Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

David Henderson: May 2012

An Author Archive by Month (35 entries)

John Mueller on Port Security

Economics of Crime
David Henderson
Among other ventures, this concern has led to a rather bizarre, and highly expensive, preoccupation with port security, driven by the assumptions, apparently, 1) that after manufacturing their device at great expense and effort overseas, an atomic terrorist or desperately... MORE

Summers Joins FIRE

Economics of Education
David Henderson
FIRE is pleased to announce the newest addition to its Board of Advisors - Lawrence H. Summers. Professor Summers is President Emeritus of Harvard University. For those of you who don't know, FIRE is the Foundation for Individual Rights in... MORE

The Problem with Wikipedia

Economic Education
David Henderson
When I first heard about Wikipedia, I thought, "this can't work." My reason: there was no assurance that letting huge numbers of people fill in entries and update things would lead to correct information. That said, it works much better... MORE

Wikipedia's Error on the Dismal Science

Economic History
David Henderson
In addition to Adam Smith's legacy, Say's law, Malthus theories of population and Ricardo's iron law of wages became central doctrines of classical economics. The pessimistic nature of these theories led to Carlyle calling economics the dismal science and it... MORE

Great Moments in Numeracy: LBJ's Odds of Becoming President

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
When it became clear to Johnson that he could not reach the top of the ticket, he began to consider the second spot. He had his staff look up how many presidents in the previous hundred years had died in... MORE

A Memorial Day Appreciation

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
Over at "Facts and Other Stubborn Things," Daniel Kuehn, a frequent commenter on this site, asks that we share thoughts of appreciation for veterans. Here is mine. It's for Richard Timberlake, a well-known monetary economist and student of Milton Friedman.... MORE

The Economics of Sanctions on Iraq

International Trade
David Henderson
However, the devastation of Iraq in the service of limiting proliferation did not begin with the war in 2003. For the previous 13 years, that country had suffered under economic sanctions, visited upon it by both Democratic and Republican administrations,... MORE

Friday Night Video: Markets Breed Virtue

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson

Do College Students Get a Bad Break from Adjuncts?

Economics of Education
David Henderson
In a guest post at Megan McArdle's blog yesterday, former political science professor Laura McKenna lays out some interesting data on colleges. She notes a shift of fairly high-quality students from private colleges to government colleges. The reason, she notes,... MORE

Quotations from Alice Rivlin

Fiscal Policy
David Henderson
My last post was about Sidney Winter's talk at the Naval Postgraduate School on Monday. This is about Alice Rivlin, the co-presenter. The format she and her husband, Sidney Winter, tried was to model a productive discussion between a "liberal,"... MORE

Sidney Winter's Case for Government Intervention

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Married couple economists Sidney Winter and Alice Rivlin came to the Naval Postgraduate School today and gave a joint talk. I'll blog on Rivlin's talk tomorrow. Today I want to focus on a true story that Winter told to make... MORE

Alan Reynolds writes: One affluent member of the Top One Percent club, Paul Krugman, has narrowed his sights to the even more affluent top 0.1 percent in his new book, End This Depression Now! He claims that, "Recent work by... MORE

A Question of Principle?

moral reasoning
David Henderson
I watched most of the movie Paradise Road yesterday. I recommend it, by the way. It's about a large group of women who were captured in Singapore during World War II and taken prisoner by the Japanese government to the... MORE

TSA: Thieves Sacking Americans

Regulation
David Henderson
Read David Friedman's latest blog post and the comments on it for his story about TSA. it turns out that there really is a noticeable difference between government workers in protected jobs and private firms hired to do the government's... MORE

Friday Night Video: The Joy of Capitalism

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
This is from a talk I gave in 2001. Update: In response to Jonathan Bechtel below. For how strangers who are paid to be nice to you look awfully like a friendly community, see my post on New York.... MORE

In the comments section on my recent post on unpaid internships, there was a lot of good discussion and the argument did advance somewhat. To his credit, Derek Thompson engaged in the debate in a positive way as did many... MORE

The Good and the Bad

Fiscal Policy
David Henderson
The Good Scott Sumner has an excellent post about Krugman and about fiscal policy in Britain and Sweden. To refute the idea that the Swedish economy is doing well (Krugman admits it's doing well) even though the Swedish government has... MORE

Are Unpaid Internships Immoral?

Labor Market
David Henderson
Derek Thompson at the Atlantic blog argues that unpaid internships are immoral. His case? The essence of it is that because the employer gets valuable services, the employer should pay for them. Of course, the employer does pay for them,... MORE

Financial Advisor

Finance
David Henderson
NOTE: This post is NOT financial advice. Rather, it's my relating of some interesting stories that my tax accountant told me. Every March I have my annual meeting with my tax accountant. The meeting lasts 30 minutes. In the first... MORE

Timothy Taylor on Editing Economists

Economic Education
David Henderson
Timothy Taylor, managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, has an excellent article in the Spring 2012 issue on his job of editing economists. I'll hit highlights along with comments on how his experience with editing dovetails with mine.... MORE

Bob Murphy's Critique of Bill Nordhaus

Energy, Environment, Resources
David Henderson
In March, I had a post about William Nordhaus's article in the New York Review of Books, an article in which he responded to claims by 16 scientists who are global warming skeptics. That post gave rise to a lot... MORE

Does Facebook Restrict Liberty?

Regulation
David Henderson
In a comment at the Bleeding Heart Libertarians (BHL) site, "figleaf" wrote: Consider further that the privately owned Facebook restricts user liberty more than any fully-owned public university website. Therefore it's not as simple as private-sector = more liberty, public... MORE

Morning Roundup

Monetary Policy
David Henderson
There are too many interesting things to write about at length this morning and so I'll just say a little about three. EU Dispersion: Check out this graphic of hypothetical monetary unions to see how incredibly diverse are the members... MORE

Redo of Proposition 29 Tax Calculations

Taxation
David Henderson
In a comment on my post yesterday, BLM4L had another way of calculating the implied elasticity of demand for cigarettes. His looked right; mine looked right too. But they didn't give the same result. The problem, it turns out, is... MORE

Economic Analysis of Prop 29

Taxation
David Henderson
Good Analysis by a Government Official Next month, we California voters will get to vote on Proposition 29, an initiative to raise the cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack. On Econlog, we are not allowed to advocate passage or defeat... MORE

Small businesses care almost twice as much about licensing regulations as they do about tax rates when rating the business-friendliness of their state or local government. The power to tax is the power to destroy. That seems obvious. What may... MORE

Is Cybersecurity a Public Good?

Public Goods
David Henderson
The usual argument for government intervention, aside from the paternalist and the distribution arguments, is some kind of "market failure," either in the area of public goods or in the area of externalities. When economists want to make a case... MORE

Are Resources Exhaustible?

Energy, Environment, Resources
David Henderson
If resources are not fixed but created, then the nature of the scarcity problem changes dramatically. For the technological means involved in the use of resources determines their creation and therefore the extent of their scarcity. The nature of the... MORE

Chris Edwards on Time-Inconsistent Fiscal Policy

Fiscal Policy
David Henderson
To Keynesians, the short run is always more important than the long run, so it's impossible for them to have a "credible" long-run commitment to deficit reduction. Even today, prominent Keynesian economists are demanding more "stimulus," but the economy is... MORE

Mankiw's Missing Solution

Business Economics
David Henderson
I'm using some of the chapters of Greg Mankiw's economics textbook, Essentials of Economics, in an Energy Economics class I'm teaching. Most of the students have never taken an economics course or took one more than 7 years ago. I've... MORE

Curley Effect in California

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston, used wasteful redistribution to his poor Irish constituents and incendiary rhetoric to encourage richer citizens to emigrate from Boston, thereby shaping the electorate in his favor. Boston as a consequence stagnated, but... MORE

Paul vs. Paul

Monetary Policy
David Henderson
If you had asked me how I would have expected Ron Paul to do in debating Paul Krugman, I would have said that Krugman would score a TKO. He would rack up points in each round and dominate. This isn't... MORE

The Top 0.1 Percent

Human Capital: Returns to entrepreneurs, skills, etc.
David Henderson
Paul Krugman has a post today linking to an article in the New York Times magazine about a wealthy man named Edward Conard. In the second line of his post, Krugman writes: Because, you see, they don't spend all their... MORE

Bleeding-Heart Libertarianism: Stephen Hicks Weighs In

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Philosophy professor (and fellow Canuck) Stephens Hicks has a thoughtful post on bleeding-heart libertarianism (BHL). The whole thing is not long and is well worth reading. Two highlights: As a political-philosophical method: BHL says we should start politics by dividing... MORE

George Stigler on Prisons

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
In a comment on my last post, John Goodman went in a different direction from mine. I had pointed out that prisons make people poor or keep them poor. My idea was that many of the people in prison shouldn't... MORE

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