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Bryan Caplan: May 2006

An Author Archive by Month (33 entries)

Not Junk? A Question for Arnold

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Arnold writes: The junk-science aspect is to look at correlations and say that they prove what intuition and common sense might wish to be true. I just do not believe that it is possible to use correlation to untangle the... MORE

Naked Guy, RIP

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The famed Naked Guy of Berkeley committed suicide in his jail cell. I was an eyewitness to his protest against clothes when we were both students at UC Berkeley. At the time, I often pointed out that the Naked Guy... MORE

Strong Mind, Strong Body: IQ and Health

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
The ancient Greeks glorified "a strong mind in a strong body." A neat article by Linda Gottfredson, "Intelligence: Is It the Epidemiologists’ Elusive 'Fundamental Cause' of Social Class Inequalities in Health?" (2004. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86(1): 174–199)... MORE

One-Sentence Class Autobio of Tyler Cowen

Income Distribution
Bryan Caplan
It's easy to miss: Mine would involve lots of sports, a mother who brought me to chess tournaments, a father who didn't believe in college, and a grandmother who loved Victor Hugo and Shakespeare.... MORE

Class Autobio of Mark Thoma

Income Distribution
Bryan Caplan
Economist Mark Thoma has posted his class autobiography. My favorite parts: So, growing up I had a chip on my shoulder, probably still do. I was lucky though for two reasons. First, no matter what I did or how much... MORE

Another Reason I Will Never Retire

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
According to a study that "account[s] for biases due to unobserved selection and endogeneity," retirement really is bad for your health. Just as I suspected. (Next I'd like to see a study confirming the obvious fact that retirement leads to... MORE

My Short Class Autobiography

Income Distribution
Bryan Caplan
I grew up in an upper-middle class family in a suburb of Los Angeles. My father earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from UCLA when I was five; my mom went to college part-time at CSUN, and finished her bachelor's... MORE

My Future Class History

Income Distribution
Bryan Caplan
Class Action challenges visitors to write a Class Autobiography: "Write your 'Class Autobiography.' A powerful way to reflect on class is to take an hour and write the story of your upbringing in relation to money and class." I had... MORE

QED.... MORE

Outsource Your Future

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Greg Mankiw once again proves the value of outsourcing by compiling a ton of good career advice. A must-read for grad students!... MORE

How Does Winning the Lottery Affect Ideology?

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Not much. A neat new paper in Political Psychology by Doherty, Gerber, and Green finds that winning the lottery decreases support for the estate tax. But there is only weak evidence that lottery winners favor less redistribution, or are more... MORE

Polygamy: Economics vs. History

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Economic theory says that allowing polygamy makes life better for women. As Tim Harford explains: A lot of the knee-jerk reactions against polygyny are from people who can't add up. In a society with equal numbers of men and women,... MORE

United 93 vs. Sleeper Cell

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
I saw United 93 today on Greg Mankiw's recommendation. It's well worth watching, especially the frenzied conclusion. But if you really want to understand terorrism and terrorists through art, you'll get far more out of Showtime's inspired Sleeper Cell (now... MORE

I Can Drunk Just as Well Think!

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
When I was first teaching Industrial Organization (nearly 10 years ago!), there was a big internet campaign to boycott Borders and Barnes & Noble. "It might superficially seem like consumers are getting more and better choices, but just you wait!"... MORE

Cruise Control

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Tom Cruise got parodied on the season finale of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Why is he the only celebrity who is supposed to have a Ph.D. in a subject to have an opinion about it? I'd like to... MORE

GMU Gratitude

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Here's a paper that reminds me why I should be very grateful to be at George Mason's Econ Department: While in the 1970s it was difficult for less prestigious universities to compete on an equal footing with top institutions, which... MORE

Immigration: Seeing is Understanding

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
Survey USA ran a neat survey about immigration late last year. They asked people in all 50 states: Which of these 2 statements do you agree with more: One: Immigrants take jobs away from Americans. Two: Immigrants do jobs that... MORE

Move Over, Milgram

Income Distribution
Bryan Caplan
In Stanley Milgram's famous Obedience to Authority Study, subjects were led to believe that they were giving another human being electric shocks. Many administered what they believed was a lethal dose, just because a man in a white coat told... MORE

The Mystery of Classism

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
My colleague Don Boudreaux stands accused of being a snob. He said: Service-sector jobs are the most desirable. Until his retirement, my dad had a manufacturing job: he worked as a welder in a shipyard. Like most parents, his dream... MORE

It's all official. My book, entitled The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies, will be published by Princeton University Press in early 2007. I put the final version in the mail today. The winner of the... MORE

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obsfucation

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
I'm a fan of Rick Harbaugh's work (with Nick Feltovich and Ted To) on counter-signaling. The motivating paragraph of "Too Cool for School" still blows me away: Contrary to this standard implication, high types sometimes avoid the signals that should... MORE

What's Wrong With the SEC?

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
Greg Mankiw's not impressed by Jeff Miron's argument for abolishing the SEC. In his response, Miron gets closer to my position, but I still don't think he hits the nail on the head. My view: The essence of SEC regulation... MORE

"Virtually Bone from the Neck Up"

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
Don't miss Arnold's link to Val MacQueen's great essay on the triumph of the Ugandan refugees. I especially liked the opening: His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the... MORE

I just found out that Milton Friedman's great-grandson Tovar Miles Friedman was born pre-maturely last year, but is now doing well. His story brought me from pity to joy in minutes. Now that you know that things work out, you... MORE

My Earliest Encounter with Economic Absurdity

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Looking back on my childhood, I heard a lot of economically absurd statements. But I didn't recognize them as absurd at the time. Teachers and parents said stuff, and I believed them. The first time I encountered economic absurdity and... MORE

Looking for an Honest Job

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
I just watched the excellent Assassination of Richard Nixon. Sam Bicke, the bungling wannabe assassin played by Sean Penn, has a bunch of gripes against the world. But first and foremost, he wants a job where he'll never have to... MORE

Back to Normal

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
I've spent the last five years haranguing my fellow economists to abandon their faith in the self-interested voter hypothesis. One reply has been that modern U.S. politics is an outlier: People today may care more about gay marriage than income... MORE

Is the Fundamental Attribution Error Fundamental or Even An Error?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Greg Mankiw's learning psych from Steven Pinker, and I'm green with envy. If I could trade places with Mankiw, I'm sure I'd learn a lot - but at the same time, I could get a lot of objections off my... MORE

Differential Anti-Market Bias

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Of course Arnold's right that outrage over rising gas prices reflects anti-market bias. But in my defense, I was trying to explain why people are especially freaked out by rising gas prices. Why do people seem angrier about losing .8%... MORE

Gas: What's the Big Deal?

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
Jane Galt tries to explain why people freak out about gas prices. My thoughts: 1) Most Americans buy gas at least once a week 2) They buy a lot of it 3) They buy it by itself--if the price of... MORE

Prof. Steve Miller

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
My student, research assistant, and co-author Steve Miller defended his dissertation today. He's doing some very creative work on IQ, education, and political economy, including: a neat critique of Thomas Dee's well-known article on the civic returns of education, and... MORE

Public Choice Outreach

Public Choice Theory
Bryan Caplan
The deadline for George Mason University's famous Public Choice Outreach Seminar, July 6-9, has been extended to May 19. Attendees get $250 toward travel expenses, room and board, and the chance to listen to many of the leading scholars in... MORE

May Day Mourning

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
This May Day, the able bloggers of Catallarchy have once again assembled a great line-up of short essays on the dark history of Communism. Highlights include a moving vignette by Polish deportee Romuald Lipinsky on his time in Siberia; Clara... MORE

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