Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: September 2006

An Author Archive by Month (28 entries)

The Fundamentalist Stereotype: A Vindication

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Yesterday my colleague Larry Iannaccone, the world's leading expert on the Economics of Religion, gave a provocative lecture on Christian fundamentalism. His thesis: Almost all the stereotypes about this group are false. Now I'm one of those people who believes... MORE

The Virtual Handshake

Public Goods
Bryan Caplan
I've been sick for almost three weeks now, and it's not fun. I make an effort not to infect the people around me, but unfortunately conventional etiquette gets in the way. You're supposed to shake people's hands, right? My proposed... MORE

A Quote that Should Have Been in My Book

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Niclas Berggren of Sweden's Ratio Institute emailed me a quote that would have been fantastic for my book: When there are rational grounds for an opinion, people are content to set them forth and wait for them to operate. In... MORE

Pessimistic Bias: Economists Suffer Too

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
I've been carping on the public's pessimistic bias for quite a while. Now Robert Fogel persuasively argues that even economists suffer from it: At the close of World War II, there were wide-ranging debates about the future of economic developments.... MORE

Policing Economic Illiteracy

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Jane Galt is going Dirty Harry on economic illiteracy on t.v. It's good to have another honest cop on the streets.... MORE

Policy Beliefs and Policy Preferences: The Case of Guns

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Donald Wittman says that it doesn't matter if people have systematically biased beliefs about policy. Why not? Because even if you fixed their misconceptions, their policy preferences would remain unchanged. In an earlier post, I showed that he's wrong for... MORE

Free Education Valued at Cost

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Mankiw notes that Yale is offering some free education over the web, and wonders whether this is "the beginning of a big change in the industrial organization of higher education?" I say: No Way. Lots of people want an Ivy... MORE

The Euphoria-Disillusion Cycle

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Here's another neat passage from Miller, White, and Heywood's Values and Political Change in Postcommunist Europe: We might expect that public opinion would celebrate the end of dictatorship and the transfer of power to the people. But the normal trajectory... MORE

The Birth Order Illusion

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Once one of my wife's law professors polled her class on birth order. "How many of you are first-borns?" Two-thirds of the students raised their hands. Clear evidence that first-borns are achievers, right? Hardly. An alternative hypothesis is that law... MORE

I'm a critic of Austrian economics. I've published general critiques (see here, here, and here), and questioned their positions on economic calculation and the impossibility of socialism (see here and here). Today I just submitted a new piece to the... MORE

A Black Gamer Speaks

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Over at the Hero System discussion boards, there's been a long-running thread asking whether "people of color play role-playing games?" One vignette from a black gamer really struck me, and it's full of grist for the social science mill: IMHO,... MORE

Think Before You Sign

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Alex Tabarrok berates economists who signed a petition in favor of raising the minimum wage. He's willing to forgive them for disagreeing about the magnitude of the disemployment effect, but not for failing to check facts from the almanac: Nevertheless,... MORE

Peak Load Pricing at the Movies

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Whenever I'm stuck in a line, I grumble about the need for peak load pricing. Raise the price during popular times, cut the price during off-times, and watch the world's blood pressure fall. At the same time, however, I understand... MORE

They Called Me Mad: "The Economics of Szasz" Gets Published

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
People thought I was crazy to to write - let alone try to publish - "The Economics of Szasz." This analysis of the economics of mental illness has got to be the least-publishable article I ever wrote. And now it's... MORE

Belief in Communism

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
I've discovered a gem of a book on public opinion in the former Soviet bloc: Values and Political Change in Postcommunist Europe by William Miller, Stephen White, and Paul Heywood. In the mid-late '90's, they surveyed people in Russia, Ukraine,... MORE

Classic Catallarchy

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
In blogging as in most things, I prefer the timeless to the transient. I read history books, not newspapers. And if a blog entry won't be interesting in a month or a year, I'd rather not write it. In this... MORE

GMU Economists for Tolstoy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Don Boudreaux loves Tolstoy too. If only GDP were proportional to literary talent, the Russians would be the richest people on earth.... MORE

I Bargained with a Dentist

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Today I successfully bargained down my dentist. In the end, I got 20% off the price of a service I really didn't want in the first place. (Why was I there in the first place? The service I didn't want... MORE

Demographics of the Oligarchs

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
You've heard about the Russian "oligarchs," right? They're the richest men in Russia. The insinuation is almost invariably that they owe their riches not to entrepreneurial ability, but to political connections. It's not "what you know," but "who you know,"... MORE

Silent Signals

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
I didn't know logicians had a name for it, but they do: it's called the Argument from Silence. The argument from silence (also called argumentum a silentio in Latin) is that the silence of a speaker or writer about X... MORE

Unstrategic Alliances

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Laugh if you must, but I've always enjoyed the Journal of Libertarian Studies. Last week, I came across another great read in a recent issue: John Payne's "Rothbard's Time on the Left." It's a fascinating account of Rothbard's "strategic alliance"... MORE

Spotted in a Fairfax Parking Lot

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
A caricature of hypocrisy: Overweight, middle-aged man in a Che Guevara t-shirt, talking on a cell-phone in his illegally-parked BMW.... MORE

The Other Reason Big Business Supports Federal Regulation

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
Contrary to popular belief, Big Business often supports federal regulation. Economists' standard explanation: Regulation either directly restricts competition, or indirectly imposes a greater burden on smaller businesses. But there is another important reason why Big Business supports federal regulation that... MORE

The Joy of the Switch

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
My website has had non-stop problems for the last month. Now, at last, it's fully operational. I've lamented my evil web hosting company - name withheld to protect the guilty - for years. I've often dreamed of taking my business... MORE

The Marginal Myth

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
One of economists' favorite things to say is: "Economics only makes predictions at the margin. We can't tell you how much people will buy, only that they'll buy less when the price goes up." Sometimes this is true. But there... MORE

An Evolutionary Model of Depression

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Depressed people - what is their problem? Edward Hagen of Humboldt University has a fascinating answer: Getting depressed is a good way to get the people around you to give you more for less. Feel underappreciated? Then mope around non-stop,... MORE

Freeze - Statistics Police!

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Heard of the study that finds that beautiful women have more girls and intelligent men have more boys? Andrew Gelman finds that at least the first finding is suspect on multiple levels. You get a statistically significant effect if you... MORE

Beyond Irrational: The Hinckley Effect

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The most intriguing part of Steve Slivinski's Buck Wild is his section on the "Hinckley Effect." I've known about failed assassin John Hinckley since 4th grade. But it's only now that I've learned about the policy effects of his gambit... MORE

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