Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: September 2007

An Author Archive by Month (30 entries)

What I Learned About Journalists This Summer

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Arnold's very down on journalists:When you get an answer that works with five-year-olds, you can move on to try and explain it to journalists. For journalists, the market only exists to cause problems (it's like Matt Ridley's complaint that the... MORE

When I teach undergraduate labor, I lecture on "Why the Standard Story of Labor Is Wrong." Here's the standard story, according to me:1. In the days before the minimum wage, unions, etc., life was terrible for workers because employers paid... MORE

Reply to Clark

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Clark and I are moving toward agreement on the implications of the Malthusian model, but I'm still not satisfied. He writes:Caplan replaces my figure 2.1 with one where disease and harvest failures cause the technology schedule to move down but... MORE

Clark Replies

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Gregory Clark emailed me the following reply to my criticism and asked me to post it to the blog. I'm happy to oblige. Everything that follows is Clark, not me. Clark right on Malthus! Bryan Caplan raises some interesting points... MORE

Arnold on Clark

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
I think Arnold is mis-stating not only Malthus, but even Clark. Maybe it's just semantic, but I don't think so. Here's Arnold:A bad year for grass (the bad harvest scenario) starves a lot of the herd, which is bad. But... MORE

In the Malthusian economy before 1800 economic policy was turned on its head: vice now was virtue then, and virtue vice. Those scourges of failed modern states - war, violence, disorder, harvest failures, collapsed public infrastructures, bad sanitation - were... MORE

The Flight from Intelligence, or That Which Must Not Be Named

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
This cracked me up:SAT scores have been interpreted in a number of different ways, both by the test's designers themselves (Educational Testing Service) and by college administrators, high school counselors, the popular press, and researchers in fields such as education... MORE

A Farewell to Alms: Overview of My Critique

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
I've finally finished Gregory Clark's A Farewell to Alms. Like everyone else, I agree that it's well-written and addresses important topics. And I think lunch with Clark would be fun. But frankly, I can't find much else good to say... MORE

Happiness Research at a High School Reunion

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I've never been to a reunion, and don't plan to start. Compared to my present, my past is very depressing. But perhaps I'm just not as resourceful as Michael Blowhard, who has a long post of pithy observations on the... MORE

Your PC Experience

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Two last questions on political correctness: 1. What's the worst PC experience you've ever personally had? 2. What's the worst PC experience anyone you personally know has ever had? My answers: 1. My worst experience: Hearing second-hand that a student... MORE

PC and Availability Bias

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
I agree with Arnold that Harvard did Larry Summers wrong. In fact, whenever I hear an anecdote about PC run amok, I normally take the side of the whoever gave offense. Nevertheless, I still think the PC threat to higher... MORE

Is P.C. Persecution Overblown?

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
I just got an invitation to see Indoctrinate U, a documentary on the tyranny of political correctness in higher education. The trailer left me with a furrowed brow. Why? Because in all honesty, I've never been the target of p.c.... MORE

Does the Public Suffer from Anti-Government Bias?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
One of Donald Wittman's most intriguing claims during last week's debate is that the public suffers not just from an anti-market bias (as I claim), but from an anti-government bias as well. His main argument, if I recall correctly, is... MORE

The Wittman-Caplan Debate

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
If you attended my debate with Donald Wittman, or wish you could have, here are some additional links, including the full text of my opening statement. I continue to be surprised by how much Wittman has moved away from the... MORE

Thoughts on September 13

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Terrorism has been an infinitesimal risk so far, but on September 11, Arnold told us that he's worried nonetheless:I understand that if you look at history, the probability of being killed by a terrorist is low. But if you had... MORE

What American Poverty Debates Look Like to Haitians

Income Distribution
Bryan Caplan
This story from The Onion gets funnier once you realize that - by world standards - the "American poor" are rich. P.S. Here's more economic insight from America's finest news source. HT: Mankiw.... MORE

Doctors as Oracles

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
From Robin Hanson:Heroic medicine is just too central to our culture, a culture where economists like me have far less authority than doctors. From Rudi Giuliani: Ultimately, a woman should make that [decision whether to get an abortion] with her... MORE

How Contrarian is the Hansonian View of Medicine?

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
To be honest, when Robin Hanson first told me his views on health care, I thought he was a lone nut. A brilliant lone nut, but a lone nut nonetheless. Still, my conversations with Robin inspired me to grill every... MORE

Bait-and-Switch: The Myth and the Reformulation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Mark Smith's The Right Talk: How Conservatives Transformed the Great Society into the Economic Society is full of insight. He crushes the myth of Republican "bait-and-switch" - the idea that Republicans focus on the culture wars during elections to mask... MORE

Should Steven White Brand Himself a "Right-Wing Ideologue"?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
One of the main reasons Steven White wrote me up as a "right-wing ideologue" is that my work highlights the irrationality of the electorate. But now he's doing it too - and singling out Democrats in the process. Here's White... MORE

Talk About Perverse Incentives

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
I hope I'm misunderstanding Ed Glaeser, but I don't think I am:Since the rich should not be subsidized, the transfer payments should be means tested and limited to families earning less than $75,000 per year. There should also be income... MORE

Morality is No Smokescreen

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Only a handful of people (and I'm not one of them) will be able to comprehend Steve Landsburg's "The Methodology of Normative Economics," but the conclusion is both profound and accessible. Highlight:What evidence is there that people care about the... MORE

Guilty as Charged

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I've long enjoyed negative-but-fair reviews of my work, but this negative-but-fair review of me personally is even better:This George Mason economist favors free market biases over legitimate democracy, and has more ears in Washington than you might think.Given the number... MORE

Judge This Magazine By Its Cover

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I wrote the cover story for the latest issue of Reason. And once again, I've been blessed with a fantastic cover artist. Here it is: Pay close attention to the t-shirts. Left-to-right: anti-market bias, anti-foreign bias, make-work bias, and pessimistic... MORE

Learn Social Science at the Grocery Checkout

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Another Baumeister gem:One test of what’s meaningfully real is the marketplace. It’s hard to find anybody making money out of gender differences in abilities. But in motivation, there are plenty. Look at the magazine industry: men’s magazines cover different stuff... MORE

Understanding Gender

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
If you read nothing else about gender this year, read "Is There Anything Good About Men?" by Roy Baumeister. It's wonderful from beginning to end. Highlights:When I say I am researching how culture exploits men, the first reaction is usually... MORE

Public Opinion About the Future of Science: A Glimmer of Hope

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
A fun survey, with funny results:[R]espondents were asked in a 1998 Newsweek poll: “In the next century, which one of the following current scientific beliefs do you think is most likely to be proved wrong, the theory of evolution, that... MORE

Last week, I posed the question "Why don't Hispanics beg in America?" - and inspired this poignant essay by Venezuelan writer Ibsen Martinez:The emigrant is not only fleeing poverty. By deciding to leave his country he is fending off faulty... MORE

How Much Cash Is In Your Wallet? Why?

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
At a recent GMU lunch, two economists sparred over the optimal quantity of cash to keep in one's wallet. Economist A holds very little cash, on the grounds that you can pay for virtually everything with credit cards. Economist B... MORE

An Answer For Arnold

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Arnold asks:OK, so Bryan's latest book is on stupid voters. One solution is to educate them. But his next to-be-written book, on education, says that education is merely a signal of ability. The data on GRE scores arguably validates that.... MORE

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