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Bryan Caplan: April 2016

An Author Archive by Month (20 entries)

The End of Doom and Cost-Benefit Methodology

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Like all useful tools, cost-benefit analysis is flawed.  After surveying cost-benefit analyses of global warming and warming abatement, Ron Bailey's The End of Doom turns to methodological objections.  From his section on "How Much to Insure Against Low Probability Catastrophic... MORE

Global Warming, Cost-Benefit Analysis, and The End of Doom

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I learned Austrian economics over a year before I started learning regular economics.  The Austrians taught me to stonewall all cost-benefit analysis with methodological objections.  It took me years to see the emptiness of their approach.  Cost-benefit analysis is imperfect,... MORE

Two Alienated Questions

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I am deeply alienated from the society in which I live.  I regard our policies as criminal, and politicians of both major sides as evil people.  My assessment of our society's opinion leaders is similar, though milder and less categorical.Many... MORE

Taxing the Rich: Strange Hope for Liberty

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Scheve and Stasavage's Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Fairness in the United States and Europe (Princeton University Press, 2016) is a shocking book.  Given the title, I absolutely did not expect it to bolster libertarian morale.  But Taxing... MORE

Education: Free Matters

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Robin continues our exchange on the origins of educational signaling.  Here's my point-by-point reply, followed by a broader observation.  Robin's in blockquotes; I'm not. Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Where Bryan disagrees is that he sees government as the... MORE

The Diction of Social Desirability Bias

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
"Sorry, I can't come to your party."  This common excuse is almost always literally false.  You're working?  Unless your boss chains you to your desk, you can come to the party.  You're in Paris, and the party's in DC... MORE

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Behavioral Public Choice

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Public choice (also known as political economy) is applying economics to politics.  Behavioral economics is applying psychology to economics.  What happens when you do both at the same time, creating a "behavioral public choice"?  Gary Lucas and Slavisa Tasic's "Behavioral... MORE

Against Trolling

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I never troll; my sincerity is controversial enough.  In particular, I never (a) misrepresent my actual views, or (b) try to inspire negative emotions for their own sake.  There is nothing transgressive in my heart.  While I often expect my... MORE

My Complete Bet Inventory: 2016 Edition

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
With the kind volunteer assistance of Dan Osborne, here is an updated list of all my EconLog bets.  All omissions are my fault; if you catch any, please email me.  Here goes: 1. "I've bet my $200 to Walter's... MORE

The Welfare State and Taxes Are Bad, Mmkay

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
1. I turned my recent "Libertarianism Against the Welfare State: A Refresher" into a talk for the Cato Institute's spring interns.  Here are the slides.  2. In honor Tax Day, here's my op-ed of "Tax Day Reflections," rejected by the... MORE

Biased Behavioral Econ

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Behavioral economists often use their findings to argue for government intervention.  Critics of behavioral economics often accuse its practitioners of a tacit double standard: Human irrationality is a poor argument for government action because officials are human.  Question: Can behavioral... MORE

Updated Bet Inventory Bleg

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
My Complete Bet Inventory is six years out of date. I'm happy to buy lunch for and profusely thank the first person who updates it.... MORE

Inform Me

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
During the last five years, I put many of my concerns on hold so I could finish The Case Against Education.  Now that the project is wrapping up, I'm doubling back.  Many of the tasks are non-academic, like refinishing my... MORE

School Is to Submit: My Critique

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Robin Hanson and I have long agreed that education is mostly signaling.  But after reading The Case Against Education, my forthcoming book on educational signaling, Robin proposes a bold new theory of what's really going on.  At least on my... MORE

Ungag Expertise

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Brennan and Jaworski's Markets Without Limits defends the moral principle, "If you may do it for free, you may do it for money."  This is obviously controversial for sex, organs, and adoption.  But speech?  Doesn't the First Amendment ensure freedom... MORE

Naik on Credentialism and Immigration

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Occupational licensing is bad, but doesn't explain the financial rewards of seemingly useless education.  Except, Vipul Naik points out, for foreign workers.  Here's Vipul, reprinted with his permission:I think Bryan is broadly correct that government regulations in United States employment... MORE

Approaching Infinity by Michael Huemer

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
My favorite philosopher has just published a new book on metaphysics and philosophy of mathematics, entitled Approaching Infinity.  While I have little intrinsic interest in infinity, I can't imagine a better book on the topic.  I devoured the whole thing... MORE

Vietnam War Draft Resistance: Huemer Worked

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
In high school, I foolishly registered for the draft.  I had already arrived at the Huemerian theory of civil disobedience, according to which it is morally permissible to break unjust laws and evade the punishment for doing so.  Since I... MORE

Does Science Need Common Sense?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Does science need philosophy?  Jason Brennan incisively critiques philosophers' case for the affirmation.  How the "gotcha" works:A: "Science doesn't need philosophy! Science gets by on its own." B: "How do you know that the universe is uniform? How do you... MORE

Two Terror Graphs

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Is there anything seriously wrong or deeply misleading in either of these graphs?From Datagraver:From Statista:... MORE

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