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Bryan Caplan: November 2014

An Author Archive by Month (20 entries)

The Backward State of Behavioral Political Economy

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
John Cochrane's grumpy about the state of behavioral political economy.  From his review of Schnellenbach and Schubert's recent literature review: I came away horribly disappointed. Not with the paper, but with the state of the literature that the authors ably summarize.... MORE

Immigration Charity Prospect

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
Argentina officially has near-open borders.  At least on paper, you only need an employer or family member to sponsor you.  The country isn't as quite First World, but with per-capita GDP around $15,000, Argentina would be a huge step up... MORE

Thank Obama for All He's Done

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
While I still harbor doubts about implementation, Obama's recent executive order on immigration exceeds my wildest hopes from two months ago.  Yet to be honest, I'm having trouble feeling thankful.  Not because I'm afraid he's "undermined the rule of law." ... MORE

The Lawful Neutral Case for Deferred Action

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
If life were classic Dungeons & Dragons, many opponents of immigration would be Lawful Neutral.  The law is the law; good or bad, everyone has to obey the rules.  In his defense of Obama's deferred action policy, Ilya Somin points... MORE

On the Complexity of the World

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Confession: I have been enamored of extreme policies for as long as I can remember.  When I was around ten years old, for example, I decided that all smokers should be summarily executed.  Adults' attempts to rebut my visionary proposals... MORE

A Nice Quote for Obama's Immigration Address

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
"I want to ask a question. What is a loophole? If the law does not punish a definite action or does not tax a definite thing, this is not a loophole. It is simply the law. Great Britain does not... MORE

The Bottom Line on DACA

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy was announced in 2012, I repeatedly heard that two million would benefit.  The bottom line has been far smaller: as of March 2014, 673,000 requests were filed, and just 553,000 approved.  I... MORE

Intertemporal Corruption

Economics of Crime
Bryan Caplan
When I was an undergrad at UC Berkeley, there was an informal norm about professors dating their students: Just wait until after the final exam.  Professors dating their current students?  A recipe for corruption.  Professors dating their recent students?  Only... MORE

Bechhofer Immigration Bet

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
If I were in Obama's shoes, I'd give life-long deferred action to every illegal immigrant, past, present, and future.  I'd also immediately pardon all 20,000+ of the people in federal prison for immigration offenses.  But to belabor the obvious, Obama... MORE

The Margins of Moral Weaseling

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Chris Hallquist's recent post begins with a critique of my "Against Human Weakness."  Chris:The problem is that once you've committed to "do the right thing all day, every day," you've given yourself a powerful incentive to rationalize whatever you do... MORE

A Judgmental Typology

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Here's a generalization of my last post.  Let X be any behavior in conflict with common-sense morality: lying, stealing, adultery, drunkenness, murder, etc.  Then two pressing questions about X are: "Is X prevalent in our society?" and "Is X morally... MORE

The Presumptive Puritan

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Tyler on GruberGate:It's hardly news that intellectuals who hold political power, even as advisors, very often do not speak the truth.  If anything, I feel sorry for Gruber that he has subsequently felt the need to so overcompensate by actively... MORE

Imprisoning Immigrants

Economics of Crime
Bryan Caplan
If you read the tables in my last post carefully, you might have noticed that 10.6% of federal inmates - over 20,000 people - are serving time for immigration offenses.  This seems very weird.  Stereotypes say that illegal immigrants are... MORE

There are over 1.5 million people in American jails and prisons.  Why are they there?  Take a look at the latest numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.  Here is the offense breakdown for state-level incarceration for 2012, which continues... MORE

Two Tullock Stories

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Here are my two favorite Gordon Tullock stories, filtered through my admittedly imperfect memory.Story #1It's the summer of 1993.  Gordon Tullock gives a guest seminar for interns at the Institute for Humane Studies.  A random democratic failure comes up, and... MORE

Most of the payoff from education comes from credentials, not mere years of class time, a regularity known as the sheepskin effect.  A quick look at crime as a function of education suggests a strong sheepskin effect for crime as... MORE

Gordon Tullock, 1922-2014

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I am saddened to report that the great Gordon Tullock, professor emeritus at GMU econ and law, has died.  While I often disagreed with him, everything he wrote is worth reading.  Start with this excellent compendium.  Unlike many "interdisciplinary" economists,... MORE

Me in NYC on Thursday

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
This Thursday I'm speaking at the monthly Junto meeting in New York City on "The Case Against Education."  Open to the public, hope to see you there.... MORE

I doubt The Case Against Education will spend more than two pages on the effect of education on crime.  But I've already spent a month getting ready to write those two pages.  Why so long?  Because (a) so much has... MORE

Two Skeptical Questions About State Capacity

Political Economy
Bryan Caplan
Many economists I know, especially the fans of Douglas North, appeal to the concept of "state capacity" to explain economic development, human rights, health, and other social outcomes.  In their stories, with few exceptions, high state capacity leads to good... MORE

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