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Bryan Caplan: December 2012

An Author Archive by Month (25 entries)

Hail Bob Murphy

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
My inflation bet with Bob Murphy, unlike David's, doesn't mature until January 1, 2016.  David as usual is a model of gentlemanly conduct, but other observers are cackling with glee at Bob's defeat.  This is frankly deplorable.  Bob deserves far... MORE

Where Tiebout Goes Wrong

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
The Tiebout model implies that local governments will be redistribution-free and waste-free.  If you find these predictions absurd - and you should - local governments must violate one or more assumptions of the Tiebout model.  What are the key violations?1.... MORE

A Question of War and Peace: Some Answers

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Before Christmas, I asked EconLog readers for responses to the following test question:"There are multitudes with an interest in peace, but they have no lobby to match those of the 'special interests' that may on occasion have an interest in... MORE

How Would We Really Treat Mutants?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
In the X-men comics, t.v. series, and movies, normal humans instinctively treat super-powered mutants with fear and disgust.  The popular mutant policy options are: (a) register them as deadly weapons, (b) preemptively imprison them, or (c) kill them one and... MORE

A Question of Educational Discrimination: Some Answers

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Last week I posted the following final exam question:Some sociologists have argued that discrimination on the basis of educational credentials should be illegal.  What do the human capital and signaling models of education predict about the effect of such a... MORE

While I was vacationing in Orlando, the Economist ran an exuberant article on online education.  Most of the piece is too vague to be wrong, but this passage calls for a bet: Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor and... MORE

A Question of War and Peace

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 My favorite question from my latest Public Choice final exam:"There are multitudes with an interest in peace, but they have no lobby to match those of the 'special interests' that may on occasion have an interest... MORE

A Question of Educational Discrimination

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
My favorite question from my latest Labor Economics final exam: Some sociologists have argued that discrimination on the basis of educational credentials should be illegal.  What do the human capital and signaling models of education predict about the effect of... MORE

The Case Against Education on Who You Know

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
The noble Vipul Naik has been prodding me to address the social networking benefits of education.  Here's my first take on the subject from the current draft of The Case Against Education.Who You KnowAbout half of all workers used contacts... MORE

Independence and Growth

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Garett interestingly builds on Lucas' fact that "with the exception of Hong Kong, no massive economic modernization has ever happened in a colony."  Still, I'm unimpressed on multiple levels.1. How about Macao?  If you count so-called "settler societies," then you... MORE

Pre-Assimilation

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
An especially clever argument by Nathan Smith:[G]lobalization has half-Americanized half the world already. 19th-century immigrants may have been racially more similar to America's white native majority, but they were less familiar with democracy, with the English language, with America via movies... MORE

The Case Against Education: The Project Evolves

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
In the last Table of Contents for The Case Against Education, chapter two is "Useless Studies with Big Payoffs: The Puzzle Is Real."  After writing this chapter for three months, I realized I had to split the discussion.  Now there... MORE

Tyler Cowen often calls Alex Tabarrok the best truth-tracker in Carow Hall.  With good reason.  When I ask Alex questions, he's consistently careful, direct, and accurate.  When I investigate his assertions, they check out.  I trust Alex - even when... MORE

Absurdities of the Tiebout Model

Public Choice Theory
Bryan Caplan
Economists across the political spectrum embrace the realism of the Tiebout model.  The model's intuition: At the level of local government, there are many consumers (i.e. residents and businesses), many suppliers (i.e. localities), and low switching costs - all the... MORE

After I finished my last post, parenting life lessons kept coming to mind.  Ten more:1. You cannot be a bad spouse and a good parent.2. Do not let your kids ignore you.  If your words call for a response, immediately... MORE

My eldest sons just turned ten, which means I've been a father for ten years.  Ergo, it's time to inventory the top things I've learned from my decade of experience.  In no particular order:1. Kids are a consumption good, and... MORE

Blatant Incompetence

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Last spring I asked EconLog readers about the obviousness of on-the-job incompetence.  Most people thought incompetence was very obvious indeed.  It turns out that this view is widespread.  The General Social Survey asks:In your job how easy is it for... MORE

School, Work, and Connections Bleg

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm looking for research on the extent to which people make useful career connections in school - high school, college, grad school, whatever.  My sense is that the economy is so big and diverse that people rarely (a) end up... MORE

Decadent Parenting

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
More on decadent parenting from the intro of Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids:To be brutally honest, we're reluctant to have more children because we think that the pain outweighs the gain. When people compare the grief that another child... MORE

Global Utilitarianism and Airport Security

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Garett's main point - air travel terrorism has enormous social costs counting the effect on foreign policy - is clearly correct.  The straightforward implication: Mildly reducing the risk of terrorism with major inconvenience for air travelers easily passes a cost/benefit... MORE

Kidphobia: Decadent, or Just Misguided?

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
The U.S. birthrate is falling, and Ross Douthat largely blames decadence: [W]hile the burdens on modern parents are real and considerable and in certain ways increasing, people in developed societies enjoy a standard of living unprecedented in human history, and the... MORE

Roth Conversion Bleg

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
Greg Mankiw's rarely-offered financial advice has put me in a mild panic: [I]n light of the fiscal situation we are facing, I will pass along one tidbit.  Consider converting some of your retirement savings into a Roth IRA. Over the past few years, I... MORE

Immigration Policy and the World Values Survey

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Over at Open Borders, Nathan Smith shares his preliminary immigration policy empirics from the World Values Survey.  Out of 48 countries surveyed, the people of Vietnam (?!) favor the fewest restrictions on immigration, and the people of Malaysia favor the... MORE

Ignatius Reilly on Character and Education

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
A Confederacy of Dunces' unemployed anti-hero, Ignatius Reilly, explores the tension between the school ethic and the work ethic in a conversation with his long-suffering mother:"I doubt very seriously whether anyone will hire me.""What do you mean, babe? You a... MORE

A Critique of Wisdom

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Almost ten years ago, philosopher Roderick Long wrote an uncommonly wise piece on political correctness.  The opening commands my instant assent:There are two ways of letting political correctness control your mind. One is to reject viewpoints, not because they're false,... MORE

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