Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: June 2007

An Author Archive by Month (37 entries)

Data Mining: The Graphic Novel

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Check out The Right Number, an online graphic novel that effortlessly takes you from a charming vignette to an uber-creepy exercise in data mining. Not enough to make you give it a try? Let me add that it's by the... MORE

Supreme Court Overturns Per Se Rule; "Crazies" Rejoice

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
Price-fixing is no longer per se illegal, at least according to the New York Times. Decades after the big academic debate on resale price maintainence (RPM), five justices are convinced:The court struck down the 96-year-old rule that resale price maintenance... MORE

Evolution and genetics aside, my understanding of natural science is very weak. Fortunately, examining the bets experts are willing to make is a great substitute for understanding what they are talking about. So when Robin Hanson reports that global warming... MORE

The Preponderance of the Evidence

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Years ago I attacked the "reasonable doubt" standard of criminal justice, using the following hypothetical as a starting point: [I]magine that you are observing a trial for murder. Most of the evidence goes against the accused (who allegedly murdered a... MORE

Interview with Trent McBride, Including the Political Consequences of Immigration

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
Here's a print interview with Trent McBride of Distributed Republic. I had a lot of fun doing it, and there's little overlap with the (also very fun) Nick Schulz TCS interview. The highlight for EconLog readers will no doubt be... MORE

My Best Interview Ever

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
If Russ Roberts asks you to do a podcast for EconTalk, you'd be a fool to refuse. He gave me the most perceptive and engaging interview I've ever done. (And Robin Hanson tells me the same about his EconTalk podcast,... MORE

Transporting Success

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Over at Free Exchange, I ask "What's the best way to transport success?": Purely hypothetically, suppose you’ve written a pretty successful book published by Princeton University Press, and been favorably profiled in The New York Times Magazine and The Economist.... MORE

Closet Your Inner Economist?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Here's some advice from Discover Your Inner Economist that I won't be following: Think of "the economics of the family" as The Truth That Dare Not Speak Its Name. If you are the economically informed member of your family, or... MORE

My next book will use the under-valued signaling model to make The Case Against Education. On his blog, Tyler hasn't been buying my story:If education is pure signaling, just give everyone a standardized test in seventh grade and then close... MORE

Why Do Book-Sellers Discount Popular Books?

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
I've heard the question before, but this time, it's personal: Amazon just sharply slashed the price of my book to $19.77. The standard answer is that the (absolute value of) elasticity of demand is higher for more popular books. The... MORE

DeLong on Borjas on Immigration

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
DeLong concludes with a reasonable demand: [T]he thing to object to in the turn this entire debate has taken has been the failure to focus evenly on the consequences for all stakeholders in global migration--look at what happens to everyone,... MORE

Boo for Applause

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Almost everyone takes this for granted, but it still freaks me out: Audiences in presidential debates applaud just because a candidate says something they agree with. See for example the crowd's reaction when Giuliani scoffs at Ron Paul. You can... MORE

One of my pet ideas is the Jock/Nerd Theory of History. If you're reading this, you probably got a taste of it during your K-12 education, when your high grades and book smarts somehow failed to put you at the... MORE

A Confession: What I Was Thinking the Morning of November 3, 2004

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
November 3, 2004 - that's the day the world learned that Bush had been re-elected. I'd like to confess my first reaction to the results. Are you ready for some ugly narcissism? I hope so, because when I saw the... MORE

Who Wants Tyler To Be A Millionaire?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
Quick followup on my first guest post for the Economist: I wrote this on Sunday night, when the Amazon rank for Discover Your Inner Economist was about #40,000: Fun as Lott, Frank, and Landsburg’s books are, I don’t expect to... MORE

Watch the Platforms, Not the Winner

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The well-educated have relatively reasonably beliefs about policy. Puzzle: If you look at voting behavior, education does little to make people more Democratic or more Republican. So what difference does it... MORE

In yet another extremely fair review of my book, Jason Furman ends with a confession: Although largely immune to the widespread biases about economic issues that Caplan attributes to the unwashed masses, I find that I suffer from what he... MORE

Happiness Research in Five Minutes: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
It's a great day when my four-year-old sons and I agree on a book. (While we're on that subject, Happy Father's Day!) Our latest pick: William Steig's Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. This charming picture book will teach you more... MORE

Plenty to Like in Freedomnomics

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The Levitt-Lott feud is already the stuff of legends. By billing his latest book as "A Rebuttal to Freakonomics and More," Lott has made it clear that the feud's not over. If you're like me, squabbling is a big turn-off,... MORE

Neuroscience: Don't Be Intimidated

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
These days, psychiatrists favorite fig leaf for counter-intuitive claims is to hide behind neuroscience. "You think that serial killers are just evil people? Well, obviously you haven't seen these MRIs showing the serial killers have more/less of some brain chemical."... MORE

A Review to Be Envied

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
The best sentence I read this week: Brian Doherty has done for twentieth century libertarianism what Tacitus did for first century Rome.That's from Jerome Tucille's review of Radicals for Capitalism. If you haven't read it, you should.... MORE

Prescriptions for Democracy

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
The book review in the Economist says that "Mr Caplan is better at diagnosis than prescription." I have to agree. In fact, my diagnosis implies that administering a cure will be very difficult. The irrational majority will oppose any reforms... MORE

See One-Man, One-Vote Questioned on National TV

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
More educated people think more like economists; in fact, more educated people pretty much have more reasonable views across the board. Furthermore, by a happy coincidence, more educated people are more likely to vote. Once my book gets to policy... MORE

Ratio of Violent to Drug Offenders in Jail

Economics of Crime
Bryan Caplan
These official stats surprised even me. Back in 1980, State correctional facilities had 9 violent criminals for every drug offender. By 2003, that ratio was 2.6:1. Clearly, the War on Drugs launched during my teen years was not just rhetoric... MORE

Why Do the Poor Commit More Crime?

Economics of Crime
Bryan Caplan
Most economists have a glib answer: The worse your legal options, the better crime looks. But the more I think about this response, the weaker it seems. Here's a striking fact about crime: A lot of it is almost never... MORE

Hanson Convinces Me that Astrology Is a Science

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
The well-educated like to mock astrology; I've done it myself. But today over lunch, Robin Hanson convinced me that it's unfair to do so. There's nothing wrong with studying the predictive power of astrological signs. The only problem is concluding... MORE

Has the Internet Helped the Socially Awkward?

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Would you feel uncomfortable striking up a conversation with a stranger? How about over the Internet? If you're like me, you're a lot more outgoing over the Internet than you are in real life. At the same time, though, I... MORE

Victims of Communism Dedication Tomorrow

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
The Victims of Communism Memorial will be dedicated tomorrow in Washington, D.C. This is a great chance to set the record straight, and remember the greatest totalitarian disaster of human history. I wish they had worthier headline speakers than a... MORE

We Have a Winner: Hayek as if Orwell Mattered

Austrian Economics
Bryan Caplan
Here's a sweet rewrite of a typical Hayekian paragraph (Hat tip: Reg Hall): The successful application of science in our society has fostered the belief that the society itself can be similarly manipulated to our benefit. We need powerful arguments,... MORE

Richman on How to Break the Catch-22

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
From Sheldon Richman's review of my book: Caplan's solution is to "rely more on private choice and the free market." Good idea, though you'd have to get people to vote for that, so I'm not sure how effective that will... MORE

Bio-Economics in the Courtroom

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
True story: Twin brothers Raymon and Richard Miller are the father and uncle to a 3-year-old little girl. The problem is, they don't know which is which. Or who is who. The identical Missouri twins say they were unknowingly having... MORE

Who Wants to Marry Someone with Self-Control Issues?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
One of the topics Landsburg tackles in More Sex is Safer Sex is the puzzle of self-control. Why do people on diets "lock their refrigerator doors"? Landsburg's answer: "a taste for self-control confers a reproductive advantange"; or to put it... MORE

Does Learning Economics Radicalize the Right?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
While I was away, I missed a provocative post by Brad DeLong. Leftists need to study economics, but rightists all-too-often have an adverse reaction: By contrast, the neoclassical toolkit can be absolute poison for people right on center. It functions... MORE

Is Voter Irrationality a Catch-22?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
If voters are as irrational as I say, isn't political reform a hopeless cause? Will Wilkinson and I discuss this (and many other issues) over at Bloggingheads. Think about it this way: To mitigate the damage of irrational majority rule,... MORE

Why Oh Why Can't Hayek Write Better?

Austrian Economics
Bryan Caplan
I've returned from the Institute for Humane Studies' Liberty and Society seminar at Wake Forest University. Back in 1991, I was one of the students; now I'm faculty. Funny thing: The older I get, the more the writing style of... MORE

North on One Foot?

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
Arnold intrigues me:I've said before that the economics that I think gets no love is that of Douglass North, notwithstanding his Nobel Prize. One of the most interesting questions in economics is why we are so wealthy today compared to... MORE

Mindfulness and Mindlessness

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
One common objection to my theory of rational irrationality is that it is psychologically implausible. Am I really saying that people first figure out the truth, then decide whether the material consequences of disregarding the truth outweigh the psychic costs... MORE

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