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Bryan Caplan: June 2014

An Author Archive by Month (23 entries)

Why Does High-Pressure Salesmanship Work?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
[Warning: Minor spoilers].Just finished The Wolf of Wall St.   Though based on a true story, the ugly facts are usually easy to minimize: Most investment firms aren't run by stoned sociopaths, and most investment firms' customers make money.  But one... MORE

The Economist: Give Tetlock Final Cut

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
A year ago, The Economist wrote another stylish but insubstantial editorial.  The topic: the Arab Spring.  The opening:Roughly two-and-a-half years after the revolutions in the Arab world, not a single country is yet plainly on course to become a stable,... MORE

Evaluating The Arab Spring: What Would Tetlock Say?

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
I was never optimistic about the Arab Spring.  But the spread of the hellish Syrian Civil War into Iraq leaves the net-effect-so-far quite a bit worse than I expected.  You could say, "You're no expert on this topic, so your... MORE

A Hardy Weed: How Traditionalists Underestimate Western Civ

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Last month, I debated Stephen Balch from Texas Tech's Institute for the Study of Western Civilization.  As I perused their website, I realized that despite our differences on immigration, we had a lot of common ground.  This jumped out at... MORE

Embarrass Me Now, Please

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
I'm now writing the most number-crunching parts of The Case Against Education: one chapter on education's selfish return, another on its social return.  The work is grueling, and haunted by the fear that I've made an early mistake that invalidates... MORE

Some Questions About Partisan Expulsion

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Suppose you're an embarrassment to your political party.  In many countries, your party can formally expel you.  This serves three functions.  First, damage control.  The fact that your party expelled the embarrassment mitigates your guilt-by-association.  Second, prevention.  After you're expelled,... MORE

Huemer's "The Use of Hypothetical Examples"

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Mike Huemer's defense of hypothetical reasoning is so excellent that I feel like I'm cheating EconLog reader when I only quote a few sentences.  So here's his complete discussion, featuring a shout out to David Hume qua economist.  From Huemer's... MORE

When Do Hypotheticals Cover Their Cost?

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Suppose I asked, "Where would you buy steaks if you only shopped at stores starting with the letter Q?"  A few people would wrack their brains for an answer.  But most would dismiss the question: "That will never happen, so... MORE

The Missing Arguments

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Libertarians have a reputation for silly absolutism.  While there's truth in the stereotype, libertarians are at least as likely to make intellectually lazy exceptions to their general principles.  This is especially true when the people losing their liberty are foreigners... MORE

Dear Reader Almost Passes the Ideological Turing Test

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Michael Malice's Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il is not what I expected.  I thought it was going to be a hilarious mockery of North Korean totalitarianism.  Instead, it's an almost pitch-perfect simulation of the autobiography Kim... MORE

The Stockpile Solution

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
If I were convinced that the fate of mankind hinged on massive reductions in carbon emissions, I would still be pessimistic about unilateral taxes or cap-and-trade.  As I told Yoram:National emissions regulations can have perverse global effects.  If relatively clean... MORE

Is the Social Security Tax Cap Disappearing?

Political Economy
Bryan Caplan
How will the U.S. resolve its long-run budget crisis?  I've long predicted the abolition of the Social Security tax cap.  As I told my Public Choice undergrads back in 2011:I think we've likely to eliminate the Social Security payroll tax... MORE

Bauman Climate Bet

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Yoram and I have digitally shaken on our global warming pause bet.  Via Twitter: @bryan_caplan yes, once we clarify concerns of @wonkinakilt You're betting avg(2015-2029)-avg(2000-2014)<=0.05C, yes? If so I accept!-- Yoram Bauman (@standupecon) June 10, 2014... MORE

Bauman Climate Bet Bleg

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
The Economist confirms that global warming has paused over the last 15 years:Between 1998 and 2013, the Earth's surface temperature rose at a rate of 0.04°C a decade, far slower than the 0.18°C increase in the 1990s. Meanwhile, emissions of... MORE

The answer to yesterday's data challenge: full-time, year-round workers can be unemployed, but only very briefly.  You don't have to actually work full-time to be a full-time worker.  "Full-time" workers can be unemployed indefinitely as long as they "usually worked... MORE

While there's much to like in Yoram Bauman's Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, this page nicely captures my reservations about his approach: He's tolerant of economically illiterate action, but intolerant of economically literate inaction.  (Click to enlarge).[Excerpted from The Cartoon... MORE

I've often heard economists talk about "full-time, year-round workers."  Data challenge: Can such workers also be officially "unemployed"?  Answer tomorrow.... MORE

Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change: Pollution Taxes Illustrated

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Here's another page from The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change that's worth more than all the demagogic words spoken about pollution taxes.  Now in stores.  Click to enlarge.[Excerpted from The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change by Grady Klein and Yoram... MORE

Here are two of my favorite pages from The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, available starting today!  I've seen hour-long lectures on experimental versus observational studies that were less pedagogically effective.  Click to enlarge.[Excerpted from The Cartoon Introduction to Climate... MORE

Myth of the Rational Voter: The Complete Animated Series

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
All five of my Learn Liberty videos are now up.  The complete series:1. Intro. (thanks to Art for the shout-out).2. Anti-market bias.3. Anti-foreign bias.4. Make-work bias.5. Pessimistic bias.... MORE

Why Sailer Scares

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The full text of Steve Sailer's response to my Eugenic Experiment post reads: According to Gregory Clark's research on wills in England from 1200 to 1800, that's pretty much how English society worked: the richer you were, the earlier you... MORE

Unemployment Insurance Bleg

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
As far as I can verify via Google, workers under the age of 18 remain fully eligible for U.S. unemployment insurance.  Am I missing anything?  Please show your work.... MORE

The Fungible Kidney

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
After I made my animated case for a free market in human kidneys, Zac Gochenour - my co-author and soon-to-be assistant professor at Western Carolina University -  originated a rather clever argument.  Quick version: Suppose you're now poor and healthy. ... MORE

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