Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: March 2006

An Author Archive by Month (29 entries)
My undergrads think that a Mason win in basketball will lead to skyrocketing applications. Russ Roberts isn't so sure.... MORE

Suppose you have a secret that the world will hold against you, but it's sure to leak out one day regardless of what you do. What's the best way to come out of the closet? I started thinking about this... MORE

Are Low-Skilled Americans the Master Race?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Suppose you could give American high school dropouts a 1000% raise by exterminating every man, woman, and child in Latin America. Would that be the right thing to do? No? Why not? Your answer, hopefully, is that murder is wrong,... MORE

With Critics of Immigration Like This, Who Needs Advocates?

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
I occasionally quip that I like the whole range of economists from Mises to Krugman. We can squabble amongst ourselves, but it's amazing how much we really agree. Now Krugman is voicing doubts about immigration, but once again, he doesn't... MORE

Putin's Potemkin Dissertation

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Vladimir Putin's supposed to be an economist. Kind of embarassing. But it turns out that he plagiarized his dissertation, so we can justly banish him from the club: According to the Kremlin’s official biography, Putin, 53, obtained a PhD in... MORE

Half Million Rally Against Anti-Foreign Bias

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
It's not often that economic literacy has half a million people march on its behalf. From the AP: LOS ANGELES (AP) - Thousands of immigration advocates marched through downtown Los Angeles in one of the largest demonstrations for any cause... MORE

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Ethics, But Were Afraid to Ask

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
In 1992, I read an essay that changed my life: "Moral Objectivism," by the Wunderkind philosopher Michael Huemer. Even as an undergraduate, Huemer had a gift for making the hardest questions simple: [S]ubjectivism must say (1) that moral judgements are... MORE

Deadweight Loss for Toddlers

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
My boys' latest favorite book is The Tawny, Scrawny Lion. It's not only a great story; it also illustrates the concept of deadweight loss with greater clarity and force than most textbooks: Once there was a tawny, scrawn lion who... MORE

The Misconception of the Twentieth Century

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Even many people with little sympathy for the Soviet Union admire its "heroic" role in World War II. What all too few people realize is that for the first twenty-two months of World War II, the Nazis and the Soviets... MORE

Framing Anti-Foreign Bias

International Trade
Bryan Caplan
Non-economists suffer from anti-foreign bias, a tendency to underestimate the benefits of interacting with foreigners. But how stubborn is this bias? A well-crafted survey by Michael Hiscox has the answers. Everyone in his sample was asked "Do you favor or... MORE

Notably Unnotable: Should Wikipedia Delete Me?

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Wikipeda recently featured a discussion about whether the article about me should be deleted: Caplan is an associate professor, who wrote a few articles, and has a number of opinions. He certainly isn't notable. It seems to me that the... MORE

Has Harris Done It Again?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm a huge fan of Judith Harris' The Nurture Assumption, which powerfully debunks the idea that how your parents raised you has a large effect on how you turned out. Now she's got a new book, No Two Alike, which... MORE

The Verdict on V for Vendetta

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
I had a good time, but V for Vendetta was a disappointment. The heroes weren't anarchists, and the villains weren't really fascists - just jerks. And they cut the best scene from the book: V's dialogue with Madame Justice. (Check... MORE

Making a Virtue Out of Compulsion

Austrian Economics
Bryan Caplan
I recently mentioned that if you're feeling lonely, you should criticize Austrian economics, and you'll never again lack for human contact. Now Walter Block, Christopher Westley, and Alex Padilla have a hilarious 79-page piece of satire which turns Austrians' compulsive... MORE

More Cool Work By Hainmueller and Hiscox

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
In "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration In Europe," Hainmueller and Hiscox confirm what I've been telling economists for years: Low-skilled workers are more opposed to immigration because they are less economically literate, not because they selfishly calculate that immigration... MORE

Well, not quite the world, but in the latest issue of Critical Review I debate Pete Boettke, Pete Leeson, David Gordon, Rodolfo Gonzalez, and Ed Stringham. The subject: My earlier CR article, "Is Socialism Really 'Impossible'?", which argued that the... MORE

Parents Say the Darndest Things

Revealed Preference
Bryan Caplan
Steve Levitt often quips that "People lie, numbers don't." I say that both people and numbers lie some of the time. The tough question is figuring out how much trust you should give people or numbers in any particular case.... MORE

Friedman Extends Hotelling

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
David Friedman re-explains Hotelling's analysis of natural resources, then argues that - due to insecure property rights - Hotelling's rule underestimates how fast prices will rise: Suppose I own underground oil, but I believe there is a substantial chance, say... MORE

Credible Incentives for Your Teenage Bum

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
This month on Econlib, Donald Cox has a great column on economics for parents: Ever since I started the mind-bending journey that is parenthood—my wife and I have a daughter in first grade and a son in preschool—my appreciation for... MORE

Don't Let Tyrone Off So Easily

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Arnold writes: I think that policies like the minimum wage or the laws to force Wal-Mart to pay more in health care benefits are issues where the economic impact is small relative to the emotional activation. People on the left... MORE

Goods, Bads, Marginal Utility, and Happiness Research

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
When psychologists introduce economists to happiness research, they usually emphasize the finding that, once people enjoy a modest First World standard of living, additional income doesn't make them much happier. What surprises me is that more economists haven't responded "As... MORE

Econlog and the Academy

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Apparently Hollywood is reading Econlog. Last September, I praised the underlying economics of Crash. Now it's won Best Picture. I sure didn't see that coming!... MORE

I suspect that Larry Summers would still be president of Harvard if he hadn't shared his thoughts on gender imbalance in the sciences. Patri Friedman now advances the theory that men dominate in the sciences because their priorities are so... MORE

Spencer Lives - and He Teaches at Harvard

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
My Non-Bleeding Heart Libertarian market niche is being eroded by Jeff Miron's new blog. Here's what he has to say about New Orleans: The Katrina disaster occurred mainly because government spent billions constructing these levees in the first place; without... MORE

Curious Brad

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
Brad DeLong seems pleased that I believe in and act upon the equity premium and home bias puzzles. Now he wants to know more: But has he mortgaged his house to the gills and invested the proceeds in international equities?... MORE

Obscure Demand Function Factoid

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Why did so many comic books during the Silver Age features gorillas? (Didn't know that they did? Neither did I!) According to Wikipedia: There are several rumors surrounding the wide use of gorillas in comic books at the time: 1.... MORE

Measuring Skill

International Trade
Bryan Caplan
How can you tell whether a worker is "low-skilled" or "high-skilled"? Most economists' knee-jerk reaction is to see how many years of education the worker has. But a far better measure is simply labor income. If you've got a Ph.D.... MORE

Watch the Horizon

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
Check out Brad DeLong's elegant explanation of the equity premium puzzle. If you look at the 1-year stock vs. bond return spread, it's easy to see why people don't buy more stocks. But if you look at the 20-year stock... MORE

Happiness Research: Get Used to It

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Arnold has curtly dismissed happiness research: Books that are based on research designed to predict behavior belong in the Social Science section. Books that tell you how to be happy belong in the New Age/Self-Help section. If we followed this... MORE

Return to top