Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

May 2011

A Monthly Archive (103 entries)

On My Book Wish List

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In addition to the Gwen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner book, I need to read the new Nick Gillespie/Matt Welch book (when it comes out) and also Adapt by Tim Harford. Short interview with Harford by Cory Doctorow. Longer interview with... MORE

PSST vs. Monetary Walrasianism

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Nick Rowe writes, Why wouldn't a reduction in marginal tax rates on all forms of "nominal interest income" (i.e. all forms of "income" from deferred consumption) have exactly the same effect on Aggregate Demand as an increase in expected inflation?... MORE

PSST as Market Failure

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Noah Smith seems to think of it that way. in a PSST world, there is no invisible hand. This opens the door for a hugely expanded role for government (or other large, centralized actors) in the macroeconomy. If global patterns... MORE

Bubble, Bailout, and Cover-Up

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
John Taylor writes, it is very hard to imagine that heavily regulated banks could have engaged in such extreme risk-taking without the support of regulators. Nobel prize-winning economist George Stigler warned long ago about "regulatory capture" -- the tendency for... MORE

How a Sovereign Default Plays Out

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
Andrew Lilico writes, What happens when Greece defaults. Here are a few things: - Every bank in Greece will instantly go insolvent. - The Greek government will nationalise every bank in Greece. - The Greek government will forbid withdrawals from... MORE

Minimum Wage and Internships

Labor Market
David Henderson
Co-blogger Bryan raised two good questions the other day about unpaid internships. That gets to one of the points I often make when I talk about the minimum wage in speeches or in interviews: The government is saying, in effect,... MORE

The Golden Age of Immigration

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
The Gilded Age was no libertarian paradise, and it certainly had far lower per-capita GDP than the modern world.  Nevertheless, the Gilded Age was awesome in many important ways.  Above all, as Goldin, Cameron, and Balarajan explain in Exceptional People:... MORE

Last week, NPR did a great interview with Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times in which she discusses highlights of her recent book, Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. It's co-authored with Joshua... MORE

MalAdaptive: The Political Economy of RCTs

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The gold standard of modern social science is the bona fide experiment, also known as a "random controlled trial."  "The stuff going on at the Poverty Action Lab" is the modal answer to the standard GMU lunch question, "What's the... MORE

Fukuyama and Kuran

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Timur Kuran writes, A telling indication is that in their interactions with private or public organizations, citizens of Arab states are more likely than those in advanced democracies to rely on personal relationships with employees or representatives. This pattern is... MORE

Questions for Minimum Wage Supporters

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
1. If the minimum wage is a good idea, shouldn't unpaid internships be illegal as well?  If not, why not?  2. Name the main arguments in favor of the legality of unpaid internships.  Aren't all of them equally good arguments... MORE

How Much Good Can One Intelligent, Wise, Brave Leader Do?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Tim Harford's behavioral political economy from Adapt:Our instinctive response, when faced with a complicated challenge, is to look for a leader who will solve it.  It wasn't just Obama: every president is elected after promising to change the way politics... MORE

U.S. Government as ARM Borrower

Fiscal Policy
David Henderson
From my most-recent Mercatus study, "Canada's Reversed Fiscal Crisis," Working Paper No. 11-15, May 2011, co-authored with Jerrod Anderson: The average annual decrease in government expenditures on interest payments due to falling interest rates ranged from about 0.46 percent to... MORE

UCS's Flawed Economic Reasoning

Energy, Environment, Resources
David Henderson
Last week, I received a request from the Union of Concerned Scientists to sign a letter asking the government to impose even higher miles-per-gallon standards on cars. The letter explains: Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Highway... MORE

Murray and Marriage

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
I had an interesting argument with Charles Murray at yesterday's Cato Book Forum.  While he expressed fundamental agreement with my views on nature and nurture, he thought parental marital status was an important exception.  Children of divorce do worse than... MORE

John Papola on Teaching Economics

Economic Education
David Henderson
I gave a talk at a joint Institute for Humane Studies/Mercatus Center event in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. One of the other speakers was John Papola who, along with Russ Roberts, made the two Keynes/Hayek videos (here... MORE

Bryan's Challenge

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
He wrote, Name the most credible measure of idea production that isn't at least moderately positively correlated with population. I think this is a somewhat imprecise formulation. First of all, "moderately positive" is vague. It could be a very low... MORE

Greg Clark at the Movies

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
Over at Cato Unbound, I gave Greg Clark a challenge:Name the most credible measure of idea production that isn't at least moderately positively correlated with population.In his reply, he pointed to Iceland:The 300,000 people of Iceland produced 70 films (features,... MORE

Cancer Screening Costs and Benefits

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
According to Robin Hanson, the latter are statistically small. While cancer screening does consistently lead to more cancer detection and more cancer treatment, it consistently doesn't lead to lower mortality. This is based on studies of breast cancer, colon cancer,... MORE

End the IMF

International Macroeconomics: Exchange Rates, International Debt, etc.
David Henderson
Various bloggers are talking about who should be the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Here's my nominee: nobody. The IMF should be abolished. I came across an article I wrote in Canada's Financial Post in 1999. I... MORE

Just Say Yes

Family Economics
David Henderson
Bryan's "Yes Mom" post reminded me of a decision I made early in my daughter's life that was one of the best decisions I ever made. I had heard so many parents with teenagers and young adult children express their... MORE

Yes Mom

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Today I learned that I (partly) inspired a charming parenting experiment.  British journalist Lucy Cavendish:  There are various blogs and websites devoted to the notion that we should give our children free choice, and, in this way, encourage their development... MORE

Robots of the Future: A Poor Argument for Socialism

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
For Matt Yglesias, my vision of the future - "Simon for people, Malthus for robots" - is a powerful argument for socialism:Another way of putting it would be Simon (i.e., plenty) for capital and Malthus (i.e., subsistence) for labor. That,... MORE

Mr. Smith Goes to Public Choice

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
I woke up early Friday morning and, rather than turning on ESPN, which is my wont, I surfed movies and found that "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" had started only a few minutes earlier. Once I start watching that movie,... MORE

He writes, The policy being considered by the Obama administration, which would guarantee the mortgage-backed securities issued by mini Fannie and Freddies, is effectively handing taxpayer dollars to the intermediaries in the housing finance process. That's a good policy if... MORE

The One-Party State

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Russ Roberts writes, I don't get it. Why is $4 million of taxpayer money going to a mall so that Costco will come to Wheaton? In a one-party state, businesses that are friendly to the party receive subsidies, and businesses... MORE

Innovations and Resistance

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Arnold Kling
Matt Rognlie writes, an Apple or Google could come along and bargain with several national newspapers to assemble a cheap bundle of online subscriptions. Since the bundler would have a very strong incentive to provide a reasonable price for customers,... MORE

David Friedman on Markets vs. Coercion

Politics and Economics
David Henderson
Earlier today, David Friedman posted a thoughtful piece on a speech by a retired judge who told the audience how badly government works and why they should, therefore, try to make it work better. David points out that the judge... MORE

Tennessee's Roving Bandits

Taxation
David Henderson
Check out this video news story about Tennessee police stopping people and taking their money for keeps, simply on the suspicion that the money was earned on illegal drugs. The whole thing is well worth watching. Here are nine highlights... MORE

Two Favorite Lines of the Week

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
1. From the blogosphere: Look, I think we should assume honesty of scientific peers until we have reason not to. This is from Daniel Kuehn's excellent statement of the strengths and weaknesses of the Conley and Dupor paper on the... MORE

Nikita Khrushchev on War

Politics and Economics
David Henderson
I've been reading John Mueller's excellent book, Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda. I just finished Chapter 3, "Deterring World War III," in which he argues that nuclear weapons weren't necessary to deter World War III because World... MORE

Consumption-Biased Technological Change

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
On last night's PBS, Paul Solman interviewed Tyler about The Great Stagnation in Tyler's antiquated kitchen.  MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson provided counterpoint.  Highlight: Solman versus Brynjolfsson: Solman:Sure, high-tech gadgetry abounds, says Cowen, but it hasn't transformed our economy and created new... MORE

Alan Bock, RIP

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
David Henderson
Alan Bock, a pro-freedom editorial writer for the Orange County Register, died yesterday. I first saw a blog post about his going to a hospice just yesterday. That was fast. Alan was 67: I had actually thought he was younger.... MORE

What the Future Holds: A Hanson-English Translation

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
I had an enlightening conversation with Robin Hanson today where we came to near-complete agreement.  Unfortunately, he decided to summarize our shared conclusion in his own idiocyncratic language:The tiny fraction of future humans who are not robots might well manage... MORE

Steven Levitt's "Daughter Test"

Economics of Crime
David Henderson
It wasn't until the U.S. government's crackdown on internet poker last week that I came to realize that the primary determinant of where I stand with respect to government interference in activities comes down to the answer to a simple... MORE

Replies to Critics on Cato Unbound

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Highlights from my reply to Greg Clark:I am pleased to in principle accept Greg's proposed bet: So if Bryan wants to bet even odds that farmland prices will be higher relative to average wages in 30 years time, I am... MORE

Good News on California Schools

Economics of Education
David Henderson
California could cut school year by several weeks That's the headline of a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News. The article states: While plans aren't settled or even proposed, Gov. Jerry Brown and other officials have suggested that... MORE

Reflections on Gifted Programs

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Full disclosure: The idea of schools without gifted programs fills me with visceral meritocratic outrage.  In junior high and high school, tracking was the only thing that made my life bearable.  In my memory, normal classes were a combination of... MORE

Macaulay on Southey

Economic History
David Henderson
Don Boudreaux reminds us to read, or reread, Thomas Babington Macaulay's classic, "Southey's Colloquies on Society." In it, Macaulay skewers Southey's reasoning or, more typically, lack of reasoning, about modern society. This is the first time I've read it all... MORE

How Could the Draft Not Be Slavery?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
From the Free Dictionary:slav·er·y  1. The state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slaveholder or household.con·scrip·tion 1. Compulsory enrollment, especially for the armed forces; draft.To me, you'd have to be blind to deny the libertarian truism that... MORE

The Methodology is Flawed

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
My father always said that there were three iron laws of social science. 1. Sometimes it's this way, and sometimes it's that way. 2. The data are insufficient. 3. The methodology is flawed. On politically sensitive topics, the tendency is... MORE

Atlas Shrugged--And I Didn't

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
My title is a takeoff on the title of P.J. O'Rourke's panning of the movie Atlas Shrugged. He obviously didn't like it and, with an eye for detail, noticed the strange world in which cell phones exist but oil pipelines... MORE

It is Health Care Consumption

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
The Washington Post editorializes, There is no silver bullet to controlling health-care costs Until somebody listens, I will keep shouting that it is not health care "costs" that are out of control. It is the utilization of medical services. To... MORE

The Trickle-Down Stimulus

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
A commenter here writes, So the stimulus was the left's version of "trickle down economics"? Well, Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor write, We estimate the Act created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs. Thanks to... MORE

Show Me Compassion: Throw Me in Prison

Economics of Crime
David Henderson
Washington Post columnist and former Bush speech writer, Michael Gerson, gives a strange argument against Ron Paul. Paul had defended people's right to put what they want in their own bodies, up to and including heroin. To make fun of... MORE

Richard Ely, Racist and State Worshipper

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Who Was This Guy? As many long-time members of the American Economics Association (I was one for about 25 years) know, one of the famous economists to whom the AEA pays respects is Richard Ely. An annual lecture at the... MORE

Argumentative Theory

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
says having a confirmation bias makes complete sense. When you're trying to convince someone, you don't want to find arguments for the other side, you want to find arguments for your side. And that's what the confirmation bias helps you... MORE

Two Points on Kids and Happiness

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
My favorite parts from my Cato Unbound reply to Betsey Stevenson:2. My own research confirms Betsey's first key point: Higher-income and older parents have a smaller happiness deficit.  And she is correct to claim that these are precisely the parents... MORE

Vacation Bound

Econlog Administrative Issues
Arnold Kling
Starting Monday, I will be away for two weeks. During that time, my blog posting will be sporadic, at best. Bryan and David will have to carry the ball.... MORE

Check out this segment from CBS News. Obama is questioned by a woman who just lost her government job--in the zoo. Obama, after hearing where she works, says: 1:25: "Workers like you--for the federal, state, and local government--are so important... MORE

Specialized Labor

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
For over two centuries, economists have spoken of "labor" as if it were homogeneous. Back in the real world, people were learning trades, becoming trained as professionals, starting businesses, and otherwise undertaking to differentiate themselves. Macroeconomics, as we know it,... MORE

Hanson on Regulatory Bias

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Don't miss this great post by the great Robin Hanson.  The heart of it:[R]egulations hold some things to higher standards than others, even when the relevant consequences seem similar. For example we seem to prefer: Individuals over firmsNon-money over money... MORE

Why Libertarians Should Not Fear Good Things

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
From my reply on Cato Unbound to Matthew Connelly:As far as I can tell, Connelly doesn't deny that fertility is good.  But he's afraid of the consequences of admitting that fertility is good. After all, won't governments take advantage of... MORE

Chapman on Inflation

Macroeconomics
David Henderson
One thing I've always liked about Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman's writing is its high degree of sophistication in economics relative to the usual in regional and even national newspapers. Exhibit A is his column today on inflation. He brings... MORE

Gifts for the Gifted

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Frances Woolley looks at studies that question the effectiveness of "gifted and talented" programs. here is my take-away: There are great wads of resources thrown at gifted education, and little evidence of positive results for border-line gifted students The reason... MORE

Appearances

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
1. Today I'm supposed to be on the Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC between 4 and 5 PM EST.2. On May 25 at 4 PM, the Cato Institute is holding a book forum on Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. ... MORE

I think the political externalities of immigration are greatly overblown.  This piece by Chicago Public Policy Ph.D. student Tino Sanandaji presents the other side more effectively than anyone else I've read.  I'm too busy to reply for a while, but... MORE

The Morality of Fractional Reserve Banking

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
One of Murray Rothbard's strangest doctrines is that fractional reserve banking (i.e. virtually all banking with which First World consumers have any direct experience) is inherently fraudulent and should therefore be illegal.  As he puts it in The Mystery of... MORE

These all come from Understanding Fischer Black, written ten years ago.... MORE

Welcome to Our Future

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
Business Insider reports, The Irish government plans to institute a tax on private pensions to drive jobs growth I expect our government, too, to punish those of us who try to save for our own retirement. They need the money... MORE

All the Medical Care that Money Could Buy

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
I believe we could spend our entire national income on health care. Not by frittering money away, but by spending it on goods and services that even in small ways could improve the odds of better health. (Examples below.) I... MORE

I Suspect Options Writers

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
James Hamilton writes, Count me among those who maintain that buying high and selling low is unlikely to be a successful trading strategy. But if enough people believe otherwise, they can wreak a bit of havoc on the rest of... MORE

Posner and Becker on 10 Billion People

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
Posner's a nervous optimist:But suppose world population will reach 10.1 billion by the end of this century. Would that be a good or a bad thing? Arguably a good thing, on several grounds. One is that it would enable greater... MORE

The Secession Solution

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
From a news report: A long-simmering movement by liberal stalwarts in southern Arizona to break away from the rest of the largely conservative state is at a boiling point as secession backers press to bring their longshot ambition to the... MORE

Has Someone Not Written This Paper?

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Title: Technological Unemployment in a Stock-Adjustment Model Abstract: Innovation can cause overproduction of consumer durable goods relative to the desired stock. Unemployment can result, until new industries emerge to absorb labor. Think of the auto industry in the 1920s. Given... MORE

The Extra Burden of Childless Elders

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Contrary to popular opinion, it has always been rare for people to financially support their aged parents.  In earlier times, people died too soon to "collect their pension" from their kids.  Nowadays the elderly live long enough to collect, but... MORE

Notes from What I've Been Reading

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
As you know, it's Inventing Ourselves Out of Jobs? America's Debate over Technological Unemployment, 1929-1981., by Amy Sue Bix. It came out in 2000. I ordered it after seeing it referred to in A Great Leap Forward, the book I... MORE

Nyman's Non Sequitur on Health Insurance

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
Co-blogger Arnold Kling posted last week on health economist John Nyman's 2004 article, "Is 'Moral Hazard' Inefficient? The Policy Implications of a New Theory," Health Affairs, 23, No. 5: 194-199. I won't repeat Nyman's argument, which is brief. Instead, I... MORE

Trade, Mechanization, and Displacement

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
James C. Cooper writes, Between 1999 and 2009, these large global corporations pared 2.9 million workers from their U.S. payrolls while adding 2.4 million jobs at their foreign affiliates. That's a reversal from the previous decade, when they boosted payrolls... MORE

The Fed: A Cost-Benefit Reckoning

Monetary Policy
Bryan Caplan
Steve Miller and I have a question on the latest Kauffman econ bloggers' survey.  Namely:Taking into account its entire history, do you think the Federal Reserve has done more harm than good?Survey says:All things considered, this is an amazingly anti-Fed... MORE

Cyclical vs. Technological Unemployment

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen writes about the hospitality sector of the economy, In terms of absolute levels, business is above where it was before the crisis. At first glance, that should seem enough to support the nominal wage levels of 2007. You... MORE

One More Reason to Thank Your Mom

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Two questions occur to me this Mother's Day:1. How many readers are here today because your dad pressured your mom to have you?  2. How many readers are here today because your mom pressured your dad to have you?It's hard... MORE

Happy Mothers' Day

Economic History
David Henderson
One thing I hadn't known is the anti-war, pro-peace aspect of Mothers' Day. An early proponent of Mothers' Day was Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the (pro-war) lyrics to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Maybe she had second thoughts.... MORE

Anecdotes of an Informal Economy

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Victor Davis Hanson writes, There is a vast and completely unreported cash economy in Central California. Tile-setters, carpenters, landscapers, tree-cutters, general handymen, cooks, housekeepers, and personal attendants are all both finding work and being paid in cash. Peddlers (no income... MORE

Predict the More Predictive Test

IQ in Economics
Bryan Caplan
IQ scores predict a wide range of life outcomes and respond to incentives.  But almost all of the evidence that IQ predicts life outcomes comes from IQ tests that don't use incentives.  Which raises a big question: Would incentivized IQ... MORE

Field Review

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
As promised, here is my review essay on Alexander Field's A Great Leap Forward. I think the highlight of the essay is the table that lays out the six eras discussed in the book. How much does the current period... MORE

Momentum in Employment

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
The employment situation report for May 6 shows a gain of 700,000 jobs over the three-month period February through April. One thing I learned from Ed Leamer's Macroeconomic Patterns and Stories is that there is momentum in employment. If history... MORE

What Is IQ - and Why Does It Matter?

IQ in Economics
Bryan Caplan
Years ago, I told Tyler Cowen, "It's surprising that IQ tests predict life outcomes so well, because there's usually no financial incentive to get a high score."  He replied, "People try out of pride - an under-rated motive."  So when... MORE

The Feds' Attack on Forest Laboratories

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
At first, the FDA "grandfathered" older drugs. But in 1997, the FDA decided that some older drugs were actually "new drugs." Therefore, Forest needed to navigate the FDA's expensive and difficult new drug approval process. Forest didn't act quickly enough... MORE

Good Short Book in Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Tyler Cowen, in asking for advice on what short book one should read for a good introduction to economics, quotes one of his regular readers as saying, "Henry Hazlett [sic] is out of date." Not so. I gave a talk... MORE

SRtHMK Reactions

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
My book's gotten a lot of feedback recently:1. Nicole Russell in the Washington Times:This isn't your average parenting book spouting psychologist-laden babble about the inner workings of the human psyche, inherent selfishness and bearing children. Rather, Mr. Caplan, an economics... MORE

My Response to Nick Schulz

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
David Henderson
I'm used to stories about Brad DeLong deleting comments from his blog that he doesn't like. [Please: this is not an invitation for you to post all your frustrations about Brad DeLong.] It appears (and correct me if I'm wrong,... MORE

Short, Readable Book on Economics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
A Marginal Revolution Reader writes to Tyler: There must be a good, short book out there on economics that illuminates the power of markets and the economic way of thinking. I recommend The Best Book on the Market, by Eamonn... MORE

A Buck is a Buck

Fiscal Policy
David Henderson
Nick Schulz takes on Ezra Klein and me, calling our argument "preposterous." Recall that Ezra and I had both argued that in response to 9/11, which I presume Osama bin Laden was behind, the U.S. government spent a lot of... MORE

Debating Monetarism

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Matt Rognlie takes on the monetarists. Note that the comments on the post, including Matt's comments, are where the debate gets elucidated.... MORE

Gratzer leaves out the tremendous accomplishments of the Liberal Party between 1995 and 2006. Since the early 1960s, when the Liberals won the first of 10 victories in 13 elections, Canadian governance largely focused on welfare statism. Between 1963 and... MORE

The Alternate Universe Problem

Fiscal Policy
Arnold Kling
At the moment, I am very pessimistic about the prospects for the United States solving its fiscal problems without a crisis. Given that we have divided government, a reasonable long-term budget will require a compromise. But the two sides seem... MORE

Starve-the-Beast Health Care Policy

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Jed Graham writes, Much has been written about Ryan's plan to have the vouchers only keep pace with inflation, which is generally well below health care inflation. But almost nothing has been said about how the Democrats' own health care... MORE

Who is "We"?

Regulation
David Henderson
In a comment on my most-recent post, Arnold Kling seems to set up a straw man. I had made the point that if you looked at Osama bin Laden's goals, you would conclude that he achieved a good portion of... MORE

The Anti-Hanson on Health Care

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
John A. Nyman has a theory under which it is efficient to stimulate health care spending with health insurance. When the care that was deemed to be welfare-decreasing is reclassified as welfare-increasing, health insurance becomes much more valuable to consumers... MORE

How Osama Won

Regulation
David Henderson
I just finished reading the best piece by Ezra Klein that I've ever read by him. Klein argues that Osama bin Laden achieved many of his goals. One of bin Laden's main goals, claims Klein, was to bankrupt the U.S.... MORE

The Race Between Technology and Oppression

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
Will Twitter Undercut Censorship? Although I know my vote doesn't matter and I agree with Bryan Caplan about most of his criticisms of democracy, I'm somewhat of a political junkie. So I've been on line all evening watching the highlights... MORE

Thoughts on Accounting

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
From Liberty Fund's Daniel Austin Green. This scientific idealization also disregards the deeply political and decidedly non-scientific nature of many aspects of accounting and stands at odds with the emphasis on experience, judgment, and artistry used to justify CPAs' role... MORE

A Bet I Will Make

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
Some comments on my post on Social Security challenged me to bet. Here is a bet I am willing to make. It concerns the following proof. 1. national output = national income (note that is true by definition in a... MORE

Seagren on Service

Economic Philosophy
Arnold Kling
To David's recommendation, I wish to add mine. One of my pet peeves is people who describe volunteer work and non-profit work as "giving back." Instead, working for a profit can be (and, I suspect, usually is) a higher form... MORE

Liberty, Population, and Cognitive Dissonance

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
My target essay at this month's Cato Unbound is up.  From the intro:People have been fretting about the "population problem" for at least fifty years. But over those five decades, the perceived problem has practically reversed. From the sixties to... MORE

Chad Seagren on Service in a Free Society

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Today, while most Americans celebrate, quite appropriately, the killing of a mass murderer, Osama bin Laden, we are likely to hear encomiums to people in the U.S. military. In the May Econlib Feature Article, one member of that military, Major... MORE

Notes From the Field

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
That is, from Alexander J. Field's A Great Leap Forward. I rate the book as must-read. It is about the behavior of productivity in various eras of the twentieth century. He rates the 1930's the highest (!) and the 1973-1989... MORE

Martin Feldstein writes, With a 3% payroll deduction, someone with $50,000 of real annual earnings during his working years could accumulate enough to fund an annual payout of about $22,000 after age 67, essentially doubling the current Social Security benefit.... MORE

Open Borders and The Walking Dead

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
I just finished volume 13 of The Walking Dead.  It's my favorite comics discovery since Barefoot Gen.  At first glance, it's mere genre fiction - an unexplained zombie plague destroys civilization in a matter of weeks, leaving a handful of... MORE

Yay is for Apple

Business Economics
David Henderson
After my devastating fire in 2007 in which I lost my computer, I switched from PCs to a Mac. I didn't fall in love with the Mac instantly, as my Mac friends predicted I would. It took about 6 months.... MORE

Keynes and Central Planning

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
The new Keynes-Hayek video has been reviving academic interest in history of thought.  The issue: Was Keynes an advocate of central planning?  This is well outside my expertise, but I can't resist quoting the infamous intro to the German edition... MORE

Just Try It; or, Nudge for Kids

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
The media have run me ragged for the last two weeks.  But I'm not complaining; it's a great experience, and I'm learning as I go.  The single best point I've heard boils down to "nudge for kids."  It goes something... MORE

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