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Arnold Kling: February 2006

An Author Archive by Month (33 entries)

Thou Shalt Be Leftist

Economics and Culture
Arnold Kling
Is that the 11th Commandment? My latest essay wonders if Jews have a Moses Complex Not every misfortune that occurs in society is a replay of Pharaoh's enslavement of the Jews. The Exodus narrative can always be tried on, but... MORE

Economics of Free Parking

Regulation and Subsidies
Arnold Kling
Daniel B. Klein writes a review of The High Cost of Free Parking, by Donald Shoup. Shoup shows that the magnitudes are huge. About 87 percent of all trips in the U.S. are made by personal motor vehicles, and parking... MORE

China's Stationary Bandits

Public Choice Theory
Arnold Kling
Minxin Pei writes, The Chinese state remains deeply entrenched in the economy. According to official data for 2003, the state directly accounted for 38 percent of the country’s GDP and employed 85 million people (about one third of the urban... MORE

Economic Nationalism, once more

International Macroeconomics: Exchange Rates, International Debt, etc.
Arnold Kling
Don Boudreaux writes, Now consider a slightly different example in which I live, not in Virginia, but in Maine on the U.S. side of the Canada-U.S. border. My neighbor is a Canadian living in Canada. He mows my lawn; I... MORE

My NPR Debut

Labor Market
Arnold Kling
was pretty uninspired. In the middle of a four-minute segment on the public's fears about jobs, I get about 15 seconds to talk about "make-work bias," which is the term my co-blogger uses for the public's fear about processes that... MORE

Dilbert Learns Oil Econ 101

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
The cartoon is here. Thanks to Lynne Kiesling for the pointer.... MORE

Rename Austrian Economics?

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
Dan Klein says Let me delineate a set of economists, different from but highly inclusive of the Austrian communities. First, consider only those seeing The Distinction between voluntary and coercive as analytically crucial; these economists, inevitably, are wise to the... MORE

Behavioral Science vs. Happiness Research

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Bryan writes, If happiness research can't make behavioral predictions, then behavioral research can't make happiness predictions. Which is as it should be. Books that are based on research designed to predict behavior belong in the Social Science section. Books that... MORE

Economic Nationalism

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
My latest essay: Nationalistic rhetoric about economics is even worse than nationalistic rhetoric about the Olympics. Nationalism about the Olympics is a marketing tool for commercial exploitation, and the harm done is relatively minor. Nationalism about the economy is a... MORE

Measurement Without Measurement

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Bryan writes But Arnold's prediction and the happiness literature are actually compatible. I am not going to be trapped into talking about happiness research as if it makes behavioral predictions. Happiness research cannot make behavioral predictions at all. It consists... MORE

A Happiness Experiment

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
In an issue that's repetitive, pompous, and boring, Forbes touts happiness research. The best tidbit is in this article. Researchers from the University of Illinois and the University of Pennsylvania proclaim with totemic authority that, in a 1985 survey, respondents... MORE

Oil Company Speculators

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
From the Economic Report of the President's energy chapter: Prices on contracts for future deliveries of crude oil (called crude oil futures) indicate that market participants expect oil prices to remain elevated at or near current levels through at least... MORE

Health Care Policy

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
The 2006 Economic Report of the President is available, and the first chapter I turned to was the one on health care. The rising costs of health care are reflected in premiums (employer plus employee share) for employer-provided insurance that... MORE

The European Model

Cross-country Comparisons
Arnold Kling
Fareed Zakaria writes, Talk to top-level scientists and educators about the future of scientific research, and they will rarely even mention Europe. There are areas in which it is world-class, but they are fewer than they once were. In the... MORE

Health Savings Accounts

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Sebastian Mallaby writes, Even if the administration were determined to shelter out-of-pocket payments using health savings accounts, why make them so generous? It proposes both a tax deduction and a tax credit when money goes into the accounts; savings would... MORE

Credentialism Trap Rejoinder

Human Capital: Returns to entrepreneurs, skills, etc.
Arnold Kling
Bryan writes, If Arnold's story is right, there wouldn't really be a trap. Some firms are bound to be run by people who value profits more than pride in their alma mater. These firms will do what Arnold recommends: Hire... MORE

Gresham's Law of Comments

Econlog Administrative Issues
Arnold Kling
I want to remind all commenters to read The Civility Plea. It is remarkable how strong the inverse correlation is between the harshness of one's rhetoric and the value of what one is saying. From now on, I want to... MORE

The Trade Deficit

International Macroeconomics: Exchange Rates, International Debt, etc.
Arnold Kling
Don Boudreaux writes A trade deficit isn't debt. My young son, for example, received for Christmas several Chinese-made toys. These were bought with cash. If the Chinese toymakers invest their newly earned dollars in, say, that factory in Utah, the... MORE

Decline in Cancer Deaths

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
The New York Times reports, The number of cancer deaths in the United States has dropped slightly, the first decline in more than 70 years, the American Cancer Society is reporting today... The decline occurred in 2003, the latest year... MORE

Credentialism Trap?

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Now Bryan writes, It is also important for employees to be conscientious and conformist. And while we can accurately assess someone's intelligence with a short IQ test, it's a lot harder to find out how conscientious and conformist someone is.... MORE

New and Exciting Economics

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen asks what is the most interesting work in the economics profession today? He gives a few answers, one of which is World Bank data on corruption and governance. I would broaden that to political economy and institutional economics... MORE

Galbraith vs. the Internet

Economic History
Arnold Kling
From my latest essay, The death of the entrepreneur was greatly exaggerated. Over the past two decades, the strength of entrepreneurialism has been unmistakable. The economy has been much more dynamic than Galbraith would have predicted. Many of the industrial... MORE

Samwick, Thoma, and Pearlstein on Health Care Policy

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Here are a couple of new pieces on health care policy, with my comments.... MORE

Mmmm... Lunch

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Arnold Kling
A story in the Washington Post says, A Verizon Communications Inc. executive yesterday accused Google Inc. of freeloading for gaining access to people's homes using a network of lines and cables the phone company spent billions of dollars to build.... MORE

Work Hours and Comparative Advantage

Cross-country Comparisons
Arnold Kling
Tim Worstall reports on research that explains the differences between hours worked in the U.S. and Europe. the fact that many German women stay at home to make sauerkraut, while more American women go outside the home to do something... MORE

Abramoff and Rent-Seeking

Public Choice Theory
Arnold Kling
In a long article filled with details, Fred S. McChesney writes Lobbyists are free to petition government on behalf of clients. Indeed, the process is protected by the First Amendment. Accepting money for the exercise of one's First Amendment rights... MORE

Posner on Health Care

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Richard Posner has some very iconoclastic proposals to reduce excessive spending on health care.... MORE

College and Summer Camp

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Bryan writes, I've been defending the signaling model to other economists for 15 years, and always met fierce resistance. Frankly, I think that this resistance mostly stems from a failure of introspection. If you really compare what you learned in... MORE

The Veterans Administration Model

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen and Brad DeLong cite a recent Paul Krugman column that praised VHA health care. I think that it's wonderful that the VHA, which used to be administered poorly, has gotten better. But I am not ready to jump... MORE

More Wood Chip Commentary

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
Robert Zubrin writes Congress could make an enormous step toward American energy independence within a decade or so if it would simply pass a law stating that all new cars sold in the U.S.A. must be flexible-fuel vehicles capable of... MORE

What Does Education Do?

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen speculates Men are born beasts. But education gives you a peer group, a self-image, and some skills as well. Getting an education is like becoming a Marine. Men need to be made into Marines. By choosing many years... MORE

Lust and Greed

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
In this post, Mark Thoma passes along some research findings from brain scans. The pleasure of orgasm, the high from cocaine, the rush of buying Google Inc. at $450 a share --- the same neural network governs all three I... MORE

More than Corn--it's Wood Chips!

Energy, Environment, Resources
Arnold Kling
Forget Oil Econ 101. Steven Pearlstein writes that the President's State of the Union rhetoric about energy independence, cars running on alternative energy and ending our addiction to Mideast Oil -- that could have come straight from the mouth of... MORE

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