Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: October 2005

An Author Archive by Month (24 entries)

See Saw II

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
The sequel to Saw, the greatest fictional exploration of the Prisoners' Dilemma ever, is finally here, and it's fantastic too. It isn't as easy to pigeonhole the sick games being played this time around, but Saw II's got the original's... MORE

More on the Muslim Median Voter

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
From an interesting profile of Ayaan Hirsi Ali in The Nation: As Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris have argued in their book Rising Tide, the true clash of opinions between Islam and the West is not about democracy but sex.... MORE

Who Hates Muslims the Most?

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
Another interesting result from Pew's "Islamic Extremism" survey: Americans are, compared to other Western countries, pro-Muslim! Only 22% of Americans surveyed admit to unfavorable views of Muslims. I suspect that many people who hate Muslims won't admit it, but the... MORE

What Does the Median Muslim Voter Want?

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
I'm one of the staunchest defenders of descriptive accuracy of the Median Voter Model, and one of the harshest critics of the median voter. Democracy gives the people what they want, but what they want is based on systematically mistaken... MORE

Revenge of the Game Theorist

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I'm a fan of behavioral economics, but I've got to admit that behavior economists can be painfully condescending. "You only disagree with it because you haven't bothered to read it," is the subtext, and sometimes it's out in the open.... MORE

Keep on Truckin', Stalin-Style

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Did central planners under socialism focus on economics or politics? Lazarev and Gregory present an interesting test in their article "The Wheels of a Command Economy." (Published in the 2002 Economic History Review, and popularized in Gregory and Harrison's piece... MORE

Why Inherited Wealth is Getting More Important

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Bryan Caplan
Arnold asks me: Which would be more valuable to Bryan's children--all his physical possessions, all his financial assets, or a large investment in their human capital? Probably 90 percent of his physical possessions will be obsolete by the time his... MORE

Bernanke's Nomination

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
My teacher Ben Bernanke has been nominated as Greenspan's replacement. While some libertarians think he's the Antichrist, in reality he's about the best that libertarians could reasonably hope for. As I wrote a few months back: I was a student... MORE

The Economics of Inheritance in Vanity Fair

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
The latest movie version of William Thackeray's Vanity Fair is more than watchable, and I don't think there's ever been a "chick flick" with so much economics in it. The basic setup is that poor but brilliant Becky Sharp uses... MORE

What the Future Holds

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Nick Bostrom and Milan Ćirković asked me to write a chapter for their edited volume on Global Catastrophic Risks. Most of the other contributors are natural scientists who consider the risks of things like asteroids, nanotech, and nuclear war. But... MORE

Wisdom from the Great Depression: Who Said It?

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Here are some surprisingly modern observations on the Great Depression from the year 1931: We live in a society organized in such a way that the activity of production depends on the individual business man hoping for a reasonable profit,... MORE

Who Wants to Privatize Lenin?

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
Who is most open to privatizing Lenin's mummy? You might think that it would be people to suffered under Communism, and want to turn their backs on anything tainted by it. But "Goodbye Lenin (or not?)" a fascinating paper by... MORE

Is the Econ Ph.D. a Free Lunch?

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
While your earning a Ph.D. in economics, you learn two big lessons: 1. There's no such thing as a free lunch. 2. You are in serious pain. On reflection, though, I've decided that both of these lessons fall short of... MORE

The Real Chiang Kaishek

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Brad DeLong recently described Chiang Kaishek as a "twentieth-century Chinese nationalist, socialist, general, and dictator." By itself, this description is rather surprising. The legendary Chinese anti-Communist was actually a socialist? But not only is Brad right about this; you could... MORE

Tom, Tyler, Bob, and Rob

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
While of course all of George Mason's Department of Economics was once again desperately rooting for Gordon Tullock to win the Nobel Prize, Thomas Schelling and Robert Aumann are welcome substitutes. They don't teach at GMU, of course, but our... MORE

Heroic Stature for Sale

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Eureka! I've been wanting to blog on my renewed love of the Hero System role-playing game for a while, but only five minutes ago did I find a solid econ segue way. In the spirit of Tyler Cowen's "Markets in... MORE

Was Jimmy Carter Elected President of Iraq?

Price Controls
Bryan Caplan
I just caught a story on Cap'n Arbyte that has to be read to be believed: Gasoline price controls in Iraq are responsible for retail gasoline shortages and a withering decline in refining capacity. BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) — The country... MORE

Privatize Lenin!

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Jane Galt drew my attention to a new push to bury Lenin's mummy. As usual in Russian politics, both sides are wrong. The economically sensible and morally beautiful choice would be to auction off Lenin's corpse on eBay, and use... MORE

The Sensible Knave's newborn daughter was born a couple months early. But not only is she doing well, she's giving her dad some thought-provoking ideas about international health comparisons. The highlight: In a tragic sort of way, inferior prenatal care... MORE

Social Choice Theory: A Case of Moral Blindness

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Steven Brams of NYU presented his latest paper on approval voting at GMU Wednesday. While it was better than most papers in the field of social choice theory, its main effect was to help me realize what's wrong with the... MORE

Controlling the Gender Gap

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Andrew Gelman links to a tantalizing summary of Warren Farrell's Why Men Earn More. As best as I can tell, Farrell's got 25 new control variables to add to the standard wage regressions. He... claims to have identified twenty-five tradeoffs... MORE

Ethics and IQ

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I claim that IQ research makes libertarian policy conclusions more compelling, but Tyler Cowen isn't convinced: When Bryan says "IQ matters a great deal" I hear "inelastic factors of production." IQ won't change much in the short run, and perhaps... MORE

The Inelasticity of IQ

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Unlike referees for academic journals, the blogosphere produces a lot constructive and thought-provoking criticism. Check out Biopolitical and Tyler Cowen's responses to my recent post on IQ. Biopolitical immediately brought up an issue worth elaborating on: I can see no... MORE

Does It Matter If IQ Matters?

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Lots of people loathe IQ research. But even people who are open-minded about IQ often puckishly say "So what?" It doesn't really matter if the IQ is the main determinant of earnings, or economic growth, or anything else. All that... MORE

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