Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: March 2008

An Author Archive by Month (38 entries)

You're Never Too Old to Become a Kidult

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
If you think that James Hamilton is just a brilliant quant, think again: He's also a sensitive humanist. Here's a moving tale of his father-in-law's last year:Jack's last year was not an easy one. Everything was becoming increasingly difficult, and... MORE

Jamie-Lynn Spears' Pregnancy: What's the Problem?

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
A lot of folks are outraged that Jamie-Lynn Spears is pregnant. I fail to see the problem. Jamie-Lynn is clearly not going on welfare; her single motherhood will not financially burden any of the people who are complaining. And at... MORE

Modernity and the Gender Gap: It's Counter-Intutive

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
A while back on blogged on the fascinating fact that the religious gender gap is bigger in more advanced societies. In societies where men and women are "socialized" to be the same, they are actually more religiously different. (In case... MORE

The Sub-Utopianism of the Market

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Remember Joel Waldfogel's The Tyranny of the Market? Waldfogel's thesis, as he explains in Slate: "For small groups with preferences outside the norm, the market often fails to deliver." That sounds like bad news for me, because I'm a member... MORE

Jefferson Against Newspapers

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
When I was reading some famous quotes about newspapers, I came across Jefferson's famous line that, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate... MORE

Education and Beliefs About Campaign Finance: An Exception to the Rule

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
More educated people almost always have more sensible beliefs than less educated people. I've said it many times. But this Wednesday at lunch, Erik Snowberg from Stanford pointed out an interesting counter-example: Less educated people have less biased beliefs about... MORE

You Do the Math: Goolsbee on Retirement Investing

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
After I do my taxes, I often start thinking about retirement planning. Here's an old NYT column where Austen Goolsbee gives some sage advice:You probably have not given much thought to political tax risk, however, or perhaps have even heard... MORE

Politicians: How Outraged Should You Be?

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
You all know what Brad DeLong thinks about George Bush. Well, that's what I think about politicians in general. Even so, politicians almost never make me angry. I expect them to be atrocious, and I'm rarely disappointed. When I hear... MORE

Public Opinion as a Political Speed Limit

Political Economy
Bryan Caplan
Suppose someone said: "People drive 5-15 miles over the speed limit. It's obvious, then, that speed limits have no effect on how people drive." It's a pretty silly argument, isn't it? People drive 5-15 miles over the speed limit in... MORE

I'm frankly puzzled by Tyler's latest attack on the signaling model of education. Not only does he merely repeat an argument that I previously answered; but he fails to tell readers about a new and improved version of his argument... MORE

ROTFL

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Sunday's Simpsons re-run was new to me, and I laughed so hard my I couldn't get out the words to explain the joke to my sons:Homer [mockingly]: Ooh, the PATRIOT Act is so terrible! The government might find out what... MORE

Posner on What Teachers Want

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Here's Richard Posner being unusually blunt and insightful even for him:From the standpoint of most teachers, right up to and including the level of teachers of college undergraduates, the ideal student is well behaved, unaggressive, docile, patient, meticulous, and empathetic... MORE

Publishing the Unpublishable Paper: Something to Care About

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
One of Robin Hanson's greatest unpublishable papers has finally been published. "Showing That You Care: The Evolution of Health Altruism" appears in the latest issue of Medical Hypotheses. Here's Robin summarizing the paper and his decade-plus struggle to publish it.... MORE

The "Too Simple to Write a Book About It" Diet

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Yesterday I did a 10-minute interview in my office with self-experimentalist and diet guru Seth Roberts. Today he blogged it:My self-experimentation inspired Bryan Caplan to do his own self-experiment: Could he lose weight by eating less without discomfort? He did... MORE

A Result I Was Happy to Hear

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
I often go to movies alone. Tyler convinced me to try, and I haven't looked back. So naturally I'm delighted to hear that S.C Noah Uhrig has found that "Cinema Is Good for You":Using data from wave 12 of the... MORE

Emerson on Tipping Charity

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Over at the Freakonomics blog, Ian Ayres lists Emerson as a famous opponent of tipping, and offers this quote as evidence:I sometimes succumb and give the dollar, yet it is a wicked dollar which by and by I shall have... MORE

The Root Causes of Divorce: The Usual Suspects

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Reading Tim Harford's "Is Divorce Underrated?" in The Logic of Life got me wondering about the root causes of divorce. I want to create a list of "main" root causes, not partition logical space; at the same time, I want... MORE

Is "Contagion" the Result of Statistical Discrimination?

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
Yes or no: Is financial "contagion" the result of statistical discrimination? I.e., is it just a case where all financial institutions of a given type get judged by the average quality of their type?... MORE

In The Logic of Life, Tim Harford repeats an argument about divorce that I've often heard economists make. One of the challenges that Gary Becker tackled, he explains, is the sharp increase in divorce. Tim goes on:Some commentators have blamed... MORE

The Power of Mistaken Identity

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
In most twin studies, the twins themselves (or their parents) report "twin type" - i.e., whether the twins are identical (monozygotic/MZ) or fraternal (dizygotic/DZ). This is reasonably accurate, but falls far short of DNA testing. Most behavioral genetic studies rely... MORE

How I Would Advertise Nip/Tuck in the AER

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Last time I checked, there weren't any ads for popular DVDs in the American Economic Review. But after watching the first few discs of plastic surgery drama Nip/Tuck, I feel inspired to write a pulpy pitch for economists. Here goes:Watch...... MORE

Birth Order and Safety

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
All the parents of multiple children I know admit that they stress less about - and do less for - the later arrivals: "We went crazy baby-proofing when we had our first baby; but by the time his sister came... MORE

The Outlier Who Would Be President

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Here's a neat piece on the peculiar status of John McCain in Poole and Rosenthal's ambitious empirical analysis of Congress:Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, the two authors of the most widely used estimates of the ideal points of members of... MORE

Sentences that Should Embarrass Any Grad Student

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
The true author of each of these sentences is a noted Nobel prize-winner. Still, if a grad student wrote any of them, he should be embarrassed. I italicize the words that make each sentence blush-worthy, and follow each with a... MORE

Wisdom of Crowds Blog Experiment

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Dan Phiffer, a blogger I met at SXSW, has set up a little "wisdom of crowds" experiment on his blog. Check it out, and see if you can make the crowd a little wiser. :-)... MORE

What Rothbard Missed: Error or Demagoguery?

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Murray Rothbard seems to misunderstand some elementary lessons about monetary economics. He was a brilliant polymath, so it's hard to believe that this was simple ignorance. Perhaps he got locked into these errors early in his career, and never broke... MORE

I just read Murray Rothbard's The Case Against the Fed, and it brought back to mind my youthful exposure to his whole approach to monetary economics. (See here, here, and here for more). My mature view is that there are... MORE

Free Lunch at SXSW?

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
I had a shockingly large turnout for my talk at SXSW Interactive in Austin. But the real surprise came during the book signing. I was seated next to Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, and got a glimpse of... MORE

Why Does Nurture Affect Religion?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I just finished re-reading The Nurture Assumption by Judith Harris. It holds up like few other books do. But perhaps the weakest part is her discussion of counter-examples - Traits where parenting does seem to make a big difference. The... MORE

Gary Gygax, RIP

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons and Dragons and the father of the thousands of role-playing games it spawned, has died. And while I think he made a bundle off of his ideas, he only got a small fraction of the... MORE

Thursday through Sunday, I'll be at the 2008 Public Choice meetings for the first time since I became a dad. Reviewing the schedule, here's what stands out to me:Mitchell, Matt — Justices, Presidents and Nominations: A Public Choice Model of... MORE

Who Will Be Less Bad for Trade?

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Bhagwati says Hillary's worse than Obama:[W]hereas Mr Obama’s economist is Austan Goolsbee, a brilliant Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD at Chicago Business School and a valuable source of free-trade advice over almost a decade, Mrs Clinton’s campaign boasts of no... MORE

Hamilton: Trade-offs, Not Tightropes

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
James Hamilton is one of the few macroeconomists whose short-run forecasts never sound like quackery. His latest analysis is full of insight:Some analysts are saying that Fed Chair Ben Bernanke is walking a tightrope-- if he does not drop interest... MORE

The Civic Duty to Know Your Limits

Political Economy
Bryan Caplan
Selwyn Duke says it short and sweet in "Why Most Voters Shouldn't Vote":Most of us agree that having an educated populace is a prerequisite for a sound democratic republic. We also know that not everyone is well-educated. Thus, it cannot... MORE

There's a Name for What I Am

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
It's "kidult":While many people in their forties have families and responsibilities, an increasing minority still resemble teenagers. Scary, wrinkled, grey-haired teenagers, with some kind of terrifying premature ageing disease, but teenagers nonetheless. It’s enough of a phenomenon to have been... MORE

How People in the Biz Explain the Subprime Crisis to Their Families

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
The world's gone topsy-turvy: Last night my wife read me this graphic novel. It's funny, informative, honest, and rated R. Enjoy.... MORE

Who Says Economics Causes Asperger's?

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Patri son of David son of Milton begins by approvingly quoting Stu:When I have a problem that concerns one of my kids... I could visualize my child standing on the other side of a line, next to "The Problem", with... MORE

Jeremy Horpedahl argues that you can make most public support for bigger government vanish simply by mentioning that more spending means higher taxes. I'd like him to be right. But I'm not convinced. First, overall government spending passes Jeremy's Mueller... MORE

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