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Bryan Caplan: February 2013

An Author Archive by Month (31 entries)

Is Self-Assertion a Free Lunch?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Steve Sailer has an interesting reaction to yesterday's post on Asians' Democratic leanings: Bryan has the psychological dynamics 180 degrees backwards. The Republicans problem with Asian and Latin voters is not that Republicans don't respect the newcomers enough, it's that... MORE

Why Are Asians So Democratic? The Respect Motive in Action

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Republican critics of immigration often decry Hispanics' lop-sided identification with the Democratic Party.  Due to their low income, the story goes, Hispanics naturally prefer the party of Big Government.  Since Hispanics will never vote Republican, Republicans' only prudent response is... MORE

Measurement Error and the Education Premium

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
If you take a look at the Census, education appears to be extremely lucrative.  Back in 1975, drop-outs earned about 20% less than high school grads, college grads earned over 50% more than high school grads, and holders of advanced... MORE

Economics and Fallibility

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
When students first hear about the famous Akerlof's "lemons model," they almost invariably misinterpret it.  "Aha," they think, "this is why used car dealers get rich ripping off unsuspecting customers."  The true point, of course, is that asymmetric information makes... MORE

"Low-Immigration, Pro-Immigrant."  So reads the masthead of the Center for Immigration Studies.  I'm still trying to make sense of it.  If someone announced a "low-in-law visits, pro-in-law stance," we'd laugh.  If you like your in-laws, you'll welcome frequent visits.  If... MORE

Sheepskin Effects in the General Social Survey

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
A sizable literature on the education premium finds solid evidence of a "sheepskin effect": diploma years pay noticeably more than other years.  When I noticed that the General Social Survey has a DEGREE variable, I saw a golden opportunity to... MORE

Some Evolutionary Food for Thought

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Further evidence that social scientists underestimate the power of evolution, courtesy of Marlene Zuk:[A] new field called experimental evolution is showing us that sometimes evolution occurs before our eyes, with rapid adaptations happening in 100, 50, or even a dozen... MORE

Fiduciary Excuses

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
"I was just following orders."  "I was only doing my job."  "I had a legal obligation to act."  The most self-righteous criminals often invoke fiduciary obligations to explain why their actions were morally required rather than morally forbidden.Mike Huemer, guest... MORE

Does Conflict Immigrate?

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
During today's debate #2, I circled back to debate #1: If you really want to help the world's victims of oppression and intolerance, open borders is a cheap, humane alternative to military intervention.  How many Rwandan lives would have been... MORE

Pacifism in 4 Easy Steps

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 As I said, this morning's Students for Liberty debate was a double-header.  Here's my two minute opening statement for Topic #2: War.Pacifism in 4 Steps  1.      In the modern world, there are no... MORE

Open Borders in 4 Easy Steps

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Today at Students for Liberty 2013 I did a double-header debate against the Center for Immigration Studies' Jan Ting.  The format gave each of us a two minute (!) opening statement for each topic.   Here's my opening statement for Topic... MORE

Me at Students for Liberty 2013

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm speaking at Students for Liberty's 2013 conference tomorrow and Sunday.  My topics: public choice, voter irrationality, and The Case Against Education.  I'll also be debating the Center for Immigration Studies' Jan Ting on (a) immigration, and (b) military intervention. ... MORE

IGM on High-Skilled Immigration

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
The IGM Forum reacts to:The average US citizen would be better off if a larger number of highly educated foreign workers were legally allowed to immigrate to the US each year.The result is very lop-sided agreement:The award for the strangest... MORE

David's latest reply on illegal immigration is excellent, and I freely concede his two main points as I understand them.  Namely:1. A narrow segment of illegal workers would lose in the short-run from legalization:I had in mind a specific group... MORE

The Perks of Being Illegal

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
David makes a very strong case for the strange-to-me view that employers actually prefer illegal workers.  He's especially compelling when he notes:[I]f you're an illegal worker earning less than the minimum, then when you become legal, your ability to credibly... MORE

Is Illegality A Benefit?

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
One of the strangest claims I've heard is that employers prefer to hire illegal immigrants because they don't have to pay them minimum wage or follow other labor market regulations.  I can imagine this happening under special circumstances (e.g. everyone... MORE

Collective Guilt: A Socratic Dialogue

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Pericles: Have you seen the latest outrage our enemies have committed against us?  We have to strike back.Socrates: Strike back against whom? Pericles: Our enemies, as I said. Socrates: Right.  But how will we pinpoint the enemies who perpetrated this... MORE

My Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids tries to persuade people to increase their fertility.  Jonathan Last's What To Expect When No One's Expecting explicitly disavows this aim: Finally, this book is not an attempt to convince you to have... MORE

Open Borders and Personality Bleg

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
What personality types are most likely to support open borders?  Since almost no one in the First World favors open borders, we shouldn't expect to find common personalities that typically support open borders.  It's conceivable, though, that rare personalities typically... MORE

Jonathan Last's new What To Expect When No One's Expecting is the best-written, most engaging, and funniest book on the social cost of low birth rates and population decline.  While he focuses on fertility, he breaks with typical conservatives by... MORE

Some Wisdom of Don Corleone

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I just finished re-reading The Godfather.  It's full of grist for the social science mill.  My personal favorite:"There are men in this world," he said, "who go about demanding to be killed.  You must have noticed them.  They quarrel in... MORE

Amazing Dan Klein

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I'm puzzled by Dan Klein's recent guest post.  I trust his empirics.  Indeed, I prize them.  But what do they show?  As far as I can tell, Dan's empirics show that a sizable minority of economists are small-l libertarians, but... MORE

Benefits Bleg

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
I'm looking around for U.S. data on employment benefits as a function of education (or, failing that, income).  Data on health insurance as a function of education would be almost as good.  The ideal table would look something like:Education Level... MORE

An Amazing Consensus among Economists: Not

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
My friend and colleague Dan Klein has written a guest reply to my recent post on economists' consensus.  Here's Dan: v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} I was surprised to read Bryan's words: "Compared to non-economists, economists enjoy... MORE

Your Big Break, If Any

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
I got my big break in the summer of 1993 when I met Tyler Cowen.  I was a summer fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies, and he was our weekly speaker.  We had time to chat afterwards, and I... MORE

Instead of writing a guest post, Mike Huemer ended up just replying to your questions in the comments.  His main reply is here, but don't miss the back-and-forth.... MORE

Big Break Theory

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
People often hope for a "big break" - a large, durable improvement in their situation.  An unknown actor landing a major role in a big-budget film is the classic example.  But big breaks seem to be everywhere: getting your first... MORE

Me on Economists' Ideological Divide

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
My "What Makes People Think Like Economists?" (Journal of Law and Economics 2001) also analyzes why economists disagree with each other.  Key results (footnotes omitted):Overall, the SAEE evidence suggests that disagreements among economists are surprisingly random. There are 10 questions... MORE

Kling v. Huemer

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
In case you missed it: 1. Arnold Kling critiques Michael Huemer's new book.  2. Huemer responds, with a few extra lines from me, and Kling offers his rejoinder.... MORE

Marshmallow Bleg

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Have results from the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment ever been used to predict adult income?  Or even better, adult income controlling for education and IQ?Any relevant citations are much-appreciated.... MORE

Wolfers on Economists' Ideological Divide

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Justin Wolfers has skeptical comments on Gordon and Dahl's new paper on economists' ideology, featuring this cool graph:Since I remained a little unclear about the origin of the graph, I emailed Wolfers.  He graciously responded, and gave me permission to... MORE

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