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Bryan Caplan: December 2011

An Author Archive by Month (26 entries)

"Wages Must Fall!": Matt Yglesias Edition

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
With this, Matt Yglesias instantly enters my sadly short list of good Keynesians:The depressing truth is that the easiest way to bring good, high-paying manufacturing jobs back to America is to make them less good and less well-paying...More goodness:[T]he reality... MORE

The Hack

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Arnold makes an intriguing remark about education:If college were truly a utilitarian good, all it would take to turn these edifice-complex campuses into ghost towns is a good hack for the accreditation process. But he's skeptical because:[A]t the high levels,... MORE

Most People Are Consequentialist???

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Robin blogs a new piece based on a survey of Swedes.  Its conclusion: most people are consequentialist.  I don't buy this for a second.  Consider the response options:How bad an action is, from an ethical point of view, depends primarily... MORE

Psychiatry's Disorders

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Wired has a nice piece on the psychiatric in-fighting behind the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  Highlights:1. The arbitrariness of psychiatric diagnoses:The authority of any doctor depends on their ability to name a patient's suffering. For patients... MORE

From the Handbook of the Sociology of Education

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
[A]lthough employment tests are often biased against minorities (National Research Council, 1989), employers who use them are more likely to hire minorities than employers who lack such tests (Neckerman & Kirschenman, 1991).  Testing may be biased, but the alternatives to... MORE

The Mind of Robin Hanson: The Inside Story

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
People occasionally accuse my colleague Robin Hanson of extreme dogmatism.  But they don't know him like I do.  When I first met Robin Hanson, he earnestly believed that voters were rational and selfish.  He rejected any model that violated these... MORE

How to Fix Group Projects

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
When I was a student, I always hated group projects.  As a professor, I never assign them.  The source of my antipathy: Group projects provide terrible incentives.  Since everyone gets the same grade, the lazy and incompetent free ride off... MORE

Here's the most fascinating exhibit from the Holocaust Museum's "State of Deception" exhibit:(full-size version) The top and bottom read: "Hate and annihilation to our enemies.  Freedom, justice, and bread to our people."  But it's the four heads of the dragon... MORE

Patria, Parenti, Amici

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Patria, parenti, amici, Voi dunque non avete? Country, family, friends, Possess you none of them? -Giuseppe Verdi, RigolettoI'm a staunch opponent of nationalism.  But I'm also a family man.  Isn't there a direct contradiction between the two?  If I... MORE

Proving You're Qualified: Charles Hayes Replies

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Charles Hayes, author of Proving You're Qualified, has graciously responded to my criticism of his book in three separate emails.  Email #1:Prof. Caplan,Thanks, but I think you oversimplify a bit. I just retired from the oilfield after 35 years as... MORE

Proving You're Qualified; or Not

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
I was excited when Proving You're Qualified: Strategies for Competent People Without College Degrees showed up on my desk.  Unfortunately, the book fell far short of my high hopes.  You have to read over half the book before the author,... MORE

Reply to Yoram

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
As promised, here's my reply to Yoram Bauman's guest post.  Yoram's in quotes, I'm not:1) What did you think of the page on public choice (p82)? Buchanan got his own Nobel Prize joke, and I thought that was pretty good!One... MORE

Guest Post by Yoram Bauman

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Yoram Bauman, author of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, asks some questions in the comments.  Consider the following his guest post.  I'll respond soon. On second thought, I miss arguing with you, Bryan, so I'll pick some bones: 1) What... MORE

Cartoon Macro

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Volume 2: Macroeconomics of Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman's Cartoon Introduction to Economics ships this week - a great last-minute stocking stuffer.  Volume 1 was good (see here and here); volume 2 is better.  Chapter 2 ("Unemployment") does a swell... MORE

"Wages Must Fall!": What All Good Keynesians Should Say

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
When Keynesians want to gloat, they often point to the overwhelming empirical evidence in favor of nominal wage rigidity.  For the latest example, see Krugman on the Irish labor market.  Their unemployment is 14.5%, but the nominal wage index has... MORE

Suicide and Sincerity

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I just shared the sublime Downfall with my older sons.  It's the German-language movie of the last days of Nazi Germany.  (You probably already to know it from the countless Youtube parodies of Hitler screaming at his generals with funny... MORE

The "Virtue" of Low Academic Standards

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Further critique of Goldin-Katz in David Labaree's Someone Has to Fail:Early in the book, the authors [Goldin and Katz] identify what they consider to be the primary "virtues" of the American education system... "public provision by small, fiscally independent districts;... MORE

The Julian Simon Club

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Art Carden, who is also expecting another child, is inviting economists to join his new Julian Simon Club:Simon's research shows that fears and worries about "overpopulation" are senseless. Further, expressions of those fears and worries in comments like "it is... MORE

Advantage, Sociology: Gender and the Return to Education

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
When economists estimate the return to education, they usually limit their sample to workers - or even full-time workers.  This is a serious error.  If you were evaluating the return on business loans, you wouldn't limit your sample to firms... MORE

"Socialists Won Over By War"

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
On June 6, 1915, the New York Times ran a fascinating story on the socialist response to World War I.  A few highlights:Karl Kautsky, editor of Die Neue Zeit, and probably the most influential Socialist in Germany today, attempts to... MORE

A Cursory Rejection of Anti-Natalism

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Critics of my kids book occasionally argue that creating new life is, all else equal, morally questionable or objectionable, a position known to philosophers as anti-natalism.  The most extreme proponent of anti-natalism is probably David Benatar, author of Better Never... MORE

Voter Irrationality in Animal Farm

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I recently talked my sons into reading Orwell's Animal Farm as their bedtime story.  [Warning: spoilers.]  They loved it - my asides on the Soviet allegory included.  Most of the book shows how the pigs twist the egalitarian animal revolution... MORE

My Fourth Statement

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
When I was promoting Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, one of the most common questions I heard was, "Are you going to have any more?"  I always avoided a definite answer.  But now I'm pleased to announce that my... MORE

Seth Roberts on Education and Evaluation

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Seth Roberts has an interesting response to "The Magic of Education" - that I don't go far enough:Professors are terrible at evaluation. Their method of judging student work is very simple: How close is it to what I would have... MORE

Hail IJ: Bone Marrow Sales Are Now Legal

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Back in June Robert McNamara of the Institute for Justice told me about their battle to legalize bone marrow sales.  Just six months later, it looks like they've won.  Despite the text of NOTA (the National Organ Transplant Act), the... MORE

Tabarrok's Roadmap Out of the Slight Stagnation

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Alex Tabarrok's gem of an e-book, Launching the Innovation Renaissance, releases today.  It's a TED book, but don't mistake it for a mere transcription of a TED talk.  It's an original and powerful work of popular scholarship that aims to... MORE

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