Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: August 2009

An Author Archive by Month (25 entries)

Antitrust Through the Lens of Marginal Revolution

Regulation and Subsidies
Bryan Caplan
Marginal Revolution premiered six years and tens days ago.  Alex and Tyler may not have been the very first academic economists to start blogging, but they still got in at the ground floor.  I don't know how many people read... MORE

Why Do People Oppose Organ Markets?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Will Wilkinson writes:It seems that Bryan thinks most opposition to markets in organs is a function of either ignorance of the likely consequences or perverse and exotic moral premises. This makes me wonder if he has ever debated this issue... MORE

How Long Would Peter Pan Live?

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
In 2005, American kids aged 5-14 had a death rate of 16.3 per 100,000.  Here's one way to think about how incredibly low that is:Suppose a kid could keep that childhood mortality rate forever.  What would be his expected lifespan? ... MORE

Did Armageddon Happen?

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
Several people in both Sweden and the U.S. have asked me if the bail-outs of 2008 saved us from "financial Armageddon" or "financial Götterdämmerung."  My question: What does Armageddon look like?  Suppose there had been no bail-outs, and everything that's... MORE

How often have you heard the quip, "The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent"?  The idea: Even if the market is ridiculously overvalued, you won't make money by shorting it.  You'll probably go bankrupt instead of... MORE

Health Care: Price Controls versus Budgeting

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Arnold is worried about economists who would "[t]ry to deal with health care costs by setting health care provider compensation policy in Washington."  I'm not quite sure what Arnold has in mind here.  But when the typical person makes this... MORE

Is Bernanke a Hu Jintao?

Political Economy
Bryan Caplan
Scott Sumner has repeatedly attacked Bernanke for his failure to base his monetary policy on his monetary economics.  But yesterday he argued that leaders in non-totalitarian countries don't make much difference.  Unlike Mao, current Chinese dictator Hu Jintao couldn't start... MORE

Arnold writes:On health care, the irrational public--the ones that want government to keep its hands off their Medicare--is helping to fight the Progressives who want to impose a health plan that is based on what I see as a failed... MORE

Sumner Digest

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Sumner's latest mini-essay is a thing of beauty.  Highlights:1. Sumner on the Fundamental Attribution Non-Error:I think we all listen to our friends, relatives, and colleagues complain about their predicament, and then silently think, "Well what do they expect?  Their predicament... MORE

Edified

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
My colleagues Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok have published a new economics principles textbook.  It's amazing, then, that Alex is still giving away fantastic economic education for free.  Check out his latest post, and get edified:Imagine that a single employer... MORE

At the Mont Pelerin Society, the Swedish economist who commented on my paper criticized me for stealth utilitarianism.  Since economics by itself has no policy implications, any economist who gives policy advice requires a moral premise.  Since I didn't explicitly... MORE

Incentives Matter: Prison Rape Edition

Economics of Crime
Bryan Caplan
If I had to serve time, I'd prefer to be sent to a for-profit prison factory.  The main reason: I think my employer would make an effort to protect me from severe abuse.  After all, a victimized indentured servant is... MORE

When Americans visit Europe, they see a lot to like: Charming boulevards, delicious food, and historic cities that feel safe.  When Europeans visit the U.S., it's not so pretty: While major American cities are impressive, their inhabitants can be more... MORE

Back in the fifties, kids didn't even have seatbelts.  My dad tells me that in 1971 I came home from the hospital the old-fashioned way: In my mother's arms.  Nowadays, in contrast, we transport our babies using special infant carriers... MORE

One of the most striking things about Denmark and Sweden: Almost everyone is overqualified for his job.  The guy who sells train tickets doesn't just punch buttons and collect cash; he knows his regional transit network like the back of... MORE

Denmark and Sweden: Expectations versus Experience

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
I'm amazed by how many Swedes knew about my list of Scandinavian expectations.  Now that I'm back, I'm ready to compare expectations to experience:1. Denmark and Sweden will be more aesthetically pleasing than most of the U.S., but markedly less... MORE

The Law of Inflated Expectations

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
Do you want to know the clearest sign that someone is a bad driver?  If they think everyone else is a bad driver.  Why do these people imagine that everyone else is a bad driver?  Because they have unreasonably high... MORE

Denmark and Sweden: What I'm Expecting

Cross-country Comparisons
Bryan Caplan
Today I start my trip to Denmark and Sweden.  I'll be lecturing at CEPOS in Copenhagen, and the Research Institute of Industrial Economics and Mont Pelerin Society meetings in Stockholm.  Since I've never visited either of these paragons of the... MORE

Modernity as a Children's Paradise

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
If you based your worldview on fictional television programs, you would conclude that life was a lot better for kids back in the fifties.  Nothing seriously bad ever happens to kids on Leave It to Beaver.  But on shows like... MORE

Geoffrey Miller: Progressive for Intelligence

IQ in Economics
Bryan Caplan
Overall, I'm critical of Geoffrey Miller's Spent (see here, here, and here).  But I'm impressed that after proclaiming himself "a secular humanist, an antiwar internationalist, an animal-rights environmentalist, a pro-gay feminist, a libertarian on most social, sexual, and cultural issues,... MORE

The Economics and Philosophy of the Wall

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I usually dislike movies based on true stories.  But The Tunnel, a tale of five heroes who tunnel under the Berlin Wall to rescue their family and friends, is excellent.  We don't just vicariously enjoy the excitement of digging to... MORE

How Arnold Underestimates Reputation

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
Arnold writes:I think that reputation matters when exit matters. That is, if people will switch suppliers based on word of mouth, then reputation will be important.This sounds eminently plausible, but it's misleading.  Imagine a world where we all choose our... MORE

When Doesn't Reputation Work Well?

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
Paul Krugman can't believe how much I trust in the power of reputation to keep health insurers honest.  He's right about one thing: I think reputation works wonders - not just in insurance, but throughout modern economies.  I could talk... MORE

Insurance, Reputation, and Caricature

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Here's a view Krugman attributes to me:Of course, there's also an alternative universe in which insurance companies would never, never treat their clients badly, because that would hurt their reputations.Here's what I explicitly said in my original piece on insurance... MORE

Insurance, Reputation, and Kristallnacht

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Bryan Caplan
In 1938, Jewish businesses and synagogues through Germany were burned and looted in a massive pogrom.  Historians call the incident Kristallnacht.  The Nazis naturally blamed the Jews.  So the Nazis were horrified when they realized that Aryan-owned insurance companies were... MORE

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