Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Economic Education

A Category Archive (278 entries)

Pillars of Economic Wisdom in Action

Economic Education
David Henderson
I wrote earlier about a special readings course I put together for people who had done well in my Cost/Benefit course but wanted more economics than they get in our MBA curriculum. As a kind of celebration, a number of... MORE

Henderson on TANSTAAFL

Economic Education
David Henderson
At the start of every class I teach, I give my students what I call "The Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom." These pillars, I tell them, are the basis for a huge percent of economic analysis and if they master... MORE

Open Letter to President Wildes re Professor Block

Economic Education
David Henderson
One of the ways I will occasionally depart from straight economics on this blog is to defend fellow academics from unfair attacks by bullies. When the president of your university attacks you unfairly and in public, he is being a... MORE

A Question of Organizational Literacy

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
What fraction of Americans can correctly explain the difference between a business and a corporation?Please show your work.... MORE

AMA Highlights

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Last night's Ask Me Anything was a treat.  Main surprise: I was expecting more weird and personal questions.  A few highlights:[-]eliaspowers Hi Bryan, There has been a lot of talk online recently on the merits of a Basic Income Guaranty or... MORE

Ask Me Anything Tonight

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'll be doing an Ask Me Anything tonight at 9 PM EST on reddit.  Here's the link.HT: Michael Tontchev for setting this up.P.S. Please post your questions on reddit, not the EconLog comments.... MORE

Marginal Tax Rates: Singing Taxman to My Class

Economic Education
David Henderson
UPDATE BELOW: Often, when I teach my classes about marginal tax rates, I give them a little history about such rates. They're shocked when I tell them that the top U.S. federal marginal tax rate on individual income in the... MORE

The Auction/Bidding Metaphor: Geico and Roy Childs

Economic Education
David Henderson
Geico ad beautifully illustrates the problem Roy Childs pointed out to me 40 years ago. "You economists are so careless in your thinking. You use so many metaphors without really thinking about them." So said my friend, the late Roy... MORE

Warren Gibson on Bad Libertarian Arguments

Economic Education
David Henderson
I'm a dedicated libertarian but my first allegiance is to accuracy. It pains me when I see libertarians making arguments that are inaccurate, irrelevant, or just plain wrong. When they do so, they do themselves and our movement a big... MORE

Free Market Economics Books Bleg

Economic Education
David Henderson
An economist friend of mine at a conservative "think tank" in Washington, D.C. asked me to recommend 5 to 10 free-market oriented economics books that he could recommend to interns so as to "expand their universes." I quickly came up... MORE

Great Moments in Crowd Sourcing

Economic Education
David Henderson
One highlight of my third year at Columbia was the Industrial Organization course that Larry [Moss] and I took along with several Randians. The professor, Donald Dewey, started off the semester by stating that there were three respectable views on... MORE

George Mason University's Economics in Action

Economic Education
David Henderson
David Chandler Thomas is a Ph.D. student in George Mason University's economics program. I had highly recommended him to the program after having been his thesis advisor. (San Jose State University, where he earned his Masters' degree had asked me... MORE

A Fortune Cookie for Ron Unz

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Ron Unz is crusading to raise the minimum wage.  He also publicly admits that he's never opened an economics textbook.  Most econ professors would be inclined to lecture him about his intellectual irresponsibility.  But under the circumstances, less is more. ... MORE

Exchange and the Human Condition

Economic Education
Bart Wilson
Humanomics is almost over. All that remains are a third of the oral final exams. (Yes, oral final exams for first semester freshmen. Two professors, one student, and a video camera. Good times all around.) For the first time we... MORE

Looking for Love in the Laboratory

Economic Education
Bart Wilson
The last experiment in Humanomics is a variation of a treatment in an article by Mary Rigdon, Kevin McCabe, and Vernon Smith. In my version, people are paired to play the following extensive form game: Person 1 makes the first... MORE

A Crime Beyond Denunciation

Price Controls
Bart Wilson
The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles... MORE

Explaining Burden of a Tax with Words

Taxation
David Henderson
Two days ago, I was talking to one of my allies in our recent successful fight against an increase in the property tax in Pacific Grove. He commented that the tax increase would have hurt renters too because landlords would... MORE

The Big Bag of Wealth

Alternative Economics
Bart Wilson
The second paper assignment in freshman Humanomics is to write a short story, a type of homage to Washington Irving's "The Devil and Tom Walker" but from the point of view of Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist. The story below... MORE

Prices Sing

Economic Education
David Henderson
Daniel Reid, a Naval Postgraduate School student of mine from the Spring quarter who really grokked my class, wrote a poem titled "Prices Sing." Here it is, with his permission: Such sweetly multi-layered resonances compressively veil themselves within her uniquely... MORE

Me in Dallas on Friday

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Friday I'm a keynote speaker for the O'Neil Center's "Entrepreneurship in Education" conference, held at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  Admission is expensive, but students are eligible for sponsorship.  If you're there, please say hi.P.S. I'll be packing the... MORE

Bleg: The Right Way to Read Tyler

Economic History
Bryan Caplan
Please read Tyler's post, then answer the following two questions:1. What percentage of Tyler's readers never have and never will read anything else about the relevance of changing household size for claims about economic stagnation?2. What lesson about the relevance... MORE

The We in Wealth

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bart Wilson
The first economic experiment in our Humanomics class is based upon my research article with Sean Crockett and Vernon Smith. The idea for the project came from an honors course that Vernon and I have co-taught using experiments to teach... MORE

Bleg: Questions for Noah Smith

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Tomorrow I'll be hanging out with blogger Noah Smith all day.  Have any questions you'd like me to ask him?  With his permission, I'll share responses.Earnest questions only, please.... MORE

Day One

Economic Education
Bart Wilson
Today is my first day blogging at EconLog. I would like to thank Amy Willis for the invitation to guest blog for the semester and for her generous introduction last week. I also thank the bloggers of EconLog for their... MORE

Good Students Rule

Economics and Culture
Bryan Caplan
Most professors like good students, but I idolize them.  For most professors, good students are a joy in the classroom, but a chore outside of the classroom.  For me, good students are a joy through and through.  I like talking... MORE

The Tragedy of Economath

Economic Education
David Henderson
Co-blogger Bryan has done an admirable job of critiquing "economath" here and here. What follows from his critique is what I call "the tragedy of economath." Over my 30+ years of teaching mainly Masters students, I come across really good... MORE

Henry Hazlitt, public intellectual

Economic Education
Alberto Mingardi
Can a public intellectual try to develop original insights, besides popularizing the ideas he holds dear? Paul Krugman recently lambasted Henry Hazlitt, who "has been wrong about everything for more than 80 years, and is still regarded as a guru".... MORE

Krugman: Where's Your Evidence?

Economic Education
David Henderson
Paul Krugman writes: Cut through the noise and fog, and it is true that Democrats broadly want to redistribute income down, and Republicans want to redistribute income up He gives zero evidence for either claim. Does he have any? I... MORE

Greg Mankiw's Story

Economic Education
David Henderson
I don't remember what I said next. But I kept talking, and she was polite enough to keep responding. When the train pulled into the station, we boarded, and I sat next to her. We chatted for the next few... MORE

Congestion Externality Bleg

Cost-benefit Analysis
David Henderson
In the cost/benefit analysis course i teach, one of the actual cost/benefit analyses we work our way through--and one that I present as a reasonably good CBA--is a study done by two St. Louis Federal Reserve economists on adding another... MORE

Kenneth Elzinga on Teaching Economics

Economic Education
David Henderson
The best talk I attended at the annual meetings of the Association for Private Enterprise Education (APEE) was a luncheon speech given by Kenneth Elzinga of the University of Virginia. I have known Ken since the early 2000s when we... MORE

Physics Applied to Economics

Economic Education
David Henderson
When I teach my Energy Economics course, in the first problem set, one of the problems is the following: Name an energy activity that the government is currently engaged in that you think should be eliminated and give your reasons... MORE

Introducing Art Carden

Economic Education
David Henderson
I'm pleased to announce that EconLog has a new guest blogger. He is Art Carden. Art is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Samford University's Brock School of Business in Birmingham, Alabama, a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute for... MORE

Carden and Horwitz on Market Failure

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
Externalities, public goods, asymmetric information, and market power provide necessary--but insufficient--conditions for intervention to be justified. They certainly are not talismans that provide interventionists with carte blanche to tinker with the members of a society as if they were pieces... MORE

Armen Alchian Memorial

Economic Education
David Henderson
In a few minutes I'm flying down to Los Angeles to attend a memorial service for the late Armen Alchian. Most of the short appreciation I wrote out covers issues I've already talked about in the bio linked above and... MORE

Armen Alchian: Teacher

Economic Education
David Henderson
I've written between 45 and 50 op/eds in the Wall Street Journal but never before have I had the intense response--all positive, by the way--that I've had to my Wednesday piece on the late Armen Alchian. I heard from Alchian's... MORE

Alchian Didn't Do a Lot of Work?

Economic Education
David Henderson
In my Wall Street Journal piece, I quoted Friedrich Hayek saying to me, in 1975: There are two economists who deserve the Nobel prize because their work is important but won't get it because they didn't do a lot of... MORE

Henderson on Alchian

Economic Education
David Henderson
The Wall Street Journal published my piece this morning on the late Armen Alchian and some of his important contributions to economics. Some excerpts follow. The intro: In 1975, I attended a week-long conference in Connecticut at which the star... MORE

Me at Students for Liberty 2013

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm speaking at Students for Liberty's 2013 conference tomorrow and Sunday.  My topics: public choice, voter irrationality, and The Case Against Education.  I'll also be debating the Center for Immigration Studies' Jan Ting on (a) immigration, and (b) military intervention. ... MORE

Economics Quote of the Week

Cost-benefit Analysis
David Henderson
Although the week is half over, I bet this one will beat all comers. David Friedman, after analyzing queues and time lost to government bureaucracy in Britain while he was traveling, had an anonymous commenter who said: No offence, but... MORE

Seattle Gun Buyback Backfires

Economic Education
David Henderson
File this under "Gains from Exchange" Police officers in Seattle, Washington held their first gun buyback program in 20 years this weekend, underneath interstate 5, and soon found that private gun collectors were working the large crowd as little makeshift... MORE

Eli Dourado on the Mercatus Master's Fellowship

Economic Education
Garett Jones
@EliDourado tweets:Kind of hard to believe, Mercatus will pay you $20k/year to get an MA in Economics. Plus you might "get" to be my RA. He's right.  You might also "get" to take master's level macroeconomics with me: I'm teaching it... MORE

Henderson on Stossel Pre-Election

Economic Education
David Henderson
In the last week of October, Sallie James of Cato and I taped a segment with John Stossel. The whole show is up on line and the segment we are on starts at about the 29:45 point and goes to... MORE

Does An Increase in Supply Lead to Higher Prices

Economic Education
David Henderson
Last week, I received an e-mail from the son of a friend of mine. The son is a student at a school in the Northeast. Here's the relevant part of the e-mail: I took a globalization class this past semester... MORE

Earlier this month, Vipul Naik asked me to ask you about the persuasiveness of my case for open borders.  Today Vipul posted an extended analysis of your responses.  Very thoughtful, very careful, very fair.  Read the whole thing.... MORE

How Would a Georgist Single Tax Work in Monopoly?

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Another fascinating aside from Larry White's The Clash of Economic Ideas (Kindle price just $23.40):Georgist theory was even the inspiration for the board game Monopoly.  The game's original creator called it "The Landlord Game" and intended it to illustrate the... MORE

Goodwin's Economix: A Graphic Novel

Economic History
David Henderson
I haven't received a review copy of Michael Goodwin's Economix yet, but I'm not hopeful that it will be good. The first thing I noticed is that in the praise for Economix, only one of the five "praisers" he highlighted... MORE

Welcome Guest Blogger Garett Jones

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
If you could persuade one more person to blog, who would it be?  My answer, hands down, is GMU economist and Twitter hero Garett Jones.  I'm positively delighted, then, to welcome Dr. Jones to EconLog as a guest blogger.  He's... MORE

Ronald Hamowy, RIP

Economic Philosophy
Bryan Caplan
The great libertarian scholar Ronald Hamowy died yesterday.  I only met him once, but I read most of his work while I was an undergrad.  Though he had a long and productive career, I'm fondest of his early writings for... MORE

Marginal Revolution University

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Big news: My beloved friends and esteemed colleagues Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok are launching their own online education project, MRUniversity.  Since I don't think online education is going to revolutionize education (here, here, and here for starters), my knee-jerk... MORE

Gains from Exchange

Economic Education
David Henderson
Last month I received this e-mail from a student I taught in the Spring quarter at the Naval Postgraduate School: Today my [deleted so as not to identify the instructor] instructor pointed out that there was a transfer of wealth... MORE

How Yglesias Channels Bastiat

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I want to persuade Matt Yglesias to give Frederic Bastiat the respect he deserves.  On some level, though, Matt already reveals remarkable respect for my favorite 19th-century French economist.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - and Matt has... MORE

The Subtle Value-Added of Frederic Bastiat

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I'm delighted to get Matt Yglesias talking about Bastiat, but I'm afraid he's missing my point.  For Matt, Bastiat's writings are "non-responsive to modern issues."  Matt's example:The candlemakers' petition is a devastating satire of pharmaceutical companies' endless lust for patent... MORE

Who Loves Bastiat and Who Loves Him Not

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Thanks to everyone who responded to my query about Bastiat's "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen."  For me, his essay is the pinnacle of economic profundity.  You can call it obvious.  But when I first started learning economics... MORE

Bastiat's "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen": Who Says "Meh"?

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Free-market economists almost always love Frederic Bastiat's classic essay, "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen."  But the central theme of the essay - opportunity cost - is hardly ideological.  It seems like all economists, regardless of ideology, would... MORE

Memories of Milton

Economic Education
David Henderson
As co-blogger Bryan and many others have noted, today would have been Milton Friedman's 100th birthday. Over the years, I have posted appreciations of him and so I don't want to redo it. Instead, I'll link to a few and... MORE

An Ode to Milton Friedman

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Today would have been Milton Friedman's 100th birthday.  I only met the man long enough for him to sign my copy of Capitalism and Freedom, but he's been a tremendous influence on me.  All of my other adolescent intellectual heroes... MORE

Barro on Marginal Utility and Wealth Transfers

Economic Education
David Henderson
In an otherwise good article defending Tyler Cowen, Josh Barro states the following: There is declining marginal utility of money: A person who makes $10,000 gets more value out of an extra dollar than a person who makes $100,000 does.... MORE

On Monday, my colleague Virgil Storr heard my IHS lecture on "The Case Against Education," and sent me some interesting comments.  Here's full exchange, with Virgil's kind permission.  Quick question: Do we have good ways of figuring out who will... MORE

I Flunk Horwitz's Doonesbury Contest

Economic Education
David Henderson
Attention undergraduates: Here is an opportunity for you to get published. Take a look at today's Doonesbury as it's chock full of bad economics. I would like to have a contest to see which undergraduate can produce the best response... MORE

Rick Berman: Mercenary/Hero for Freedom

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
"If this country is worth saving, it's worth saving at a profit." --H.L. Hunt This is a quote from one of the best books of the 1970s, The Machinery of Freedom, by David Friedman. It comes at the end of... 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

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

Consumer Surplus: Slam-Dunk Example

Economic Education
David Henderson
I was going over consumer surplus in my class on Tuesday and a student gave me a fresh example that he had learned from his economics professor as an undergrad at the U.S. Naval Academy. Here it is. You go... MORE

The Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom

Economic Education
David Henderson
A few times I've referred to "The Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom" that I teach at the start of every economics course I give. I've usually linked to someone's restatement of them from my book, The Joy of Freedom: An... MORE

Gasoline "Demand:" Find the Flaw

Economic Education
David Henderson
If the Department of Energy is to be believed, weekly gasoline demand has fallen 7% on average from a year ago, to its lowest level since 2001. But few market observers believe it. The Energy Information Administration's weekly report on... MORE

Timothy Taylor's Instant Economist

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen wrote that it is too elementary for most MR readers but it is well executed and would make a good gift for anyone needing an introduction to economic reasoning. My thoughts: 1. The price is very attractive. I... MORE

A Phony Right: My Letter to the Monterey Herald

Economic Education
David Henderson
Yesterday, the Monterey County Herald, my local paper, ran my letter as the lead letter. I was commenting on this story. Here it is: A 'phony right' Your article Saturday on CSU Monterey Bay students who are unhappy with a... MORE

There have been a lot of good comments on Arnold Kling's post on Charles Murray's "bubble" and a few on mine. On Arnold's post, Tom West makes a good point about not taking any particular question of the 20 too... MORE

The MIT Connection

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Bloomberg News has an article on the many MIT economics Ph.D's currently in top policy slots at central banks around the world. The article paints a rosy picture of grad school life during the period when we were there, including:... MORE

For Students

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Students might be interested in a set of imitation Sal Khan videos that I made to cover AP economics. There are roughly 70 videos, typically 10-15 minutes each. I start with some basic economic concepts, then proceed to macro (starting... MORE

Caplan, Kahneman, Bastiat, and the First Amendment

Economic Education
David Henderson
Bryan Caplan's post earlier this week, "Eureka! Economic Illiteracy as Mental Substitution," is one of his best ever. And that's a high bar. Bryan applies the insight from Kahneman--that people answer the question they want to answer rather than the... MORE

Eureka! Economic Illiteracy as Mental Substitution

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Here's another revelation from Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow, from his chapter on "Answering an Easier Question."  The lead-in:A remarkable aspect of your mental life is that you are rarely stumped.  True, you occasionally face a question such as 17... MORE

Reflections on My 2011 Blogging

Economic Education
David Henderson
In terms of enjoyment, 2011 has been my favorite year of blogging since I started in late October 2008. In late November I hit 1,000 posts and certainly hope to make it to at least 2,000. I went quickly through... MORE

My "Occupy Monterey" Talk, Part II

Economic Education
David Henderson
To follow this completely you need to read my previous post, "My 'Occupy Monterey' Talk, Part I." (One thing I forgot to mention in that post is that I pointed out that Congress had voted to give the U.S. military... MORE

Robin Wells on the Mankiw Walkout

Economic Education
David Henderson
In a post on November 20, economics professor Robin Wells weighs in on the students who walked out of Greg Mankiw's class. I had previously blogged about this here. I particularly like the tone of Professor Wells's comments. This surprised... MORE

What Greg Mankiw's Defenders Missed

Economic Education
David Henderson
News Flash: Harvard Has no Access to the Web and No Libraries Last Wednesday, Greg Mankiw blogged about the students who walked out of his Ec10 class. They have various complaints about it that you can read here. One student,... MORE

Krugman and Bastiat: Confusing the Centuries

Economic Education
David Henderson
In a post yesterday, I asked readers to say who they thought is the modern counterpart of Bastiat. I should have specified that I meant someone who's still alive; otherwise, I think libfree's, Michael J. Green's, Will Ruger's, and Daniel... MORE

The Modern Bastiat

Economic Education
David Henderson
If you have never read Frederic Bastiat, you're missing a real treat. He was the French economic journalist who wrote a spate of articles in his 40s, before dying in 1850, laying out economics in a very clear way. When... MORE

Pre-Tax and Post-Tax Candy on Hallowe'en

Economic Education
David Henderson
Teaching kids about taxes and welfare using Hallowe'en candy Comedian Tim Slagle, whom for some reason I had never heard of, has an excellent video out in which he uses Hallowe'en candy to illustrate taxes. A lot packed into 3... MORE

The Great Debate

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
I've been working on lectures on microeconomics for my AP econ class. I am finished with macro (I hope), although at some point I will put together something on PSST. Anyway, I was cruising along with micro lectures, getting ready... MORE

My Friend Sarah

Economic Education
David Henderson
I still think this is one of the best 3-minute videos on economics.... MORE

The IS-LM Model Attacked and Defended

Macroeconomics
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen writes, Every time you write down an IS-LM model you should hear a clock start ticking in your head. The longer the clock ticks, you more you need to worry about this problem because the more that a)... MORE

Opportunity Cost and the Public: A Sliver of Hope

Economic Education
David Henderson
I'm one of those people who, on a flight, after doing the crossword puzzle and the medium sudoku, occasionally looks at the articles. I do it mainly to get a feel for what writers trained in the medium think Americans... MORE

Don't Just Sit There: Undo Something

Economic Education
David Henderson
That's the title of my piece that I wrote for the McClatchy newspaper chain. It ran in multiple McClatchy papers. Here's the one in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Here's one excerpt: First, distinguish between bad jobs and good jobs. An... MORE

Further Adventures with Econ Videos

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
I posted four new videos on the topic of outsourcing. They are numbers 9-12 in my AP Economics lecture series. Feedback on any of them would be appreciated. With number 12, I sort of dance around the idea of PSST.... MORE

A Questionable Video

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
I took a break from the basic economic concepts to record this video. I am leaning against encouraging my students to watch it. Regular readers of this blog may enjoy it.... MORE

But Why Would Greg Mankiw Adopt?

Economics of Education
Arnold Kling
Timothy Taylor writes, My solution is my own introductory textbook, "Principles of Economics." The second edition of this text is out this fall through Textbook Media, Inc. The pricing works this way: $17 for access to an online e-textbook which... MORE

Media Watch: Man Bites Dog

Economic Education
David Henderson
In my local paper, the Monterey County Herald, this morning, on the front page above the fold is the following headline: "GOP may approve payroll tax hike." It was a shocking headline and the story, by Charles Babington of the... MORE

What Happened to the Mixed Economy?

Economic Education
David Henderson
Open up any principles of economics textbook written between the 1950s and the early (and maybe even late) 1970s, and the odds are high that it will say that the United States has a mixed economy. One part of the... MORE

Thoughts on the New Commanding Heights

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
1. From Paul Howard. Government policy both encourages consumer spending in health and education and protects providers in those industries through licensing requirements that reduce competition from lower-cost or higher-quality providers (charter schools, retail clinics, etc.). 2. From John Goodman.... MORE

What is Opportunity Cost?

Economic Education
David Henderson
On his blog, "Conversable Economist," which, I agree with co-blogger Arnold, is excellent, Timothy Taylor gives an example of opportunity cost from Yale economist Shane Frederick: "While shopping for my first stereo, I spent an hour debating between a $1,000... MORE

Learn (Austrian) Economics in an Hour?

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
The Institute for Humane Studies has put together instructional material on basic concepts related to libertarian thinking. One set of videos pertains to economics, and it has a very strong Austrian flavor. I have only watched a few of them.... MORE

John Papola on Teaching Economics

Economic Education
David Henderson
I gave a talk at a joint Institute for Humane Studies/Mercatus Center event in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. One of the other speakers was John Papola who, along with Russ Roberts, made the two Keynes/Hayek videos (here... MORE

Appearances

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
1. Today I'm supposed to be on the Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC between 4 and 5 PM EST.2. On May 25 at 4 PM, the Cato Institute is holding a book forum on Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. ... MORE

Two From Mark Thoma

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
1. He points to Noah Smith's description of learning Dark Age Macro. I absolutely don't blame Chris House for teaching what he taught. Our curriculum was considered to be the state of the art by everyone who mattered. Without a... MORE

Adding to a High School Economics Course

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
I teach an AP economics course, that covers both micro and macro. I do not much care for the AP curriculum, so I try to do things differently. Here are some thoughts, below the fold, on material that I plan... MORE

Bleg 2: Science Fiction

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
I have read hardly any science fiction. However, I have found that it is often easy to explain some of my economic ideas in terms of The Diamond Age or Snow Crash. What other science fiction books do you recommend... MORE

Bleg 1: Economic History

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Suppose that you were going to teach an economic history course to high school students. The goal is to offer a better perspective on economic growth and macroeconomic issues than one gets from the usual ahistorical approach. What eras/episodes would... MORE

BPEA on line

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
You can now access the current issue and complete archive of Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Many classic papers in applied macro are hence made available. Thanks to Ted Gayer for an email pointer, and thanks to Brookings for undertaking... MORE

Seven Myths about Free Markets

Economic Education
David Henderson
That's the title of a talk I gave to Stephen Hicks's philosophy class at Rockford College on Thursday morning and to economics students of Josh Hall and other economics professors at Beloit College on Thursday afternoon. After my talk at... MORE

www.bcaplan.com 2.0

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
My website was very cool back when it launched in 1994.  But during the intervening 17 years, fashions have changed.  Perhaps there's even been some unmeasured progress.  So by popular demand http://www.bcaplan.com (mirror site at http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan) has been completely updated,... MORE

Harold Demsetz

Economic Education
David Henderson
In yesterday's post, I said that the thing that turned me around and made me want to get a Ph.D. in economics after finding my one economics course boring beyond belief was a visit to the University of Winnipeg by... MORE

More on Blogging and Libertarians

Economic Education
David Henderson
Co-blogger Bryan's take on GMU professors blogging earlier today is one of my 20 favorites of his posts. I have a few things to add from my own experience. One is a shortened version of my own story of how... MORE

Classics from the American Economic Review

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
This list, compiled by a committee that includes Kenneth Arrow and several other superstars, consists of twenty articles. I think one could make a pretty good case that a professional economist ought to be familiar with every article. For example,... MORE

My Philosophy of Teaching

Economic Education
David Henderson
I just finished watching, for about the fourth time, the movie Stand and Deliver. It made me think of this talk I gave in 1997 when I won the Naval Postgraduate School's Schieffelin Award for best teacher on campus. It... MORE

Me on Twitter, My New Book on Amazon

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm now on Twitter as bryan_caplan.  For the first year or so, I'm going to use it to promote my views on kids and parenting, then see how things evolve.  My book on this subject, Selfish Reasons to Have More... MORE

Upcoming Seminars

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'll be lecturing at the Students for Liberty conference in DC (February 18-20) and the Institute for Humane Studies Liberty and Society seminar in Philadelphia (June 11-17).  Hope to see you there.... MORE

Second Thoughts on Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Just in time for the annual meetings of the American Economic Association, Russ Roberts writes, modeling economic behavior using the tools of the physical sciences in hopes of attaining the holy grail of a full-blown, accurate, model that can track... MORE

Econlog Makes WSJ's Top List

Economic Education
David Henderson
Arnold Kling and Bryan Caplan at Econlog are also very good for a libertarian-inclined view of the economic world. This is from Alen Mattich, "The Best Economics Blogs," Wall Street Journal, December 30. He omits my name. Of course, there... MORE

The Park Ranger, Stability, and Resilience

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
From Ashwin: The relevant insight in Holling's work is that resilience and stability as goals for an ecosystem are frequently at odds with each other. In many ecosystems, "the very fact of low stability seems to produce high resilience". Conversely,... MORE

INET Will Not be New

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
A press release from the Institute for New Economic Thinking: Led by INET's Executive Director Dr. Robert Johnson, the outreach program has already reached six institutions of higher learning, and has included presentations and discussion from INET Advisory Board members... MORE

What did Arrow Prove?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Among those trying to popularize the Arrow Impossibility Theorem are Steven Landsburg, Tyler Cowen, and Alex Tabarrok. Alex writes, More generally, what Arrow showed is that group choice (aggregation) is not like individual choice... Arrow showed that when a group... MORE

Economic Ideas Not Well Popularized

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen asks which economic ideas are most difficult to popularize. This could mean (a) that there is nowhere to go to read a definitive popular version or (b) that people can read a definitive popular treatment and yet walk... MORE

Doug North Eats Crow

Economic Education
David Henderson
I'm always impressed when someone admits an error, and especially impressed when he admits an error brought to his attention by an undergrad in an introductory economics course. I just happened to read Douglass North's graceful tribute to the late... MORE

Me on WGN, Chicago

Taxation
David Henderson
Last week, I was interviewed for 16 minutes by Mike McConnell on WGN, Chicago. He was a cut above in his understanding of the various economic issues. My test for whether it's working with the host is whether he invites... MORE

The Senile Walrasian

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
When economists explain supply-and-demand, they often invoke the Walrasian auctioneer.  Imagine we all gather together at a massive auction house, with all eyes on the auctioneer in the front.  He calls out prices, and the attendees call out quantities.  When... MORE

Colander on the Economics Profession

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
A commenter points to a post from Pete Boettke a couple months ago, where he quotes testimony from David Colander. One would think that competition in ideas would lead to the stronger ideas winning out. Unfortunately, because the macroeconomy is... MORE

Free-Market Education Reform: Austerity vs. Choice

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
In response to my defense of austerity over "constructive" free-market reforms, Adam Ozimek blogs:I find plausible his speculation that privatizing social security could lead to policies intended to prop up the stock market, like TARP x 100. However, I have... MORE

David Warsh on Tyler Cowen

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Warsh writes, Sometimes Cowen, 48, seems to have nothing but outside interests, as his readers know from Marginal Revolution Noting that Cowen directs the Mercatus Center, recently mentioned in the context of Jane Mayer's conspiratorial portrayal of the Koch brothers,... MORE

Morning Reading

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Ed Pinto writes, Here's my proposal to bring Congress's penchant for imprudent lending to a quick end: All congressional pension assets should be invested in funds backed solely by the high- risk loans mandated by federal housing legislation. I have... MORE

How Don Boudreaux Got Hooked on Economics

Economic Education
David Henderson
In a previous post, I praised Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek for spreading economic wisdom to people in letters to the editor. This is the story Don told me about how he got hooked on economics. I tell this story... MORE

In Praise of Don Boudreaux

Economic Education
David Henderson
Economics in One Letter Almost every morning when I wake up, one thing I can count on in my e-mail inbox is a letter written by Don Boudreaux earlier that morning in which he takes on this or that economic... MORE

Economic Creationism

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
GMU's former chairman and economic educator extraordinaire Don Boudreaux:And It said "Let there be higher wages. And there was."[...]So why are so many people enthusiastic about statutes such as this one [the living wage]?Proponents of such legislation are economic creationists.... MORE

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Economic Philosophy
David Henderson
"Worker Bee" Stings the Blogosphere The title I've chosen for this post could have been the title of a short recent piece by self-described "worker bee" economist Kartik Athreya. (The article, titled "Economics is Hard. Don't Let Bloggers Tell You... MORE

The Counterintuitive Explained

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Although I've argued that basic economics is intuitive, I recommend this short Wikipedia article on the counterintuitive.  Its best example:[A] policy of catching large fish and throwing back small ones may be counter-productive. In response to that policy, evolutionary pressure... MORE

Values are Subjective

Economic Education
David Henderson
The first day of every econ class I teach, I start with my "Ten Pillars of Economics." Pillar #7 is, "The value of a good or service is subjective." Last night, I went to dinner with two of my star... MORE

What the Klein Study Proves

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
[update: Daniel Klein emails me to credit Zeljka Buturovic for the study.] Dave Leigh writes, People who frequently shop at Wal-Mart scored much better than those who never do (2.24 to 4.24 questions wrong, respectively). This isn't much of a... MORE

Outsider Academic Journals

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
Bruce Charlton no longer edits one. While he was editor, he published Robin Hanson's classic article on what we now call Hansonian medicine. Daniel Klein still edits one, and the latest issue features an article challenging Bryan Caplan's view that... MORE

The Cartoon Bandwagon

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Mankiw's just blogged two new economically enlightening cartoons, here and here.  Is Yoram Bauman's Cartoon Introduction to Economics blazing a trail?  If so, I want in!  Maybe I should adapt Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids as a graphic novel. ... MORE

Greg Mankiw on Fiscal Policy

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
He writes, One of the classic hypothetical questions economists ask when referring to healthcare costs is, "Would you rather go back to 1950s medical care and 1950s prices?" If that option were offered at your place of work, my guess... MORE

Kauffman Economics Bloggers Forum

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'll be attending the Kauffman Economics Bloggers Forum in Kansas City on Friday.  You can watch the whole conference here.  I'm not on any of the panels, but I expect I'll be raising my hand quite a bit. :-)... MORE

The Rap on Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Keynes vs. Hayek, a rap video developed by John Papola and Russ Roberts. It might be a great discussion starter for an economics class.... MORE

Brad Said It

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
The quote was from DeLong's rave review of The Accidental Theorist.  The next sentence reads:But all these are outweighed by one fact: he is almost always--not always, but almost always--right.Even in 1999, that was a stretch.  By 2009, what non-Democratic... MORE

Who Said It?

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
"Critics of Paul Krugman call him acerbic and boastful, unfair on the attack and unwilling to make concessions on the defense, certain that he is correct, and always sure that those who disagree are mendacious or foolish (or both). And... MORE

Win APEE's Money

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
The Association of Private Enterprise Education writes, The 2010 Policy Communicators Contest invites college professors and graduate students from all disciplines to submit essays on the relationship between public policy and economic growth. It is of particular interest to compare... MORE

Thoughts on the Late Paul Samuelson

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
1. He was influential. He influenced students through his textbook, and he influenced the entire economics profession through his dissertation, published as "Foundations of Economic Analysis." Readers of this blog will tend to disapprove of his influence, in that it... MORE

Price Discrimination Explains Everything

Business Economics
Arnold Kling
In my high school economics class, my students asked me to explain why there are sales on "Black Friday." The class period was over, so I only had time to blurt out "price discrimination" without getting into an explanation of... MORE

My Responses to Readers Questions

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
In response to Bryan's post, readers posed some interesting questions to ask in a survey of members of the American Economic Association. Is there any reason besides a desire to learn, or to make entry into a Ph.D. programme easier... MORE

Economic Therapy

Economic Education
David Henderson
As events have unfolded during the past year and a half, a growing number of people have asked me what I think of the economy. I've learned two things from these encounters. First, questioners seem to want sound-bite answers. Incisive... MORE

Taking Bryan's Counterintuitive Claim Challenge

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Recently, Bryan posed a challenge and a follow-up to state a basic economic claim that is difficult to explain simply and intuitively. Of all of Greg Mankiw's Ten Principles of Economics, the one that I think is hardest to explain... MORE

Intuitive Econ Challenge

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
In a recent post, I posed a challenge:State any proposition in basic economics in the comments, and I'll make it intuitive in a follow-up post.Now I'm back to keep my promise.  Fortunately for me, many of the 55 comments don't... MORE

My First Day of Class

Economic Education
David Henderson
I started my Executive MBA economics class today that I teach in front of a camera to 3 remote locations: D.C., Norfolk, and Oceana. I've taught since 1975 with 4 years off to work at Cato or in the Reagan... MORE

Basic Economics Is Intuitive

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Economists often off-handedly remark that basic economics is "counterintuitive."  In one of the papers he presented at GMU, Scott Sumner has a whole appendix on "Why is economics so counterintuitive?"  Even my hands aren't clean here: In The Myth of... MORE

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage?

Taxation
David Henderson
That's a question asked by Louis J. Prues and answered by the Wall Street Journal's Kelly Greene in the weekend Journal. Ms. Greene summarizes the findings of an analysis by Tony Webb, a research economist with the Boston Center for... MORE

Another Great Simon

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Today Tyler shares his erudition on another great Simon, Simon Newcomb.  I primarily know Newcomb from his 1893 piece in the QJE, "The Problem of Economic Education."  It's one of the great dissections of economic misconceptions.  If you've always wanted... MORE

Why I am not a Caplanian

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
From Bryan's talk in Sweden. With rational voters, policy-makers have to do whatever the public wants; they can't "make a difference." With irrational voters, in contrast, policy-makers may be able to give the public the policies that it needs, rather... MORE

Edified

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
My colleagues Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok have published a new economics principles textbook.  It's amazing, then, that Alex is still giving away fantastic economic education for free.  Check out his latest post, and get edified:Imagine that a single employer... MORE

Caplan's Talk in Sweden

Economic Education
David Henderson
There is more than one way to make economics fun, and I hope that future research will compare and contrast the effectiveness of different approaches. Personally, however, I embrace blunt delivery of economic principles, shocking examples, and ridicule of popular... MORE

Morning Commentary

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
Richard Posner writes, The efficient markets theory, when understood not as teaching merely that markets are hard to beat even for experts and therefore passive management of a diversified portfolio of assets is likely to outperform a strategy of picking... MORE

Arlo Guthrie Says TANSTAAFL

Economic Education
David Henderson
New York Times interviewer: You're giving a free evening concert in New York this Thursday, July 30, at Battery Park. Arlo Guthrie: Free to the public. It doesn't mean I'm doing it for free. In almost every economics course I... MORE

Econlog Makes WSJ's Top 25

Economic Education
David Henderson
Econlog is in the top 25 economics blogs, as chosen by the Wall Street Journal. I've waited for my co-bloggers to crow about this, since I'm the newcomer (I started in October 2008), but because they haven't, I will. Of... MORE

The Indispensable Mark Thoma

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
is profiled by David Warsh.... MORE

Resources for Home-Schooled Economists

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
reviews of economic research. Pointer from David Warsh... MORE

The Economics of an Economics Ph.D.

Economic Education
David Henderson
On this blog last month, my fellow blogger Arnold Kling wrote: Then consider the Internet. For an autodidact, this is a golden age. For going to graduate school, not so much. I agree with Arnold totally on the first. When... MORE

John Stossel Tonight

Economic Education
David Henderson
On tonight's 20/20 on ABC, John Stossel will, yet again, throw himself into controversial issues. I think he's the most economically literate news person on any of the networks. On The O'Reilly Factor earlier this week, Bill O'Reilly interviewed Stossel... MORE

AP econ quiz

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
I got 18 out of 18, which is comforting, since I may be teaching AP econ next year. I don't much care for the AP econ curriculum, but I figure 2009-2010 I ought to be able to make something interesting... MORE

My choice: David Friedman's class on "Legal Systems Very Different From Ours."  Other suggestions? ... MORE

Why I Became an Economist

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
According to data posted by Greg Mankiw, it may be because I went to Swarthmore College, the undergraduate institution that produced the highest number of economics Ph.D's per capita. Clicking through to the study by John J. Siegfried and Wendy... MORE

Ideas for teaching economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Kelly Markson writes, In several principles-of-economics textbooks, the first chapter is devoted to the basic elements of economics such as scarcity, tradeoffs, opportunity costs, incentives, marginal thinking, etc. Most instructors spend very little time with this chapter. I spend weeks... MORE

Michele Bachmann Gets It; Ron Paul Doesn't

Economic Education
David Henderson
Ms. Bachmann as Air Traffic Controller in a YouTube World When the only way people could watch Congress was via C-SPAN, Congressmen confronting those testifying before their committees rationally, if often boringly, made speeches. Their calculus was surely that someone... MORE

Don't Miss the Next Stossel

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
The next John Stossel ("Bailouts, Big Spending, and Bull," Friday at 10 on 20/20) is going to be a tour de force.  Not only will you get to see me with big hair and big beard, you'll also learn about... MORE

Bob Shiller's Finance Course

Finance: stocks, options, etc.
Arnold Kling
is on line. My inclination would be to read the transcripts, but if you prefer you may either listen or watch.... MORE

Caplan-Hanson Debate: Now Taking Requests

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Robin Hanson and I have agreed to debate each other before the GMU Econ Society after spring break.  But we can't decide what to debate about.  Robin accordingly suggested that we ask our blog readers for requests.  It needs to... MORE

What is Bryan's Analysis?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
A poll says that two-thirds of the American people think they could do a better job on the economy than Congress. Forty-four percent (44%) voters also think a group of people selected at random from the phone book would do... MORE

Middlemen by Munger

Economic Education
David Henderson
The feature article on Econlib this month is by economically literate political scientist Michael Munger. In it, he defends the role of the middleman, drawing on two classic articles, one by Bastiat and one by R.A. Radford. My favorite paragraph:... MORE

The Price of Everything

Economic Education
David Henderson
My review of Russ Roberts' excellent economics novel, The Price of Everything is in the latest issue of Regulation. Roberts is definitely growing as a novelist. I like it better than The Invisible Heart, which I liked better than his... MORE

More Laughs in Economics

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Here's a long list of links on humorous econ pieces, including Leijonhufvud's classic "Life Among the Econ."P.S. Correction: I misremembered my conversation with my colleague John Nye.  "Japan's Phillips Curve Looks Like Japan" was the annual favorite of a panel... MORE

How Singapore Sells Co-Payment

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
In Singapore, the government almost never hands out goodies free of charge.  There's almost always a co-payment, even for health care and education.  Western economists justify these charges as a partial remedy for "moral hazard."  But perhaps Singapore has been... MORE

Future Scenarios for Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen writes, The consulting incomes of finance economists will fall and fewer talented people will go into finance. Speaking fees will fall since fewer economists will give talks at hedge funds. The relative status of macroeconomists will rise and... MORE

EconLog Welcomes Guest Blogger David Henderson

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I first encountered the mind of David Henderson when I was 18 years old, and read his introduction to a Cato reprint of Yale Brozen's "Is Government the Source of Monopoly."  I liked Brozen's essay, but it was Henderson's intro... MORE

Work-Safe Readings for Macro

Austrian Economics
Arnold Kling
In response to my post on the porn that is modern macro, readers naturally asked me for alternatives.... MORE

Paul's Nobel: Nicht Ein Unrecht

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Gordon Tullock is always my first choice for the Nobel prize, but Paul Krugman's win is, as the Germans say, nicht ein Unrecht - not an injustice. Yes, he's often screamed himself silly, but the best fifth of Krugman's corpus... MORE

Where are the Macro Theorists? Help Me Out

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
What macroeconomic theory says that we run the risk of a Depression if we don't have a bailout? Try to come up with an argument that is either already in a textbook or that you would put in a textbook.... MORE

Squandering their Cognitive Surplus

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Mama, don't let your boy grow up to be a campaign economic adviser. Look at what happened to Jason Furman and Doug Holtz-Eakin, two very nice, very smart guys. Because they are on different sides of the Presidential campaign, they... MORE

Dissident Economics and Thought Control

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Tom Green writes, But after three decades of questioning whether the world can continue to support our consumption habits, Rees has had trouble convincing his colleagues in economics that their economic model needs an overhaul. Maybe after three decades of... MORE

Against Self-Subversion

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Here's Tyler's latest Dadaism:A good blog should be subversive and help you see the faults in the author's own positions. Ask whether the blogs you are reading in fact provide that service. Self-subversion ought also, in the long run, to... MORE

Public Goods and Pedagogy

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm increasingly convinced that the way economists teach undergrads about public goods and externalities is needlessly confusing. Here's my radical solution: Purge discussions of public goods and bads, and replace them with discussions of positive and negative externalities. Is this... MORE

My IHS Lectures

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'll be in Chicago next week giving lectures for the Institute for Humane Studies' The Tradition of Liberty: Advanced Studies seminar. My lectures: 1. Public choice and public goods. The basics of public goods theory, plus a long discussion about... MORE

Class Discussion Starter

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
The question of whether businesses should be public-spirited is a great one for class discussion. Teachers and professors will want to bookmark Creative Capitalism. Thanks to Tyler Cowen for the pointer. Here is Michael Kinsley's introduction: why not just pay... MORE

Another Intro Econ Book

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Eamonn Butler's The Best Book on the Market: How to Stop Worrying and Love the Free Economy gets right down to business, without any introduction explaining who is the target audience and what they should get out of it. Maybe... MORE

Economics: How to Teach it and How Not To

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Ruth Lieber says, It's hard to imagine the invisible hand. After all, it's invisible. Leaving things alone, leaving people to their own desires and dreams would seem like the last way to make the world a better place. So most... MORE

The Trouble with Macro

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
My earlier post suggesting a macro-less economics major drew some interesting comments. I agree with those who say that a student should choose courses on the basis of the professor rather than the topic--that was exactly the advice I gave... MORE

What an Economics Major Should Take

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
My youngest daughter (who is not an economics major, but is likely to take more courses in econ) was concerned that a course in environmental economics would be too squishy. I assured her that this ought to be a rigorous... MORE

What I'm Going to Do on My Summer Vacation

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
1. I'll be in Europe for the first time since 2001 for Jon Elster's conference on "Collective Wisdom: Principles and Mechanisms" at the Collège de France in Paris. (It's open to the public, but space is limited). My wife and... MORE

Folk Songs

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
This past weekend, my wife and I attended a sing-along. About fifty of us Baby Boomers, along with a few children and grandchildren, gathered with some guitars, banjos, and other instruments to sing the classic tunes of Woody Guthrie, Pete... MORE

Once Upon a Time

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
In a recent comment, Troy Camplin pointed to a short story that he wrote a few years ago. Milton Wilcain was obviously not a very smart man...if he had been intelligent, he would have been allowed to keep his money... MORE

The GMU Crowd

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Earlier, I posted a picture of four Masonomists. Now you can read the article. A sample: Controlling for income, Caplan explained, well-informed poor people favor very different policies than poor people who are not informed. Informed how? Well, he explained,... MORE

The Masonomics Fab Four

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Bryan, Robin, Alex, and Tyler: Lots more pix here. Taken to accompany an article in Doublethink that should be online soon. Note that Bryan is in his classroom teaching uniform. Recall that in Masonomics I made the Beatles comparison.... MORE

Economic Communication Prize

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Are you a great but untenured communicator of economic ideas? If so, here's a contest you should seriously consider entering. Good luck!... MORE

Interesting Tidbits

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Professor Donald Lacombe of Ohio University is offering a course in Econoblogging! Will this test Tyler's assertion that the best way to learn economics nowadays is through blogs? In addition to blogs, a venerable source of economic wisdom is the... MORE

Did I Miss My Decade?

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Yesterday I gave a talk for GMU TV (pre-recorded; not sure when it will broadcast). My host declared that I would have made a "great '60s radical" and compared me to reading Eldridge Cleaver. The big message of my book,... MORE

Who wouldn't want to see Tyler Cowen publicly debate Robin Hanson? Well, aside from the masses? I think they'd both be willing, if they could only pinpoint a good topic. A while back they had an extended blog dialogue (see... MORE

Make Democracy Work for Once: Vote EconTalk

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
EconTalk, the podcasting sister of Econlog run by the noble Russ Roberts, has been nominated for a 2007 Weblog award. Vote here, and may the best podcaster win.... MORE

Easy Essay Money

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
The blogosphere has honed your writing skills; now it's time to cash in. Here's two more essay contests to try:2007-08 APEE Essay Contest on the Benefits of a Free Market EconomyIHS Essay Contest for Undergraduate StudentsI'd like to see the... MORE

Expressing Economic Ideas

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Although it's a painful download, Tyler Cowen's talk on economics blogging is really outstanding. It runs quite counter to the angst that seems to be showing up lately on Greg Mankiw's blog. One question that Tyler addresses is, "Why economics?"... MORE

What I Learned About Journalists This Summer

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Arnold's very down on journalists:When you get an answer that works with five-year-olds, you can move on to try and explain it to journalists. For journalists, the market only exists to cause problems (it's like Matt Ridley's complaint that the... MORE

Journalists and Five-year Olds

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Bryan asks, can you write an economically sound answer to the question "When [i.e., why] Did Life For the Poor Get Better?" that a five-year-old could understand? When you get an answer that works with five-year-olds, you can move on... MORE

Bryan's Cover Story in Reason

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
is here. His topic is the four types of bias that non-economists hold. He concludes, Economists have a love-hate relationship with systematic bias. As theorists, they deny its existence. But when they teach, address the public, or wonder what is... MORE

Free Online Textbook

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Timothy Taylor, one of my favorite economists, has a textbook that you can read for free, provided you are willing to put up with registering at the site and having some of the pages be ads. I thought that the... MORE

Ph. D Curriculum in Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Reader Chris Morgan asks, Your frequent, insightful critiques of the weaknesses in mainstream Ph.D. curriculum's has made me ponder this (you do have this question coming): if you were to put together a Ph.D. program, what would be (1) essential... MORE

Against Teaching Basic Economic Principles

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
William Becker argues, Any professor of economics can identify the field's traditional basic concepts. The trick is to recognize and articulate the shortcomings of simplistic analysis before students rightly dismiss it as irrelevant and then wrongly dismiss all of economics... MORE

An Answer For Arnold

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Arnold asks:OK, so Bryan's latest book is on stupid voters. One solution is to educate them. But his next to-be-written book, on education, says that education is merely a signal of ability. The data on GRE scores arguably validates that.... MORE

A Question for Bryan

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Reader Randall Parker called my attention to Steve Sailer's post on GRE scores by intended field of study. The scores are on verbal reasoning and math. Generally speaking, if an intended field of study draws people with higher verbal reasoning... MORE

For Introductory Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
I recommend Robert Frank's lecture and Paul Romer talking about economic growth, as interviewed by Russ Roberts. Frank discusses economic education. He says that studies show that six months after an economics course, students are no better at answering basic... MORE

Quizzes

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Commenters on a previous post asked for my test of economics. I will have to work on putting one together that maps to the national curriculum. Meanwhile, here are three old self-assessment quizzes from a few years ago: Trade Social... MORE

Various Links

Political Economy
Arnold Kling
Michael Cannon describes how the self-selection process in politics works against my ideas for reforming health care. “Insulation” is another term for spending Other People’s Money. Politicians are predisposed not to see spending Other People’s Money as a problem, because... MORE

The Best Place to Learn Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
According to Tyler Cowen, it's right here. He says (it's an interview with Bloomberg's Tom Keene) that right now blogs are the best place to learn economics. Probably not if your goal is to pass the exam. But it's an... MORE

High School Curriculum

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
This is easy for Greg Mankiw to say. I have long thought that a year of economics should be standard in high school, much as American history is now. I even have a good textbook to recommend. I think that... MORE

A Video for Ec 10

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
This fall in Harvard's introductory class, I think Greg Mankiw should have his students watch The Call of the Entrepreneur. One of the segments is a clear explanation given by a Wall Street lawyer of the value added by financial... MORE

I Heart Textbook Authors

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
The wise Alex Tabarrok just pointed out a fun fact: My best book publicity is coming from textbook authors: Greg Mankiw David Romer via Brad Delong Alan Blinder Tyler and Alex himself (textbook in progress) If I taught classes with... MORE

Me on the BBC

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'm going to be on the BBC's "Thinking Allowed" program tomorrow at 11 AM EST, 4 PM London time. In case you haven't guessed, I'll be talking about my book.... MORE

Wake Forest Liberty and Society Seminar

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
This summer, I'll be giving my first series of IHS Liberty and Society lectures. The seminar is at Wake Forest University, June 2-8. The bad news: The application deadline is over. The good news: You can still email conference organizer... MORE

David Colander on Graduate Study in Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
The book is The Making of an Economist, Redux. It provides facts, analysis, and opinions of the graduate programs at top economics departments. I'll excerpt a few sentences, and then I'll add my opinion of what I would like to... MORE

More Dollar Bills on the Sidewalk

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Enter the Garvey Fellowship Contest by writing an essay on foreign aid. They gave me first prize when I was in grad school; the next winner could be you!... MORE

Teaching Un-Normal Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Greg Mankiw writes, Having observed many failed textbook projects over the years (I won't mention names), I notice several predictable pitfalls. They include: ...The author has views of the field that are too idiosyncratic to appeal to the vast majority... MORE

Is Economics All About Scarcity?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Michael Mandel says no. Proposed definition: Economics is the study of the functioning--and malfunctioning--of the economy, with the aim of improving living standards My justification for a different definition is that there are big chunks of the economy where scarcity... MORE

Make Money Fast (no, really!)

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I've argued that student essay contests are a sweet deal. Here's another example: the Economic Communicators Contest, sponsored by the Association for Private Enterprise Education.... MORE

The Anti-Hack

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Jane Galt ably defends my co-blogger against the charge of hackdom, and raises an important challenge in the process:If the word "hack" has never come out of your lips (or keyboard) in public reference to someone on your own side,... MORE

According to the NYT, libertarians ruled Washington during the Clinton era: FOR years, the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, exercising a lock on the party’s economic policies, argued that the economy could achieve sustained growth only if markets were... MORE

The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
The worst thing about Thanksgiving is the boredom. Fortunately, there's a great solution: Treat your captive audience to a slice of economic controversy. Immigration? Inequality? Polygamy? It's all good. Now if, like me, you're having Thanksgiving with a bunch of... MORE

Should Empirics Determine the Curriculum?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Edward Glaeser writes, thorough general education requirement on the scientific approach to society would require two courses. First, students should take a course that teaches the crafting of rigorous hypotheses. ... Second, students should take a class on evidence and... MORE

Teaching Economics as Common Sense

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Walter Williams writes Professors James Gwartney (Florida State University), Richard Stroup (Montana State University) and Dwight Lee (Georgia University), three longtime colleagues of mine, have recently published "Common Sense Economics." It's a small book, less than 200 pages, that addresses... MORE

Bastiat in Fairfax?

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
My chairman Don Boudreaux continues to hone his sense of economic ridicule: If, unlike me, you accept the logic of Ms. Lee's argument that it's wrong to let American consumers buy goods made by workers who toiled under government-regulatory standards... MORE

Essay Contests: Worth the Risk

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Professors don't get paid for good essays, but students do! The truth about essay contests is that the number of submissions is usually absurdly low considering the size of the prizes and the opportunity cost of students' time. Your latest... MORE

Teaching Statistics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Does anyone out there know any AP Statistics teachers? They might be interested in using an interactive web site that I am working on. If so, tell them to get in touch with me. I have only a few slots... MORE

Learning from Experience

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen invites me to add to a list of experiences that he recommends for a young economics major. His list is a good one. One thing that I would add is that you spend several months living in a... MORE

Questions About Blogging

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
"Jane Galt" asks her readers 1) Why do you read blogs? 2) Why do you read economics blogs, specifically? 3) What are your favourite economics blogs? 4) Even more specifically, why do you read this blog? 5) What are your... MORE

Ideology and the Classroom

Economic Education
Eric Crampton
Oppenheimer writes in favour of opinionated teaching. Kelly-Woessner and Woessner find that this may not be the best route to strong teaching evaluations. Both perceived ideological and partisan differences between student and instructor reduce course evaluation scores, with partisan differences... MORE

My Student's Real Economist Letter

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
My former student, Isaac DiIanni, wrote the lead letter in the current issue of the Economist. Congratulations, Isaac - yet another way my students have surpassed me. :-)... MORE

Welcome Guest Blogger Eric Crampton

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I'll be on vacation in Southern California for the next two weeks, and out of internet contact for most of the first. But never fear, the excellent Prof. Eric Crampton of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand will be... MORE

All Things Caplan

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I have updated my CV and my Academic Economics page. With the exception of my book (for which only the Preface and Chapter 1 are available), you can now download virtually any research I've done during the past nine years.... MORE

Online Textbooks

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Walter Antoniotti has compiled a big list of free online textbooks in economics, business, statistics, etc. I glanced at one of the economics sites, Cybereconomics by Robert E. Schenk, and it looked quite good. I also liked the Quick Notes... MORE

Why Get an Econ Ph.D?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen writes, Two core groups of people are well-suited to be economists: 1. You math GRE score is over 800, you are totally focused, you love working long hours on your own, and you have good enough letters of... MORE

Milton Friedman Video

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
From the 1970's, a great half-hour interview. Thanks to Robert Lawson for the pointer.... MORE

The Comedy of Monopoly

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
I just came across a chuckle-worthy piece by Russ Roberts on Monopoly - the game, not the market structure: Monopoly is the ultimate zero-sum game. You profit only by taking from others. The assets of its world are fixed in... MORE

My Earliest Encounter with Economic Absurdity

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Looking back on my childhood, I heard a lot of economically absurd statements. But I didn't recognize them as absurd at the time. Teachers and parents said stuff, and I believed them. The first time I encountered economic absurdity and... MORE

Practice Makes Expert

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Both Greg Mankiw and Tyler Cowen recommend an article by the Freakonomics team of Levitt and Dubner in the New York Times on the research of Anders Ericsson into the development of skills by experts. Deliberate practice entails more than... MORE

The Philosophy Major

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
In an ongoing discussion, Bryan writes, why are there so few libertarian academic philosophers? And why do economists across the political spectrum have so much more appreciation for the benefits of markets than the general public, the typical college grad,... MORE

Economic Literacy Via Philosophy?

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Arnold writes: I had lunch today with a friend whose daughter is planning to major in philosophy, with minors in religious studies and classics. My reaction was to say (to my friend's horror), "Sounds like she could be on the... MORE

Teaching Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Greg Mankiw writes, In my utopia, everyone would study the principles of economics in high school, just as everyone now studies American history. Understanding basic economics is essential for being an intelligent voter. I would be out of a job... MORE

Greg Mankiw has a Blog

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
He writes, This blog is an experiment, primarily aimed at interacting with students in Ec 10, the large introductory economics class that I teach at Harvard. Other students and teachers using my textbooks may find it of interest as well.... MORE

Reflecting on the best social science of 2005, it is striking how much of it appears in The Onion. Here are just a few articles that provide more insight than the typical publication in the American Economic Review: Bush to... MORE

Arnold's Intriguing Idea

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Arnold has a thought-provoking new hypothesis about "Why People Hate Economics": Paul Bloom's essay "Is God an Accident?" in the latest issue of The Atlantic, suggests that humans' belief in God, Intelligent Design, and the afterlife is an artifact of... MORE

Health Care Documentary

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
This documentary attempts to make vivid the weakness of the Canadian health care system. It begins by showing how attached Canadians are to the principle of government-provided health care, but then exposes the consequences in terms of waiting times, suffering,... MORE

Economic Literacy

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
The online Wall Street Journal hosts a discussion with Russell Roberts and William Polley on the topic of economic education. Roberts writes, Whenever I teach a seminar on basic economics, I always survey the audience: What proportion of the American... MORE

Education and Income

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Michael Mandel writes, Four years of falling earnings for the college-educated. That hasn't happened since the 1970s... The only people doing well have advanced degrees. The world has changed. Just college is no longer enough. I'm basically an optimist, but... MORE

Most Influential Economist?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
For a classroom exercise, my daughter just asked me to define influence and to name the most influential person in world history. My definition of influence was, "the ability to change people's minds," and I chose John Locke, although I... MORE

Should Economists Go to Finishing School?

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
People don't like economists, and they don't listen to us. Economists who want to influence public opinion often connect the two problems. Maybe if we had tact, manners, and warmth, we wouldn't turn off our audience. And if we didn't... MORE

Education and the Economic Way of Thinking: Another Test Case

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
More educated people think more like economists. It's one of the big findings in my piece in the 2001 Journal of Law and Economics. And that's controlling for income, income growth, job security, gender, ideology, and party. It's a big... MORE

Speaking of Bubbles

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
The bubble in economics blogs continues to inflate. One of the newer entrants is Freakonomics, from Steve Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. I am becoming more and more dependent on William Parke's Economics Roundtable. At some point, the number of... MORE

Math and Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
In a wide-ranging essay, I question the dominance of math in advanced economics. The raising of the mathematical bar in graduate schools over the past several decades has driven many intelligent men and women (perhaps women especially) to pursue other... MORE

Economics of Movies

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
One of my favorite examples to use in a first-year economics class is the movie business. For one thing, it's easy to explain adjusting for inflation when you talk about comparing the box office receipts of movies of different eras.... MORE

True Scarcity?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Apparently, there is a scarcity of economics professors. According to the Wall Street Journal, According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for economics teachers, a category that includes professors, averaged nearly $140,000 a year -- based on a 52-week... MORE

Textbook Omissions

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
After studying leading graduate economics textbooks in micro, macro, and industrial organization, Dan Johansson writes, Among the 19 books, only 2 references are made to entrepreneur, only 5 to institutions, only 8 to property rights, and not a single reference... MORE

Remembering a Teacher

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Bernard Saffran, known to many economists for his regular column in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, died suddenly of a heart attack on Monday. When I was an undergraduate, I took most of my economics courses from Bernie. I wrote... MORE

Hurricanes and Broken Windows

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Walter E. Williams writes, Why are Florida's hurricanes a "plus"? It's simple. According to St. Petersburg Times reporter Joni James, "Construction creates thousands of jobs, insurance provides for billions in consumer purchases, and new facilities built to higher standards might... MORE

Rank-order Multiple Choice

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Teaching a class with 90 students gives me a newfound appreciation of multiple-choice tests. One of my objections to them has been that questions are not robust, in that students' answers may not reflect their knowledge. My concern is that... MORE

Campaign Season Economics

Politics and Economics
Arnold Kling
My latest essay says that it's not pretty. Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry managed to appeal to all four of the economically ignorant biases identified in Caplan's paper. You could say that Kerry hit the economic illiteracy quadrifecta! ...it is... MORE

Exuberance

Growth: Causal Factors
Arnold Kling
People with what Bryan Caplan calls "pessimistic bias" see the world in zero-sum terms, or worse. Kevin Brancato points out a pattern in Bill Gates' thinking that is just the opposite: "China and India are the big change agents for... MORE

Publication Tournament?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
If I think that economics students should be given ratings like tournament chess players, then naturally I would like this suggestion from David Tufte for evaluating academic research, maintaining quality, and speeding up the process. Send 2 papers to an... MORE

Revolution in Academic Affairs?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Last week, I got together with Russ Roberts of Cafe Hayek. Yesterday, I had lunch with Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution and two not-yet-blogging economists, Robin Hanson and Bryan Caplan. Several topics came up that are worth some comment. Economics... MORE

Two Thoughts on Economic Education

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
First, just a technical note. A fellow named Chris Cardinale sent me a tip that software called "Total Recorder" from a web site highcriteria.com creates really small sound files from .wav files. I downloaded and registered the software, for twelve... MORE

Economic Illiteracy

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Bryan Caplan summarizes some evidence. One of the first things that stands out is anti-foreign bias. When they contemplate economic interaction with foreigners, the general public gets unreasonably negative... A second major pattern in the public's economic illiteracy is make-work... MORE

mp3's and lectures

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen asks, Why don't econ bloggers post their classroom and public lectures? I already do. I add one or two per week. The latest one includes an interactive quiz. I record them using an Olympus DS330 digital voice recorder.... MORE

Book Pitch

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
My TechCentralStation friends let me write a pitch for my book. I believe that economists have a right to feel that we have superior knowledge on issues of public policy. However, the implication of this is not that we should... MORE

My Book is Available

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Finally, Learning Economics is available for purchase. You may order it here. Some endorsements may be found here. The book starts out, Each year, thousands of people study economics, but not many learn it. Most of them leave their economics... MORE

Where is the Failure?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Brad DeLong writes, Economists are losing the battle for mindshare in public debates and discussions about the economy. Too much of what we economists write meets the technical canons of modern economics, but reaches a very small audience (if it... MORE

Should Pacey Teach Economics?

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
I have started teaching a class at George Mason called Economics and the Citizen It's been over 20 years since I taught at a college level, and I feel like Rip Van Winkle. After the first class, I was given... MORE

Two Things

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
Tim Worstall points to Glenn Whitman's post about the "two things" that can summarize a profession's wisdom. For economics, he nominates: One: Incentives matter. Two: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. I don't think I like this game.... MORE

Future of Education

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
I speculate on the future of education. The first ongoing trend, one that affects the demand for education, is rapid technological change. As the pace of change continues, or even accelerates, it causes all human capital to depreciate more rapidly.... MORE

Milton Friedman on health, education

Economics of Health Care
Arnold Kling
In an interview, Milton Friedman explains why shifting education and health care from the market to the government is inefficient. There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you... MORE

Red Sox Technologies

Information Goods, Intellectual Property
Arnold Kling
What do you call a technology that looks promising but always lets you down? In this essay, I point out that one example is micropayments. Another example, I argue, is virtual classrooms. Most web-based education software seems designed to enable... MORE

Academic Lock-in

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
In a polemic I wrote against academic tastes, I raise the question of why top universities remain successful. I suggest, The nation's top-tier colleges benefit from network and lock-in effects. No single Ivy League undergraduate has the incentive to attend... MORE

Sowell on Math and Economics

Economic Methods
Arnold Kling
A while back, we discussed whether math is necessary for economic education. Thomas Sowell gives his view. Introductory economics is too often taught as if the students in it were all potential economists who had to be introduced to the... MORE

Economic Education

International Trade
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen recommends James Buchanan's "The Soul of Classical Liberalism," an essay published three years ago. As Cowen points out, Buchanan is wrestling with tough philosophical issues. Here, I just want to focus on a few sentences that bear on... MORE

Protesting Economic Education

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
In this essay, I cited Steven Pinker on the value of teaching economics, but I concluded with doubts as to whether "economic idiotarianism" could be eradicated entirely with education. Consider this story about the movement for alternative economics, including a... MORE

The Case for Teaching Economics

Economic Education
Arnold Kling
When asked by edge.org's John Brockman what he would do if he were science advisor to the President, Steven Pinker's reply included: Observers from our best science writers to Jay Leno are frequently appalled by the innumeracy, factual ignorance, and... MORE

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