Bryan Caplan, David Henderson, and Arnold Kling

David Henderson: March 2011

An Author Archive by Month (38 entries)

The Value of Sports

Economics and Culture
David Henderson
Commenting on my post on sports, my friend John Goodman said that he was surprised that I am so into sports. People who knew me before I was about 32 are surprised too, one of the main ones being my... MORE

Are High Food Prices Due to the Fed?

Monetary Policy
David Henderson
On Judge Napolitano's "Freedom Watch" on March 25, Austrian economist Bob Murphy claimed that the unrest in the Middle East was due to rising food prices which in turn are due to the Fed printing money. I'm not sure about... MORE

NCAA Outcomes: Margins and Randomness

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
The outcomes so far in the NCAA men's basketball games have surprised most people. The biggest surprise is Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) beating the mighty Kansas, President Obama's choice to win the whole thing. VCU's wins are surprising. But it,... MORE

King Khan

Economics of Education
David Henderson
I second Arnold's recommendation of the Khan video. Some highlights: 4:47: These videos help even an autistic kid. Wow! 5:10: "Here I was, an analyst at a hedge fund; it was very strange for me to do something of social... MORE

The Greatest American Hero

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
I wrote this one evening in the fall of 1981 after watching an episode of "The Greatest American Hero" in which the key character interacts with the Lone Ranger. I had known nothing ab0ut the show but I was suddenly... MORE

The Cost of War

Upcoming Events
David Henderson
Tomorrow, Friday, March 25, I'll be giving at a talk at California State University, Monterey Bay, titled "The Cost of War." It goes from 10:00 to noon and is open to the public. Here's the announcement and here are the... MORE

Quiggin's Zombie

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
It is disappointing that there is one zombie idea that Quiggin does not bury and still buys into: the idea that a government with a lot of coercive power over people's lives can be trusted to use that power for... MORE

My AEA Speech for Ed Clark, 1980

Political Economy
David Henderson
Here is the speech I referred to in my previous post. I would like to thank Leonard Silk for his fundamental decency and sense of fair play in letting me appear here today. I come before you to speak on... MORE

My AEA Speech on the Presidential Panel, 1980

Political Economy
David Henderson
In 1980, the American Economics Association had its annual meeting in Denver in early September. When I arrived and paid my dues, I noticed that the program had a session planned for the first day titled, "Presidential Candidates' Economic and... MORE

The Best Charities

Income Distribution
David Henderson
I received the following from a regular reader of this blog, an economics professor who was one of my best teachers when I studied economics for a year at the University of Western Ontario: Hi David, I have enjoyed your... MORE

John Goodman on Inequality and Lotteries

Income Distribution
David Henderson
I can't think of anything in the private sector that even begins to compare to this reverse Robin Hood redistribution from the poor to the rich and the nouveau riche. And remember, in order to pull it off, government first... MORE

How to Help Poor People in Poor Countries, Part 2

Income Distribution
David Henderson
I was gratified by the response--in quantity and quality--to my post yesterday, "How to Help Poor People in Poor Countries, Part 2." I promised to say what my colleagues wrote in response to my question. Before doing so, I'll point... MORE

How to Help Poor People in Poor Countries, Part 1

Income Distribution
David Henderson
About 40 to 60 percent of the economists around my campus--the Naval Postgraduate School--get together for a brown-bag lunch around a table once a month and just talk about whatever is on our minds. We're an eclectic bunch. There are... MORE

Asymmetric Loss Functions

Cost-benefit Analysis
David Henderson
One of the most important things I learned from my Economics professors at UCLA was at a cocktail party at the late Sherwin Rosen's place in Rochester, New York. Labor economist Finis Welch was visiting from UCLA and I had... MORE

Discussions of government spending are carried on as if there's a clearcut difference between "discretionary spending" on the one hand and "mandatory" or "entitlement" spending on the other. What do the words mean? Discretionary spending is spending that politicians have... MORE

Kinsley on Budget Cutting

Fiscal Policy
David Henderson
Zinni's article [on why it's absolutely necessary to keep government funding of the U.S. Institute of Peace] is a good example of a genre of literature we'll be seeing a lot of as the president and Congress grapple with the... MORE

Critical Thinking on the Holocaust

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Since students actually know so little, I must explain the differences between Holocaust deniers, Holocaust minimizers, and Hitler rehabilitationists. I must explain propaganda and euphemism and anti-Zionism. I must acquaint them with fascism, eugenics, Romantic struggle and surrender, Einsatzgruppen and... MORE

Your Taxes at Work

Taxation
David Henderson
From Third Way comes this clever exercise in numeracy: seeing how important various parts of the federal budget are by translating it into what you pay in taxes for each part. So you plug in all the taxes you pay,... MORE

In a comment on my post, Minimum Wage: The Missing Explanation, Tom West writes: I'm not certain it's necessarily a net loss for the USA to have actually had labor laws and unionization that led to a middle class large... MORE

Should Caesar Have Been Killed?

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
Is this a day to celebrate or to mourn the death of Julius Caesar? That's the question for the Ides of March. Here's what Wikipedia says about his policies: When the triumph was over, Caesar set forth to passing an... MORE

The Problem with (Some) Experimental Economics

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
David Henderson
On Facebook today, a friend posed the following question that he had heard in a sermon: Would you rather have $100K for your own use OR $1M to be given away (anonymously to a good cause with whom you have... MORE

Central Planning in Health Care

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
President Obama has repeatedly given us his vision of how to lower the cost of health care and raise its quality: Find out what works; then get everyone else to copy it. Toward that end, the administration is making millions... MORE

Gene Smiley on the Great Depression

Macroeconomics
David Henderson
One of the commenters, mark, on Arnold's post today on the Great Depression noted that Gene Smiley has a book out on it. The book is excellent. I asked Gene to put in a few thousand words the highlights of... MORE

Minimum Wage: The Missing Explanation

Labor Market
David Henderson
LET THEM WORK In essence, we have seen the rise of a large class of "zero marginal product workers," to coin a term. Their productivity may not be literally zero, but it is lower than the cost of training, employing,... MORE

Power Corrupts

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
"Power tends to corrupt: absolute power corrupts absolutely." This quote is, of course, from Lord Acton. Today, Megan McArdle has laid out beautifully how it corrupts. This is my favorite McArdle post in a long time. She starts with a... MORE

Card and Krueger on Minimum Wage

Labor Market
David Henderson
'How,' ask Card and Krueger early in the book, 'can the general public, most governments, and many other social scientists disagree with the negative view of the minimum wage that is so widely held by economists?' (p. 7). The reader... MORE

Hummel on Fed Accounting

Monetary Policy
David Henderson
Jeff Hummel has posted a careful analysis of the Federal Reserve's recent change in accounting rules. His bottom line is that basically the change is no big deal. Although Jeff makes the case very carefully, as is his wont, it... MORE

Disaster and Recovery

Property Rights
David Henderson
As a specific instance, the fire-bomb raids on Hamburg in July and August 1943 were highly intense community-wide disasters. As normally occurs in such situations, people proved tougher than structures. The raids destroyed about 50 percent of the buildings in... MORE

The Sarajevo of the Cato Institute?

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
David Gordon makes a category error. The other factor was more fundamental; we have discussed it already but now Rothbard elaborated on it in more detail. Crane and Koch, in a quest for political power, wished to compromise with libertarian... MORE

Failings of Left-Wing and Market-Oriented Economists

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Tyler Cowen (here and here) and co-blogger Arnold Kling have commented on what they see as the main failings of left-wing and market-oriented economists. I agree with much of what Arnold said and some of what Tyler said: my disagreements... MORE

Tort Reform, Grassroots Style

Regulation
David Henderson
Citing America's Declaration of Independence and the Maine Constitution, the ordinance proposed that "Sedgwick citizens possess the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing." These would include raw milk and other dairy products and... MORE

Undercover Boss: A Post-Mortem

Labor Market
David Henderson
Now that I've seen the Undercover Boss episode about the Cincinnati mayor, it's time to analyze. See here for my predictions. The bottom line is that I was on to something. Alex Tabarrok, in a comment on my previous post,... MORE

Maymin on Financial Regulation

Regulation
David Henderson
One might think that the ideal regulations would be those that find the right numbers for these portfolios, not too small and not too large--the Goldilocks of risk. Surprisingly enough, it is not possible. It turns out that no algorithm... MORE

Undercover Boss: Government vs. Private

Labor Market
David Henderson
In which the author makes some predictions. My wife and I have watched about the last 4 episodes of "Undercover Boss" on CBS and are now hooked. All 4 have been private-sector for-profit companies and here's what I've noticed: 1.... MORE

Do Labor Unions Promote the Middle Class?

Labor Market
David Henderson
In today's WaPost, political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson argue that not only are unions good for their members but also that unions promote a strong middle class. Their main argument is that unions are a strong political... MORE

Greenspan on the Economy

Macroeconomics
David Henderson
Yesterday, CNBC's Squawkbox had Alan Greenspan on for an extensive interview. The difference between the communication skills of Alan Greenspan as economic commentator and the communication skills of Alan Greenspan as Fed Chairman is like the difference between day and... MORE

Keynesian Politics and the Minimum Wage

Macroeconomics
David Henderson
Last month, Alex Tabarrok posted an interesting piece on the failure of Keynesian politics. Let's posit arguendo, he said, that Keynesian economics is correct: during a recession, if the government increases aggregate demand using tax cuts or government spending increases,... MORE

Jack Calfee, RIP

Regulation
David Henderson
I hadn't known until reading Arnold's post this morning and then the Wall Street Journal article that he referenced that Jack Calfee, a health economist at AEI, had died. I didn't know Jack well--we talked on the phone only about... MORE

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