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Bryan Caplan: April 2015

An Author Archive by Month (18 entries)

Kahneman and Renshon on Hawkish Biases

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Kahneman and Renshon's chapter on "Hawkish Biases" (Thrall and Cramer, eds., American Foreign Policy and The Politics of Fear: Threat Inflation Since 9/11, 2009) is a big improvement over their Foreign Affairs piece on "Why Hawks Win."  Highlights include...The role... MORE

Meritocracy Bleg

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
If every worker were paid exactly proportional to their actual productivity - if neither statistical discrimination nor fairness played any role in the job market - how much would the standard deviation of labor earnings increase?HT: Garett Jones... MORE

School Networking Bleg

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Questions for everyone:1. How many people you met in K-12 are you still friends with?2. How many people you met in K-12 do you professionally interact with?Questions for college attendees:3. How many people you met in college are you still... MORE

Return to Dorms Bleg

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Does anyone claim that living on-campus increases the return to education?  Nothing turned up on a quick look at Google Scholar.... MORE

Educational Signaling: A Fad Whose Time Has Come

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Noah Smith, writing for Bloomberg view, isn't happy with the educational signaling "fad."  Here's my point-by-point reply.  Noah's in blockquotes, I'm not.Talk to economists, and you'll find a large number who believe that college -- that defining institution of America's... MORE

Mankiw on Free Trade in the NYT

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Don't miss the noble Mankiw's latest New York Times op-ed, which would be great even if it wasn't great publicity for me...... MORE

The Mellow Heuristic

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
No one protested me when I spoke at Oberlin College last week.  (Topic: The Myth of the Rational Voter).  A few days later, however, Oberlin showed factual feminist Christina Hoff Sommers a rather different face:The entrance to the classroom where... MORE

Thank You for Correcting Me, Matthew Baker

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
EconLog reader Matthew Baker has detected an error in my spreadsheets on the social return to education.  Fortunately, the mistake - a miscalculation of crime risk for the elderly - is so small that none of the main results change... MORE

Education and Apostasy

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Intriguing and eloquent words from Uecker, Regnerus, and Vaaler ("Losing My Religion," Social Forces 2007):Sociologists of religion have long linked educational attainment to religious decline (Caplovitz and Sherrow 1977; Hadaway and Roof 1988; Hunter 1983; Sherkat 1998). But the assumption... MORE

Where Are the Pro-Life Utilitarians?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Pro-life utilitarians are very scarce.  A philosophy professor recently told me that he knows of zero pro-life utilitarians in the entire philosophy profession.  This is deeply puzzling.  While I'm not a utilitarian, the utilitarian case against abortion seems very strong. ... MORE

Are Centers a Mistake?

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Suppose you want to convert the world to belief X.  You decide that professors are the best spokesmen for X.  There are ten universities, and you have enough money to fund ten professors.  There are two possible ways to spend... MORE

The Libertarian Target

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Libertarianism has a wealth of prominent, persistent opponents, starting with Paul Krugman and Salon.  Who precisely are they criticizing?  Probably not the 9-14% of Americans who are economically conservative but socially liberal.  No, the critics target self-conscious libertarians - people... MORE

Krugman versus the Audit Heuristic

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
My two favorite liberals have repeatedly told me, "Paul Krugman is right about virtually everything."  When my favorite liberals praise Krugman's position about a topic I don't thoroughly understand, I hold my tongue.  Recently, though, Krugman staked out strong positions... MORE

Finished Kevin Carey's The End of College.  My verdict: Wrong but beautiful.  Wrong, because brick-and-mortar college isn't "ending" in our lifetimes.  Beautiful, because Carey makes us stop taking online education for granted, and feel the awe this historic achievement deserves.I've... MORE

How Econ Melts Your Brain

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Learning economics changes your life and improves your mind.  As Dilbert creator Scott Adams insightfully observes, "When you have a working knowledge of economics, it's like having a mild super power."  Yet when grading economics exams, I often notice a... MORE

The Outsider Advantage

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
"Judean People's Front?!  We're the People's Front of Judea!"                      -The Life of Brian"Ned, have you considered any of the other major religions? They're all pretty much the same."                      -Reverend Lovejoy, The SimpsonsIntellectually speaking, how far apart are each of the... MORE

In the United States, the well-educated are more socially liberal and economically conservative.  In absolute terms, they're statist, but they're nevertheless relatively libertarian.  (See my notes for an intro, and Althaus for broader discussion).  Question: How does this pattern hold... MORE

Are We Stuck With the Great Society?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
A few months ago, Northwood University invited me to speak on, "Are we stuck with the Great Society?"  This would probably sound like a strange topic to most Americans.  To ask, "Are we stuck with Disneyland?," presupposes that Disneyland is... MORE

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