Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Arnold Kling: August 2007

An Author Archive by Month (50 entries)

The Kling Plan for Mortgage Forbearance

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
Steven Pearlstein writes, The Pearlstein workout process starts where things should have started in the first place -- with the household income of the borrower. Using standard formulas, figure out how much they can afford to pay each month toward... MORE

DeLong is no Slouch

Economic History
Arnold Kling
I cannot figure out the status of Brad DeLong's The Economic History of the Twentieth Century: Slouching Towards Utopia?. When I go here, it looks like an abandoned project. But just yesterday, Brad wrote, In some ways the world economy... MORE

Uncertainty and Bias

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
Charles Lambdin writes, Groopman’s position, when his various arguments are gathered and assembled, becomes untenable. He admits doctors suffer from innumerable biases that diminish the accuracy of diagnosis, reducing many diagnoses to idiosyncratic responses fueled by mood, whether the patient... MORE

Interview with Gregory Clark

Economic History
Arnold Kling
He says The book challenges the modern orthodoxy of economics - that people are essentially the same everywhere, and with the right set of institutions, growth is inevitable - in three ways. First by showing that there were societies like... MORE

Time to Panic?

Arnold Kling
Lawrence Kudlow writes, There are a number of deflationary factors behind my campaign to get the Fed to permanently inject new cash into the banking system and deal with the dysfunctional commercial paper market — as well as the general... MORE

Freeman Dyson on Global Warming

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
He writes, The warming effect of carbon dioxide is strongest where air is cold and dry, mainly in the arctic rather than in the tropics, mainly in mountainous regions rather than in lowlands, mainly in winter rather than in summer,... MORE

Is Economic Growth Genetic?

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
No, this is not another post on Gregory Clark. Enrico Spolaore and Romain Wacziarg write, We find that measures of genetic distance have a statistically and economically significant effect on differences in income per capita, even when controlling for various... MORE

For Introductory Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
I recommend Robert Frank's lecture and Paul Romer talking about economic growth, as interviewed by Russ Roberts. Frank discusses economic education. He says that studies show that six months after an economics course, students are no better at answering basic... MORE

Fed Attribution Error

Monetary Policy
Arnold Kling
John Tamny writes, Gold, the single best market indicator of a currency's true value, hit a high of $740 in the summer of 2006, and its 12 percent fall since then neatly foretold the troubles borrowers and lenders are experiencing... MORE

Gas Taxes and Foreign Policy

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren write, some observers have argued that if gasoline taxes were increased and other taxes decreased so that overall revenue remained constant, a gasoline tax hike would provide a “double dividend.” That is, it would... MORE

Robin Hanson Video

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
You've heard about him from Tyler, Bryan, and me. Perhaps you've seen his posts at overcoming bias. Now you can see Robin Hanson give a brief talk as a keynote speaker. In the talk, he says that before you attach... MORE

More Futurism

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
The Lifeboat Foundation claims Cryonics is the high-fidelity preservation of the human body, and particularly the brain, after what we would call death, in anticipation of possible future revival. Cryonics is an important transhumanist technology not only because it is... MORE

Cowen, Clark, and Malthus

Economic History
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen writes, Why should we aggregate income comparisons by country (or the whole world) rather than by city? World history looks very different if we do the latter. Aren't most countries relatively recent inventions anyway? More generally, I would... MORE

Turmoil in Financial Markets

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
I offer my perspective. What seems to have happened over the past year is that the hide-and-seek process in the financial intermediation process for mortgage loans to risky borrowers got out of hand. Some institutions wound up with more default... MORE

Back to School Edition

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Charles Murray says college admissions offices should stop using the SAT and instead use the SAT 2's (what we used to call the achievement tests). Getting rid of the SAT will destroy the coaching industry as we know it. ...A... MORE

What Professors Want

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Ben Stein writes, To make friends with your teachers, try the following: • Read your assignments and be ready to discuss them. I can tell you, based on my years of teaching at glorious American University, stupendously beautiful University of... MORE

What I've Been Reading Lately

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I'll excerpt quotes from some of these books below. The Bottom Billion, by Paul Collier. This book has been highly recommended by other bloggers affiliated with George Mason, and I agree. His thesis is that economic development is taking place... MORE

Futurism

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
A new magazine is called The Future of Things. (Note the futuristic ".info" domain space in the web address.) One article is on video eyeglasses. Consumers want a device that is natural looking, discreet, lightweight, and portable. They don’t want... MORE

Weingast on Econtalk

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
I've written much on the work of Barry Weingast and Douglass North. Last week's podcast features Russ Roberts interviewing Weingast. You get a good introduction to the North-Weingast view. On a related note, last week I read The Bottom Billion... MORE

'Audacious Epigone' writes (UPDATE: link fixed), A state's live-in desirability, as defined by CQ Press in the form of a livability index that considers 44 social, cultural, and economic factors, rigorously correlates with that state's estimated average IQ. The correlation... MORE

Mortgages, Securities, and Bailouts

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
Paul Krugman writes, In the past, as Gretchen Morgenson recently pointed out in The Times, the bank that made the loan would often have been willing to offer a workout, modifying the loan’s terms to make it affordable, because what... MORE

Foreword to Bryan's Book

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Jerry Muller, a historian of economic thought, emailed me a paper that begins, While there have been many historical instances of capitalism without liberal, representative democracy, there are no known cases of liberal, representative democracy without capitalism. Some other interesting... MORE

Anarchy, the State, and Utopia

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Dani Rodrik writes, The problem with self-enforcing agreements is that they do not scale up. One of the findings from Elinor Ostrom’s extensive case studies is that self-enforcing arrangements to manage the “commons” work well only when the geographic scope... MORE

Facebook Generation

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
I write, Despite Young Dave's assessment, I think it is possible that Facebook will make the leap from its predominantly young demographic to mainstream, grown-up usage. If it does so, the transition will happen soon and will not take long.... MORE

He's Not an Economist

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
But he plays one at his blog. Dr. Bob offers his diagnosis of the health care system, in 8 parts. From Part 7. one of the latest gimmicks the health care policy wonks have dreamed up, more commonly known as... MORE

Quizzes

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Commenters on a previous post asked for my test of economics. I will have to work on putting one together that maps to the national curriculum. Meanwhile, here are three old self-assessment quizzes from a few years ago: Trade Social... MORE

Economics Education for High School Students

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
The assessment of high school students' knowledge of economics made a big splash in the news recently. See Matthew Yglesias or, for that matter, today's Washington Post. I was more interested in the standards being used than in the results.... MORE

Various Links

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Michael Cannon describes how the self-selection process in politics works against my ideas for reforming health care. “Insulation” is another term for spending Other People’s Money. Politicians are predisposed not to see spending Other People’s Money as a problem, because... MORE

Reality and Health Care Spending

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
David Leonhardt writes, No one really knows whether preventive medicine will save money in the long run, let alone free up the billions of dollars a year needed to help pay for universal health insurance. In fact, studies have shown... MORE

Taxes and the Two-Income Trap

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Todd Zywicki writes, In turns out that for the 1970s family, paying 24% of its income in taxes works out to be $9,288. And for the 2000s family, paying 33% of its income (a higher rate presumably because of progressivity... MORE

Are They All Orphans?

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
I received some pushback on my latest health care essay, in which I argued that many of the people who are uninsured have made a choice and should live with the consequences. A reader pointed out that 9 million of... MORE

The Best Place to Learn Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
According to Tyler Cowen, it's right here. He says (it's an interview with Bloomberg's Tom Keene) that right now blogs are the best place to learn economics. Probably not if your goal is to pass the exam. But it's an... MORE

Universal Coverage? I say Ma-a-a-a-ah

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Notwithstanding what I wrote here, I try to make a case the "universal coverage" is no panacea for health care. I write, I would like to see the abolition of the tax break for company-provided health benefits as well as... MORE

Farewell to Alms Watch

Economic History
Arnold Kling
New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade writes, Historians used to accept changes in people’s behavior as an explanation for economic events, like Max Weber’s thesis linking the rise of capitalism with Protestantism. But most have now swung to the... MORE

Around our Library

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Our Library of Economics and Liberty has a lot of interesting new stuff this week. 1. On Econtalk, Eric Hanushek argues that: --human capital is measured more accurately by performance on standardized tests than by years of schooling --better teachers... MORE

Another Energy Futures Market?

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
Kevin Hassett writes If you want some action in the next few years, you can operate in existing markets. If you want to buy the right to sell your alternative fuel for the equivalent of $70 at any time in... MORE

Climate Models

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
James C. McWilliams writes, For many purposes that are well demonstrated with present practices, AOS models are very useful even without the necessity of carefully determining their precision compared with nature. These models are structurally unstable in various ways that... MORE

Schools of Thought

Economic Philosophy
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen writes, An oversimplified version of my view is that anything good is underprovided at the margin. This follows from a belief in strong network and peer effects, and a belief in the relevance of basic sociology. I think... MORE

Works in Practice, Just Not in Theory?

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
On the topic of anarchy, Peter T. Leeson writes, Pirates created one of the earliest forms of written constitutions they called their “articles, which codified many of the rules that governed their ships, as well as punishments for rule breakers.... MORE

Hide this from Robin Hanson

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
The Economist reports, Geoffrey Miller is a man with a theory that, if true, will change the way people think about themselves. His idea is that the human brain is the anthropoid equivalent of the peacock's tail. In other words,... MORE

Woodheads and Spam

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Arnold Kling
Steve Hsu writes, Both the malware and spam problems are a kind of tax on the overall internet population caused by the least sophisticated users (I won't reference IQ here, but there is certainly a correlation). It's the least sophisticated... MORE

Ken Rogoff and a Health Care Fallacy

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Ken Rogoff raises a very important issue. Many societies view healthcare as a right, not a luxury. When medical expenses constituted only a small percentage of income, as was typically the case 50 years ago, an egalitarian approach to healthcare... MORE

Economic Elitism Thought Experiment

Economics and Culture
Arnold Kling
In this interview for The American, Tyler Cowen speaks of many things. I believe he uses a term like "idea junkie" to describe the type of person who reads books by Gladwell, Levitt, and so on. He talks about the... MORE

Numbers to Ponder

Politics and Economics
Arnold Kling
The latest issue of Reason cites a study by economic consultant Gary Shilling. More than half of all Americans--53 percent--now depend on government for their income. In 1950 the figure was just 28 percent...Shilling totaled up federal, state, and local... MORE

Housing Market Uncertainties

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
From an analysis by J.P. Morgan: We expect that home prices, as measured by the Case-Shiller 10-city composite index, will decline as much as 15-20% from the June 2006 peak before this cycle hits bottom, potentially two or three years... MORE

Tyler on Trusting Experts

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen writes, I tend to trust sources who use their intelligence to point out flaws in their own positions. But is this more than an aesthetic preference on my part? In my view, this is much more than an... MORE

We Need an Anti-Congress

Institutional Economics
Arnold Kling
Iain Murray writes Speaker Pelosi has released the text of the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, Really Good Eggs and Consumer Protection Act (I snuck something else in there - can you tell?). It weighs in at a... MORE

Thoma Takes on Robert J. Samuelson

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Mark Thoma writes, [Columnist Robert J.] Samuelson's continual focus on the budget deficit obscures the real problem. It doesn't matter whether health care is in the public domain or the private domain, the costs will be daunting either way if... MORE

Physician Pay

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Alex Berenson thinks that he has gotten to the crux of America's health care spending problem. the partisan fight over insurers and drug makers is a distraction from a bigger problem: the relatively high salaries paid to American doctors, and... MORE

China-Bashing

International Trade
Arnold Kling
The Washington Post reports, Powerful senators from both sides of the aisle, Schumer among them, are pushing two bills that threaten retaliatory action if China does not budge. For the first time, the idea is gaining broad support. The bills... MORE

Return to top