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Bryan Caplan: May 2015

An Author Archive by Month (17 entries)

Systematically Biased Beliefs About Inequality

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I am a behavioral political economist.  I think most political economy models are worthless.  Unless you start with empirically sound assumptions about voter cognition and motivation, you're wasting your time - and the time of everyone who reads you.  What... MORE

A Bettor's Tale

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Here's a great yarn of betting and political irrationality courtesy of EconLog reader Mathieu Giroux, used with his permission. My Uncle, like the vast majority of people living in North America, is not a fan of the idea of open... MORE

Get Over Yourself

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I don't worry much about what other people think about me.  My detractors attribute this to a severe case of Asperger's, but I've got a competing two-part story.  Part 1: We live in an evolutionarily novel anonymous society, so most... MORE

When to Head for Your Bunker

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Two strangely divergent reactions:1. When economists discuss worst-case macroeconomic scenarios, they often say stuff like, "Head for your bunker," "Dig a hole and jump in," and "Hopefully you've been hoarding canned goods."2. When foreign policy experts discuss worst-case war foreign... MORE

Unlock the School Library

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
If you could change the K-12 curriculum in one small way, what would you change?  My pick: Unlock the school library.  By this I mean...1. Give kids the option of hanging out at the library during every break period.  2.... MORE

Designer Babies Are Nothing to Fear: A Reply to Dan Klein

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I'm delighted that Dan Klein is engaging my defense of designer babies.  Here's my reply, point-by-point.  Dan's in blockquotes, I'm not.The idea that technology will enable designer babies fills me with apprehension. My apprehension over designer babies would be great... MORE

The Hours and Behavior Problems

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Hofferth and Sandberg's "How American Children Spend Their Time" (Journal of Marriage and the Family, 2001) doesn't only estimate the effect of time usage on academic achievement.  It also estimates how the way kids spend their days affects their behavior. ... MORE

3 Fun Quotes from Ayatollah Khomeini

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Khomeini's retrospective deontological case for the Iran-Iraq War:[W]e do not repent, nor are we sorry for even a single moment for our performance during the war. Have we forgotten that we fought to fulfill our religious duty and that the... MORE

Genetic Engineering Is Reproductive Freedom

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Will contraception lead to a dystopian society?  It depends.  If governments control individuals' contraception, then yes.  If individuals control their own contraception, then no.  The same goes for genetic engineering.  In the hands of the government, it would be a... MORE

The Hours and Academic Achievement

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Adults love controlling the way kids spend the hours of the day.  What's the payoff for all their meddling?  Hofferth and Sandberg's "How American Children Spend Their Time" (Journal of Marriage and the Family) provides some fascinating answers for kids... MORE

The Opposite of What Robin Says

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I often disagree with my dear friend Robin Hanson, but his latest post on happiness strikes me as a full 180 degrees wrong.  Robin begins by discussing fascinating research on the divergence between what people choose and what makes them... MORE

Civil and Economic Liberties Under the Shah

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Here are two striking passages from Abbas Milani's The Shah.  Civil liberties under the Shah:The Shah's crucial decade from 1965 to 1975 was also critical for the regime's cultural politics.  Iran in this period was a discordant combination of cultural... MORE

The Government of Bad Manners

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
We teach children to say "Thank you" when others help them - even if the others are socially expected to help them.We teach children to say "I'm sorry" when they've needlessly harmed others - even if the harm was done... MORE

The Neighborhood of Happiness

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I've long maintained that raising your income only has a small positive effect on your happiness.  Csikszentmihalyi and Hunter's "Happiness of Everyday Life" (Journal of Happiness Studies, 2003) finds that your neighborhood's income's effect on your happiness is highly irregular. ... MORE

Orwell as Public Choice Socialist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
There really ought to be a paper on George Orwell and Public Choice.  Thanks to Loyola University senior Michael Makovi, there finally is.  He's done a great job - "George Orwell as Public Choice Economist," forthcoming in The American Economist,... MORE

Because Freedom

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Lately I've heard libertarians ridiculed because their argument against some law boils down to, "Because freedom."  Why shouldn't we have inheritance taxes?  Because freedom.  Why shouldn't we ban handguns?  Because freedom.  Why shouldn't we have an affirmative consent standard for... MORE

School Networking: Friends versus Connections

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Thanks to everyone who participated in my exploratory survey on school networking.  Anyone who wants to play with the data can download it here.  At least in this admittedly self-selected sample, the two big patterns are:1. People make lots of... MORE

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