Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

David Henderson: May 2010

An Author Archive by Month (31 entries)

Rent Sucking

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
Economists use the term "rent seeking" to refer to people investing resources in getting government favors. In the Concise Encyclopedia article I wrote on this, I explain why I think the term is inappropriate. But if rent seeking were the... MORE

Retirement Policy

Social Security
David Henderson
Co-blogger Bryan Caplan asks: Is there any country on earth that partly bases retirement benefits on the retirees' number of children? I was waiting for one of the commenters to mention the obvious example but no one did. So I... MORE

Mankiw's Clarity on Kidney Exchanges

Microeconomics
David Henderson
Mankiw hits a home run in a short space. In a blog post on Sunday, Greg Mankiw hit a home run in discussing the sale of kidneys. It's so well done, and so succinctly done, that there's no point in... MORE

The Actual Civil Rights Act

Labor Market
David Henderson
Over at Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok points out that much of the discussion of the Civil Rights Act is so 20th century. (My words for his thought.) One could even say "so 1960s." The reason: The Act was applied to... MORE

In today's Wall Street Journal, the editors have an editorial denouncing Kentucky candidate for the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul. It's strange. Here's the ending sentence of the first paragraph: But before we move on, it's important to understand why Mr.... MORE

Sumner on World Economic Growth

Growth: Causal Factors
David Henderson
This morning, Scott Sumner has an excellent post on economic growth and the extent to which it is due to what he calls "neoliberal" reforms. He never defines "neoliberal," but it's clear from the context and the specific policies that... MORE

Milton Friedman on Racial Discrimination

Labor Market
David Henderson
Kentucky candidate for U.S. Senate Rand Paul has made waves lately by saying that he would not have supported the part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that violates private persons' freedom of association. He stated that the parts of... MORE

Hope for Britain?

Economics of Crime
David Henderson
Here's are some excerpts from a speech that Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave this week: As we tear through the statute book, we'll do something no government ever has: We will ask you which laws you think should... MORE

Bartlett on Supply-Side Economics, Continued

Supply-side Economics
David Henderson
Three days ago I posted on part of Bruce Bartlett's excellent chapter, "The Rise and Fall of Supply-Side Economics," in his book, The New American Economy. I promised to get to the fall part. First, though, there's more interesting content... MORE

Income Variability

Taxation
David Henderson
In a post two months ago, I pointed out the important distinction between being high-income and being rich. I gave an example of a friend, and a couple of the commenters suggested that my friend guest blog about his situation.... MORE

Bruce Bartlett on Supply-Side Economics

Supply-side Economics
David Henderson
Bruce Bartlett's The New American Economy is currently my "Starbuck's book," i.e., the book I keep in my car and read a few pages of every time I'm in line at Starbuck's. I'm almost through and it's really quite good.... MORE

The Wall Street Journal's Math

Fiscal Policy
David Henderson
In today's Wall Street Journal, one of the editorials makes the following statement: Arizona got into this crisis because during the boom years--2003 to 2007--then-Governor Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, and Republicans in the legislature let spending climb by more than... MORE

Finally, Some Good News

Politics and Economics
David Henderson
The Fix is Out During the Clinton years the country edged left on issues of private autonomy (sex, divorce, casual drug use) while continuing to move right on economic autonomy (individual initiative, free markets, deregulation). This is from Mark Lilla,... MORE

Human Ingenuity in Gaza

International Trade
David Henderson
You can get a brand new BMW in the impoverished Gaza Strip, but it'll come in pieces which you'll have to weld together. This is from an article on the effect of restrictions on car imports into Gaza. What I... MORE

David Friedman on Robert Frank

Income Distribution
David Henderson
I posted a few days ago on the debate between David Friedman and Robert Frank about income distribution. Since then, Robert Frank has replied to David Friedman and David Friedman then replied to Frank. Well worth reading for two reasons.... MORE

In a post in February, I made the claim that in the 1981-82 recession, a fall in real wages helped employment recover. Menzie Chinn took issue with that, pointing to a time series showing real wages not falling. On Thursday,... MORE

John Goodman's Prediction Coming True

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
Internal documents recently reviewed by Fortune, originally requested by Congress, show what the bill's critics predicted, and what its champions dreaded: many large companies are examining a course that was heretofore unthinkable, dumping the health care coverage they provide to... MORE

Why Bryan Caplan's CEA Veto Wouldn't Work

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
In which the author shows himself to be more Caplanesque than Caplan I was reading through Bryan Caplan's excellent lecture notes on "Constitutions" for his Public Choice course. (Parenthetically, I'm blown away by the clarity and wisdom of his notes,... MORE

Arizona Collectivism

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
In a post a few days ago, I pointed out that many people on both sides of the new Arizona immigration law are being collectivists. A particularly flagrant example popped up in Highland Park, Illinois, where a school administrator cancelled... MORE

Robert Frank and Progressive Taxes

Taxation
David Henderson
In a debate with Robert Frank, David Friedman has pointed out some huge flaws in Frank's argument for higher taxes on "the rich." I found Friedman's critique devastating. I'll point to one highlight and then point out two criticisms I... MORE

Beautiful Cadillac Commercial

International Trade
David Henderson
I get so serious on this blog. So I thought I'd share a lighter moment: three moments actually. Check out this stunning Cadillac commercial from China. HT to Karen Selick.... MORE

Arizona Immigration Continued

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
David Henderson
I noticed that none of the commenters on my previous post today commented on the merits of my argument. [Actually, commenter #6, Douglass Holmes, did, but that came in after I started writing this post.] I was disappointed. Instead, most... MORE

Arizona Immigration: Battle of the Collectivists

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
David Henderson
Your Papers Please It's not hard for me to take sides on whether police in Arizona should be able to stop people simply on suspicion that they're in the United States illegally. I think this is one more step on... MORE

From the Vault: My 1983 Memo on Population Growth

Growth: Causal Factors
David Henderson
I came across the following memo that I wrote while a senior economist with President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. My main duty in that job was to fight off bad ideas, mainly from within the Administration. If I had... MORE

Has Arizona State University Been Audited?

Politics and Economics
David Henderson
A year ago, in his commencement address at Arizona State University, President Obama engaged in a little gallows humor. After ASU had decided not to give him an honorary degree, Obama joked about payback (at about the 1:17 point) for... MORE

Counterfactuals and World War II

Economic History
David Henderson
The Symmetry of Counterfactuals Last week, Bryan Caplan raised the issue of what would have happened to the world had Lenin died five years earlier. One of the commenters criticized the idea of considering counterfactuals and, in response, I defended... MORE

Pricing in Economics Textbooks

Economic Methods
David Henderson
On a list serve that I receive, Warren Gibson, an economics instructor at San Jose State University, recently wrote: Rothbard's Man, Economy, and State discusses bargaining at length but I can't think of another text that does so. Rothbard starts... MORE

Max Borders on Subjective Value

Microeconomics
David Henderson
The May Econlib article went up yesterday. It's titled "The Relentless Subjectivity of Value" and is written by Max Borders. My favorite paragraph is on Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein. Borders writes: Furthermore, nudgers are usually establishing choice architectures for... MORE

Capitalism: A Confused Story

Political Economy
David Henderson
Last week, I watched Michael Moore's latest movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, with two of my students. I took notes and we stopped at various points to discuss it. Some highlights: 10:40: He has a segment about a firm in... MORE

Amartya Sen vs. Dan Klein on Adam Smith

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Last week the New York Times blog had a post referencing an article on Adam Smith by Amartya Sen. Those of Sen's thoughts that sounded correct were not news and those that sounded like news were ones that I wasn't... MORE

History and Counterfactuals

Economic History
David Henderson
In response to Bryan Caplan's excellent post, "What If Lenin's Stroke Came [sic] Five Years Sooner," historian Susan, in the comments section writes: I'm setting aside the major problem of engaging in historical counterfactuals, which as a historian I find... MORE

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