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David Henderson: May 2015

An Author Archive by Month (30 entries)

This is Scary

Politics and Economics
David Henderson
In our discussion about "designer babies," I took on Dan Klein's main argument against them--that we might get super achieving babies and, thus, lose our coherence with the past. In the comments on my post on this topic, Dan raised... MORE

A Problem with Criminal Law

Economics of Crime
David Henderson
It seems as if there's a strong case for the federal government to charge Hillary Clinton with a fairly serious crime. See here for more details. A former prosecutor named Andy McCarthy states: Given that Congress's array of campaign finance... MORE

Why Should We Worry About Stock Bubbles?

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
David Henderson
A number of commenters on my proposed bet with Bob Murphy seem to have missed the point. Rather than respond to each of them in comments that I know few people will read, I'm responding here. Various people have argued... MORE

A Proposed Bet for Bob Murphy

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
David Henderson
As regular readers of Econlog probably know, I had a bet with Bob Murphy a few years ago about inflation and I won. Bob is a good sport and he paid up. I follow this part of co-blogger Bryan Caplan's... MORE

Henderson's Law of Heroic Movies

Economics and Culture
David Henderson
Dan Klein, with whom I've been arguing about designer babies lately, recently suggested that I post about an article I wrote for Reason 26 years ago: Henderson's Law of Heroic Movies. The Introduction "David, I rented a movie for tonight... MORE

John Nash, RIP

Obituaries
David Henderson
The famous game theorist John Nash and his wife Alicia were killed in a traffic accident yesterday in New Jersey. He was 86. I met him and had lunch with him when he came to speak at the Naval Postgraduate... MORE

Should We Fear Progress?

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
As I mentioned in a comment on Bryan Caplan's response to Dan Klein, the further I get away from Dan Klein's piece on "designer babies," the less persuaded I am. That glide path has continued. Virtually all of Dan Klein's... MORE

A Note on Johann Hari

Regulation
David Henderson
In yesterday's post on drug addiction, I referenced work by British journalist Johann Hari. I knew nothing about his background. A regular reader of Econlog contacted me to tell me that in his past he committed plagiarism and has admitted... MORE

In 2009, Glenn Greenwald wrote, for the Cato Institute, a study of the effects of drug decriminalization in Portugal. Among his findings were that drug usage actually decreased among various populations. Greenwald writes: In fact, for those two critical groups... MORE

Murphy on Interpersonal Utility Comparisons

Microeconomics
David Henderson
Bob Murphy has done a huge service by laying out clearly the economic reasoning behind my conclusions (here and here) that: (1) you can't make interpersonal utility comparisons and (2) utility is ordinal, not cardinal. His piece is not long... MORE

Am I Out of Date? I Don't Think So

Microeconomics
David Henderson
David Friedman writes in a comment on my post on interpersonal utility comparisons: Von Neuman [sic] showed how to cardinalize utility most of a century ago, so your statement that utility is ordinal not cardinal is long out of date.... MORE

Tyler Cowen on Interpersonal Utility Comparisons

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
One of the things we are most sure of in economics is that you can't compare utility, marginal or otherwise, across individuals. Utility is ordinal, not cardinal. Which is why I don't understand Tyler Cowen's post this morning. He leads... MORE

Great Rules for Discussion

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
David Henderson
I've been reading more about the "Deflategate" case than I ever would have imagined. It's not because I'm a Patriots fan or a Patriots hater. I'm neither. It's not because I'm a football fan. I'm not really; I don't tend... MORE

Politi-Obfuscate

Taxation
David Henderson
Bill Gates stated yesterday: The highest economic growth decade was the 1960s. Income tax rates were 90 percent. He stated this on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS. Politifact's Punditfact decided to check the truth of Gates's statement. To their credit, they... MORE

Daniel Klein on "Designer Babies"

Family Economics
David Henderson
My friend Dan Klein, also a friend and colleague of Bryan Caplan at George Mason University, has sent me a guest post on designer babies. He disagrees profoundly with Bryan's optimism about the prospects for genetic engineering even if government... MORE

Friday Night Audio: Christy "Versus" Emmanuel

Energy, Environment, Resources
David Henderson
A friend recently recommended Russ Roberts's Econtalk episode in which he interviews climatologists John Christy and Kerry Emmanuel in front of a large audience at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. I listened to it and followed along with the... MORE

Representative Dave Brat (Republican, Virginia), writing in The Daily Signal, objects to members of Congress who want to expand the pool of eligible recruits by accepting illegal aliens. His argument is not simply that they're illegal. Whether you think that... MORE

Surviving on the Margin

Economic Education
David Henderson
In response to my recent post "A Game of Margins," in which I emphasized the importance of thinking on the margin, Facebook friend Marshall Beerwinkle sent me the following story: David, I just read your post, A Game of Margins.... MORE

California Water Numbers

Energy, Environment, Resources
David Henderson
Apparently we are supposed to be worried about fracking depleting water in California. ThinkProgress reports that Despite Historic Drought, California Used 70 Million Gallons Of Water For Fracking Last Year. Similar concerns are raised by RT, Huffington Post, and even... MORE

Rebuttal to Jeffrey Sachs on Sovaldi

Business Economics
David Henderson
One of the big breakthroughs in economics was the "Marginal Revolution" of the 1870s, when economists figured out that the value of something is not the same as the cost. The value of Sovaldi to many people is far above... MORE

If you ask me, the single most consequential political act of my lifetime is likely to be President Obama's decision to throw the Bowles-Simpson recommendations under the bus. That may have destroyed the last chance to prevent a budget train... MORE

My Hoover Institution colleague John Cochrane has highlighted an excellent speech by James McAndrews of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. It's titled "Negative Nominal Central Bank Policy Rates: Where Is the Lower Bound?" There's a lot of meat in... MORE

What Obligations Does Freedom of Speech Carry?

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
Kenneth Grubbs, a friend on Facebook and press secretary for Dana Rohrabacher, a Congressman representing the 48th Congressional District of California, writes: The right to free speech also means acknowledging when to remain silent--a discipline Pam Geller never mastered. [Ken... MORE

A Game of Margins

Economic Education
David Henderson
When I teach my Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom, I spend a lot of time on the pillar "Economic thinking is thinking on the margin." I go into how so many issues are issues of margins. I apply it all... MORE

Lemieux Defends Google

Industrial Organization
David Henderson
Antitrust arguments are especially unpersuasive in fluid and innovative high-tech markets. Google did not even exist 20 years ago. In the late 1990s, the dominant search engine was Alta Vista. Veronica, another major Internet search engine, had just recently gone... MORE

Pizza shop worker Devin Jeran was excited about the raise that was coming his way thanks to Seattle's new $15 an hour minimum wage law. Or at least he was until he found out that it would cost him his... MORE

I'm an Outside Agitator

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
David Henderson
Frequent Econlog commenter Greg G wrote recently: But there is something very strange about this debate [about the minimum wage]. All the agonizing about the suffering that the minimum wage causes to poor people seems to come from relatively wealthy... MORE

A Prediction about Brookings

Income Distribution
David Henderson
Greg Mankiw announced on his blog today that he will be speaking at a Brookings Institution event tomorrow. The topic: "40 years later- The relevance of Okun's 'Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff.'" Here's my prediction: Most, and probably all,... MORE

Iranians' Ways around Oppressive Government

International Trade
David Henderson
Last night, I went to an event at the Peace Resource Center in Seaside, California to see talks by some Americans who had recently visited Iran. There's lots to report, and I may do a further post, but one thing... MORE

Timothy Taylor on Net Debtor Nations

International Trade
David Henderson
Conversable Economist Timothy Taylor has an excellent post on the net international investment position of the United States. Tim has been hitting two-baggers, three-baggers, and home runs for a long time now. If you want to see a well-informed economist... MORE

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