EconLog small logo

Bryan Caplan: September 2013

An Author Archive by Month (25 entries)

The Status of Unemployed High-Status Papers

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Every now and then, prominent economists release working papers that never get published.  What should we conclude when an elite article suffers from "long-term unemployment"?1. The signaling story: Even prominent economists can't publish their paper, so it's probably terrible.2. The... MORE

The Great Malemployment Debate

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
From an early age, my father warned me that if I refused to major in engineering, I could easily end up driving a taxi.  As I matured, I discovered that his over-the-top warnings had a firm basis in fact.  Many... MORE

For Natalism

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Jason Sorens critiques natalism over at Pileus.  Here's my point-by-point reply.  Jason's in blockquotes, I'm not.The main advantage of more people is a deepening of the market and the division of labor. More people means more ideas and more specialization.... MORE

Me in Dallas on Friday

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Friday I'm a keynote speaker for the O'Neil Center's "Entrepreneurship in Education" conference, held at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  Admission is expensive, but students are eligible for sponsorship.  If you're there, please say hi.P.S. I'll be packing the... MORE

The Homage Statism Pays to Liberty

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Here's an odd thought for a libertarian: The government very rarely tells me to do anything.  Once per year, the IRS orders me to pay federal income taxes.  Once per year, the state of Virginia forces me to pay state... MORE

Tyler Long-Term Unemployment Bet

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Tyler just bet me at 10:1 that U.S. unemployment will never fall below 5% during the next twenty years.  If the rate falls below 5% before September 1, 2033, he immediately owes me $10.  Otherwise, I owe him $1 on... MORE

What Bewley Learned

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I mistrust prescient empirical researchers.  If you claim that your research confirms your predictions in every detail, you might be a genius, but you're probably just extremely unobservant.  One of the reasons I so greatly admire Truman Bewley's Why Wages... MORE

Why Don't Wages Fall During a Recession?: Q&A With Me Channeling Truman Bewley

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I finally got around to reading Truman Bewley's Why Wages Don't Fall During a Recession cover-to-cover.  The book is a miracle - easily one of the five best empirical economics books I've ever read, and possibly the best of the... MORE

A Pacifist History of Westeros: Gochenour Guest Post

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Zac Gochenour, who co-authors with both me and David, is also my go-to Game of Thrones savant.  Here's his reaction to my recent post on pacifism and GoT.I think that your analysis is very much in line with Martin's intent.... MORE

Bleg: The Right Way to Read Tyler

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Please read Tyler's post, then answer the following two questions:1. What percentage of Tyler's readers never have and never will read anything else about the relevance of changing household size for claims about economic stagnation?2. What lesson about the relevance... MORE

Today Tyler chides anti-stagnationists who point to falling household size: Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Persons per family household: 1990: 3.22 2000: 3.24 2010: 3.24 Not so much change, and if you look you will see there is also not so much... MORE

Game of Thrones and the Common-Sense Case for Pacifism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
[Warning: Full of book and show spoilers.]"And those who have not swords can still die upon them."  The words are J.R.R. Tolkien's, but they could just as easily have come from the pen of George R.R. Martin, author of the... MORE

Seth Helps Students Select Careers; Does Anyone Else?

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Seth Roberts has an interesting take on the real purpose of college.  He starts unpromisingly:Almost all college students want to figure out what job to choose. The answer will depend on what they do well, what they enjoy, and will... MORE

Galton's Demented Idea

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
In 1873, Francis Galton, founding father of modern statistics and behavioral genetics, publicized a demented idea.  It begins promisingly:My proposal is to make the encouragement of the Chinese settlements at one or more suitable places on the East Coast of... MORE

Here's an excerpt from the latest draft of The Case Against Education. Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 The link between practical skill and worldly success is subtler than either mainstream defenders or contrarian detractors of modern education imagine.  The skillful do a... MORE

What Is the Forced Organ Donation Hypothetical?

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
I often appeal to the forced organ donation hypothetical.  See for example my common-sense case for pacifism.  But what precisely is the hypothetical?  Here's an excellent explanation, courtesy of Judith Jarvis Thomson:[I]magine yourself to be a surgeon, a truly great... MORE

Bleg: Questions for Noah Smith

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Tomorrow I'll be hanging out with blogger Noah Smith all day.  Have any questions you'd like me to ask him?  With his permission, I'll share responses.Earnest questions only, please.... MORE

The Gratitude of Bryan Cranston

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston knows the secret of happiness: gratitude.I think if you believe in past lives, I must have been an extremely deprived being.  I must have been mistreated, beaten, and forced into indentured servitude because this life... MORE

Life Extension: Economists vs. the Public

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Earlier this year, Pew surveyed Americans' beliefs about life extension.  I was appalled by their nihilistic responses.  Worst of the bunch:Asked about the consequences for society if new medical treatments could "slow the aging process and allow the average person... MORE

Business, Lobbying, and the Big Picture

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
When the sugar industry lobbies for sugar tariffs, economists are quick to cry "Rent-seeking!"  A concentrated interest lobbies for a concentrated benefit, paid for by a diffuse public - nothing mysterious.  Strangely, though, businesses also often lobby for Big Picture... MORE

Motivated Numeracy and the Enlightenment

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Kevin Drum and Chris Mooney have already posted excellent summaries of this neat study of motivated numeracy.  You should read them.  But if you prefer the digest version: Even unusually numerate people take off their thinking caps when the numbers... MORE

My Superintelligence Skepticism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Robin Hanson and Eliezer Yudkowsky's debate on the future of superintelligence is now a free e-book. Cool cover:The transcript of their in-person debate starts on p.431.  I conditionally agree with Robin: If a superintelligence came along, it would do so... MORE

The Mixed Messages of French Schooling

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I finally got around to reading Eugen Weber's classic Peasants Into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914.  It wasn't what I'd been led to believe.  I heard that the book blamed World War I on public schooling: Europe's late... MORE

Open Borders is a Moderate Position

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
After Fabio Rojas, Vipul Naik, and I created the Open Borders Logo Contest Facebook page, many opponents of immigration joined the page and behaved uncivilly.  When our troika decided to moderate the page, immigration opponents cried foul: "If you believe... MORE

Who Is Tyler's Reference Group?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
As soon as I saw Tyler's latest post on "Why the Theory of Comparative Advantage is Overrated," I asked myself, "Overrated by whom?"  The theory clearly isn't overrated by the 95%+ of American adults who have no idea what the... MORE

Return to top