Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Bryan Caplan: July 2011

An Author Archive by Month (25 entries)

The Barber (Not) Next Door

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
Today I strolled through my childhood neighborhood.  Northridge, California.  When I passed by the corner house that a barber owned long ago, I imagined the following dialog: Stagnationist: So the world just keeps getting better and better, eh?  Well let... MORE

Bridging the Conservative-Libertarian Impasse

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
A puzzle inspired by last night's debate: Conservatives and libertarians were almost equally likely to praise "liberty."  You'd think this shared value would facilitate a constructive dialog.  But it didn't - not even for the subset of "economic liberty."  Why... MORE

Question for Conservatives

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
As expected, I greatly enjoyed last night's Libertarianism vs. Conservative Debate at Cato.  I'm always impressed to see students publicly defend their cherished beliefs before hundreds of onlookers.  I spent most of the Q&A mentally searching for constructive questions -... MORE

Another Thought on Martorell and Clark

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
From my last post on Martorell and Clark:M&C have the best data set ever constructed for detecting ability bias.  After all, they've got measures of years of education, earnings, and initial test scores - i.e. test scores before high school... MORE

Role-Playing Games: Behind Their Time

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
In Why Not?, Nalebuff and Ayres draw our attention to inventions that took forever to arrive but seem obvious in retrospect:Think about the innovation of one-way tolls or rolling luggage.  Prewashed lettuce, the ultimate low-tech invention, has become a multibillion-dollar... MORE

I'm slowly working my way through the select group of empirical papers on signaling.  One of the neatest so far: Paco Martorell and Damon Clark's 2010 working paper, "The Signaling Value of a High School Diploma."  Background: There are quite... MORE

Breed Like Beckhams

Growth: Causal Factors
Bryan Caplan
Journalists usually love a good debate.  If there's one protectionist economist for every hundred free-traders, they'll still make an effort to "ask both sides."  A glaring exception: Today's piece in The Guardian on the Beckham's fertility.  The headline:Beckhams a "bad... MORE

The Wisdom of Steve Miller

Growth: Consequences
Bryan Caplan
Pete Boettke on Cowen's The Great Stagnation:The Great Stagnation is a condemnation of government growth over the 20th century.  It was made possible only by the amazing technological progress of the late 19th and early 20th century.  But as the... MORE

Against "Defensive War"

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Almost everyone is incredulous at my pacifist opposition to so-called "defensive war."  In last week's debate, Ilya Somin's case began with this supposedly clear-cut case of legitimate war.  What could possibly be wrong with a country using military means to... MORE

I've set up the resource page for my recent "Liberty and Foreign Policy" debate with Ilya Somin, including the complete audio (now in mp3), my Powerpoint slides, and Somin's outline.  Enjoy.P.S. Special thanks to Chris Baylor for organizing and handling... MORE

Fight, Flight, Submission: War and Rhetorical Asymmetry

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
My sons and I read some sad stories together.  Most recently, we shared Maus, Art Spiegelman's transcendent graphic novel about how his father survived Holocaust.  In the process, I've noticed something: My sons' preferred response to evil is always "fighting... MORE

Demeanor and Brutality

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
A question that came up at the Silver Diner after last night's debate:What fraction of police brutality could have been avoided if the victims has simply been respectful and submissive vis-a-vis the police?The question isn't intended to "blame the victim,"... MORE

People frequently try to refute my pacifism by merely saying "Hitler."  "If only Britain and France had declared war and unseated Hitler when he occupied the Rheinland in 1936!" they say.  My quick reply is, "Yes, but I've got a... MORE

Pacifism Redux

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Today I'm debating pacifism - another position I acquired in the process of blogging - with Ilya Somin at GMU's law school.  My pacifist writings so far:1. Why libertarians should be pacifists, not isolationists.2. The common-sense case for pacifism -... MORE

Words of Wisdom on Signaling

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
Oreopoulos and Salvanes's recent piece in the JEP begins with ample concessions to the signaling model of education:One issue is that schooling may help develop skills or it may help signal skills that individuals already have. If those with more... MORE

Job Satisfaction and Biblical Literalism

Labor Market
Bryan Caplan
After my last post, I spent a while playing with the GSS's job satisfaction data.  I tried adding a kitchen sink of regressors to education and log real income: IQ, age, year, race, sex, church attendance, political ideology.  The negative... MORE

Job Satisfaction, Education, and the Hedonic Treadmill

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
I won't deny that there's a lot of interesting material in "Priceless: The Nonpecuniary Benefits of Schooling" (Oreopoulos and Salvanes 2011, Journal of Economics Perspectives).  The theme, of course, is that the benefits of schooling go far beyond mere extra... MORE

Judge the Religious Turing Test

Economic Methods
Bryan Caplan
You can now vote in Leah Libresco's religious Turing Test.  Anyone care to predict the results?  Propose a bet?Update: I just voted.  Overall, amazingly credible answers - I suspect Leah is drawing heavily from ultra-sophisticated Ivy League Christians.  The main... MORE

Religious Turing Test Update

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
Leah Libresco is moving forward with her proposed religious Turing Test - and she'd appreciate your comments on her draft.  Stay tuned for the result.... MORE

Posner's Great Mystery

Economics of Health Care
Bryan Caplan
Posnerian quote of the day:Third-party payment is a pervasive feature of American medicine. Why anyone should want health insurance other than "major medical"--that is, insurance against catastrophic medical bills--is a great mystery, as is the fact that Medicare subsidizes routine... MORE

A Decade of Mexican Progress

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Bryan Caplan
I love immigrants.  But I don't mind declining immigration when it's driven by catch-up growth.  Here's the NYT on what happened in Mexico over the last decade:Per capita gross domestic product and family income have each jumped more than 45... MORE

Diamonds in the Rough

Economics of Education
Bryan Caplan
When people weigh the plausibility of the signaling model of education, they focus on the ease of on-the-job incompetence detection.  If it only takes a couple of months to notice that a person's credentials overstate their performance, how important can... MORE

Lessons from the Yellowjacket War

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
On July 13, I'm debating pacifism with Ilya Somin at the GMU law school.  (The debate's open to the public).  Yet last weekend I declared war on four nests of yellowjackets on my property.  I won, but one stinger pierced... MORE

A.B.A.: Always Be Advising

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
I often annoy other economists by giving advice.  "Economists are supposed to describe behavior, not change it," they insist.  But they couldn't be more wrong.  Economics is inherently advisory.  Anytime an economist notices a discrepancy between (a) the world as... MORE

Konner on Child Labor and Vain Dreams

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
More interesting stuff from Melvin Konner's The Evolution of Childhood:In the Six Cultures Study child rearing and behavior were measured among five farming and herding societies (in Kenya, the Phillipines, Japan, India, and Mexico) and a New England town... There... MORE

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