Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: May 2005

An Author Archive by Month (19 entries)

Deadly Medicine and Youthful Rebellion

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
My colleague Robin Hanson introduced me to contrarian research on both health and the family. The orthodox views, of course, are that medicine is the primary cause for rising life expectancy, and good parenting is the primary cause of happy,... MORE

Don't Do Me Any Favors

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
What do you do if someone you don't like tries to give you an expensive present? Homo economicus would happily take it: "It's not like I signed a contract!" But most people would at least think twice before accepting the... MORE

Two Cheers for the Jedi

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Warning: Sith spoilers! It's tough to learn that my mentor Tyler Cowen is a Sith Lord, but I should have seen the signs. Only a Sith could watch the ruthless destruction of the Jedi order, then get on his soapbox... MORE

Political Business Cycles: They're Alive!

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Twenty five years ago, political business cycles were a hot topic. The idea is that incumbents artificially juice up the economy during election years to improve their chances of re-election. By the time I was in grad school, though, conventional... MORE

Motivating Sheep

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Perhaps the greatest truth about human nature that you do not find in the typical economics textbook is that people are sheep. Most human beings don't like to be different from the others around them; they want to fit in... MORE

Framing Effects and Memory

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Economists have heard a fair amount from psychologists about "framing effects." Redescribing your options sometimes changes your choice. Firms would rather advertise the sale of "half-full glasses," than "half-empty glasses," though of course they're the same thing. Aldert Vrij's book... MORE

An Infinite Contradiction

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
David Card has a new study arguing that immigration has basically no effect on the wages of domestic low-skilled workers. This confirms his earlier results on the famed Mariel boatlift, when Castro freed 125,000 Cubans to flee to Miami. Is... MORE

Is that a Fact?

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
Reading William Greider is one of my guilty pleasures. Credit where credit is due: The guy can write. And the content is interesting, blending fun facts about the economy with bizarre interpretations thereof. Sometimes, however, I wonder whether his "facts"... MORE

Detect Lie

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
In the game Dungeons & Dragons, there is a magic spell called detect lie (or at least there was back in the first edition). A couple of my favorite high school gaming sessions revolved around the player characters flinging accusations... MORE

Past Performance and Probability

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
Half-Sigma has an interesting comment on my "Four Bad Role Models." Merely looking at past performance of stocks is not a sufficient basis for saying that stocks will outperform Social Security. One of the basic mantras of investing is that... MORE

From Religion to Real Estate

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
My colleague Larry Iannaccone is not just the world's expert on the economics of religion. He's also got some intriguing views on real estate. Cars have been mass produced on assembly lines for a long time, and the cost savings... MORE

Four Bad Role Models

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
Some Nobel prize-winning economists keep investing foolishly even though they know better, according to a recent L.A. Times article. Here are their statements, ordered from bad to worse: Harry Markowitz, father of modern portfolio theory, put half of his assets... MORE

Aren't You Cold?

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
I wear shorts about 10 months per year, and I live near Washington DC. Judging from the number of funny looks I get, and the number of times perfect strangers stare at me and ask "Aren't you cold?," my behavior... MORE

Does Unified Government Mean Big Government?

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
New evidence confirms my suspicion that divided government leads to smaller government. The latest news: A policy analysis by Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies at the Cato Institute, finds that: "Total government spending grew by 33 percent during Bush’s... MORE

Rent-Seeking in Sin City

Public Choice Theory
Bryan Caplan
Here's a great passage in Sin City: The Hard Goodbye that didn't make the movie: In this town just about anything you can name that's worth doing is against the law. It works out better for everybody this way. Cops... MORE

Should Economists Go to Finishing School?

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
People don't like economists, and they don't listen to us. Economists who want to influence public opinion often connect the two problems. Maybe if we had tact, manners, and warmth, we wouldn't turn off our audience. And if we didn't... MORE

Don't Clean That Plate

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Economists have been joining the bandwagon against obesity. Part of me suspects that this is one of those problems that feels worse if people talk about it. The more people lament obesity, the more unaesthetically obese people I notice. Every... MORE

Martyrs and Gamers

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Silviu Dochia at Corner Solution has an insightful critique of my recent post on Larry Iannaccone and the market for martyrs. In the conclusion of my original piece, I wrote: In other words, for every person willing to die, there... MORE

May Day Mourning

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Jonathan Wilde at Catallarchy has orchestrated a moving and edifying May Day blog extravangaza on the dark history of communism. Catallarchy has gone the extra mile here, offering twelve fine short essays, and leading off with R.J. Rummel, Nicholas Weininger,... MORE

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