Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Arnold Kling: January 2005

An Author Archive by Month (37 entries)

Social Security Deal?

Social Security
Arnold Kling
Brad DeLong proposes 1. Shift responsibility for maintaining actuarial balance off of the Congress and onto the Social Security Administration--have it gradually raise (and lower) the retirement age or the benefit-rule bend points in order to keep the system in... MORE

Economics of Higher Education

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
James B. Twitchell writes, At the turn of the 20th century, one percent of high school graduates attended college; that figure is now close to 70 percent. This is an industry that produces a yearly revenue flow more than six... MORE

Oil Economics

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
Robert Bryce wrote, Many of the leading neoconservatives who pushed hard for the Iraq war are going green. James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and staunch backer of the Iraq war, now drives a 58-miles-per-gallon Toyota... MORE

Jane Galt asks, Why hasn't labour successfully colonised the non-manufacturing world, outside of the public sector? I think that the answer might start with Gary Becker's distinction between specific human capital and generic human capital. Specific human capital is capital... MORE

Have More Children?

Arnold Kling
The incentive to have children is reduced in a welfare state, according to Pavel Kohout. To put it straightforwardly, and perhaps a little cynically, in the past children used to be regarded as investments that provided their parents with means... MORE

Social Security Incrementalism

Social Security
Arnold Kling
On the new pro-reform group blog, Kerry Kerstetter makes a case for incremental privatization. Allowing private control over retirement money that would otherwise go to the Social Security bureaucrats in DC is no different than what we have long had... MORE

Free Trade with the AARP

International Trade
Arnold Kling
Should you join the AARP if you disagree with its political positions? Carrie Lukas says no. So does Professor Bainbridge. Why? Because they are just one more liberal special interest group, albeit a particularly well camoflauged and effective one (using... MORE

Income Distribution and the Left

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Chris Dillow thinks that the Left has lost its moorings on the issue of income distribution. That is, Dillow supports income redistribution, but he thinks that neither the Left nor the Right is with him. Hayekian arguments can be applied... MORE

Pricing and Marginal Cost

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Arnold Kling
Don Boudreaux looks at cases where prices should be above marginal cost. Jones builds the bridge and charges tolls to pay for it. When the bridge is not congested, the marginal cost of allowing each driver access to the bridge... MORE

VA Hospitals as Quality Leaders

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
On the previous post, Spencer left a comment recommending an article by Phillip Longman on Veterans Administration hospitals, which it turns out over the past decade have improved quality in many areas relative to other medical care systems. suppose an... MORE

Health Care First-party Payments

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Andy Laperriere makes the case for Health Savings Accounts combined with high-deductible health insurance policies. more than 10% of the cost of a visit to the doctor -- $40 billion per year -- is wasted on paperwork. Most of these... MORE

Social Security Debate

Social Security
Arnold Kling
The Washington Post presents a wide range of viewpoints. Mark Weisbrot and Dean Baker write, The bottom line is that Social Security is more financially sound today than it has been throughout most of its 69-year history, according to Social... MORE

Michael Powell Resigns

Regulation and Subsidies
Arnold Kling
Michael Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is stepping down. In my book, I included an essay on Powell's Hayekian approach at the FCC. The FCC oversees industries in which competition is messy. Broadcasting and telecommunications do not... MORE

Lifespan, Social Security, and Medicare

Social Security
Arnold Kling
Continuing to peruse Brad's reading list (see preceding post), I came across an article on the topic I raised in my Lifespan essay. The article is by Ronald Lee and Jonathan Skinner. We find that the prospects for longevity are... MORE

Computers and Productivity

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
At lunch today with Robin Hanson, guest blogger Bryan Caplan, and blogging competitor Tyler Cowen, someone brought up the subject of computers and productivity. I am scanning Brad DeLong's reading list for a course in American Economic History, and naturally... MORE

Social Security Debate Online

Social Security
Arnold Kling
The Wall Street Journal has posted one of their periodic Econoblogger Celebrity Death Match thingies. This one features yours truly and Max Sawicky, on the topic of Social Security Reforms. I'll use this forum to respond to some of Max's... MORE

Malpractice Reform

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Richard Posner cautions against overstating the benefits of tort reform in health care. It is always important to distinguish between financial and real costs. Insofar as malpractice liability merely transfers wealth from physicians to (some) patients, aggregate costs are unaffected.... MORE

Lifespan Calculations

Social Security
Arnold Kling
In this essay, I discuss the esoteric but important topic of longevity calculations. How do we calculate the longevity of a person born in, say, 1950? The analogy would be to look at how many people born that year died... MORE

Guest Blogger

Econlog Administrative Issues
Arnold Kling
As baseball fans know, this is free-agent signing season. In attempt to become the Billy Beane of the economics blogosphere, EconLog is proud to announce a new guest blogger--Bryan Caplan, the prolific GMU scholar. As President Lyndon Johnson once complained... MORE

Private Investment is Dangerous

Social Security
Arnold Kling
This article by Norma Cohen, which Paul Krugman and others think is very important, strikes me as proving too much. Cohen writes, Britain's experiment with substituting private savings accounts for a portion of state benefits has been a failure. A... MORE

Social Security Indexing Debate

Social Security
Arnold Kling
Bill Sterling argues that the debate is long overdue. If there was a substantive debate on wage indexation in 1976 it seems to have been entirely an inside-the-beltway affair. Fearing to step on the dreaded third rail, President Ford ignored... MORE

Futurology

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
While I'm in the middle of reading about "network commonwealths" in James C. Bennett's The Anglosphere Challenge, the National Intelligence Council, a CIA affiliate, has just released Mapping the Global Future. Most forecasts indicate that by 2020 China’s gross national... MORE

Anglosphere Challenge

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
I've started reading The Anglosphere Challenge by James C. Bennett. I'm only up to Chapter One, but already it is very stimulating. For example: In popular misconceptions, it is imagined that in America and the other advanced countries people will... MORE

Education Loans

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
When I taught "Economics for the Citizen" this past fall at George Mason, I included a unit on education. In the latest issue of the Becker-Posner blog, Richard Posner brings up a point that I wrestled with in class. But... MORE

Social Security Ad Nauseum

Social Security
Arnold Kling
I have an essay that looks at recent writing by Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman. To economists, raising the retirement age is the obvious fix for a system that otherwise faces an ever-declining ratio of workers to retirees. Unfortunately, it... MORE

Feldstein on Social Insurance

Social Security
Arnold Kling
I recommend David Warsh's coverage of this year's American Economics Association meetings, which just concluded. Among other things, he mentions Martin Feldstein's Presidential Address, Rethinking Social Insurance. Feldstein writes, The impetus for broader social insurance reform comes from the recognition... MORE

Pseudo-currency

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
The Glittering Eye points to this story on frequent flyer miles. By the end of 2004, almost 14 trillion frequent flyer miles had been accumulated worldwide, worth between 1p and 6p apiece. According to a new analysis by The Economist... MORE

Comments on Hayek

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
An interesting collection of comments on the influence of Friedrich Hayek, from the latest issue of Reason. For example, cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker writes, Hayek was among the first to call attention to the emergence of large-scale order from individual... MORE

Social Security Wage vs. Price Indexing

Social Security
Arnold Kling
The Democratic National Committee accused the Bush Administration of trying to cut Social Security benefits by shifting to price indexing from wage indexing. I suggest that the administration should plead guilty. Future benefits that are promised under the current system... MORE

Read What Arnold Says

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
On C-span last night, I happened to hear part of the State of California Speech. In addition to a recognizable name, the Governor of California has interesting ideas. We must financially reward good teachers and expel those who are not.... MORE

Bartlett and Krugman

Social Security
Arnold Kling
National Review's Bruce Bartlett and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman appear to be singing from the same song sheet on Social Security. Bartlett writes, It is not clear what is driving the urgency of Social Security reform. It is... MORE

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Regulation and Subsidies
Arnold Kling
Robert J. Samuelson writes, Well, homeownership isn't a big problem, and Fannie and Freddie have been minor -- not major -- forces in past increases. The others include rising incomes, falling interest rates, low-down-payment mortgages (as little as 3 percent)... MORE

Civility Plea, Revisited

Econlog Administrative Issues
Arnold Kling
Over a year ago, I wrote, I've always felt that the stronger the case for the idea, the less need to attack the person. The goal of the comment area is to encourage a wide range of viewpoints, expressed reasonably.... MORE

Unprovable Speculations

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
John Brockman asked dozens of scientists and other intellectuals to state a proposition you believe is true, even though you cannot prove it. Not many of the answers deal with economics, and those that do strike me as hostile without... MORE

Capitalism without Capital

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
In a long essay, I write The reduced significance of capital means that the cost of entry is lowered in many industries. Today, we see this in the shops that people have set up on eBay or in the blogs... MORE

Worrying About Demand

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Robert J. Samuelson writes, First, the economy is bound to lose the stimulus of rising consumer debt. ...Second, the benefits from defeating double-digit inflation are fading. His argument is that without the boost to consumer demand from increased borrowing and... MORE

Bell Curve in Medical Care

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Atul Gawande writes, It used to be assumed that differences among hospitals or doctors in a particular specialty were generally insignificant. If you plotted a graph showing the results of all the centers treating cystic fibrosis--or any other disease, for... MORE

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