Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Arnold Kling: December 2006

An Author Archive by Month (34 entries)

Nobel Prize Trends

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen points to a paper by Bruce G. Charlton which uses Nobel Prizes as an indicator of trends in research quality. Cowen picks out the fact that the Western U.S. has been gaining at the expense of Europe and... MORE

Notes on Critical Review's Converse issue

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
I recommend the "triple issue" of Critical Review, entitled Is Democratic Competence Possible?. Its starting point is a 40-year-old essay by public opinion researcher Philip Converse called "The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass publics." I am using this post... MORE

Political Beliefs and Self-Deception

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen wrote, Just about everyone thinks that their political views are better than the views of smarter or better trained others. On economic issues, few voters defer to the opinions of economists. Nor does this appear to be a... MORE

Energy Economics and Politics

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
James Surowiecki writes, Unfortunately, the ethanol produced in the U.S. comes from a less-than-ideal source: corn. Corn ethanol’s “net energy balance”—the amount of energy it yields in proportion to how much energy goes into its production—is significantly lower than that... MORE

Universal Savings Accounts

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen endorses the idea, with a twist. Just as the earned-income tax credit pays poor people to work, the universal 401(k) would pay poor people to save... There is an obvious way to pay for a universal 401(k) plan.... MORE

Another Story to Watch

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
Bill Gates writes, How soon will robots become part of our day-to-day lives? According to the International Federation of Robotics, about two million personal robots were in use around the world in 2004, and another seven million will be installed... MORE

The Sixth Warmest Year

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
A major news story is that 2006 is likely to be the sixth warmest year on record. Lubos Motl says that it also is likely to be the coldest year since 2002. I'm not sure what the right unit of... MORE

John Locke's Wager

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
David Brin writes, the quasi-Confucian social pattern that is being pursued by the formerly Communist rulers of China seems to be an assertive, bold and innovative approach to updating authoritarian rule, incorporating many of the efficiencies of both capitalism and... MORE

Quote of the Day

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
People have often been willing to give up personal identity and join into a collective. Historically, that propensity has usually been very bad news. Collectives tend to be mean, to designate official enemies, to be violent, and to discourage... MORE

Major Economic Stories, Updated

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
A year ago, I listed five stories to follow on a long-term basis. Now for an update.... MORE

Hal Varian on the Stern Report

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
He wrote, According to [William] Nordhaus, the assumptions used in the Stern Review imply that per capita yearly consumption in 2200 will be $94,000 as compared with $7,000 today. So, is it really ethical to transfer wealth from someone making... MORE

Collegiate Writing

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
George Leef writes, On October 2, The Conference Board, an organization of American businesses, released a survey entitled “Are They Really Ready for Work?” The report, which was based on responses from 431 employers, hardly gives a ringing endorsement of... MORE

Mayor Bloomberg Misses the Problem

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
He writes, we have built too many bureaucracies that lack clear lines of accountability, which means that mediocrity and failure are tolerated, and excellence goes unrewarded. We recruit a disproportionate share of teachers from among the bottom third of their... MORE

The latest news: Goldman Sachs has turned moneymaking into an art form...The bank will pay out almost $16.5bn in bonuses to its employees - up 40% increase on last year. With around 26,000 workers globally, each employee can expect an... MORE

More Hansonian Health Care

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
David Leonhardt reports, People with a drug-coated stent seemed unusually vulnerable to blood clots in later years. The new stents solved one problem, but they may have created another. This supports Robin Hanson's view that beneficial medicine is offset by... MORE

Baker vs. Reynolds

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
In a comment on my earlier post, Dean Baker chided me for using anecdotes rather than data to make my claim that economic suffering is overstated in the media. Apparently, if I wanted to make my claim using data, I... MORE

Why aren't there more investment bankers?

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
David Leonhardt writes, From World War II through the 1970s, while most Americans were getting solid raises every year, the incomes of the richest 1 percent were doing only a little better than inflation. Since the 1980s, the two groups... MORE

Baker vs. Summers

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Dean Baker writes, Larry Summers got fired from his last job as president of Harvard. He doesn't seem to be doing much better at his current job, working as a columnist at the Financial Times. Today's column rightly notes the... MORE

What is Law. . .and what is a good blog?

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Robin Hanson writes, law is there to make disputants shut up... If we expected jurors (or judges) to try their best to achieve social justice or economic efficiency, without substantial bias, we would have law, but not laws. That is,... MORE

Disrupted Families

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
I am reading Kay Hymowitz's book, Marriage and Caste in America. She was cited in the Wall Street Journal. Americans born into poverty have a long history of moving themselves, or their children, out of it. But the cycle of... MORE

Culture and Prosperity, Again

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Pete Boettke chimes in, However advantageous a culture may be, it cannot overcome bad institutions. And however disadvantageous a culture may be, it will improve when people get to live under institutions of political and economic freedom. Culture can act... MORE

Clive Crook on Milton Friedman

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
he writes (link may expire soon), Much of what is wrong with popular attitudes to capitalism comes down to one thing: a lack of wonder at what uncoordinated markets can achieve. Going to a grocery store for the hundredth or... MORE

The Washington Post has another in a series that looks at our corrupt agriculture policies. A maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the... MORE

Explaining the AMT spike

Tax Reform
Arnold Kling
Joe Kristan has the story. Congress has fought the arithmetic with "temporary" increases in the AMT exemption. The 2006 exemption is set at $62,550 for joint filers and $42,500 for single taxpayers. Without further legislation, the exemption reverts in 2007... MORE

TV alert

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Monday, January 29, PBS will air a 90-minute documentary on Milton Friedman. These folks sent us a press release. Personally, I never check the TV listings. If it weren't for the fact that the Cardinals were in the World Series... MORE

Alternative Minimum Tax Puzzle

Tax Reform
Arnold Kling
The graph in this Wall Street Journal piece shows a steep rise in the proportion of middle-income taxpayers who will be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax. Greg Mankiw reproduces the graph. I could not think of a reason for... MORE

Liberaltarians?

Politics and Economics
Arnold Kling
The Brink Lindsey essay that everyone is talking about is here. Allow me to hazard a few more specific suggestions about what a liberal-libertarian entente on economics might look like... Shift taxes away from things we want more of and... MORE

Culture Matters

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
Lawrence E. Harrison writes, the foregoing suggests the existence of a Universal Culture of Progress: the same Economic Behavior values, whatever their root, create prosperity in widely different geographic/climate, political, institutional, and indeed cultural settings. As far as we know,... MORE

Shifty Statistics

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Peter Orszag writes, According to Yale's Jacob Hacker, the average family had a 7 percent chance in the early 1970s of seeing its income drop by half or more. By 2002, that probability rose to nearly 17 percent. This statistic... MORE

A Middle-Class World

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
The above graph is lifted from a forthcoming book by Surjit S. Bhalla, called Second Among Equals: The Middle Class Kingdoms of India and China. It shows the share of the middle class in world population rising from 2... MORE

DeLong, Dasgupta, and Stern

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
On the question of choosing a discount rate to determine the cost of global warming, Brad DeLong chimes in. A consumption-to-output ratio of 77.5% is far from absurd, and so Dasgupta's critique of Stern fails. His mistake is in failing... MORE

The Distribution of Consumer Spending

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Diana Furchtgott-Roth writes, Last year Americans in the lowest income quintile spent an average of $11,247 per person, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with $15,843 for middle income quintiles, and $28,272 for the top quintile. The top... MORE

Hispanic Unwed Mothers

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Heather MacDonald writes Every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women bore 92 children in 2003 (the latest year for which data exist), compared with 28 children for every 1,000 unmarried white women, 22 for every 1,000 unmarried Asian women, and 66 for... MORE

My Education Rant

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
is here. I fear that many of the students who pass will go on to earn Wizard-of-Oz diplomas, which signify nothing. Students will claim to be educated, but employers will know otherwise. The phenomenon of the Wizard-of-Oz diploma has discredited... MORE

Return to top