Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: September 2005

An Author Archive by Month (26 entries)

A Parallel Fallacy

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
How would you respond to someone who said the following? GDP by definition is consumption plus investment plus government spending - C+I+G. Therefore increasing government spending increases GDP. The right answer, of course, is that higher G only increases GDP... MORE

NRO is 90 Degrees Off

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
When Tom Nugent of National Review Online tells us: Will private borrowers be crowded out [by increased government deficits]? Impossible. The causation is “loans create deposits,” as taught on day one of every traditional money and banking class. The act... MORE

Practicing What I Preach: How I Fight Statistical Discrimination

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
In a recent post, I said: If you really want to improve your group's image, telling other groups to stop stereotyping won't work. The stereotype is based on the underlying distribution of fact. It is far more realistic to turn... MORE

Suckers of the World, Bet!

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
I repeat the adage "All publicity is good publicity" every chance I get. So I shouldn't have needed iSteve to explain why Matthew Simmons was smart to make a sucker bet with John Tierney: What I realize now is that... MORE

Don't Call Me Stupid

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
I've proposed several alternatives to the adverse selection explanation for missing insurance markets. Here's another, with a somewhat Hansonian flavor: In part, people buy insurance so they don't "look stupid" when something bad happens to them. If you get in... MORE

In Search of Another Theory of Missing Insurance Markets

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
When economists notice that nobody sells insurance for X, they have a standard explanation: adverse selection. Why can't you buy flood insurance? Supposedly, because the highest-risk people will be first in line to buy it, which raises premiums, which encourages... MORE

Crashing Into Stereotypes

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
I normally wouldn't want to watch a movie in which "A series of racially charged events connects the lives of a disparate lot of Los Angelenos," (full review here) but the reviews of Crash were so glowing that I made... MORE

Multicollinearity and Micronumerosity

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
R.J. Rummel's critique of a Cato study set off a big bloggers' debate about the value of think tanks. The following passage in Rummel's critique got my attention: This correlation is meaningful for the kind of regression analysis Gartzke did,... MORE

Foresee the Empty Nest

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
I've been arguing for quite a while that most people - including us dads - would be selfishly better off if they had more kids. Parents focus too much on how exhausted they are now, and forget how lonely they're... MORE

Cynicism: Some Value-Added

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
According to Oscar Wilde, "The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." Since I believe that Robin Hanson's new short essay on cynicism is free but well worth the read, I can't agree.... MORE

Personality and Politics: New Evidence from Germany

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
I'm convinced that economists have a lot to learn from personality psychology. For example, personality is a great predictor of occupational choice. Librarians are highly introverted, and salesmen are highly extraverted, just as you'd expect. Preferences matter, Becker and Stigler... MORE

The Cynical Optimist

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Yesterday Robin Hanson, Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok, and I had lunch at Morton's to celebrate Robin's tenure. As the guest of honor, Robin picked the main topic of discussion. His choice: Cynicism - what it is, who's got it, and... MORE

ATTENTION: Szasz Prize Change of Venue

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I was just notified that the Szasz Prize ceremony has been moved from the Cato Institute in D.C. to the Harper Library at the GMU Law School in Arlington. The day and time remain the same: September 21, 6 PM.... MORE

The Best of Szasz

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
People occasionally ask me what Thomas Szasz's best works are. The optimal introduction is The Untamed Tongue. It's a book of aphorisms that cuts to the heart of his philosophy of mind. If it doesn't make you worry that there's... MORE

The Russian Soul

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
I came across these interesting thoughts from Soviet emigre Jamie Glazov in FrontPage magazine: [T]he governments of a people are a result of the neuroses of the people they rule. I was born in the Soviet Union. While I cherish... MORE

In 1995, Sachs and Warner published "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," one of my favorite "big think" papers on growth. The punchline: Basically any country can achieve decent growth by avoiding a handful of really stupid policies.... MORE

Bait and Switch: The Cynic's Argument for Gas Tax Cuts

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
Lots of economists in the blogosphere have been arguing about the effects of cutting gas taxes on the price of gas. Here's James Hamilton's summary, which ends with the following: [E]lasticities are never really zero, and are easy to underestimate... MORE

Escaping the Envy Trap

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
Lately I've been speculating that a high informal envy tax in primitive tribes was an important reason why growth was so slow for so long. I've also argued that this is equilibrium behavior. Jane Galt then raises the interesting question... MORE

Emotionomics

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Economists are growing more and more interested in the emotions. My colleague Dan Houser, for example, tells me that interesting experiments on guilt and cooperation are underway, and it wasn't hard for me to track down some examples: see here... MORE

The Tribal Trap

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
I recently argued that the high informal envy tax common to primitive tribes helps explain why economic growth was so low for so long. Matt McIntosh at Conjectures and Refutations faults my story for failing to "really explain the phenomenon... MORE

Gender and Labor Regulation in Sweden

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
John Ray has an interesting post on the effect of labor market regulations on Swedish women. The most striking finding he reports is that 75% of women in Sweden work in the public sector, compared to 25% of men: Swedish... MORE

Taxes and Prices: In Defense of the Simple Story

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
Alex Tabarrok chides the man-in-the-street for believing that cutting gas taxes will cut gas prices: Does the lifting of the tax change the demand for gasoline? No. Does it change the physical supply? No. At least not by much in... MORE

Gas Price Variance Up!

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
With the whole country bemoaning the rise in the average price of gas, a far more economically surprising change has been almost overlooked: The massive rise in the variance of the price of gas. Before the hurricane, the spread between... MORE

What Took You So Long?

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
At the semester's first Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Workshop, Tyler Cowen talked about the political economy of the Mexican village of Oapan. (For all the details, by his Markets and Cultural Voices). According to Tyler, being the political leader of... MORE

Hummel Reviews Woods

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Jeff Hummel, one of the most knowledgeable historians I personally know, has an interesting review online of Thomas Woods' Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. I haven't read the book, but the review is a fun read. I particularly liked... MORE

Bush's Hate Speech

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
The gougers are the most beastly, the coarsest, the most savage exploiters... These bloodsuckers have waxed rich during the hurricane on the people's want, they have amassed thousands and hundreds of thousands... These spiders have grown fat at the expense... MORE

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