Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: June 2005

An Author Archive by Month (19 entries)

The Economics of Woody Allen

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Many people feel that death makes life meaningless. The religious use this to sell the afterlife, and the irreligious use it to rationalize depression. Woody Allen can hardly get his mind of the subject: Life is full of misery, loneliness,... MORE

Tabarrok and Caplan at WSJ.com

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Today I had a debate (well, more of an amiable public dialogue) with Alex Tabarrok at the Wall Street Journal's Econoblog. The topic: Non-Levitt freakonomics. Check it out here.... MORE

Acting "As If" Hanson's Right

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Last week I went to the doctor for an ear infection. Did I die from the hypocrisy? No, I knew from childhood experience that ear infections are one of the few things doctors can easily cure. Of course, my first... MORE

Housing Bubbles? A Fact and a Thought

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
James Hamilton's got my attention on housing bubbles. One of his many interesting observations is that population growth may explain a lot of the variation in real estate appreciation: It's noteworthy that over the last 5 years, the three states... MORE

Fiscal Policy: Flipping the Presumption

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Since the 1970's, one of the main controversies in macroeconomics has been whether nominal variables affect real variables. A classic example: Does the inflation rate (a nominal variable) affect employment (a real variable)? The answer that emerged from this debate... MORE

Graduate students would do well to heed Tyler Cowen's career advice. His council definitely helped me during my early years as an assistant professor. You could even call me his protege. But then and now I think his advice tends... MORE

Calling Dr. Econ

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
A doctor weighs in at Catallarchy on my debate with Arnold. He's got some good questions for us at the end, which I hope to answer during the course of the week.... MORE

Fun Time: An Exercise in Transaction Cost Economics

Institutional Economics
Bryan Caplan
In case you haven't guessed, I'm not a practical person. I'm more interested in Why than How. I lack what Robin Hanson calls the "engineer's mentality" - the urge to construct a concrete product of use to other people. Once... MORE

Healthy Debate

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Arnold makes me want to be a little more careful about my position on health care. By way of background, I'll admit that I get most of this from Robin Hanson. But I was so incredulous when I first started... MORE

From 0 to 50 Trillion in Two Weeks

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Two weeks ago I pointed readers toward evidence that the value of health care is small. Now Arnold cites Murphy and Topel claiming that the present value of a cure for cancer is $50 trillion. What gives? Here's what my... MORE

So Crowded No One Will Go?

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
This Friday, June 17, the Mercatus Center will be hosting French libertarian sensation Sabine Herold. The time: 12:00. The place: Mercatus Board Room, 4th Floor. Sabine's the talk of D.C., so my guess is that this will be a rare... MORE

Pseudo-Fads: A Puzzle

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
When people suddenly start changing their behavior in the same direction, economists presume that prices have changed. If we see that people are driving bigger cars, our knee-jerk guess is that the price of gas has fallen. But there is... MORE

I'm not convinced that mild deflation is anything to worry about. It didn't seem to hold back the U.S. economy during the post Civil War, pre-Fed era. But suppose you were worried about it. What could be done to reverse... MORE

Ludwig von Bernanke

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Where did Ludwig von Mises say the following? [T]he U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press... that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S.... MORE

[Warning: Sith spoilers!] Whenever I meet a promising new graduate student, it isn't long before I mention the practical importance of backwards induction. (For a short definition, see here; for a longer treatment, check this out). "What's your career goal?"... MORE

Give Me Your Tired, Your Young...

Fiscal Policy
Bryan Caplan
Americans have severe misconceptions about what the welfare state does. They believe that it cares for the poor. But in fact, it primarily cares for the old. I shared this misconception before I studied economics. My undergraduates have it before... MORE

Krugman's Got a Point, But I've Got a Better One

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Arnold Kling remarks: All I can think of is the public digesting Paul Krugman's argument that we spend more money on health care than countries with socialized medicine, we have the same longevity as those countries, therefore socialized medicine is... MORE

Yes Donald, Beliefs About Economics Do Affect Policy Preferences

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The last issue of Econ Journal Watch featured my critique of Donald Wittman, followed by his reply to my critique. (For more, see here). I think the most bizarre part of Wittman's reply is his claim that it doesn't matter... MORE

Stat Fight

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Arnold Kling takes issue with the "Deadly Chicago Econometrics" underpining a couple of my favorite empirical literatures. I'm from Princeton, not Chicago, but I think Arnold's mostly off the mark. Charge #1: A fundamental fallacy in classical statistics is to... MORE

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