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Bryan Caplan: March 2015

An Author Archive by Month (24 entries)

The Prevalence of Marxism in Academia

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
As the Iron Curtain crumbled, people often joked, "Marxism is dead everywhere - except American universities."  The stereotype of the Marxist professor runs deep.  But is this stereotype grounded in statistical fact?  Here are the results from a 2006 nationally... MORE

How to Fix Seminars

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm sick of academic seminars.  Even if the presenter has a good paper and speaks well, the audience ruins things.  How?  Two minutes into any talk, the fruitless interruptions begin.  Half the time, they're premature quality control: "Are you going... MORE

Plug-and-Play People

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
One common complaint about proponents of open borders is that we picture human beings as interchangeable parts.  If an American can do X, so can a Haitian.  Why can't the open borders crowd see the obvious truth that people are... MORE

When Orwell Met Aumann

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Cowen and Hanson's "Are Disagreements Honest?" summarizes the theoretical case against "agreeing to disagree."Yet according to well-known theory, such honest disagreement is impossible. Robert Aumann (1976) first developed general results about the irrationality of "agreeing to disagree." He showed that... MORE

The Most Convincing Figure in Irrational Exuberance

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I never got around to reading the previous editions of Robert Shiller's Irrational Exurberance, but I've finished reading the new third edition cover-to-cover.Rather than review the whole book, consider the single most convincing figure.  At first glance, it's easy to... MORE

Perfect Pedagogy

Industrial Organization
Bryan Caplan
When you were taught about perfect competition, what was the underlying interpretation of the model?1. The model is a good approximation: Markets in the real world work about as well - and in roughly the same way - as the... MORE

This Wednesday I'm presenting my preliminary work on "The Selfish and Social Returns to Education" here at the Fairfax campus of GMU.  Open to the public.  Location: Carow HallTime: Lunch at 11:45, Talk from 12:00-1:15I'm trying out a new system... MORE

Does Burning Your Money Make You Poor?

Income Distribution
Bryan Caplan
Does burning your money make you poor?  Almost everyone responds, "Obviously."  And in a sense, it is obvious.  If you take all your money and burn it, you'll be hungry and homeless as a result.  QED.In another sense, though, burning... MORE

Where Is the School of the 3 R's?

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
What is the most prominent K-12 U.S. school - public or private - that single-mindedly focuses on reading, writing, and math?  Barring that, what is the most prominent K-12 U.S. school that single-mindedly focuses on academics - reading, writing, math,... MORE

Me at Northwood University

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Tomorrow I'm speaking at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan on "Are We Stuck with the Great Society"?  Open to the public.  If you're there, please say hi.... MORE

Determinism and Motivated Reasoning

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Martin Luther is near the top of my list of Utterly Wrong Thinkers I Enjoy Reading.  He writes beautifully, logically, and candidly.  In this revealing passage, he explains why he finds free will so emotionally threatening and determinism so emotionally... MORE

The Open Borders Manifesto

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
The Open Borders Action Group has prepared a short manifesto in honor of Open Borders Day.  Reprinted in its entirety:Freedom of movement is a basic liberty that governments should respect and protect unless justified by extenuating circumstances. This extends to... MORE

The Other Cause of Immigrant Idleness

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
Happy Open Borders Day!  The world remains light-years from free migration, but the intellectual case and elite support for open borders continue to build.  In honor of the day, let's explore a little topic I call... "the other cause of... MORE

Income and Irresponsibility

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Suppose you learn that rich and poor people get drunk equally often.  Should you conclude that the poor are no more prone to irresponsible drinking than the rich?No.  You can't sensibly categorize behavior as "responsible" or "irresponsible" until you know... MORE

My Ohio Tour

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm speaking all over Ohio this April.  Talks open to the public:1. April 14, 6-8 PM, Bowling Green State University: "The Case Against Education"2. April 15, 5:30-6:30 PM, Ohio State University: "Immigration Restrictions: A Solution in Search of a Problem"3.... MORE

Leveling the Playing Field for Online Education

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Governments at all levels annually give traditional colleges about one-third of a trillion dollars.  That's roughly $1000 per American per year, a massive subsidy.  Question: Why don't cheerleaders for online education loudly call for slashing or ending this subsidy, to... MORE

Overselling Online Education 2.0: Comment on Carey

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
First-generation fans of online education pushed a simple story: Online education is a better, cheaper way to learn, and will therefore soon do to brick-and-mortar colleges what downloading did to the record companies.  I've long argued that these fans are... MORE

The Straw Man Straw Man

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
When I criticize painfully foolish positions, people occasionally accuse me of "straw manning" my opponents.  I say the shoe's on the other foot: They're straw manning me.  Consider the following:1. Criticizing specific person X for a painfully foolish position he... MORE

Education's Selfish and Social Returns

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
I've created a resource page for The Case Against Education's calculations of education's selfish and social returns.  This work is the tentatively final version of what I blogged last June.Start with the slideshow.  If that piques your interest, the remaining... MORE

The Case Against Education: What's Taking So Long

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
I started writing The Case Against Education in 2011.  I'm still not done, but I'm shooting for release in 2017.  What's taking so long?Almost the opposite of writer's block.  The book is taking a long time because I've repeatedly realized... MORE

Fellow Travelers Welcome

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
My debate partner, Vivek Wadhwa, has made feminists so angry that he's decided to stop talking about sexism in the tech industry.  The New York Times on the conflict:Women in tech criticized Mr. Wadhwa for clumsily articulating their cause. They... MORE

Scoring Your Ukraine Predictions

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
I just reviewed all 50 responses to my original Ukraine prediction challenge.  Seven comments did not make unconditional predictions, and two were obvious jokes.  Here's how I scored the remaining 41 sets of predictions:1. My last post named six major... MORE

What Happened in Ukraine

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
A year ago I challenged EconLog readers to make unconditional predictions about the Ukraine conflict:Challenge: In the comments, go on the record and predict what will actually come of the emerging Ukrainian-Russian conflict.  Only unconditional, falsifiable predictions count.  No claims... MORE

The Taboo Trade-Offs of Tracking

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Most Americans are okay with educational "tracking" - measuring potential, then tailoring each student's education to his measured potential.  But if you advocate extending or expanding the role of tracking, most Americans resist.  Suppose you propose, for example, that the... MORE

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