Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: May 2011

An Author Archive by Month (30 entries)

The Golden Age of Immigration

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
The Gilded Age was no libertarian paradise, and it certainly had far lower per-capita GDP than the modern world.  Nevertheless, the Gilded Age was awesome in many important ways.  Above all, as Goldin, Cameron, and Balarajan explain in Exceptional People:... MORE

MalAdaptive: The Political Economy of RCTs

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The gold standard of modern social science is the bona fide experiment, also known as a "random controlled trial."  "The stuff going on at the Poverty Action Lab" is the modal answer to the standard GMU lunch question, "What's the... MORE

Questions for Minimum Wage Supporters

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
1. If the minimum wage is a good idea, shouldn't unpaid internships be illegal as well?  If not, why not?  2. Name the main arguments in favor of the legality of unpaid internships.  Aren't all of them equally good arguments... MORE

How Much Good Can One Intelligent, Wise, Brave Leader Do?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Tim Harford's behavioral political economy from Adapt:Our instinctive response, when faced with a complicated challenge, is to look for a leader who will solve it.  It wasn't just Obama: every president is elected after promising to change the way politics... MORE

Murray and Marriage

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
I had an interesting argument with Charles Murray at yesterday's Cato Book Forum.  While he expressed fundamental agreement with my views on nature and nurture, he thought parental marital status was an important exception.  Children of divorce do worse than... MORE

Greg Clark at the Movies

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
Over at Cato Unbound, I gave Greg Clark a challenge:Name the most credible measure of idea production that isn't at least moderately positively correlated with population.In his reply, he pointed to Iceland:The 300,000 people of Iceland produced 70 films (features,... MORE

Yes Mom

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Today I learned that I (partly) inspired a charming parenting experiment.  British journalist Lucy Cavendish:  There are various blogs and websites devoted to the notion that we should give our children free choice, and, in this way, encourage their development... MORE

Robots of the Future: A Poor Argument for Socialism

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
For Matt Yglesias, my vision of the future - "Simon for people, Malthus for robots" - is a powerful argument for socialism:Another way of putting it would be Simon (i.e., plenty) for capital and Malthus (i.e., subsistence) for labor. That,... MORE

Consumption-Biased Technological Change

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
On last night's PBS, Paul Solman interviewed Tyler about The Great Stagnation in Tyler's antiquated kitchen.  MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson provided counterpoint.  Highlight: Solman versus Brynjolfsson: Solman:Sure, high-tech gadgetry abounds, says Cowen, but it hasn't transformed our economy and created new... MORE

What the Future Holds: A Hanson-English Translation

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
I had an enlightening conversation with Robin Hanson today where we came to near-complete agreement.  Unfortunately, he decided to summarize our shared conclusion in his own idiocyncratic language:The tiny fraction of future humans who are not robots might well manage... MORE

Replies to Critics on Cato Unbound

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Highlights from my reply to Greg Clark:I am pleased to in principle accept Greg's proposed bet: So if Bryan wants to bet even odds that farmland prices will be higher relative to average wages in 30 years time, I am... MORE

Reflections on Gifted Programs

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Full disclosure: The idea of schools without gifted programs fills me with visceral meritocratic outrage.  In junior high and high school, tracking was the only thing that made my life bearable.  In my memory, normal classes were a combination of... MORE

How Could the Draft Not Be Slavery?

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
From the Free Dictionary:slav·er·y  1. The state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slaveholder or household.con·scrip·tion 1. Compulsory enrollment, especially for the armed forces; draft.To me, you'd have to be blind to deny the libertarian truism that... MORE

Two Points on Kids and Happiness

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
My favorite parts from my Cato Unbound reply to Betsey Stevenson:2. My own research confirms Betsey's first key point: Higher-income and older parents have a smaller happiness deficit.  And she is correct to claim that these are precisely the parents... MORE

Hanson on Regulatory Bias

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Don't miss this great post by the great Robin Hanson.  The heart of it:[R]egulations hold some things to higher standards than others, even when the relevant consequences seem similar. For example we seem to prefer: Individuals over firmsNon-money over money... MORE

Why Libertarians Should Not Fear Good Things

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
From my reply on Cato Unbound to Matthew Connelly:As far as I can tell, Connelly doesn't deny that fertility is good.  But he's afraid of the consequences of admitting that fertility is good. After all, won't governments take advantage of... MORE

Appearances

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
1. Today I'm supposed to be on the Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC between 4 and 5 PM EST.2. On May 25 at 4 PM, the Cato Institute is holding a book forum on Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. ... MORE

I think the political externalities of immigration are greatly overblown.  This piece by Chicago Public Policy Ph.D. student Tino Sanandaji presents the other side more effectively than anyone else I've read.  I'm too busy to reply for a while, but... MORE

The Morality of Fractional Reserve Banking

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
One of Murray Rothbard's strangest doctrines is that fractional reserve banking (i.e. virtually all banking with which First World consumers have any direct experience) is inherently fraudulent and should therefore be illegal.  As he puts it in The Mystery of... MORE

Posner and Becker on 10 Billion People

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
Posner's a nervous optimist:But suppose world population will reach 10.1 billion by the end of this century. Would that be a good or a bad thing? Arguably a good thing, on several grounds. One is that it would enable greater... MORE

The Extra Burden of Childless Elders

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Contrary to popular opinion, it has always been rare for people to financially support their aged parents.  In earlier times, people died too soon to "collect their pension" from their kids.  Nowadays the elderly live long enough to collect, but... MORE

The Fed: A Cost-Benefit Reckoning

Monetary Policy
Bryan Caplan
Steve Miller and I have a question on the latest Kauffman econ bloggers' survey.  Namely:Taking into account its entire history, do you think the Federal Reserve has done more harm than good?Survey says:All things considered, this is an amazingly anti-Fed... MORE

One More Reason to Thank Your Mom

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Two questions occur to me this Mother's Day:1. How many readers are here today because your dad pressured your mom to have you?  2. How many readers are here today because your mom pressured your dad to have you?It's hard... MORE

Predict the More Predictive Test

IQ in Economics
Bryan Caplan
IQ scores predict a wide range of life outcomes and respond to incentives.  But almost all of the evidence that IQ predicts life outcomes comes from IQ tests that don't use incentives.  Which raises a big question: Would incentivized IQ... MORE

What Is IQ - and Why Does It Matter?

IQ in Economics
Bryan Caplan
Years ago, I told Tyler Cowen, "It's surprising that IQ tests predict life outcomes so well, because there's usually no financial incentive to get a high score."  He replied, "People try out of pride - an under-rated motive."  So when... MORE

SRtHMK Reactions

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
My book's gotten a lot of feedback recently:1. Nicole Russell in the Washington Times:This isn't your average parenting book spouting psychologist-laden babble about the inner workings of the human psyche, inherent selfishness and bearing children. Rather, Mr. Caplan, an economics... MORE

Liberty, Population, and Cognitive Dissonance

Energy, Environment, Resources
Bryan Caplan
My target essay at this month's Cato Unbound is up.  From the intro:People have been fretting about the "population problem" for at least fifty years. But over those five decades, the perceived problem has practically reversed. From the sixties to... MORE

Open Borders and The Walking Dead

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
I just finished volume 13 of The Walking Dead.  It's my favorite comics discovery since Barefoot Gen.  At first glance, it's mere genre fiction - an unexplained zombie plague destroys civilization in a matter of weeks, leaving a handful of... MORE

Keynes and Central Planning

Macroeconomics
Bryan Caplan
The new Keynes-Hayek video has been reviving academic interest in history of thought.  The issue: Was Keynes an advocate of central planning?  This is well outside my expertise, but I can't resist quoting the infamous intro to the German edition... MORE

Just Try It; or, Nudge for Kids

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
The media have run me ragged for the last two weeks.  But I'm not complaining; it's a great experience, and I'm learning as I go.  The single best point I've heard boils down to "nudge for kids."  It goes something... MORE

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