Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: May 2008

An Author Archive by Month (35 entries)

Riptopia is Time is Money

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Heard of Riptopia? It's a CD-to-mp3 conversion service - just what every iPod junkie needs. Good news: I've tried it, and it works. Here's how: You buy it on Amazon, and they send you some CD spindles. You fill the... MORE

My Favorite Fifteen Minutes in Europe...

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
...was riding the Hasenhorn in the the Black Forest town of Todtnau. Fifteen minutes in a skilift to the top of a mighty mountain in the middle of nowhere, followed by a three kilometer toboggan track back down to the... MORE

Robin Hanson to Technophiles: Get Real

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
I've often heard Robin Hanson called a "space cadet" or even a "replicant." So it's pretty dramatic to see him throw cold water on his fellow cadets:Sigh. The US government spends more on space research than on NIH and NSF... MORE

Extending the Enlightened Preference Approach: Proceed With Caution

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
How would people's preferences change if they knew more? Political scientists usually attack this question using the so-called "Enlightened Preference" method. (See Scott Althaus' Collective Preferences in Democratic Politics for a fantastic survey of this large literature). The gist of... MORE

Meet Growthology

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
I like the first two weeks of Growthology, the new blog by Tim Kane and Bob Litan. Highlights from what is perhaps its best post so far:After 12 years, Peter Carlson is leaving his job as a journalist covering magazine... MORE

Meet the Rational Optimist

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I like the first post on the new blog, The Rational Optimist:Some say we need pessimists, to see what’s wrong with how things are, and push for positive change. Yet pessimism and cynicism actually foster resignation, despair, and a sense... MORE

Why You've Got to Read Gogol's Dead Souls

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Bryan Caplan
I like to catch up on the classics on vacation. Tyler recommended Gogol's Dead Souls. I normally despise blogs with big block quotes, but for the best passage so far in this very very good work, I'll make an exception:Of... MORE

France Bet With Franck

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
Raphael Franck, a French Israeli professor, has been visting at the Public Choice Center for the last two years. He leaves for good on Saturday. And in the true GMU spirit, we've worked out a bet as a going-away present.... MORE

Persuading Tyler Cowen

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
Tyler's said this before, but it still flabbergasts me:It's funny how Bryan thinks he can cite my actions as evidence against the correct belief. That's absurd; for instance I also don't act as if determinism is true, but citing that... MORE

Did Japan's Gas Tax Holiday Work?

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
A reader sent me a gated article claiming that Japan's version of the gax tax holiday passed roughly 100% of the savings on to consumers. But I can't find any confirmation on google. Does anyone know anything about this? Links?... MORE

The Ministry of Silly Hospitals

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Check out these true Monty Python-esque dialogues between a series of hospitals and a guy who wants an affordable colonoscopy. First dialogue:Conversation with Stanford Hospital: Me: My wife needs a colonoscopy: Could you give me a price on it? Stanford... MORE

I gained five pounds in Europe. And it was optimal. Partly, that's just because the food was both good and different from what I can easily get in Virginia. The fundamental reason I gain weight on vacations, though, is that... MORE

Quality Health Care for Peanuts: How Singapore Does It

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
If Michael Moore really wanted to challenge our preconceptions about health care, Sicko would have been a documentary about health care in Singapore. Nick Schulz just pointed me to a very good summary of how the system works. It's not... MORE

How Different Are People? A Caplan-Cowen Dialogue

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Here's a true conversation between me and Tyler Cowen, filtered through several years of memory:Tyler: People like to think they're special, but we're all pretty much the same. Me: No we're not. Some people are really great; others are simply... MORE

From the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly:[S]ome producers fear that a strike is inevitable - especially since an estimated 80 percent of SAG members are unemployed and thus have nothing to lose by walking out.This is a cute quip, but... MORE

Reflections on the Evolution in France

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
I'm back from Europe. Though I'm still playing catch up, here are a couple of observations from my travels: 1. I've often heard people claim that "You can become American, but you can't become French." All my experience in France... MORE

The Best Things European

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
Tonight I'm headed to Europe for the first time since 2001. Unlike Tyler Cowen, I can't provide lists of the five best long-haired archaeologists from Monaco. So you'll have to settle for my list of the Best Things European. Here... MORE

The Under-Principled Life

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I just finished re-watching The Bridge on the River Kwai. If you've never seen it, it's all about Colonel Nicholson (played by Alec Guinness), a British officer with Principles. Nicholson refuses to try to escape from his POW camp, because... MORE

Oil, Inventories, and Bubbles

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
Krugman says that since we're not building up inventories, the high price of oil isn't a bubble:The only way speculation can have a persistent effect on oil prices, then, is if it leads to physical hoarding -- an increase in... MORE

Brooks' Hidden Secrets of Happiness

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Arthur Brooks, of Gross National Happiness fame, is now guest blogging for Freakonomics. So this seems like the perfect time to disclose his hidden secrets of happiness - the "a-ha" surprises you'll find on a close reading of his book:... MORE

Good Question

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
From Fatal Misconceptions:And why did organizations that proclaimed family planning as a human right fail to oppose increasingly coercive policies in India and China? Why, instead, did they provide friendly advice and support, and defend them to all the world?... MORE

Don't Call Me a Philistine

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Unlike the last French arthouse movie I saw, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is excellent. If, like me, you find it hard to believe that the average quadriplegic is fairly happy, this movie will convince you. In fact, it... MORE

Listen to the Children

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Here's a deeply important passage from my favorite survey of the time diary literature:One of Galinsky's more surprising findings centered around a question she posed to both children and parents: "If you were granted one wish to change the way... MORE

Tradition of Liberty: Advanced Studies Seminar

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
There are actually a couple spots left at the IHS seminar I'll be doing this summer. Email John Thrasher (jthrashe at gmu.edu) directly if you want in. My topics:The Myth of the Rational VoterPublic Choice and Public GoodsThe Case Against... MORE

The Cynical Case for the Gas Tax Holiday: From EconLog to the NYT

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
I've finally made the Gray Lady: Today's New York Times features my op-ed inspired by Sunday's post, "I'll Shill for Hillary." I hope critics don't misrepresent me as an economic apostate; I'm not dissenting from the standard analysis, just taking... MORE

How expensive will gasoline have to get before the federal government brings back price controls? My guess is $5.50. What's yours?... MORE

What I'm Going to Do on My Summer Vacation

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
1. I'll be in Europe for the first time since 2001 for Jon Elster's conference on "Collective Wisdom: Principles and Mechanisms" at the Collège de France in Paris. (It's open to the public, but space is limited). My wife and... MORE

The $.30 Question

Microeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Amazon has been charging $19.77 for my book for almost a year. But very recently, they cut the price to $19.47. Why $.30? Why now? Ideas? P.S. If someone who actually works for Amazon knows the answer, won't you please... MORE

Why Hillary's Harmless

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
A while back I argued that trade policy would be better under Hillary than Obama:My assumption is that neither candidate would actively promote free trade, so the greater evil is the candidate who can "get things done." Given Obama's winning... MORE

The Time Capsule from 1983

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Here's Tyler:I ask Bryan: would he still take the advice that his 12-year-old self might have taped to a door?My answer: Definitely, especially if my time capsule from 1983 contained advice about how to treat kids. You can say "hindsight... MORE

Gender in EJW

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
The latest issue of Dan Klein's Econ Journal Watch is out, featuring a brainy symposium on gender balance in the economics profession. (For my general view, see this). I particularly liked psychologist John Johnson's contribution. Highlights:The dominant model of vocational... MORE

Over the Sea: Patri's Dream

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
One of my favorite footnotes in Brian Doherty's Radicals for Capitalism:Patri Friedman, grandson of Milton and son of anarcho-theorist David, is even today actively planning to launch artificial sea platform communities, which he's calling seasteads, currently hoping to start one... MORE

I'll Shill for Hillary

Political Economy
Bryan Caplan
Hillary's having trouble finding an economist to back her suspension of the gas tax. But she need look no further - I'll rise to the challenge. Here's my economic case for the tax cut: 1. The American people want to... MORE

India, 1977: A Libertarian Populist Moment

Politics and Economics
Bryan Caplan
Matthew Connelly's outstanding Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population nearly brought a pro-democratic tear to my elitist libertarian eye. Trotsky once wrote that:In a country where the sole employer is the state... [t]he old principle: who does not... MORE

Who Said It?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
From Matthew Connelly's Fatal Misconceptions:X was asked whether this was fair to the poor. "Well, as you know," he replied, "there are many things in life that are not fair, that wealthy people can afford and poor people can't." But... MORE

Return to top