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Bryan Caplan: August 2015

An Author Archive by Month (22 entries)

The Monopoly Motive

Industrial Organization
Bryan Caplan
Today's the first day of GMU's fall semester, and for some reason I'm thinking about a class I haven't taught in years: Industrial Organization.  I wrote the notes when I was much younger and more enamored of theory.  Much of... MORE

Scott on Victimology

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Scott against me on victimhood:Or let's take another case; you decide to violate the law by jaywalking, crossing the street in the middle of the block. You are struck and killed by a car. (This happened to a Bentley student... MORE

Question-Begging and Victim-Blaming

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Jonathan Ichikawa joins Jason Brennan in the philosophical symposium on the Ashley Madison hack.  He begins innocuously:Here is a sadly familiar story: a teenage girl sneaks out of her parents' house, goes to a party, and gets drunk. A man... MORE

Good News That Should Have Been Kept Secret

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I've long scorned mainstream media for their relentless, misleading negativity.  Now the NYT publishes a gloriously positive story - and I wish it hadn't.  This is Huemerian civil disobedience in action:The tens of thousands of migrants who have flooded into... MORE

Markets Without Limits and Ashley Madison

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
As a rule, news is a distraction from worthy intellectual pursuits.  But Jason Brennan manages to thoughtfully filter the Ashley Madison hack through the lens of his new Markets without Limits (co-authored with Peter Jaworski):Most people believe what Ashley Madison... MORE

The Denunciation Deficit

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Some intriguing Psychology & Economics of the media from post-libertarian Joshua Hedland:"If Muslims are peaceful, why don't they condemn terrorism?" This is a common question in some philosophical corners in response to headlines about attacks by radical Islamists.After providing a... MORE

The Happy Hypocrisy of Unpaid Internships

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Let me begin, like virtually every writer on unpaid internships, by blockquoting the Department of Labor's rules about such positions' permissibility.  Unpaid internships in the for-profit sector are allowed as long as all of the following are true:1. The internship,... MORE

I scorn political correctness in all its forms - and its most widespread and successful form is patriotism.  Think about it: Schools take millions of kids, then endlessly tell them they all belong to the same glorious blameless imaginary community. ... MORE

Policies that Affect Growth Rates: Question for Scott

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
Question for Scott: Suppose a government executed anyone who created or publicized any new idea.  Wouldn't that affect output growth - and not just output level?... MORE

I'm now reading the 3rd edition of David Friedman's Machinery of Freedom.  From the new material:The argument against immigration takes the level of redistribution as given and points out its effect on who migrates where and why. One should also... MORE

Let's Bet on the West

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I say Western civilization is a hardy weed.  Contrary to most of its avowed friends, Western civilization keeps gaining market share - grotesque atavisms notwithstanding.The truth is that Western civilization is taking over the globe.  In virtually any fair fight,... MORE

Separation and Dr. Pangloss

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
A widely-quoted bit from Louie CK:Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it's true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce ... That would be sad. If two people were married and they... just... MORE

Glaucon: Can you believe all these rich jerks who refuse to help the poor?Socrates: I'm puzzled, Glaucon.  You're rich, but I've never seen you help the poor.Glaucon: I gave five gold pieces this year.  But I'm not talking about charity,... MORE

Treatment: A Little Cost-Benefit Analysis is a Dangerous Thing

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Suppose you discover that a medical procedure genuinely reduces your risk of dying this year.  When you look further, however, you learn that your risk of dying only falls from 10-in-1000 to 9-in-1000.  Here are three reactions in order of... MORE

Is Breast Cancer Screening Worthless? The Fact Box Speaks

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Gigerenzer's Risk Savvy also presents transparent statistical evidence against routine mammograms.  The presentation slightly changes, relying on a "fact box" rather than an icon box.  But the idea remains the same: Clearly summarize outcome frequencies from women randomly assigned to... MORE

Is Prostate Screening Worthless? The Icon Box Speaks

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Gerd Gigerenzer's Risk Savvy is strikingly consistent with Hansonian medical skepticism.  One striking example: his cost-benefit analysis of prostate screening.  His key analytical tool is the icon box.An icon box brings transparency into health care.  It can be used to... MORE

A Waste of Paper?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Last week I walked the stacks of GMU's Fenwick Library with my elder sons.  Their presence was clarifying.  As we three perused the books, my main emotion was embarrassment.  I'm an academic.  A university library is supposed to be a... MORE

The Unfair Labor Training Act

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
John Bishop's "What We Know About Employer-Provided Training" alerted me to the existence of some obscure but plausibly very harmful labor regulations.  Suppose your employer provides free job training every Saturday.  Compared to regular schooling, this is a great deal. ... MORE

Ghost World and Zombieland

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
I'm embarrassed to admit that I only recently got around to reading Lant Pritchett's Let Their People Come: Breaking the Gridlock on Global Labor Mobility.  The full text is free and packed with goodness, but I learned the most from... MORE

Student Loans and Bankruptcy

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
One of the main things I learned while writing The Case Against Education: Contrary to almost everyone, student loans are virtually the least objectionable government subsidy for college.  Why?  As you know, I firmly subscribe to the view that -... MORE

The Ethics of Terminus

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
[Warning: Season 4-5 Walking Dead spoilers]In zombie survival sensation The Walking Dead, the protagonists are captured by a community of hipster cannibals.  The community is called Terminus; its members, Terminants.  Their business model:1. Lure human survivors to their compound with... MORE

Interesting email from Todd Proebsting, reprinted with his permission. Dear Prof. Caplan, Your recent attempt at a wager on Iran's nuclear progress, and the subsequent exchange with the author about why you wanted 10:1 odds reminded me that the CIA... MORE

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