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Bryan Caplan: July 2015

An Author Archive by Month (24 entries)

Nuclear Iran Bet Update

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
John Podhoretz engaged my proposed nuclear Iran bet on Twitter.  Highlights of the exchange:@bryan_caplan I'll bet you but why such long odds?-- John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 28, 2015 .@jpodhoretz I propose long odds because you claim very high confidence ("effectively... MORE

Nuclear Iran Bet

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
John Podhoretz:The United States and its allies have struck a deal with Iran that effectively ensures that it will be a nuclear state with ballistic missiles in 10 years, assuming Iran adheres to the deal's terms, which is a very... MORE

Party in the Street: A Tale of Three Movements

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Heaney and Rojas close Party in the Street by comparing the antiwar movement to the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.  This naturally required even more original data collection.  What they found:[T]he antiwar-Democratic relationship is an intermediate case among these... MORE

Finishing an Econ Ph.D.: The Basic Facts

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
If aspiring econ Ph.D.s are going to read one article about their prospects for academic success, Stock, Siegfried, and Finegan's "Completion Rates and Time-to-Degree in Economics PhD Programs" (American Economic Review, 2011) is probably the single best piece to read. ... MORE

Law School: No News Is Bad News

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Common sense from Campos' Don't Go to Law School (Unless):You can find a version of each school's employment statistics on the ABA's website. In addition, a school should have even more detailed employment and salary numbers for its most recent... MORE

Sadie Hawkins Rant

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Wikipedia:[T]he practical basis of Sadie Hawkins Day is one of simple gender role-reversal. Women and girls take the bold initiative by inviting the man or boy of their choice out on a date--almost unheard of before 1937--typically to a dance... MORE

My Enthusiastic Support for Open Borders

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Delighted to see Noah Smith introduce Bloomberg readers to the case for open borders.  Two reactions:1. When Noah describes the economic benefits of immigration, he makes it sound redistributive: Our GDP goes up because we gained people, which presumably means... MORE

What's Wrong With Law Professors

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
From Paul Campos' Don't Go to Law School (Unless):It's not merely that it's common for a law professor to have never tried a case, or negotiated a deal, or drafted a real-life version of the sorts of documents he's discussing... MORE

Is an Unused J.D. a Negative Signal?

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Paul Campos' Don't Go to Law School (Unless) is one of the most powerful polemics I've ever read.  It uses no statistics more advanced than conditional averages, and provides few scholarly references of any kind.  But the author, a law... MORE

Testing Unflattering Claims About Human Motivation

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
"Democrats resent the rich."  "Republicans disdain the poor."  When accusations like this fly, the accused tend to be coldly condescending.  "If you knew a single Democrat/Republican/whatever well, you'd know how ignorant your claim is."Personally, I believe that 80% of everyone's... MORE

Resentment, Information, and Unemployment

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
There's one main problem with Tyler's post on the unemployment of the poor.  He writes:Perhaps low-skilled workers cannot be employed at lower wages because their resentment at the low wage would be so high that they would impose unacceptable morale... MORE

You Grew Up in Poverty? Okay, Here's Some Money

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
A modest proposal for fans of social justice: Have the government give money to adults who grew up in poverty.The goal of the program, of course, is to (a) help people who are statistically likely to be poor, and (b)... MORE

What's Wrong With the U.S. Peace Movement

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I'm a pacifist, but I've never been intellectually impressed with the U.S. peace movement.  The sound argument against war, in my view, combines (a) the common-sense moral view that, "You shouldn't kill innocent people unless you know with high certainty... MORE

Party in the Street and the Party in Their Heads

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Michael Heaney and Fabio Rojas' new Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party After 9/11 (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is packed with wide-ranging insight.  The data collection alone inspires awe: The authors surveyed practically every major... MORE

Anthropology Versus Commodification

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
A gripping excerpt from Brennan and Jaworski's new book on the philosophy of commodification:...we present a range of sociological and anthropological evidence that there is no essential meaning to money or market exchange. Instead, the meaning of money is a... MORE

Change My View: A Data Opportunity?

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
EconLog reader Peter Hurley sent me some interesting information on testing the efficacy of debate strategies.  Reprinted with Peter's permission: Hey Prof. Caplan, I have been reading your recent posts on econlog about the lack of research on debating tactics,... MORE

David on Debate

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Thank you, David, for your thoughts on debate.  My reply:1. David adds a principle to my list:Admit when you're wrong. Or, even if the person on the other side hasn't convinced you that you're wrong, but has made you have... MORE

Return to the Caplan-Somin Foreign Policy Debate

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
While preparing for the Cato intern debate training, I realized that the sound file of the 2011 Caplan-Somin foreign policy debate wasn't working.  Thanks to Ilya Somin and Nathaniel Bechhofer, the file is once again available in .mp3 format.  Enjoy!P.S.... MORE

Debate Training: Deserve to Win

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
[UPDATE: Broken link to my presentation fixed.]The annual Cato-Heritage intern debate on Libertarianism versus Conservatism is scheduled for July 23, 2015.  Today I visited Cato to provide debate training, so yesterday I had to figure out what I actually know... MORE

Posner Contra Polygamy

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Like the creators of Big Love, I've long seen strong parallels between gay marriage and polygamy.  After last weeks' decision, some prominent pundits said the same.  But legendary Law and Economics scholar Richard Posner rejects the analogy:[L]ater in his opinion... MORE

Debate Bleg

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
I'm looking for quantitative research on the effectiveness of various debating strategies and styles.  Nothing good readily googles.  Tips?... MORE

A Question for Juris Doctors

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
About half of J.D.s don't work as lawyers.  But this doesn't mean their legal educations were bad financial investments.  Law degrees might open doors to desirable careers outside the law, most obviously via signaling.  Soon after my wife finished law... MORE

Escobar's Dilemma

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Suppose you want to murder a lot of innocent people, but you also want to be widely loved.  What's the best way to achieve both goals simultaneously?Pablo Escobar's approach is probably the most effective: Kill freely, but also give freely. ... MORE

How the Welfare State Melts Your Conscience

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
While vacationing in LA, I saw Escobar: Paradise Lost.  Not great, not bad, but I did learn something: drug lord Pablo Escobar was beloved as well as infamous.  His massive charitable giving won him a mass following: About 25,000 people... MORE

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