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Bryan Caplan: August 2016

An Author Archive by Month (19 entries)

Animal Farm in Reverse

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Orwell's Animal Farm parodies Soviet propaganda:On Sunday mornings Squealer, holding down a long strip of paper with his trotter, would read out to them lists of figures proving that the production of every class of foodstuff had increased by two... MORE

Closing Comments on Captain Fantastic

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
[Warning: More spoilers!]Two further comments on Captain Fantastic:1. I know of no other movie that so powerfully captures the fun of large families.  Homeschooling one kid off the grid would feel lonely and dull for parent and child alike.  Homeschooling... MORE

Commentary on Captain Fantastic

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
[Warning: Packed with Captain Fantastic spoilers!]Few movies speak to me more personally than Captain Fantastic.  It's not just a movie about homeschooling; it's a movie about natalist homeschoolers living in a nearly-airtight Bubble.  And psychologically, the movie's patriarch eerily resembles me. ... MORE

Neurotic Politics

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Neuroticism - the tendency to experience negative emotions like anger, fear, and sadness - is a pillar of the Five Factor Model of personality.  Human beings routinely attribute their emotions to external circumstances.  For proximate causes, they're often right.  The... MORE

Metzger on Headline Dismay Minimization

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Interesting reaction to Tuesday's post from my friend Perry Metzger.  Perry, with his permission:My biggie is the number of people who die from medical errors and bad hygiene in hospitals. It's thousands a day globally. Unlike the global murder problem,... MORE

The Fall 2016 Public Choice Center Seminar Series

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
This academic year, I'm in charge of the Public Choice Center Seminar series.  Seminars are normally on Wednesdays from 12:00-1:15 PM, and are open to the public.  Since I am not a fan of actually-existing seminars, I'm experimenting with a... MORE

Headline Dismay Minimization

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Evaluate this simple cynical theory of what almost every politically aware person really wants: Minimizing the negative emotions they personally experience when they read/see/hear top news stories.  In other words, the politically aware strongly care about even objectively minor problems... MORE

An ITT I Cannot Pass

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I pride myself on my ability to fairly and accurately explain views with which I disagree.  I've tried to enshrine this skill in what I call the Ideological Turing Test - the ability of non-believers to mimic believers in a... MORE

Huemer's "Relativism and Tyranny"

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
The latest installment in my lost works of Michael Huemer series is his 1992 essay, "Relativism and Tyranny."  The paper begins with an infamous quote from 1984, then distinguishes nine theses moral relativists (whether self-conscious or by default) routinely equivocate... MORE

The Immigration/Labor Demand Elasticity Puzzle

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
While labor demand elasticity is pretty clearly negative, virtually all estimates have an absolute value less than 2.  Yet estimated effects of immigration on native wages are tiny.  Kerr and Kerr's summary is typical.The documented wage elasticities are small and... MORE

Labor Demand Elasticity: Boredom is Thoughtless

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
When workers are cheaper, employers want more.  But how many more?  Does a 1% fall in the price of labor entice .1% higher employment?  .5% more?  1% more?  In technical terms, what is labor's elasticity of demand?  So much hinges... MORE

Open Borders Philanthropy Bleg

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Question from a reader.  Any fruitful ideas? Dear Prof. Caplan, I've long been intuitively in favor of open borders, but it is only recently that I have spent a bit of time reading the literature both for and against this... MORE

Murder Equivalents

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Economists are often accused of believing that everything - health, happiness, life itself - can be measured in money. What we actually believe is even odder. We believe that everything can be measured in anything. --David Friedman, Hidden OrderEconomists' have... MORE

What I Fail to Realize

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I'm a fallible human being, so when people say, "Bryan, what you fail to realize is..." I listen closely.  Precisely what do I fail to realize?  I'd really like to know.Most of the time, though, I'm sadly disappointed.  The things... MORE

Johnson Bet

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
I have bet Daniel Filan $100 at even odds that Gary Johnson will receive less than or equal to 5% of the 2016 U.S. Presidential popular vote. I hope to lose, since I (a) consider Johnson far less bad than... MORE

The Huemer-Caplan Exchange

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Publication of Michael Huemer's lost works continues.  Today, we have the 1992 Huemer-Caplan correspondence on his philosophical system, which concludes with my ultimately successful effort to convert him to anarcho-capitalism.... MORE

Huemer's Letter to Brian Doherty

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Next in the early unpublished writings of Michael Huemer, we have this long letter to Brian Doherty, who subsequently wrote the wonderful Radicals for Capitalism.P.S. If you see Team Caplan here at GenCon, please say hi. :-)... MORE

Is It Really Conscious?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
In The Age of Em, Robin Hanson tries to sidestep philosophical questions, especially, "Would your Artificial Intelligences (AIs) actually be conscious?"  But if you seek to evaluate the world of the future, everything revolves around this infamous philosophical challenge.  Suppose... MORE

Tolstoy, Hypocrisy, and Puritanism

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
This summer I'm reading Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace for the third time.  It's the greatest novel of history's most patiently observant novelist, and every reading unearths further greatness.  This time, I was struck by this passage exploring puritanism and... MORE

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