Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Arnold Kling: April 2007

An Author Archive by Month (51 entries)

Mental Health Institutions and Prisons

Economics of Crime
Arnold Kling
Bernard Harcourt writes, we should not be surprised that there are so many persons with mental illness behind bars today. We deal with perceived deviance differently than we did in the past: instead of getting treatment, persons who are viewed... MORE

College Admission Statistics

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Andrew Samwick writes, I've taken a 5-school moving average by rank here to make the graph more readable. By rank 11, we're at an acceptance rate of about 20%. By rank 21, we're above 30%. In the low- to mid-30s,... MORE

Inteview with Nassim Taleb

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Russ Roberts interviews Nassim Taleb. It's one of the most fascinating interviews in Roberts' series. One implication of Taleb's thinking is that we are overconfident in our ability to manage risk. Burt Malkiel, who is arguing from a more traditional... MORE

Would Ageless People be Libertarian?

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
The point is raised by a commenter on Futurepundit. curing aging will not make us immortal in the true sense of the word. We can still die due to accidents, homicide, and suicide. The word immortality is not appropriate. I... MORE

Page-ing Robin Hanson

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I just finished The Difference, by Scott E. Page. I cannot tell whether he has new ideas, or simply weird packaging for ideas that are not very new. He talks so much about prediction markets, sources of cognitive bias, and... MORE

How Irrational are Voters?

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
My co-blogger's Myth of the Rational Voter has gotten well-deserved thumbs up from Greg Mankiw and Tyler Cowen. Tyler raises some issues, including 3. Voters are less irrational in many northern European countries. I don't agree with their socialistic view... MORE

Unequal Income Distribution in the World

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Diane Coyle, in a new book The Soulful Science, writes Branko Milanovic points out that more than a third of Brazilians are richer than the poorest 5% of French people. He calculates a 10% probability that French aid to Brazil...will... MORE

My Guess on Take-Out

Microeconomics
Arnold Kling
Bryan asks why don't people open high-end restaurants without a dine-in option? As far as I can tell, such restaurants are virtually non-existent. I'll make my guess. In restaurants, the analogy with "follow the money" is "follow the beverages." For... MORE

Non-normal Distributions

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
David A. Shaywitz reviews Nassim Taleb's views on randomness. The problem, insists Mr. Taleb, is that most of the time we are in the land of the power law and don't know it. Our strategies for managing risk, for instance--including... MORE

Robert Solow on Model-Building

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
William J. Polley points to Solow's essay, which first appeared in 1997. A few excerpts and my comments.... MORE

Average vs. Marginal

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
In the Milken Institute Review, Kevin Lang writes, Is teenage motherhood one of the means by which poverty is passed from generation to generation, or are both teenage motherhood and adult poverty consequences of the same childhood disadvantages? There are... MORE

Government is not going away

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
In an interview, Jonathan Rauch says, When you get right down to it, there doesn't seem to be really much of a constituency in this country for reducing the size of government in painful or unpleasant ways. Even Barry Goldwater,... MORE

David Colander on Graduate Study in Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
The book is The Making of an Economist, Redux. It provides facts, analysis, and opinions of the graduate programs at top economics departments. I'll excerpt a few sentences, and then I'll add my opinion of what I would like to... MORE

Tyler Cowen Channels Uwe Reinhardt

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen writes, Let's say a patient pays $1000 to a doctor, but half of that sum is fraudulent pricing brought on by patient irrationality, non-transparency, fear of death, and fraud. Sound familiar? The real social cost is what the... MORE

I am Not as Turned On

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
More Sex (Steven E. Landsburg's new book), did not turn me on as much as it did Bryan (see here and here). I would give it a mixed review. I think that a good teacher could use some of the... MORE

A Headline Tells the Single-Payer Story

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
From the Hartford (Ct.) Courant: Universal Care Might Cost State Almost $18 Billion; Proposal Seen As Dead Later in the story, a spokesman for the state's governor is quoted. "If 6 percent of the people need health insurance, the program... MORE

Downplaying the Uninsured

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
My Cato friend Michael Cannon writes, I may lose my health policy decoder ring for asking this, but should we really be focusing specifically on covering the uninsured? ...there are other approaches that could purchase more health for the money... MORE

Breast Cancer: a Hansonian Tale

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
According to the New England Journal of Medicine: the age-adjusted incidence rate of breast cancer in women in the United States fell sharply (by 6.7%) in 2003, as compared with the rate in 2002. Data from 2004 showed a leveling... MORE

Biases in Evaluation Scales

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Elaborating on a point I raised , I am going to make the following conjecture: In an evaluation scale (e.g, rate this professor on a scale of 1 to 5), the mean evaluation is biased toward the middle. Is this... MORE

Papers that look interesting

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Glaeser and Sacerdote, suggesting that when rich people are around other rich people, they vote Democratic, but when they are around less-rich people, they vote Republican. Not having read the paper, I'm guessing on the basis of the abstract that... MORE

India's Achilles Heel

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Arnold Kling
This article would be good to give to freshman econ students--and others. India has technical institutes that seldom have electricity, and colleges with no computers. There are universities where professors seldom show up. Textbooks can be decades old. Instruction is... MORE

Basic Decision Theory

Cost-benefit Analysis
Arnold Kling
From my latest essay: If we give more people MRI's, we reduce type I errors but increase type II errors. If we give fewer people MRI's, we reduce type II errors but increase type I errors. The Maggie Mahars of... MORE

Global Warming vs. the Outside Temperature

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
Today, the high school where I teach had an "environmental awareness" seminar. I walked in during the middle, so I did not catch the woman's name. The kids said that she had worked with Al Gore, and that many of... MORE

Mankiw Defends his Tall Tale

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
In an email that he gave me permission to quote, Greg writes, Your instrumental variable analogy is good, but your assertion that it is a weak instrument is not. The calculations in the paper establish how good an instrument height... MORE

Taxation and Instrumental Variables

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Greg Mankiw links to a new paper that he co-authored with Matthew Weinzierl that says, Should the income tax system include a tax credit for short taxpayers and a tax surcharge for tall ones? This paper shows that the standard... MORE

Becker on Health Insurance

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Nobel Laureate Gary Becker writes, Long-term health insurance with individual plans is uncommon mainly because health insurance companies cannot force customers to make a long-term commitment. If a person has experienced good health, he may seek a cheaper plan with... MORE

The Nonprofit Sector

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Gerard Alexander writes, The Independent Sector, which is basically the industry group for nonprofits, reports that the combined annual expenditures of all the not-for-profit organizations required to file Form 990 with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service had grown to nearly... MORE

House Prices and Transaction Costs

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
The New York Times offers a nifty rent-vs.-buy calculator to go with a David Leonhardt piece on whether or not is a good time to buy a home. Under the "advanced settings," I eliminated the transaction costs from buying a... MORE

Paul Graham on the Distribution of Income

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
From Mind the Gap. Like chess or painting or writing novels, making money is a very specialized skill. But for some reason we treat this skill differently. No one complains when a few people surpass all the rest at playing... MORE

Paul Graham on Many Subjects

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
I'll just pull quotes from several of his essays.... MORE

Paul Graham on Software Patents

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Arnold Kling
A commenter on a previous post mentioned a couple of essays by Paul Graham. He is one of my favorite writers, and it's been too long since I visited his site. Here is an essay on software patents. One thing... MORE

Will Wilkinson on Happiness Research

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
He writes, the complex biochemistry of good and bad feelings suggests that there are many more than two dimensions even to hedonic well-being, and so trade-offs among them are inevitable. The noise, bustle, and danger of a big city are... MORE

Abolish High School?

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Robert Epstein writes, although it’s efficient to cram all apparently essential knowledge into the first two decades of life, the main thing we teach most students with this approach is to hate school. In today’s fast-paced world, education needs to... MORE

Robert Fogel Interview

Growth: Consequences
Arnold Kling
An excerpt: we did not get really good control over the techniques for purifying drinking water until about World War I, but we needed everything that was done up to that point to figure out how to do it. Then... MORE

Jason Furman's Health Care Plan

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Jason Furman writes, What we need is a different approach to encourage cost consciousness in a progressive manner that links the level of cost sharing to income and attempts to use cost sharing to improve systemwide incentives for more effective... MORE

Flynn on the Flynn Effect

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
James R. Flynn writes, there is one way an individual can walk a personal path to enhanced cognitive skills. He or she must internalize the goal of seeking challenging cognitive environments -- seeking intellectual challenges all the way from choosing... MORE

Arlo's Single Payer Plan

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
A commenter on a previous post challenged me to design a single-payer health care system. OK, here goes. We can call this the Arlo health care plan (Arlo is my analogue to Tyrone, Tyler Cowen's evil twin). 1. I am... MORE

Medicare, the U.S., and France

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Jonathan Cohn writes, French universal health insurance works an awful lot like Medicare does in this country. And that's the great irony of how screwy the debate over health care has become in this country. Conservatives always talk about expanding... MORE

Tax-eaters

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Robert E. Rector, Christine Kim and Shanea Watkins write Overall, households headed by persons without a high school diploma (or low-skill households) received an average of $32,138 per household in direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and population-based ser­vices in FY... MORE

Shlaes on the New Deal

Economic History
Arnold Kling
Amity Shlaes spoke last evening at the American Enterprise Institute. Her topic, which is also the topic of her forthcoming book, was Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. In her talk, the New Deal comes across less as an economic revolution and... MORE

The Bourgeoisie and the Clerisy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
In an interview, Freeman Dyson says, In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status.... MORE

Norms and Institutions

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
From p. 402 of The Bourgeois Virtues by Deirdre N. McCloskey: Associate Justice Holmes declared in the Buck v. Bell opinion of 1927 that "it is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for... MORE

What is a Collapse?

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
I'm surprised that Bryan, of all people, would ask. If you're looking for a notion of collapse, try here. A society can get stuck in an "idea trap," where bad ideas lead to bad policy, bad policy leads to bad... MORE

Quote of the Day

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
Western-style neoclassical economics was designed for settings where national institutions are already in place. In most of the world, they are not. The question is not "market vs. government," but how to strengthen the norms and institutions that will... MORE

Will Europe Collapse?

Arnold Kling
Bryan comments here and here about Tyler's theory that Europe has better government than the U.S., and thus can afford a larger welfare state. Bryan says that Tyler is using a straw man by suggesting that market-oriented economists see Europe... MORE

Milton Friedman's Isolation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Robert L. Hetzel writes, it is hard to account for the near-consensus in macroeconomics in the post-war period and also the antagonism that met Friedman’s challenge to that consensus. In order to place his ideas in perspective, this section provides... MORE

Sobering Projection

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Jonathan Skinner writes Fronstin (2006) estimates that a 55-year-old couple in 2006, planning to retire at age 65, would need to accumulate more than $400,000 during the next 10 years in order to afford supplemental health costs, beyond what Medicare... MORE

Pigou Club Gains

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
A sign that the Pigou Club is gaining traction is that the Washington Post has an article called Tax on Carbon Emissions Gains Support that does not mention Greg Mankiw. The article does, however, quote some real, um, knowledge-challenged people... MORE

Vermont and Secession

Revealed Preference
Arnold Kling
Today's Washington Post contains an op-ed by Ian Baldwin and Frank Bryan on Vermonters' desire to secede from the union. We secessionists believe that the 350-year swing of history's pendulum toward large, centralized imperial states is once again reversing itself.... MORE

Helping the Wrong Side

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Iqbal Quadir: The UN should empower the people, not empower their governments. And if they cannot empower the people they can just shut it off. My point is that helping the wrong side is harmful. So if they cannot help... MORE

Leviathan Montgomery

Arnold Kling
A new blog about the county where I live reports, [The County's Chief Executive] proposes a 6.3% increase over the current budget...the county projects an additional 170 personnel work-years over the current year. And, to top it all off, that... MORE

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