Bryan Caplan  

Art's Bet

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First, let me join the rest of EconLog in welcoming guest blogger Art Carden.

Second, I'm extremely pleased that Art quickly proposed a home school bet.  Betting is what separates us from the mass of men who live by loose and idle talk.

Third, let me join the vast majority of mankind in refusing Art's proposed bet.  As phrased, he's very likely to win.  The main problem: He probably needs to make the terms less favorable and less ambiguous to attract noteworthy opponents.  As minimum, Art should replace the following passage:
"Negative and statistically significant" can still count as neutral if the negative effect is small enough to still pass a cost/benefit analysis that we can agree is reasonable.
"Negative and statistically significant" counts as a negative effect.
To be operational, though, Art should probably also (a) list all the outcomes he's betting on, and (b) name an arbiter or arbiters to judge the 2033 state of scholarly research on the treatment effect of homeschooling.  I'd suggest soliciting researchers under the age of 45 who are currently on the editorial boards of top economics, education, psychology, and sociology journals.  Perhaps Art could get five or ten prominent names to agree to participate, then let each opponent select three names from the list?

COMMENTS (4 to date)
Steve writes:

"Betting is what separates us from the mass of men who live by loose and idle talk."

I am not sure that the sums involved in most bets I have seen on this site separate you from anything. Henderson's $500 bet with Murphy was at least something. But you guys most of the time bet what, 0.1% of your income? I see that as a price well worth paying for holding the belief that your talk is not cheap.

Tim writes:

Steve is absolutely right that the sums must mean something, and that was another big error in Art's proposition.

He's drawn up the terms in nominal dollars, which will be significantly less valuable in 20 years (I'd love to hear anyone put forth a reasonable scenerio that involves the opposite effect).

Fabio Rojas writes:

If you need an arbiter on the status of homeschooling research, I'll volunteer. I've read the homeschooling literature.

I think I also owe Bryan some $ regarding whether the Democrats would ever nominate Hillary Clinton for president.

Lewis writes:

Should be easy money for you then Steve.

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