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Bryan Caplan: December 2015

An Author Archive by Month (17 entries)

Recession Bet

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
At the Cato Holiday Party, I hammered out the following bet with outgoing Cato intern Jackson Taylor:$200 on whether or not America will have a recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth, in the next two... MORE

Coercive Priors

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I enjoyed scoffing at the 30% of Americans who want to bomb the fictional kingdom of Agrabah.  But for balance, note that multiple surveys - and a Penn and Teller episode - have found plenty of Americans who want to... MORE

Two Public Choice Questions

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
My undergraduate Public Choice students struggled with these questions on the final exam.  Can you do better?  Show off in the comments! 800x600 3. Local governments provide free public education to residents' children, regardless of the taxes they pay or... MORE

Labor Econ Versus the World: Ecumenical Edition

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Most courses in labor economic don't strive to undermine our society's secular religion.  Mine does.  I suspect that most labor econ professors would object to my efforts.  Shouldn't a college class provide a balanced discussion of the issues, instead of... MORE

Labor Econ Versus the World: Further Thoughts

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Further thoughts on Labor Econ versus the World:1. In my youth, I saw Industrial Organization as the heart of our secular religion.  My history textbooks loudly and repeatedly decried "monopoly"; teachers, peers, and parents echoed their complaints.  Since the late-90s,... MORE

Labor Econ Versus the World

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
My 13-year-old homeschooled sons just finished my labor economics class.  I hope they take many more economics classes, but I'll be perfectly satisfied with their grasp of economics as long as they internalize what they learned this semester.  Why?  Because... MORE

All Politicians Lie: The Empirics

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
My view that politicians are evil does not imply that politicians are liars.  It's logically possible to be candid about one's evil.  Nevertheless, as you'd expect, I combine my grim view of politicians' overall character with an equally grim assessment... MORE

Assimilation and Immigration Restriction

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Opponents of immigration normally argue rapid assimilation is wishful thinking.  If we admit culturally alien immigrants, they won't "go native."  They'll hew to their dysfunctional ways and pass them on to their children generation after generation.I was struck, then, to... MORE

Demography and Decency

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The staunchest critics of immigration focus on demographic complaints.  We're currently a white/Christian/English-speaking/high-IQ country.  To maintain these favorable demographics, we have to heavily restrict or exclude contrary immigration.  Keep out non-whites.  Keep out non-Christians.  Keep out non-Anglophones.  Keep out people... MORE

No Plan for What Comes After

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
My elder sons got the first four seasons of Game of Thrones for their thirteenth birthday, so I get to watch the whole series again.  Season 2, Episode 4 is even more pacifistic than I remember.  Crucial scene: Talisa, the... MORE

The Meaning of Mood

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Tyler Cowen often inveighs against the Fallacy of Mood Affiliation:It seems to me that people are first choosing a mood or attitude, and then finding the disparate views which match to that mood and, to themselves, justifying those views by... MORE

The Most Educated Poor in History

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Check out Matt Bruenig's very good piece on education, poverty, credential inflation, and signaling.  Key facts:1. "As the adults migrated up the educational bins, they took the poverty into the higher educational bins with them:" 2. "Over this period, the... MORE

Open Borders Meetup: The Speech

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
The 2015 Open Borders Meetup went splendidly.  Seventy people attended, including Open Borders bloggers Nathan Smith, John Lee, and David Bennion.  My one regret: I had a prime opportunity to deliver a galvanizing speech, but failed to do so.  Here's... MORE

How Evil Are Politicians?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I think politicians are, by and large, evil people.  When I shared my verdict with a journalist friend, he strongly objected.  He rightly pointed out that he's had ample personal interaction with politicians.  In his experience, politicians of both parties... MORE

Straw Men Rule

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Yesterday I was on a panel on drug policy with a Virginia state senator.  As you'd expect, I made the case for full drug legalization.  And as you'd expect, he objected.  What's striking, though, is how he objected.  His top... MORE

Wars of Negligence

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I'm a pacifist because I think that you shouldn't kill innocent people unless you're reasonably sure that such killing will have very good consequences.  Occasionally I meet a thoughtful hawk who ably disputes my skepticism.  For the most part, though,... MORE

What Was Balkanization?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Here's how Dominic Lieven's The End of Tsarist Russia dissects Balkan politics in the years right before World War I:Here Macedonia remained the key focus of instability.  The commitment of the new regime in Constantinople to centralization and Turkish nationalism... MORE

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