Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Arnold Kling: December 2005

An Author Archive by Month (25 entries)

Econbot?

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Arnold Kling
"New Economist" writes, The latest issue of First Monday carries an article by Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig which shows that on at least basic historical facts, the internet can provide a surprisingly accurate indication of the historical consensus...... MORE

Inefficient Subsidies

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
James C. Garland writes, state higher-education budgets are not targeted efficiently. By way of comparison, consider the food stamp program, which in 2004 paid out $27 billion directly to 24 million low-income Americans. Imagine if there were, in its place,... MORE

Story of the Year

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
I have an essay on what I call the Most Important Economic Story of the Year. The average productivity growth rate in the last five years is the highest over the past half century. For Discussion. What do you think... MORE

Economic News for the New Year

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
As an end-of-year type post, here is a list of economic stories that I think will be worth following next year. Note that all of them are long-term stories, which won't be resolved in 2006 alone.... MORE

College Illiteracy

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
The Washington Post reports Literacy experts and educators say they are stunned by the results of a recent adult literacy assessment, which shows that the reading proficiency of college graduates has declined in the past decade, with no obvious explanation.... MORE

Health Care Rationing

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Mark Thoma reports that Paul Krugman writes, the rise of medical technology ... makes ... medicine ... in which doctors call for every procedure that might be of medical benefit, increasingly expensive. This is the position that I arrived at... MORE

Confusion in Political Theory

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Now Bryan writes, statements like "To break a warlord equilibrium, you need government" only confuse us. I agree. I cannot think of any examples of societies that were stuck in a warlord equilibrium and then suddenly said, "Let's sit down... MORE

Intangible Wealth and Institutional Economics

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
In a new book, a team of World Bank economists writes, most of a country's wealth is captured by what we term intangible capital...Intangible assets include the skills and know-how embodied in the labor force. The category also includes social... MORE

The Fear Factor

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
In the latest issue of The Independent Review, Robert Higgs writes, in the late nineteenth century the so-called welfare state began to take shape. From that time forward, people were told that the government can and should protect them from... MORE

Krugman and Wal-Mart

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
According to George Reisman, Paul Krugman is now accusing Wal-Mart of destroying jobs. Krugman notes that Walmart’s competition against other retailers also destroys the jobs its competitors had offered before being put out of business by its competition. He attempts... MORE

Strange Comment on Social Security

Social Security
Arnold Kling
Calculated Risk writes As a mental exercise, imagine if we eliminate SS spending and the SS payroll tax - what happens? The General Fund deficit stays exactly the same and we would need to address the significant General Fund shortfall.... MORE

The U.S. vs. Communist Dictatorship

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Now Bryan writes, For example, the Soviet Union from 1956 on was clearly an institutional arrangement, run by many individuals with competing interests, which were resolved using rules that were viewed as more important than any one individual. Khrushchev was... MORE

Calculated Risk writes, The debate should be focused on the two major issues: Health Care and the General Fund deficit. Without addressing those issues first, reforming Social Security is irrelevant. Even if one were to accept the premise that the... MORE

Anarchists Anthropomorphizing Government

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Bryan writes, I fail to see how getting a [government] counts as "breaking" a warlord equilibrium. Why shouldn't it simply be described as "accepting" a warlord equilibrium - you quit resisting the rule of the most powerful warlord, and let... MORE

The Real Cause of Market Failure in Health Insurance

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
I write, What we are left with, then, is that people do not want real health insurance. I would gladly take a health insurance policy with a $10,000 deductible per individual, and I suspect that many of my wise, risk-averse... MORE

Two-person Sudoku

Game Theory
Arnold Kling
Here's an idea for an entrepeneur.... MORE

Centrist Social Security Plan

Social Security
Arnold Kling
Andrew Samwick writes The plan contains four primary elements: a gradual reduction in future benefits; an increase in the payroll tax cap; an increase in the retirement age; and the establishment of personal retirement accounts. The plan puts great emphasis... MORE

Old News

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen points to this essay suggesting that newspapers convert to nonprofit status. Over three years ago, I wrote The newspaper business is going to die within the next twenty years. Newspaper publishing will continue, but only as a philanthropic... MORE

Free Responsibility, Con't

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
In response to Jane Galt's post on personal finance, let me add a few words. 1. Living within your means is the key, and it can be done at a fairly low income level. You have to be willing to... MORE

Why Peaceful Anarchy Fails

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Bryan writes, As economic growth progressed, of course, the market for defense services got bigger, making room for more and more firms. The problem, however, is that if you've got government in an area, it has the power and the... MORE

Iraq and the Corruption Trap

Public Choice Theory
Arnold Kling
Rushing in where angels fear to tread, I thought I would apply the theory of the Corruption Trap to Iraq. Bribing an official to get something done is like paying ransom to a kidnapper -- what looks like a good... MORE

Constitution of Surveillance?

Public Choice Theory
Arnold Kling
James Buchanan discusses three ideas for Constitutional amendments. He proposes an amendment to require balancing the Budget, and amendment forcing laws to be nondiscriminatory, and an amendment against regulating voluntary market transactions. On the nondiscrimination issue, he writes, The American... MORE

Reviewing the undercover economist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
About Tim Harford's book, The Undercover Economist, I write, I am tempted to review it as if it were a textbook. Not because it resembles the freshman textbooks that are commonly used today, but because it resembles what I believe... MORE

School Choice

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
A Symposium in Reason Magazine: We asked a dozen experts what reforms they think are most necessary and promising to improve American education. We also asked them to identify the biggest obstacles to positive change. Some folks give predictable answers... MORE

Robert Fogel Interview

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
An Excerpt: ultimately, what the government can pay [in future Social Security benefits] depends on how the economy performs. If we continue to grow as we have in the neighborhood of 2 percent per annum per capita over the past... MORE

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