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Bryan Caplan: January 2016

An Author Archive by Month (18 entries)

An Ivy League Admissions Officer Speaks

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
My post on elite high schools and college admission led an Ivy League admissions officer to email me.  Here's what he wrote, with his kind permission.  Name and school redacted.Bryan, Your post on TJ caught my eye, as last... MORE

My Future of Freedom Foundation Interview

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
The Future of Freedom Foundation's Jacob Hornberger and Richard Ebeling interviewed me for their Youtube show.  Enjoy.... MORE

Welcome to the first installment of the EconLog Reading Club on Ancestry and Long-Run Growth. This week's paper: Putterman, Louis, and David Weil. 2010. "Post-1500 Population Flows and the Long-Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality." Quarterly Journal of Economics... MORE

An Educational Challenge

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
In Mastering 'Metrics, Angrist and Pischke write: [S]ome people cut their schooling short so as to pursue more immediately lucrative activities.  Sir Mick Jagger abandoned his pursuit of a degree at the London School of Economics in 1963 to play... MORE

Ponnuru's Corollary to Hanlon's Razor

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" is technically known as Hanlon's Razor.  Ramesh Ponnuru's proposes a novel corollary:Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. This sound aphorism may have... MORE

Means-Testing Social Security: The Cohen-Friedman Debate, I

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Did you know that in 1972, Milton Friedman debated former HEW Secretary Wilbur Cohen on means-testing Social Security?  Until two weeks ago, I sure didn't.  To be honest, neither debater is at the top of his game.  Cohen makes a... MORE

The Ambitious Case Against T.J.

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
In northern Virginia, parents yearn to "get their kids into T.J." - the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.  It's our answer to New York's Bronx Science and Stuyvesant - publicly-funded high schools for the best and brightest. ... MORE

Forgetting How to Drive in the Snow

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Last night, less than one inch of snow caused massive traffic jams in DC.  Hypothesis, inspired by today's post on forgetting: Holding snowfall constant, the traffic jams will be most severe at the start of every snow season, then decline. ... MORE

Forgetting: The Basic Facts

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
You don't know most of what you've learned.  Why not?  Because human beings forget.  How and why do they forget?  The main story is that people forget what they don't use.  A bit of googling turned up a nice meta-analysis,... MORE

The Missing Moods

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Last month, I argued that people's moods provide information about their reliability:Yes, the desire to feel any specific mood can lead people into error.  At the same time, however, some moods are symptoms of error, and others are symptoms of... MORE

In last year's Caplan-Jones immigration debate, Garett heavily appealed to research on ancestry and growth.  The gist:Countries now inhabited by the descendants of historically advanced civilizations do much better than countries now inhabited by descendants of historically backwards civilizations.  How... MORE

I Changed My Mind About Betting

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The most profound way I changed my mind:When I was a child, I thought betting was like playing with matches.  Only fools did either.  The habit stuck through my twenties until I met Robin Hanson.  Hanging out with Robin didn't... MORE

"Poor Programs" Bleg

Political Economy
Bryan Caplan
"Poverty programs will always be poor programs."  I've heard this thought many times, but the original source seems to be former HEW Secretary Wilbur Cohen.  His exact words: "A program that deals only with the poor will end up being... MORE

The Great Pacification, U.S. Edition

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Recent horrors notwithstanding, there is a strong long-run global trend toward fewer war deaths.  A new paper by Tim Kane somewhat surprisingly shows that there is also a strong long-run trend toward lower U.S. troop deployments.  Basic graph:  US troops... MORE

Terrorism and Innumeracy

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Maverick Philosopher Bill Vallicella responds to my praise of Nathan Smith on terrorism:The Caplan/Smith argument is that because the number of auto-related deaths is much greater than terror-related deaths so far, a high level  of concern about terrorism is not... MORE

Western Civilization is a Hardy Weed: The Case of Islam

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
The brilliant Nathan Smith has a brilliant new essay, "The Islamophobic Case for Open Borders."  Here are choice selections.A familiar truism well-expressed: If we're still driving cars despite thousands of automobile accident deaths per year, we don't really set the... MORE

A Teen Tries the Ideological Turing Test

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
A practice test essay question from Cracking the A.P. U.S. History Exam:Evaluate the extent to which farmers and factory workers did not easily adapt to changes stemming from industrialization in the years 1865-1900.Standard textbooks lament the plights of farmers and... MORE

I Win My Inflation Bet with Robert Murphy

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Six years ago, Robert Murphy and I made the following bet:At any point between now and January 2016, if there is a year/year increase in seasonally adjusted CPI that is at least 10%, then you pay me at that time... MORE

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