Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Arnold Kling: July 2004

An Author Archive by Month (23 entries)

Is Kerry Listening?

Tax Reform
Arnold Kling
Russell Roberts writes, The truth is that payroll taxes fund government spending generally. We ought to eliminate the ruse that payroll taxes fund social security, eliminate the payroll tax and roll it into the income tax. Then we could give... MORE

The Case for Free Trade

International Trade
Arnold Kling
Three recent pro-trade articles of interest. First, Peter Gordon refers to some academic surveys in support of the benefits of globalization. Second, the Washington Post argues that the Democrats' platform is too anti-trade. Finally, Joseph Stiglitz argues that international trade... MORE

Money and Happiness

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
Robert H. Frank writes, Considerable evidence suggests that if we use an increase in our incomes, as many of us do, simply to buy bigger houses and more expensive cars, then we do not end up any happier than before.... MORE

Medicare History

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
John Lanius points out that in April of 1961, then-private-citizen Ronald Reagan warned, The legislative chips are down. In the next few months Americans will decide whether or not this nation wants socialized medicine . . . first for its... MORE

Home Building Trends

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
One way to track the increased affluence in America is to look at the trends in new home construction. This research report from the National Association of Homebuilders is filled with interesting facts. For example, Some of the features that... MORE

Incumbents and Government

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
What does government do? Austrian economists fear that government simply serves to protect incumbents. In a long, informative review of a book by Hans Herman-Hoppe, Andy Duncan writes, ask yourself if there are many large corporations in the US or... MORE

Barbell Labor Market?

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
Frank Levy and Richard J. Murnane predict that computer automation is leading to a split in the labor market. Good jobs will increasingly require expert thinking and complex communication. Jobs that do not require these tasks will not pay a... MORE

Economics of Higher Education Subsidies

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
I discuss the economics of government subsidies to higher education. The end result is that even though government subsidizes higher education, and even though most economists believe that higher education enhances productivity, the government subsidies do not result in higher... MORE

Against Paternalism

Regulation and Subsidies
Arnold Kling
Glenn Reynolds makes an articulate point about paternalism. Another -- and it's a lesson that policy wonks seem slow to learn -- is that people other than policy wonks are capable of learning, and of changing their behavior on their... MORE

Technology Innovation vs. Government

Regulation and Subsidies
Arnold Kling
Two op-eds today on the issue of technological innovation and government's response. In the Wall Street Journal, former Intel Vice President Les Vadasz writes, The problem with the "Induce bill" is not its intent, but its overly broad language: Any... MORE

Health Care

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
My latest essay is on health care policy. America's health care system has many flaws. However, the solution is not to enlarge government's role. What I would like to see is a role for government in health care that is... MORE

Rent and Rent-Seeking

Public Choice Theory
Arnold Kling
Edward Lotterman talks about Ricardian rent and rent-seeking. The U.S. government subsidizes cotton production to the tune of some $3 billion per year. Virtually all the subsidy flows to fewer than 30,000 cotton farmers. At some $100,000 per producer, cotton... MORE

Interest Rate Debate

Monetary Policy
Arnold Kling
Brad DeLong argues, There is a 5m-worker gap between household-survey employment today and what it would be if the employment-to-population ratio were at its average level for 2000. This suggests that we are extraordinarily far from anything that could be... MORE

An Energy Internet?

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
Richard Smalley writes, Consider, for example, a vast interconnected electrical energy grid for the North American continent. By 2050 this grid will interconnect several hundred million local sites. There are two key aspects of this future grid that will make... MORE

Improved Standard of Living

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
In my latest essay, I argue against the view that life is getting harder for all but the rich. In the 1970's, ordinary working people drove Vegas and Pintos. They did not eat out much. They rarely traveled by airplane.... MORE

The Success of Failure

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
Virginia Postrel cites the research of McKinsey's William L. Lewis on international differences in productivity growth. Food processing in Japan, Mr. Lewis writes, "has more employees than the combined total of cars, steel, machine tools and computers," or about 11... MORE

The Wisdom of Crowds?

Efficient Markets Hypothesis
Arnold Kling
Are "predictions markets" more effective than other mechanisms at making forecasts and decisions? This issue has been given a lot of publicity, starting with a now-scotched proposal to set up a terrorism futures market. Professor Bainbridge weighs in. As for... MORE

Hours Worked In the U.S. vs. Europe

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
The OECD looks at total hours worked in its member countries. The performance of US labour markets also looks quite strong when assessed in terms of hours worked per capita, a more comprehensive measure of “labour utilisation” than the employment... MORE

More on the Productivity Story

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
The Fed's Roger W. Ferguson speculates on the sustainability of recent high productivity growth. Ferguson and William Wascher's article on the subject just appeared in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. The article says, Productivity booms seem to involve four key... MORE

Regulate Mutual Funds?

Regulation and Subsidies
Arnold Kling
A while back, I cited some arguments against regulation of mutual funds. Today, Vanguard's John Bogle makes the case in favor of regulation. In the mutual-fund industry, relying solely on market forces has proved to be a weak remedy for... MORE

The Productivity Story, Continued

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
I put together a simple table of productivity performance over the last forty years. The table helps to demonstrate what Brad DeLong is talking about. The 17 percent productivity growth from the first quarter of 2000 to the first quarter... MORE

Fogel Vs. Wonks

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Reading Robert Fogel's latest book, I noticed that he provided some simple but paternalistic proposals for health care. Robert Fogel says that we should stop thinking of the problem of poverty and health care as one of insurance and instead... MORE

Economic Attribution Error

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
During an election year, a President is assumed to control the economy. For example, Paul Krugman writes, For three years many economists have argued that the most effective job-creating policies would be increased aid to state and local governments, extended... MORE

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