Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Arnold Kling: June 2007

An Author Archive by Month (52 entries)

Freeman Dyson on Biotech and the Future

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
He writes, We can imagine that in the future, when we have mastered the art of genetically engineering plants, we may breed new crop plants that have leaves made of silicon, converting sunlight into chemical energy with ten times the... MORE

Health Care Op-Ed

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
I have a piece in the Washington Times. I compare Michael Moore's "Sicko" with my wife's "documentary" of our daughter's college graduation last month. On one side of me at the graduation sat the director/co-star, a breast cancer survivor. On... MORE

P. J. O'Rourke has Competition

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
It comes from 'Mencius Moldbug,' who says the US is just a corporation. It is not a mystic trust consigned to us by the generations. It is not the repository of our hopes and fears, the voice of conscience and... MORE

Low-Trust Society?

Economics of Crime
Arnold Kling
Samuel Bowles and Arjun Jayadev write, We distinguished between those who directly or indirectly produce goods and services that we consume—who Adam Smith called productive labor—and those who we term guard labor: the police, private security guards, military personnel and... MORE

Richard Vedder, Sounding Reasonable

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Richard Vedder writes The more evidence that I see that I believe is creditable and meaningful, the more I am convinced of the following: * Too many students, not too few, are going to college; * College and universities are... MORE

Overconfidence

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
At the conference where I gave my talk that mentioned recipes and ingredients, I met Edgar Capen, co-author of a classic paper that coined the term "winner's curse" for auctions. His main theme is that people under-estimate uncertainty. If someone... MORE

The Ingredients and the Recipes

International Trade
Arnold Kling
Hal Varian describes a study that gives insight into the details of globalization. Even though Chinese workers contribute only about 1 percent of the value of the iPod, the export of a finished iPod to the United States directly contributes... MORE

Why No Electronic Medical Records?

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Ezra Klein writes, To this day, I've never read a compelling explanation of why the nation's doctors and hospitals haven't broadly adopted electronic medical records. Has he not read my explanation, or does he not think it compelling? In case... MORE

Anti-Finance Bias

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Greg Mankiw writes A student who regularly reads and comments on this blog asks me for career advice, from a social point of view: How does someone like Warren Buffett contribute to the economy? It seems investing in old line... MORE

A Political Prediction

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
My latest essay concludes, If politics were football, then I would say that the Clinton and Bush years saw little forward progress for either side. Clinton might have moved the ball toward the progressives' goal line, but only a few... MORE

Out of Your Opening Book

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
Here is a very worthwhile interview with businessman and libertarian benefactor Charles Koch. Q: What do you envision Koch Industries to be in 10 years? Mr. Koch: The future is unknown and unknowable. This is the perspective of a book... MORE

Ezra Klein writes, Michael Cannon and I would build very different systems, to be sure, but at base, we both believe the employer tie to be awful, and the insurers to suck, and the hospitals to be performing below expectations,... MORE

In which Max discovers a tic

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Max Sawicky noticed that I use the phrase "my guess" a lot. A few weeks ago, Julian Sanchez wrote, But it occurs to me that in addition to the phrases at large in the written culture of the society, there... MORE

Greg Mankiw Steps in it Again

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Arnold Kling
The Washington Post reports, Highlighting the challenge a far-flung campaign faces when it comes to message discipline, Romney has had to distance himself from his top economics adviser after Mankiw -- a Princeton-trained economist now teaching at Harvard -- voiced... MORE

Health Care Beliefs and "Sicko"

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
My latest essay says, Illness deprives us of the sense of physical safety. Disease and injury are a throwback to the circumstances in which our physical environment is threatening and overwhelming. Thus, health problems tend to trigger our collectivist instincts.... MORE

Adaptive Efficiency

Cross-country Comparisons
Arnold Kling
Austan Goolsbee writes, Perhaps the greater amount of uncertainty and churn in the world economy in the 1990s is the new norm. Perhaps the 21st century will continually favor those who adjust best to changes. As Professor Van Reenen put... MORE

Thermostats or Muscles?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
If I were to write an intellectual biography of Tyler Cowen, one topic I would cover would be free variables vs. set points. Something is a free variable if we can set it at whatever level we choose. Something has... MORE

Jason Furman on Taxes

Tax Reform
Arnold Kling
Jason Furman sent me an email that I think provides some good background on the economics of taxation. So let me welcome his "guest blog."... MORE

Tyler Cowen Practices Reverse Psychiatry

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
For readers who pre-order his forthcoming Discover Your Inner Economist, Tyler Cowen offers access to a secret blog. I did not go for this inducement, but nonetheless found myself holding an advance copy, sent by the publisher. More thoughts below... MORE

MRV update

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Nick Schulz interviews Bryan Caplan. An excerpt, SCHULZ: William Buckley once said "I would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty." Do you disagree? Why? CAPLAN: I'd definitely rather... MORE

More on the Height of Bravery

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
A commenter on my post on the slowdown in America's height gains refers to Michael R. Eades, who points out that the original research was pretty much self-refuting. It should be real easy to determine whether the above sociological jibberish... MORE

North on Adaptation

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
My second essay on Douglass North is now up. To most economists, the agricultural revolution and the late Industrial Revolution are technological events. That is, the technology "arrived" and spread, leading to social change. Douglass North instead suggests that these... MORE

My Tax System

Tax Reform
Arnold Kling
Jason Furman chides me for not describing my ideal tax system. I once wrote, let me offer the Bleeding-Heart Libertarian approach to income redistribution. Conceptually, it would involve abolishing public education, all forms of free or subsidized health care, and... MORE

Answering Jason Furman

Tax Reform
Arnold Kling
He defends the corporate income tax. All taxes are ultimately paid by people. Just who those people are in the case of corporate taxes is a complicated and controversial question. But in almost any theory, those people are, on average,... MORE

Internet and Ideology

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Russ Roberts writes Seems to me the essence of the web is a decentralized world, a world whether information and power and ideas and solutions don't have to be top-down but are more likely to be bottom-up. It would seem... MORE

The Height of Brave Interpretation

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Paul Krugman gets excited over research by John Komlos and Benjamin E. Lauderdale. They write, Results: US heights have stabilized at mid-century and a perio0d of stagnation set in with the birth cohorts 1955-74, concurrent with continual rapid increases in... MORE

Against Adolescence

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Robert Epstein says, I believe that young people should have more options—the option to work, marry, own property, sign contracts, start businesses, make decisions about health care and abortions, live on their own—every right, privilege, or responsibility an adult has.... MORE

Myth of the Rational...

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Very interesting article by Ron Bailey. researchers polled 1,850 Americans about their attitudes toward nanotechnology. Eighty-one percent of those polled had heard nothing at all (53 percent) or "just a little" (28 percent) about nanotechnology. Nevertheless, after being offered a... MORE

Confucianism vs. Irrational Voters

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Daniel A. Bell writes, The Confucian view is that political leaders should be the most talented and public-spirited members of the community, and the process of choosing such leaders should be meritocratic, meaning that there should be equal opportunity for... MORE

Tyler on Ben

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen praises Ben Casnocha in Tyler's New York Times column. But why has America produced so many successful young entrepreneurs? Ben Casnocha, 19, author of the new book “My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young C.E.O. Learned on His... MORE

Sense and Nonsense on Tax Reform

Tax Reform
Arnold Kling
Jason Furman, Larry Summers, and Jason Bordoff write We believe these principles should command wide assent as policymakers consider tax reforms, whether incremental or far-reaching: 1. Fiscal responsibility requires addressing both taxes and spending. 2. Rising inequality strengthens the case... MORE

Demographics and Income Distribution

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Stephen Rose writes, Demographic changes are the most important factors in explaining where productivity growth went. In essence, the United States used some of its growth dividend in the form of more people living alone. Read the whole paper. The... MORE

A Pigou-Hanson Synthesis for Global Warming

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
Ross McKitrick writes climate models predict that, if greenhouse gases are driving climate change, there will be a unique fingerprint in the form of a strong warming trend in the tropical troposphere, the region of the atmosphere up to 15... MORE

Douglass North at Length

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
From my latest essay. In textbook economics, the only external environmental factors that affect the individual are technology and prices. Social norms, habits, and rules play no role. North shows that institutions are fundamental determinants of poverty and prosperity. This... MORE

Ignoring Cost-Benefit Analysis

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
The Washington Post reports, The practice of estimating the costs and benefits of U.S. government regulations is "frequently done poorly," with scant evidence that it makes a difference on policymaking. That's the dismal finding of a recent report concluding that... MORE

The Crux of Health Care Reform

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Clive Crook writes, Much more needs to be done to push employers out of the health insurance market. Most of the reforms now being touted, by Democrats and Republicans alike, aim to do the opposite. ...You could give everybody a... MORE

Economics of College and Sports

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Skip Sauer writes, I find the current state of sports a bit puzzling. I spoke at a local function yesterday and was asked the question whether pro sports were "pricing themselves out of the market." This was once an old... MORE

Summers to the Dark Side?

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
David Leonhardt's story on Larry Summers makes it sound like Larry has moved to the dark side. Summers says. “And I think now the challenge is, again, to protect a basic market system based on open trade and globalization, to... MORE

Brad DeLong's Health Care Prescription

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
He proposes, 20% Deductible/Out of Pocket Cap: The IRS snarfs 20% of your family economic income. 5% of it is an increase in taxes (but that replaces your and your employer's current health insurance premiums). 15% of it goes straight... MORE

Immigration Quota Management

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Arnold Kling
Russ Roberts writes, There's going to be a point system to determine who gets one of the precious 380,000 visas that are up for grabs. Highly educated people get points. People with skills that are in high demand, whatever that... MORE

From a paper in the American Economic Review May 2007, by Anne Carroll, Hope Corman, Kelly Noonan, and Nancy E. Reichman. A maternal physical health condition that predated pregnancy reduces the likelihood that the child loses insurance by 6 percentage... MORE

The Tug-of-War over Capitalism

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
From my latest essay. Those of us on the pro-capitalist (P) side tend to approve of the price system, because we think it helps send signals. Those on the anti-capitalist (A) side see prices as corrupt. For example, when the... MORE

Marriage and Caste

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Shelley Lundberg and Robert A. Pollak write, The marriage-rate trajectories of the more- and less-educated began to diverge in the mid-1980s. Although college-educated men and women marry later than those with less education, they are now substantially more likely to... MORE

I Get Noticed

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
James Pethokoukis thinks that Rudy Guiliani has fallen under my spell. what Giuliani is doing is far more radical than his folksy debate answer suggests. Essentially, he is calling for the complete abolition of the current way healthcare insurance operates... MORE

Depression Economics

Economic History
Arnold Kling
My latest essay says, most of the ignorance that plagued policymakers during the 1930's was conceptual. They did not understand the difference between lost resources and under-utilized resources. They did not understand the relationship between financial markets and markets for... MORE

All Depression, All the Time

Economic History
Arnold Kling
Russ Roberts interviews Amity Shlaes. From the notes: NRA even ruled out a consumer's picking out best chickens from a batch—just had to take first ones that came to hand. But consumer and business choice are very important. Concept was... MORE

Outstanding Book, Standout Price

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Randall E. Parker's The Economics of the Great Depression costs $125. The contents of the book are outstanding--more on that further on in this post. But the price stands out even more. I believe that one can construct an economic... MORE

Concerns About the Immigration Bill

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Arnold Kling
James Miller writes, Unskilled Immigrants + Large Welfare State = Higher Taxes I would add Congress + Hundreds of Legislative Pages = Unintended Consequences Up the Wazoo I don't know what the consequences of the law will be, but I... MORE

The Great Depression

Economic History
Arnold Kling
From my latest essay. I would have thought that 1929 should have looked pretty good to people living in the depths of the Depression. But one of the many interesting lessons of Amity Shlaes' new history of the Great Depression... MORE

Paul Ormerod

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
More than one reader has asked me about Paul Ormerod. Is he an example of an economist who has been unjustly overlooked by the mainstream?... MORE

Douglass North, On One Foot

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Bryan asks, Ayn Rand famously summarized her philosophy while standing on one foot. Arnold, would you be willing to summarize North's "well-developed and persuasive answer" under the same constraint? Anyone else? Before doing that, I want to mention that the... MORE

Intellectual Arrogance

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Brad DeLong writes, My view is that the neoclassical economics toolkit can be very, very useful--no, stronger than that, is very useful and necessary--for everybody from the center on left. ...By contrast, the neoclassical toolkit can be absolute poison for... MORE

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