Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: April 2006

An Author Archive by Month (20 entries)

"Summers!" "Superintendant Chalmers!"

Human Capital: Returns to entrepreneurs, skills, etc.
Bryan Caplan
Economics has hit the big time: The Larry Summers scandal has inspired the best Simpsons episode of the season! Principal Skinner puts his foot in his mouth by talking about the gender gap in mathematical ability, and hilarity ensues. Arguably... MORE

Waiting for Atlas

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Rumors of an Atlas Shrugged movie are once again circulating, and Brangelina may star. My dream is for Peter Jackson to make this his next trilogy. He can even recycle most of King Kong's New York! Hat tip to Catallarchy.... MORE

A Deserved Correction?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Will Wilkinson denies that I was the only defender of desert at a recent Liberty Fund conference. Hmm. I seem to remember that one participant asked for a show of hands of all defenders of desert, and only mine went... MORE

Shocked by the Gender Gap

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
As I've said before, the data show that men think more like economists than women do. But today I came across some new data (or data I once saw and then forgot about?) showing a gender gap that is quite... MORE

The Promise: See You Opening Day?

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
My favorite foreign director, Chen Kaige, has a new movie, The Promise, coming to U.S. theaters on May 5. He's best-known for Farewell My Concubine, which follows a duo of Chinese opera stars from their childhood in the 1920's, to... MORE

Defending Desert

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I just got back from a Liberty Fund conference on Serena Olsaretti's Liberty, Desert, and the Market. (Here's Will Wilkinson's account). The big surprise: Only one libertarian out of more than a dozen was willing to defend the free market... MORE

Modeling the Man Date

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
I just got back from a conference with Will Wilkinson where he mentioned that the New York Times had canonized the "man date": Simply defined a man date is two heterosexual men socializing without the crutch of business or sports.... MORE

Can Psychology Save the Death Penalty?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
There's a striking passage in Freakonomics that echoes an argument I've occasionally made myself: Namely, that the death penalty as it is now practiced couldn't have much effect because it is so unlikely to actually be imposed. [G]iven the rarity... MORE

Builders' Rights?

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
When I scoffed at the idea that we should help low-skilled Americans by keeping out and deporting immigrants, some angry folks retorted: "We Americans built this country! That makes it ours, and entitles us to keep them out." Which makes... MORE

Communist Economic Policy: Stalinism or the Red Army?

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Did the members of the Soviet bloc copy Stalin's economic policies after World War II because they were run by True Believers? Or were they just afraid of the Red Army? My knee-jerk reaction is to say "True Believers, of... MORE

Politics Gets Ugly

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Scandinavian economists Henrik Jordahl, Niclas Berggren, and Panu Poutvaara are conducting a survey on Beauty in Politics. Do we judge politicians by how they look, and, if so, how? Go here to help them find out.... MORE

Trains versus Tulips

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I just got back from a relaxing trip to the famous Vanderbilt mansion, the Biltmore, in Asheville, North Carolina. The mansion was constructed at the behest of George Vanderbilt, grandson of shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Biltmore is especially... MORE

Dear Prudence

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Would a society made up of totally selfish human beings be worse than the society we have today? Could it even function? In last week's Inaugural James M. Buchanan Lecture, Deirdre McCloskey seemed to think that the obvious answers were... MORE

Economic Literacy Via Philosophy?

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Arnold writes: I had lunch today with a friend whose daughter is planning to major in philosophy, with minors in religious studies and classics. My reaction was to say (to my friend's horror), "Sounds like she could be on the... MORE

Take a Guess

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
One of the most frustrating things about non-economists is their reluctance to guess. Latest example: Today at the repair shop. Mechanic: The freon's going to leak out unless we replace the compressor. Me: How fast? Mechanic: Don't know. Me: Could... MORE

The Gender Gap of Economics

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Men think more like economists than women do. According to my calculations in "What Makes People Think Like Economists?," (Journal of Law and Economics 44(2), October 2001, pp.395-426) being male has roughly 16% of the effect of a Ph.D. in... MORE

AIDS in Africa: Too Bad to Be True

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
I've long been skeptical of the statistics for AIDS in Africa. The whole story had a quasi-Soviet flavor to it. The main difference: Soviet growth statistics were too good to be true, while African AIDS statistics were too bad to... MORE

Economists are deeply suspicious of lexicographic preferences - that is, preferences which are supposed to take absolute precedence over other preferences. "You can't be serious." If you have a lexicographic preference for lifespan over other goods, for example, you would... MORE

The Common Sense of Scapegoating

Game Theory
Bryan Caplan
Suppose your long-term enemy has compromised himself somehow. You're in a position to demand satisfaction, but his position is too strong to actually get rid of him. What could you do instead? In practice, a common solution is to insist... MORE

Should I Take to Drink?

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
I'm the kind of patient who tries doctors' patience. A memorable check-up from a few years ago (before Robin Hanson convinced me they were a waste of time): Doc: Do you smoke? Me: No. Doc: Do you drink? Me: No.... MORE

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