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January 2018

A Monthly Archive (81 entries)
A friend of mine was reminiscing Sunday about Dennis Peron, a friend of his who died last week. My friend told me how he managed to get a whole bunch of people in San Francisco informed about Peron's upcoming... MORE

A Bad Solution to Very Real Problems

Monetary Policy
Contributing Guest
by Pierre Lemieux The Great Depression brought the failure of thousands of banks in the United States, and none in Canada. Comparing Canada and the United States suggests that there was something deeply wrong with the American banking system. But... MORE

Henderson versus Caplan on Responding to Bored Students

Economic Education
David Henderson
In his interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education, co-blogger Bryan Caplan stated: In order to make my subject relevant, I would actually have to learn a lot about the occupations the students are doing and just teach, really, a... MORE

Paul Peterson on Compulsory Schooling and His Best Teacher

Economics of Education
David Henderson
One of my more-delightful colleagues at the Hoover Institution (there are actually many to choose from) is Paul Peterson, the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University. He's also Senior Editor of Education Next. I was up... MORE

What My University President Says

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm fortunate to be at a school where the university president puts scholarship over politics.As far as critiques of our education system go, my colleague @bryan_caplan's is pretty good (even if still fundamentally flawed) https://t.co/gP26zjpJ9x-- Ángel Cabrera (@CabreraAngel) January 30,... MORE

My Interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
When the typical professor deals with the media, he has a litany of complaints.  "They're not accurate!"  "They're not fair!"  "They made me look stupid!"  My experience is precisely the opposite.  Virtually everyone in the media treats me well.  Case... MORE

Free the Jesuit Slaves!

Liberty
David Henderson
Much of the confusion prevailing in the historical study of liberalism can be traced to John Stuart Mill, who occupies a vastly inflated position in the conception of liberalism entertained by English-speaking peoples.1 This "saint of rationalism" is responsible for... MORE

My Cato Talk

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Tomorrow I'm speaking at the Cato Institute on my new book.  Kevin Carey, author of The End of College, comments.  You can live stream it, but I hope to see you there!... MORE

Over at TheMoneyIllusion I have a post looking at the Fed's ability to engage in policies such as QE and negative interest on reserves. What are the limits to the Fed's ability to do these policies, and should there be... MORE

Confessions of a Voc-Tech Teacher

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Email from a reader, who asked to remain anonymous... My name is [redacted] and I'm in my 3rd decade of teaching vocational education or Career Technical Education (CTE) in [redacted] CA.   I was very pleased to hear about your position... MORE

A Frequent Confusion and the Yo-Yo Economic Model

Economic Education
Contributing Guest
by Pierre Lemieux "...without clear concepts, the theory is muddled and confusion reigns. There is no way to think clearly about how different factors will influence price and quantity because "demand" (or "supply") means two different things. " It is... MORE

Kling on Rules for Life

Finance
David Henderson
Former co-blogger Arnold Kling recently posted 4 rules for work life and financial life. They're excellent. I'll give each rule and comment on how they relate to my own life. You be the judge of whether they relate to yours.... MORE

I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, surrounded by endless miles of cornfields. The closest foreign country was Canada, hundreds of miles to the north. The first time I ever saw saltwater was in 1977, when a senior in college. And... MORE

Bill Bewick, whose bio identifies him as "an Edmonton-based political consultant and public policy analyst who served as the Wildrose Official Opposition Director of Policy from 2010-2017," has written an excellent analysis of the coming legalization of marijuana on or... MORE

Henderson on Monopsony Power in Labor Markets

Labor Market
David Henderson
David R. Henderson, an economist at the conservative Hoover Institution, said the existence of additional options outside a worker's current occupation or city made him skeptical that concentration was having an effect on wages. Skilled workers, he said, can seek... MORE

Two Comments on Coy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Check out Bloomberg's Peter Coy's fair and fun review of The Case Against Education. Two reactions:1. Narrow point.  Coy writes:Notice that this signal has nothing to do with what he or she may have learned. The signal to employers--of diligence,... MORE

Bullseye!

Monetary Policy
Scott Sumner
Politico has a new piece discussing the "tragedy" of Janet Yellen not being reappointed as chair of the Fed: In December 2012, a new Federal Reserve governor and unseasoned monetary policymaker, Jerome Powell, told his colleagues that the risks of... MORE

Burger King Has It Its Way

Business Economics
David Henderson
Clemson University economist, and expert on the FCC and net neutrality, Thomas W. Hazlett, wrote the following on Facebook yesterday (he gave me permission to quote) about Burger King's now-famous (infamous) exposition of net neutrality: Is this The Onion? A... MORE

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Labor Market
David Henderson
Her servants. Today Google has highlighted author Virginia Woolf, who was born 136 years ago today. How the heck does this relate to economics? Here's how. In his excellent 2010 book At Home, Bill Bryson, in describing the life of... MORE

My Interview with Princeton University Press

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Highlights:The "signaling model of education" is the foundation of your argument. What is this model? The standard view of education, often called the "human capital model," says that education raises income by training students for their future jobs. The signaling... MORE

My Interview with Murphy-Lara

Austrian Economics
David Henderson
Robert Murphy, who is one of the heavy hitters for Econlib, interviewed me by email last month and it's out in the Lara-Murphy Report. The report is by paid subscription but Bob gave me permission to post the whole interview... MORE

I was interviewed live last night, my favorite kind of interview, by John Batchelor and Larry Kudlow. Here's the link. What led to the interview was this blog post.... MORE

Huemer on Ultra-Ineffective Altruism

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Mike Huemer, my favorite philosopher, has two great pieces on a recent $75M donation to the Johns Hopkins Philosophy Department.  They deserve a wider audience, so I'm posting them here with his permission.Post #1: The StimulusI see that Bill Miller... MORE

Alternative Money University

Economic Education
Scott Sumner
I'm pleased to announce that I'll be teaching in a four day program called "Alternative Money University", organized by George Selgin. The program will take place July 15-18 at the Cato Institute in Washington DC, and George provides some information... MORE

Hope for Italy? Well, hope never dies...

Eurozone crisis
Alberto Mingardi
David has kindly linked into a new post by Alvin Rabushka on the possible adoption of a flat tax in Italy after the next elections. Rabushka travels the world promoting flatter taxes, and I can understand why he's happy with... MORE

Tomorrow's Events

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Two big Case Against Education events tomorrow:1. I'm doing a full-hour interview with Glenn Beck.  Please tune in!  (Listen live here).2. I'm speaking at the Free Library of Philadelphia.  Hope to see you there!... MORE

Right to Work Works

Labor Market
David Henderson
Labor unions play a central role in the Democratic party coalition, providing candidates with voters, volunteers, and contributions, as well as lobbying policymakers. Has the sustained decline of organized labor hurt Democrats in elections and shifted public policy? We use... MORE

We're Number 11, We're Number 11!

Competition
David Henderson
In "Top 100 Economics Blogs And Websites For Economists," EconLog is ranked #11 out of the 100 blogs and websites listed. I'm not sure how they came up with the ranking, but notice that we're only 2 positions below Marginal... MORE

A Deal on Immigration is Most Unwise

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Last week, Will Wilkinson published a piece in the New York Times on the political strategy of immigration.  While Will assumes a moderate persona, he's long been in favor of large increases in immigration.  In terms of ultimate goals, then,... MORE

by Sarah Skwire Both economists and writers, then, are drawn to baseball by its rich complexities, and by the sense that this game, somehow, is bigger than us, yet also tells us something about what it means to be human... MORE

Henderson on Tillerson

Foreign Policy
David Henderson
Someone not familiar with the ISIS story might conclude that Tillerson was saying that the US government defeated ISIS. Of course, if you read his speech carefully, you'll see that he didn't say that. What he said was that the... MORE

At the recent AEA meetings in Philadelphia, there was a panel discussing Friedman's famous AEA presidential address, which occurred 50 years ago. Thus I decided to reread this famous article. It's just as impressive as I remember. Although just 17... MORE

"Ice is not Nice" and the Limits of Conversation

Economic Philosophy
Contributing Guest
by Pierre Lemieux Why do apparently serious academics publish such muddled, postmodern stuff? They may seriously believe in their ideology--although if everything is "socially constructed," their theories must be too. One of the benefits of Facebook is that your friends... MORE

Gillespie Interviews Me on The Case Against Education

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My Reason interview with Nick Gillespie on my new book is now up.  Enjoy!... MORE

Elephant in the Brain on Religious Hypocrisy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but... MORE

Secession and liberty: A reply to Pierre Lemieux

Politics and Economics
Alberto Mingardi
...it seems to me that what fits within classical liberalism is a defense of the right to secede, and such right should be uphold no matter what is the possible output, when it comes to political economy choices, of the... MORE

Response to a New Zealander

Trade Barriers
David Henderson
A man whom I've become friends with in the last month or so often shares thoughts on email about political issues. He sent along an email he received from a friend and it includes an email from a New Zealand... MORE

Hope for Italy?

Tax Reform
David Henderson
A coalition of center-right parties (market-oriented, low-tax conservative parties in American parlance) agreed to an electoral pact on Thursday, January 18, 2018. Silvio Berlusconi of Forza Italia, Matteo's Salvini of Lega Nord, and Georgia Meloni of Nationalist Brothers of Italy... MORE

Just who are those "consumers"?

Economic Education
Scott Sumner
While working on a principles of economics textbook, I began wondering how students evaluate terms like "consumer welfare". Who are these consumers? There's a term for people who are not consumers, they are called "corpses". All living people are consumers.... MORE

They might be. Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center has an excellent piece at Reason on the connection, if any, between the recent cut in the corporate income tax rates and the spate of bonuses, pay increases, and increases... MORE

A Golden Journey

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Here's the speech I delivered at my in-laws 50th anniversary party a couple of weeks ago.  It's anecdotal, but I think social science fans will enjoy it. On New Year's Day, 1968, a young couple married in Bucharest, Romania.  Their... MORE

A tax by any other name . . .

Tax Reform
Scott Sumner
When the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the health insurance mandate part of Obamacare, John Roberts suggested that the penalty for not buying health insurance could be viewed as a tax. I'm not qualified to offer an opinion as to whether... MORE

The Big Victims of Drug Prohibition

Economics of Crime
David Henderson
Never forget consumer surplus. Steven Landsburg is critical of co-blogger Scott Sumner's proposal to give preference in licensing legal marijuana sellers to those who were previously convicted of marijuana offenses. Scott calls this "affirmative action for drug pushers." Actually, though,... MORE

Carillion and the reputation of privatisations

Political Economy
Alberto Mingardi
"Privatisations" were done to make again room for the private sector, and for government officials to stop managing a particular business. In reality, of course, the boundaries may be blurred... Instances of classical liberal-leaning (critics would say: neo-liberal) government were... MORE

For a Free Market in Plasma

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Ottawa, Ontario and Washington, D.C. - A group of professional ethicists and economists published an open letter urging provincial governments to reconsider proposals to ban compensation for blood plasma donations. The letter is signed by 26 ethicists and economists, including... MORE

Whereof One Cannot Speak, Thereof One Must Be Silent

Economic Philosophy
Scott Sumner
We talk too much. I probably talk way too much. Humans like to explain everything, even things that cannot be explained. Over at TheMoneyIllusion I did a post trying to rebut the bubble view of NASDAQ, circa 1999-2000. Lots of... MORE

For Individual Liberty, Size Does Not Matter - or So It Seems

Politics and Economics
Contributing Guest
by Pierre Lemieux "... let's have a look at the empirical evidence. Do available data show a correlation between individual liberty and the size of a country? A positive or a negative one?" In a recent Econlog post, Alberto Mingardi... MORE

Libertarian education reformers have long argued that education is great, but education plus market reforms is even better.  The Case Against Education in contrast, argues that the education industry is more like government-sponsored football stadiums: Government support is good for... MORE

I'm not a huge fan of affirmative action programs. It's not obvious to me why a Hispanic-American should be favored over an Italian-American when the fire department is hiring workers. But there is one type of affirmative action I can... MORE

Hillary Clinton Was Wrong

Economics of Crime
David Henderson
Maerker: In Mexico, there are those who propose not keeping going with this battle and legalize drug trafficking and consumption. What is your opinion? Clinton: I don't think that will work. I mean, I hear the same debate. I hear... MORE

Welcoming Prejudice

Economic Education
David Henderson
I don't believe in intellectual cooties. Reason: This year there has been a lot of discussion about whether there's a pipeline between libertarians and the alt-right. Sharpe: Yup. Libertarian Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark has been drawing some bright lines. It's... MORE

Squalor and immigration

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Scott Sumner
The President's recent remarks on immigration were widely characterized as offensive. The problem was not so much how he characterized Haiti and sub-Saharan Africa (although that was hardly diplomatic), but rather the implication that immigrants from those places share the... MORE

Has President Trump Been Very Consequential?

Cost-benefit Analysis
David Henderson
Over at his other blog, TheMoneyIllusion, fellow EconLog blogger Scott Sumner writes: I've often suggested that Presidents have far less power than people assume, and that events tend to follow the "zeitgeist", or the prevailing mood in the country. That's... MORE

But or Therefore?

Regulation
David Henderson
"Marin County has long resisted growth in the name of environmentalism. But high housing costs and segregation persist." So reads the title of a news story by Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times. The reporting is excellent. I hope... MORE

And an appeal to basic principles of freedom explains why. In his novel 1984, George Orwell gave us the memorable term "thoughtcrime" to describe thoughts which the state punishes to protect itself from criticism. The Strategic Affairs Ministry's recent decision... MORE

In this post I'll try to describe what various groups seem to believe about interest rates. Undoubtedly I'll get some of the nuances wrong, and I'll try to do updates as people correct this initial post: Traditional Keynesians: 1. Low... MORE

The Case Against Education at Cato

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
On January 31 at 4 PM, I'm presenting The Case Against Education at the Cato Institute, with comments by New America's Kevin Carey.  (See here and here for my earlier thoughts on Carey's work).   Many thanks to Cato's Neal McCluskey... MORE

The Best of Econlib: 2017 (cont.)

Economic Education
Amy Willis
We couldn't leave EconLog out of our year-end reflections, now could we? We'll share our EconTalk listener survey results soon... In the meantime, here's a look at the most-read EconLog posts of 2017. Here's to another great year of... MORE

Economic Freedom via Freedom of Speech

Law and Economics
David Henderson
To paraphrase the Eleventh Circuit, imposing a surcharge rather than offering a discount is no more misleading than calling the weather warmer in New Orleans rather than colder in San Francisco. This is from the United States Court of Appeals... MORE

A blind spot at the New York Times

Liberty
Scott Sumner
The New York Times recently published a very strange story on New Jersey, discussing the Garden State's ban on self-service gasoline. The article discussed a recent proposal to lift the ban (all other states allow self-service), as well as local... MORE

Henderson on Trump

Cost-benefit Analysis
David Henderson
Richard Reinsch, the editor of our sister Liberty Fund blog, "Law and Liberty," asked me to write a response essay to this essay on Donald Trump by Greg Weiner. When I accepted, I didn't know Professor Weiner's views well and... MORE

Henderson on The New Tax Law

Upcoming Events
David Henderson
I'll be speaking to the Monterey Peninsula Republican Women this Thursday. Topic: An Economist Analyzes the New Tax Law Date: Thurs, Jan. 11th Time: 11:30AM - 1:30PM Location:Rancho Canada Gold Course, 4860 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley. It's a luncheon... MORE

Henderson and Williams on Free to Exchange

Labor Market
David Henderson
My long-time friend Ben Powell, a professor of economics at Texas Tech University and the director of the Free Market Institute there, is quite a good interviewer: asking good questions and coming up with good lines apparently on the fly.... MORE

The Political Firm

Business Economics
Contributing Guest
by Pierre Lemieux This competitive discipline is a feature of the free-enterprise system, not a bug. That's why your fuel oil delivery man doesn't care about your race, sexual preferences, or political opinions; he just wants a check. One can,... MORE

Jonathan Weisman's Bias

Media Watch
David Henderson
Jonathan Weisman is a New York Times reporter on economic policy. Back in 1999, he reported on economics for the Baltimore Sun. The web is great. On my computer that burned in my fire in 2007, I had both the... MORE

Crime and civil liberties

Economics of Crime
Scott Sumner
There's an interesting story in the National Review, discussing New York crime data: Today in New York City, use of stop-and-frisk, which the department justified via the 1968 Terry v. Ohio Supreme Court ruling, has crashed. Yet the statistics are... MORE

Female prostitution is both illegal in most American cities and extremely dangerous, as prostitutes face risks of violence from the environment and clients. Previous studies suggest that prostitution has the highest homicide rate of any female intensive occupation in the... MORE

The Best of Econlib: 2017 (cont.)

Economic Education
Amy Willis
If you haven;t checked out the Guides and Topics section of Econlib, you're missing out on the fastest-growing part of our site...With more to come! And while you're there, don't miss EconTalk host Russ Roberts's series of articles on... MORE

Why I'm not a progressive

Cross-country Comparisons
Scott Sumner
I am a utilitarian. Many (most?) utilitarians are progressives. So why am I not a progressive? I recently ran across three news articles that help to explain my skepticism of progressivism. First I'll briefly summarize the key takeaways, and then... MORE

Kathleen Wynne is Wrong

Price Controls
David Henderson
What do economists predict employers of low-wage workers will do when a government raises the minimum wage by a large amount, say, $2.40 an hour? An increase in the minimum wage doesn't magically make low-wage workers more productive. So we... MORE

Fiscal illusions are "errors [...] that the political elite uses to reach its objectives" and these errors concern both "revenue" and "public expenditure. I recommend this piece by Marco Valerio Lo Prete for London-based consultancy MacroGeo. The theme is... MORE

Play the Hand You're Dealt

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
In response to co-blogger Bryan Caplan's post about being on the Fox News Channel (FNC), one commenter wrote: The Fox News Network, and Carlson in particular, are basically running propaganda operations for the Trump administration. While regular readers understand... MORE

The Unintended Consequences of Drug Reimportation

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
Allowing U.S. consumers to engage in parallel trade would require pharmaceutical companies to lower prices here, negotiate price increases with other OECD governments, contracturally prohibit buyers from re-selling, or reduce drug sales to low-price countries so that they have no... MORE

Matt Yglesias has a good article on housing affordability: When people -- specifically market urbanists versus regulation fans -- argue about housing affordability on the internet it seems to me that the two groups are using the concept of "affordable"... MORE

As we continue to look back on 2017, we now share the most-visited entries from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. What's your favorite entry? How do you use the CEE? We'd love to see your responses in the Comments! 10.... MORE

Mea Culpa on Fourth Amendment Showdown

Economics of Crime
David Henderson
On November 29, I argued that the legal authorities should have gotten a warrant if they wanted to access the information on where Timothy Carpenter made calls from. The basis for my argument was that getting the information without Carpenter's... MORE

An Ignorant Plot?

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Twitter was angry with me after my Tucker Carlson interview.  The most common accusation was roughly, "Of course Fox News loves The Case Against Education.  Undermining education is a plot to help the Republicans by spreading ignorance."  I could take umbrage, but I... MORE

As we welcome a new year, we remain anxious as ever to keep bringing you the best in economics and liberty. But we also want to take a moment to share some of the highlights of our last year...... MORE

A digital ID for all?

Regulation
Alberto Mingardi
Does a national ID strike you as an encroachment on individual liberty? Would it be just another nuisance? What if this nuisance is compensated with substantial benefits... The Wall Street Journal ran an interview by Tunku Varadarajan with former... MORE

If it's true that a worker gets paid an amount just equal to what he or she adds to total economic output, then how can there be any surplus left over to benefit the masses? In particular, suppose that an... MORE

I Win All My Ebola Bets

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Back in 2014, Ebola was national - and global - news.  Even in Africa, fears ultimately turned out to be overblown.  The WHO's official tally was about 11,000 fatalities.  The true figure is almost certainly higher, but not grossly so. ... MORE

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