Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: November 2005

An Author Archive by Month (22 entries)

Immigration on Trial

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
In a letter submitted to the Wall Street Journal, Cafe Hayek blogger Don Boudreaux observes: [O]pponents of openness often allege that immigrants come here to free-ride on taxpayer-supplied welfare. That this allegation is a canard is revealed by the innumerable... MORE

A Glacial Rate Isn't Bad

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
We're gaining a point of subjective health every 333 years. But on second thought, that's not so bad. Another way to express the same fact is to say that we are aging by only 9.5 months every year.... MORE

Tim Harford Speaks

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Patri Friedman has posted his interview of the Underground Economist himself, Tim Harford, at Catallarchy. My main quibble is when Tim says: People who oppose the use of markets in healthcare can point to two genuine problems: illness is extremely... MORE

Objective Facts About Subjective Health

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Lately economists have gotten awfully interested in subjective well-being, popularly known as "happiness." (Here's my take; here's Arnold's; and don't neglect Will Wilkinson's blog on the subject). And of course economists have long been interested in health - trying to... MORE

Captain Bligh: Bad Economist or Bad Psychologist?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
If you believe the movies, Captain Bligh caused the "mutiny on the Bounty" by being so harsh that his men decided that they had nothing to lose by kicking him off the ship. In other words, Captain Bligh was to... MORE

The Big Lie

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
I'm a trusting person by nature, so it's useful for me to reflect on how deceptive people can be. The following excerpt really helped focus my attention. It's from a speech given to the Associated Press in 1933 by Adolf... MORE

Arnold's Intriguing Idea

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Arnold has a thought-provoking new hypothesis about "Why People Hate Economics": Paul Bloom's essay "Is God an Accident?" in the latest issue of The Atlantic, suggests that humans' belief in God, Intelligent Design, and the afterlife is an artifact of... MORE

Acyclical Creative Destruction

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Schumpeter famously praised the "creative destruction" of the market: The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial... MORE

Simonizing Economics

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
When I was finishing up my book on voter irrationality, I had a lot of trouble tracking down any quotes confirming my belief that economists roughly buy into Julian Simon's views on the benefits of population. In the end, I... MORE

The Beauty of Marginalism

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
HBO's new series Rome cost $100 M to make, and its ratings are about one-fourth of The Sopranos'. But it's getting renewed anyway. Bad business? No, it looks like good old-fashioned marginalism and avoidance of the sunk-cost fallacy. According to... MORE

Salvaging Secularization

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Sociologists have been saying funeral rites for religion for over a century. Either it's already dying out, or its just about to have a heart attack - a claim known as the "secularization hypothesis." My debating partner Larry Iannaccone and... MORE

The Debate

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The turnout for the Iannaccone-Caplan Debate on Economics of Religion was excellent - about 300 people by my count. That's a striking illustration of interaction effects: as solo speakers either of us would have been lucky to draw 50 listeners!... MORE

Jane Galt's Self-Criticism

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
One of the main reasons to study psychological biases is to help us stop making them, but even many specialists don't bother to try to reform their thought processes. But don't give up hope. Jane Galt is a role model... MORE

Dear Adbusters: While your publication seems to have little use for neoclassical economics professors, there is at least one topic where you have my sympathy. Like you, I find most advertising to be extremely painful. Commercial radio, with its shrill... MORE

Go to Church or Play a Game?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I am tooling up for my debate on the economics of religion with Lawrence Iannaccone. Studying data from the General Social Survey, it's clear that people who attend church more are a bit happier. On a three-step scale (very happy/pretty... MORE

How Not To Interview

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun wisely tells us: "Every Hun has value even if only to serve as a bad example." In this spirit, a coven of grad students has produced videos of nine really bad interviews to illustrate... MORE

Chomsky Sci-Fi: They Live

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Way back in 1988, I saw John Carpenter's They Live, and last night, I watched it again. The plot: Aliens have infiltrated our society, and are brain-washing us by infusing pop culture with subliminal messages like "Obey," "Consume," "Watch TV,"... MORE

"Do the Opposite": Hanson on Externalities and Zoning

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
A while back, I wrote: In a classic episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza realized that his instincts were fundamentally wrong, and vowed to "do the opposite": George: Elaine, bald men, with no jobs, and no money, who live with their... MORE

"Free to Build": The Best Hope for Libertarian Populism

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
The last big populist movement that libertarians could and did embrace was the tax revolt of the late 70's and early 80's. Since then, there's been a long dry spell, at least in the U.S. And if you know much... MORE

Keyhole Surgery with The Undercover Economist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I'm joining the chorus of fans of Tim Harford's new book, The Undercover Economist. There's something good on practically every page, and though I furrowed my brow in skepticism every few pages, too, that's a pretty good batting average. As... MORE

Sea Inside of Happiness

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Will Wilkinson is pointing his rapier wit at happiness research with his new Happiness and Public Policy blog. It's a fascinating subject. Who would have guessed, for example, that quadriplegics are, on average, happy? Incidentally, if you want to see... MORE

Where Would You Prefer that Women Be Oppressed?

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
In September, Arnold wisely asked: On the issue of poverty and immigration, which Robert J. Samuelson raised, I would ask, "Where would you prefer that people be poor?" That is, do we want to insist that poor Hispanics should remain... MORE

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