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Bryan Caplan: December 2013

An Author Archive by Month (20 entries)

The Prideful Worker Effect

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Both economists and laymen often claim that unemployment statistics paint an overly rosy picture of the labor market.  Why?  Because they refuse to count discouraged workers as "unemployed."  To qualify as "unemployed," you have to look for a job.  But... MORE

How Bad Is White Nationalism?

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
White nationalism is one of the most reviled ideologies on earth.  But what exactly is so awful about it?  Menachem Rosensaft's piece in Slate quotes some leading white nationalists, but never really explains why this nationalism is worse than all... MORE

Grow the Respect Pie

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I second David's praise for Noah's piece on respect.  But why talk about "redistributing respect" rather than "showing more respect"?  In econ jargon, why not increase the size of the respect pie instead of squabbling over the size of the... MORE

Who These Kids Are

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Fab Rojas' response to my last post, reprinted with his permission. I just read your post about the 10% of students who do nothing in a college course. They don't attend, take exams or other appear in any other capacity.... MORE

Who Are These Kids?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
About 10% of my enrolled undergraduate students literally do nothing in my class.  They attend zero lectures, do zero homework, and fail to show up for the midterm or the final.  Yet when I'm handing out grades, the official roster... MORE

Gifts, Efficiency, and Social Desirability Bias

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Is cash the only efficient gift?  Pure economic theory points to two contradictory answers:1. Yes, because of the receiver's demonstrated preference.  Suppose gift X costs $100.  If you gave the receiver $100, would he still have spent the money on... MORE

Farewell to Bart Wilson, For Now

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Guest blogger Bart Wilson is signing off, for now.  He's been one of my favorite experimental economists for the last decade, and I've been pleased to see him bring his unique perspective to EconLog over the past month.  Out of... MORE

How to Work in France

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
From the Christmas newsletter of a good friend of mine who just got a post-doc in France.  Reprinted with his permission. Names omitted to hinder bureaucratic retaliation.In early March I got accepted for a position in [city redacted] France, and... MORE

Some Explanations for the Curious Absence of Socially Conservative Economics

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Ross Douthat provides an array of explanations for the curious absence of socially conservative economics.  His top stories:1. There's more socially conservative economics than meets the eye.The first is that social conservatives actually do make such arguments, even if the... MORE

What Are Cowenian Rights?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Negative theology tells us what God is not, but refuses to say what God is.  In his post on "The Politics of Science Fiction," Tyler Cowen embraces Negative Political Philosophy.  He tells us what rights we don't have, but remains... MORE

How Big of a Deal Is Social Security?

Political Economy
Bryan Caplan
Karl Smith of Modeled Behavior has moved to DC, and yesterday he honored the GMU lunch with what will hopefully be the first of many visits.  During lunch, I asked Karl about a puzzling-to-me line from his latest post:Social Security... MORE

Public intellectuals often talk about "conservative economics."  The truth, though, is that conservative economics is essentially non-existent.  Academic economists range from liberal to libertarian.  While Republicans are rarely libertarian, Republican economists are the exception that proves the rule.This is a... MORE

Briggs and Tabarrok provide strong evidence that gun ownership increases suicide risk.  The response to their research provides strong evidence that readers swiftly twist research to suit their prejudices.  A slight caricature of the two standard reactions:Reaction #1: Crusade.  Guns... MORE

Labor Economists vs. Signaling

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
From chapter 4 of my book in progress, The Case Against Education. Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Signaling has been one of economists' more successful intellectual exports.  After Spence and Arrow developed the signaling model of education in the 1970s, the idea... MORE

A Fortune Cookie for Ron Unz

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Ron Unz is crusading to raise the minimum wage.  He also publicly admits that he's never opened an economics textbook.  Most econ professors would be inclined to lecture him about his intellectual irresponsibility.  But under the circumstances, less is more. ... MORE

Ambition

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Most researchers oversell their results.  After re-reading Dale and Krueger's latest piece on the selectivity premium, however, I suspect that they are greatly underselling their results.  They haven't just undermined the value of academic selectivity; they've confirmed the value of... MORE

Econ as Incredulity

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
What is economic theory?  Is it a body of proven truths?  Or a set of hypotheses whose only merit is that they've so far been successfully tested against the facts?  Most economists openly embrace the latter position, but secretly believe... MORE

Phase-In: A Demagogic Theory of the Minimum Wage

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Increases in the minimum wage are usually "phased-in."  Instead of raising the minimum wage overnight, the law usually specifies a series of steps.  The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 increased the prior $5.15 minimum wage in three steps:  ...to... MORE

Evil in Plain Sight

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
12 Years a Slave is a great chance to feel morally superior to monstrous slavers of yore.  But it is also a time to reflect: Will our descendents ever look back on us with contempt for our blatant wickedness?  If... MORE

Do-It-Yourself vs. the Minimum Wage

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
After my Intelligence Squared debate, I had a long chat with my opponent Ron Unz about his latest cause: a huge increase in the minimum wage.  For Unz, the disemployment effect of a high minimum wage is a feature, not... MORE

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