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Bryan Caplan: March 2014

An Author Archive by Month (26 entries)

The Market for Less

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Guest blogger James Schneider makes a thought-provoking point about the market for self-control:The market is often better at abetting good habits than it is at discouraging bad habits. Imagine an alternate world in which a lot of people aspired to... MORE

A British Perspective on American Signaling

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Fun footnote from Gregory Clark's new The Son Also Rises: Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 In my second year as an assistant professor at Stanford University, I was assigned the task of mentoring six freshmen.  Each appeared on paper to have an... MORE

The best part of Collier's Exodus is his analysis of "diaspora dynamics."  In plain English, Irish like to immigrate to countries that already have a lot of Irish, Jews like to immigrate to countries that already have a lot of... MORE

How Diabolical is Unz's Proposal?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Ron Unz wants to raise the minimum wage to discourage illegal immigration.  The mechanism: The minimum wage raises unemployment for low-skilled workers, and illegal immigrants are very low-skilled.  His words:In effect, a much higher minimum wage serves to remove the... MORE

Socialism Was Born Bad: The Case of Oskar Lange

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Oskar Lange is arguably the most famous of the market socialists.  His fans often see him as a great spokesman for "socialism with a human face."  In the early 1990s, I attended a talk where Ken Arrow lauded Lange as... MORE

The Worst They Can Do

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
All modern governments do terrible things during wartime.  Most deliberately murder innocents; the rest at least recklessly endanger innocents.  Morally speaking, all sides in any serious military conflict are led by war criminals.Unfortunately, however, these genuine insights often lead my... MORE

Question for Scott

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Scott writes:Would you feel comfortable telling an accident victim in a wheelchair that "his type of person" is disproportionately composed of drunks? If not, be careful in making generalizations about the unemployed.My question for Scott: Would you feel comfortable telling... MORE

Open Borders Day Roundup

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Many good things about open borders for Open Borders Day via Open Borders.  Imbibe.... MORE

My debate opponent Ron Unz says he's abandoning his California minimum wage initiative for lack of funds.  The Nation's Sasha Abramsky responds with a soft-hitting interview.  The low point:You just mentioned undocumented migrants in the context of your minimum wage... MORE

Would (Our) Open Borders Lead to (Their) Closed Borders?

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
My Facebook friend Anna Krupitsky asks a great question:Let's imagine: if United Stated today opened its borders, how many countries and how soon would close theirs for people leaving?There's ample evidence that ending emigration restrictions leads to more immigration restrictions. ... MORE

The Marital Return to Education: An Epiphany

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Suppose college graduates out-earn high school grads by $30,000 a year.  Naive analysts will tell you, "Finish college and you'll get a $30,000 raise."  The clever, however, will warn you about ability bias.  The kind of people who become college... MORE

Immigration: My Eyes Work Fine

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Critics of my open borders advocacy often accuse me of intellectual blindness, of living in a fantasy world of my own creation.  So rather than rehash any of my arguments or review the academic evidence yet again, I'm going to... MORE

Open Borders Day is Starting

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
March 16 is Open Borders Day, an international holiday to raise awareness of the single most important policy issue of the modern world.  Open Borders Day is a time to reflect on the many immigrants - legal and illegal -... MORE

1896: Immigration and The Atlantic

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
In 2013, The Atlantic sympathetically profiled the open borders movement.  Quite a change from this piece the magazine ran in 1896, when nearly open borders still prevailed.  The author, Francis Walker, begins with admirable clarity:When we speak of the restriction... MORE

Being Sendhil Mullainathan

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Harvard's Sendhil Mullainathan has a remarkable life story.  From a profile in Forbes:Born in a small farming village in India, Mullainathan lived there for seven years while his father moved to the U.S. to go to graduate school. On his... MORE

Optometry Challenge

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Give me one good reason why basic eye exams can't already be done by a robot. Written while waiting for a human with an M.D. to repeatedly ask me "Better like this... or like that?"... MORE

Value of Self-Rated Health Bleg

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Social scientists and medical researchers often ask people to rate their own health.  The General Social Survey, for example, asks respondents to place themselves on a four-step scale:Would you say your own health, in general, is excellent, good, fair, or... MORE

Public schools provide education free of charge.  The result, unsurprisingly, is overwhelming market dominance.  Almost 90% of school-age kids attend public school.  Most people think this is a great thing.  Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong.  Either way, though, public... MORE

Blame the Republicans

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
When I blame people for their problems, Democrats and liberals are prone to object at a fundamental level.  One fundamental objection rests on determinism: Since everyone is determined to act precisely as he does, it is always false to say,... MORE

40 Years on the Status Treadmill

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
The General Social Survey has spent four decades asking Americans about their self-perceived status:If you were asked to use one of four names for your social class, which would you say you belong in: the lower class (=1), the working... MORE

Poverty: The Stages of Blame Applied

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
What do my stages of blame imply about real-world poverty policy?1. As I've argued in detail here, poor healthy adults in the First World are largely undeserving.  Indeed, few are even objectively poor; just look at the many luxuries the... MORE

Poverty: The Stages of Blame

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I've repeatedly argued that there's a connection between (a) how deserving the poor are, and (b) how the poor ought to be treated.  Unfortunately, as soon as I make this deliberately vague claim, many readers rush to ascribe specific, silly... MORE

The Principal Doctrines of Epicurus is a 3rd-century outline of Epicurean philosophy.  This bullet point is so consistent with my posts on friendliness, social intelligence, and the Bubble that I feel compelled share it.He who desires to live in tranquility... MORE

The Happiness of the Richest

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Over lunch, Justin Wolfers mentioned a hard-to-believe fact: In a data set with an unusually high maximum income category, 100% of the richest people were "very happy."  I decided to track down the data.  Despite my incredulity, Justin's description was... MORE

Ukrainian Prediction Challenge

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
To repeat myself:The long-run benefits of war are highly uncertain.  Some wars - most obviously the Napoleonic Wars and World War II - at least arguably deserve credit for decades of subsequent peace.  But many other wars - like the... MORE

What Say You? The Intuitive Case Against the Minimum Wage

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Don Boudreaux asks minimum wage supporters to answer two questions they should have asked themselves long ago.Question #1:Name some other goods or services for which a government-mandated price hike of 25 percent will not cause fewer units of those goods and services... MORE

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