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Bryan Caplan: September 2015

An Author Archive by Month (20 entries)

What's Libertarian About Betting?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I'm a libertarian and a betting man.  Is there any connection between the two?The facile answer is that "Reality has a well-known libertarian bias."  On some level, I believe this.  But it's a subtle, long-run bias.  Confidently betting on libertarian... MORE

Nobility Defined

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
I occasionally describe people as "noble."  What do I mean by it?  In slogan form: "He would rather be wronged than do wrong."  The noble, as I use the term, hold themselves to exemplary standards of thought, word, and deed. ... MORE

Innumeracy Illustrated

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I've come across the world's funniest probability illustrations.  Talk about "it's funny because it's true."  Samples:Read the whole thing.  And repent!HT: The noble Vipul Naik... MORE

Minimum Wage Debate: Meer versus Galbraith

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Video of Jonathan Meer's debate with James Galbraith on the minimum wage is now up!  Enjoy.... MORE

The Center Will Hold: I'll Give You 10:1

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
Since there appear to be zero takers for my latest bet, I hereby up the odds I'm offering to 10:1.  Thus, if you Paypal me $x, I will send you $11x if the bet goes in your favor.  This provides... MORE

The Center Will Hold: I'll Bet on It

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Last weekend, I got into a Twitter argument with a fellow who claims that Europe's immigration problem will "inevitably" lead to civil war: @bryan_caplan As a human nature pessimist, I see ethno-cultural balkanization and civil war as inevitable on current... MORE

Why I'm Homeschooling

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I'm homeschooling my elder sons for middle school.  On the surface, this makes sense: Homeschooling has been in the libertarian penumbra for decades. If you know my books, however, you should be puzzled.1. In Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids,... MORE

The Power of Distributed Practice

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
If highlighting doesn't help students learn, what does?   According to Dunlosky et al.'s "Improving Students' Learning With Effective Learning Techniques" (Psychological Science, 2013), one of the most effective pedagogical techniques is distributed practice.  Description:To-be-learned material is often encountered on... MORE

Media, Misanthropy, Murder, and Misery

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Scott Alexander elegantly bridges two of my pet peeves: media and misanthropy.There are over a billion Chinese people. If even one in a thousand is a robber, you can provide one million examples of Chinese robbers to appease the doubters.... MORE

Somin on the Backlash to Desegregation

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Ilya Somin emailed me this response to my post on the backlash to desegregation.  Reprinted with his permission. As you know, I rarely disagree with you about immigration issues. But I think the backlash against desegregation was a much bigger... MORE

Highlighting a Waste of Time

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Garett Jones' top catchphrase is, "If only there were a vast empirical literature on X."  When you're well-aware of the vast empirical literature to which he's alluding, it's funny.  Whenever you discover a new-to-you vast empirical literature, though, it's humbling. ... MORE

Where Was the Backlash Against Desegregation?

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Many moderately pro-immigration thinkers, most notably Tyler, see the Open Borders movement as self-defeating.  Why?  Because excessive immigration provokes nativist backlash.  In effect, there's a policy Laffer Curve; when you ask for too much immigration, you get less immigration than... MORE

The Prohibition of Evacuation

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
When disaster looms, governments routinely evacuate their citizens.  At minimum, they urge them to leave the danger zone.  They normally supplement this cheap talk with stronger nudges like the Emergency Alert System and official door-to-door warnings.  Governments occasionally even require... MORE

Civilization Bets Considered

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
My civilization bet with Garett Jones fizzled out.  Now it's time to review all my other offers. Richard writes: The hardest, fairest measures I can think of are low birth rates plus increasing wealth. Might want to use polity scores... MORE

Caplan Family School Attendance Contract

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
My wife and I have decided to homeschool our elder sons for middle school.  I homeschooled them during the last five weeks of summer vacation as an experiment, and we're all happy with the results.  I'll blog my rationale for... MORE

Open Borders Meetup November 21

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Supporters and fellow travelers of the Open Borders movement are invited to a November 21 meetup at my house in Virginia.  If you're interested in attending this or any future meetups, join the permanent Facebook group. ... MORE

A Stillborn Civilization Bet

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
When I solicited bets on Western civilization, my former co-blogger Garett Jones zeroed in on economic freedom. A possible "hardy weed" bet, @bryan_caplan: if 2 or more OECD countries will have their freedom scores fall 10+ points by 2035, I... MORE

Funny Bargains

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The worker-employer bargain has many funny features.  Scott Alexander points out a few:1. Employers sometimes yell at workers for small mistakes; workers aren't supposed to yell at employers no matter how big the employers' mistakes.2. Employers sometimes demand job applicants'... MORE

To recap my last post, Scott Alexander's critique of libertarian labor economics amounts to a critique of mainstream labor economics itself.  If Scott were in my labor economics course, I could spend hours of classtime responding to his thought-provoking critique. ... MORE

Scott Alexander on Labor Economics

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Whenever a new semester begins, I thank the universe for good students.  Good students have four key traits:First, good students genuinely want to learn.  They don't study material merely because they see it on the syllabus or expect it on... MORE

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