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Bryan Caplan: June 2015

An Author Archive by Month (15 entries)

The Incredible Vanishing Minarchist

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
In the 70s and 80s, a great intellectual battle waged between two libertarian factions: minarchists and anarcho-capitalists.  In 1974, the Libertarian Party papered-over the dispute with one of the oddest compromises in political history: the Dallas Accord. Under its terms,... MORE

Not So Hard to Argue

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Scott Sumner:Unlike many on the left, I don't envy the rich. I'm really happy that Larry is really happy. If Larry was even a bit happier, and if that boosted total global happiness, that would be fine with me. But... MORE

Down With Public Goods

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Every economic educator should immediately read Frances Woolley's working paper, "Why Public Goods are a Pedagogical Bad."  The conflict between the official definition of "public goods" and the actual use of the phrase has long troubled me.  But Woolley explains... MORE

The Sachs-Warner Conditions

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
I've long been a fan of Sachs and Warner's 1995 "Economic Convergence and Economic Polices."  Key result: Non-idiotic economic policies are a sufficient condition for economic convergence.  They operationalize idiotic policies as follows:We then establish two basic subsets of "appropriate"... MORE

NATO Bet

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Tyler heavily insinuates that Russia will invade a NATO member in the foreseeable future:"At least half of Germans, French and Italians say their country should not use military force to defend a NATO ally if attacked by Russia," the Pew... MORE

Identificationists Beware

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
$15 minimum wages methodologically excite Noah Smith:Sometimes people ask me where I stand on economic policy. Am I a free-marketer or an interventionist? I tell them that I'm an identificationist.  In statistics, "identification" just means separating two groups in order... MORE

Two Types of Fear

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
After reading Ehrlich's confession, I realized that there are two very different kinds of socio-political fear-mongering.Type 1: Saying that a disaster will happen under certain conditions.  Example: "If population continues to grow, hundreds of millions will starve by the year... MORE

The Sum of All Fears

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I didn't think there was anything more to say about infamous doomsayer Paul Ehrlich.  Until he decided to justify his career to the New York Times.  Background:No one was more influential -- or more terrifying, some would say -- than... MORE

Why Is Illegal Immigration So Low?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Contrary to popular opinion, U.S. immigration enforcement is draconian.  The proof is in the prices illegal immigrants pay to human smugglers.  Even Mexicans, our closest Third World neighbors, pay 2-3 years' worth of wages to illegally cross the border.  Every... MORE

3 Answers from Alex Nowrasteh

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
Alex responds to the questions I asked him yesterday.  Read the whole thing, but here are my original three questions, with summaries of his answers in blockquotes:1. How much higher would cumulative Mexican immigration since 1986 have been if the... MORE

Can Inequality Misperceptions Save Selfish Voting?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Objective self-interest has very little effect on people's political views.  The obvious explanation is that people vote for ideals, not objective interests.  But Gimpelson and Treisman's evidence on systematically biased beliefs about inequality suggests another explanation: Voting is selfish but... MORE

3 Questions for Alex Nowrasteh

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Alex Nowrasteh's interesting comments leave me with three questions.1. How much higher would cumulative Mexican immigration since 1986 have been if the IRCA's employer sanctions hadn't been imposed?2. How much higher would cumulative Mexican immigration since 1986 have been if... MORE

Nowrasteh on the 1986 Immigration Act

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Cato's Alex Nowrasteh emailed me an interesting reaction to my post on Reagan's 1986 immigration law.  Reprinted with this permission: Bryan, I enjoyed your blog post.  A few thoughts: The bigger cost of IRCA was its boost of border security,... MORE

The Psychology of Trolling

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Last week on Facebook, I asked: "Trolls: bored or malevolent?"  Today I discovered some relevant research.  According to Buckels, Trapnell, and Paulhus, "Trolls Just Want to Have Fun" (Personality and Individual Differences, 2014) "malevolent" is the main answer.  Indeed, it's... MORE

Was the Reagan Amnesty Bad for Immigrants?

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
I struggled to locate the 1984 open borders editorial that won Mathieu Giroux his bet with his uncle, but he kindly helped me out.  Here is Robert Bartley's legendary Wall Street Journal column is in all its individualist glory.  Philosophically,... MORE

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