

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
"To rely upon a reserve requirement for the meeting of cash-withdrawal demands of banks' customers is analogous to trying to protect a community from fire by requiring that a large water tank be kept full at all times: the water... MORE

Notes on Kauffman Bloggers Forum

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
I watched live almost all of each morning presentation today. Some highlights: 1. Ben Wildavsky's point that when talent moves from country to country and back, it's not a brain drain. He had another good expression that I forgot to... MORE

The Employment Report

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
I may not have access to a computer when the employment report comes out today. It will be a very important report. The number to watch will be the three-month average of private sector job gains. This will include revised... MORE

Tune In, No Fooling

Upcoming Events
Arnold Kling
Yes, it's April 1st, but I still am one of the speakers at the bloggers' forum, even though you won't see my name on the program. Due to some last-minute changes, the after-lunch session starts at 1:15 central time (2:15... MORE

John Goodman on Medicaid

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
Economics teaches that people reveal their preferences through their actions. If people act as though they are indifferent between being uninsured and being on Medicaid, we may infer they are equally well off in both states of the world from... MORE

What Would Robin Hanson Say?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I continue to read The Blind Spot, by William Byers. On p. 137-138, he writes, Until recently, the conventional scientific view was that mind could be reduced to brain, that the physical brain was primary phenomenon and the mind was... MORE

Jeff Frankel Channels Bryan Caplan

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
Jeff writes, Whenever a candidate promises to "give the American people a government as good as they deserve," I can't help thinking, "no, no; don't do that!" Pointer from Mark Thoma, who is not only indispensable but is blogging from... MORE

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