EconLog small logo

Free Markets

A Category Archive (29 entries)

Eugene Volokh on Everything

Free Markets
David Henderson
Nick Gillespie has a good interview with Eugene Volokh of the famed law blog The Volokh Conspiracy. Among the most interesting highlights are his discussion of the cake baker and anti-discrimination laws. Volokh makes the important distinction between whether a... MORE

Ryan Murphy on government effectiveness and growth

Cross-country Comparisons
Scott Sumner
A decade ago I wrote a paper that looked at several definitions of neoliberalism, and found that what I called "egalitarian neoliberalism" was especially closely correlated with civic virtue. This model was based on the various indices of economic freedom,... MORE

Don't assume that irrationality is hard-wired into humans

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Scott Sumner
I don't doubt that there are some types of human behavior that are both hard-wired and irrational. But it's very dangerous to simply assume that any form of irrationality that you encounter is innate (i.e. genetic). Here's the NYT: "A... MORE

Congratulations to Richard Thaler

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Scott Sumner
As a University of Chicago alum, it's always nice to see the UC pick up another Nobel Prize in economics. Economists are often accused of engaging in empty theorizing, but Thaler has developed useful ideas, such as methods by which... MORE

Fifty years ago

International Trade
Scott Sumner
Fifty years ago, the Red Guards were rampaging through the streets of Beijing. Chairman Mao issued weird, over-the-top statements about the evils of American capitalism. Free markets were seen as exploitation, as a sort of winner-take-all. Meanwhile, the US was... MORE

Neoliberalism is making the world much more equal

Cross-country Comparisons
Scott Sumner
It's puzzling to me that so many progressives view the term 'neoliberalism' with disdain. A new article by Cardiff Garcia shows that the world is becoming much more equal. And that trend is being spurred by less between country inequality---within... MORE

More markets please

Free Markets
Scott Sumner
I've devoted much of the past ten years to advocating the creation of a highly liquid nominal GDP prediction market. I believe this sort of market would eventually revolutionize macroeconomics. Over time, people would stop thinking of the stance of... MORE

Markets for Everything, Minaki Edition

Free Markets
David Henderson
This is at a marina near my cottage at Minaki. HT2 Mike Hammock for helping me rotate the picture.... MORE

I, Needle Nose Pliers

Free Markets
David Henderson
Above is a picture of a tool I borrowed from a neighbor (or, should I say "neighbour" since I'm at my cottage in Canada.) The main insight from the classic "I, Pencil" is that no single person knows how... MORE

Primitive cultures need a dose of utilitarianism

Economics and Culture
Scott Sumner
In this post I will discuss two primitive cultures, the Sudanese and the Americans. I will argue that both need to adopt a utilitarian ethical framework. Let's start with the Sudan. In the Sudan, female genital mutilation is a common... MORE

Capitalism has a PR problem

Cross-country Comparisons
Scott Sumner
Here's one of my favorite Deirdre McCloskey remarks, from her Bourgeois Virtues: I don't care how one defines capitalism, as long as it's not defined as evil incarnate. Unfortunately, that's exactly how it is often defined. Here's a recent example... MORE

The new political divide

Free Markets
Scott Sumner
The Economist has a very good article describing how the 20th century's left/right political divide is now being replaced by a split between those who favor and oppose an open society: IS POLAND'S government right-wing or left-wing? Its leaders revere... MORE

Noah Smith on Milton Friedman

Free Markets
Emily Skarbek
In commenting on Milton Friedman's contributions to economics, it was once remarked that "attempting to portray the work of Milton Friedman . . . is like trying to catch the Niagara Falls in a pint pot." In yesterday's Bloomberg View,... MORE

Here's Neil Irwin of the NYT, expressing some rather unoriginal views that you might see in 100 other media outlets: What lesson should a card-carrying member of the economic elite take from the success of Donald J. Trump, and British... MORE

Chuck Norris vs Communism

Liberty
Emily Skarbek
Irina Nistor has one of the most famous voices in Romania. While working as a translator of censored television programs in Romania under the Communist regime, she secretly dubbed over 3,000 banned movie titles on VHS tapes smuggled in... MORE

Buyer Licencing of Illegal Drugs

Regulation
Emily Skarbek
"The uncertainties associated with the precise nature of legalization regimes and with their expected outcomes sometimes are used to justify the maintenance of drug prohibition. This paper details the role that buyer licensing and exclusion might play in implementing a... MORE

Does Contract Enforcement Require Government as a Backstop?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
Recently, Arnold Kling has been arguing that even when contract enforcement is totally private, it requires government as a backstop. He wrote: Taking existing institutions as an existence proof for the feasibility of an-cap is not a valid argument. The... MORE

Tyler Cowen has a good post on the catastrophic collapse of the Brazilian economy: And how is Brazilian output doing you may wonder?: By the end of 2016 Brazil's economy may be 8% smaller than it was in the first... MORE

Pinker on Intelligence, Liberalism, and Economic Literacy

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
In the second-last chapter of his excellent book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Harvard University psychology professor writes, in a short section subtitled "Intelligence and Liberalism": Now we get to a finding that sounds more... MORE

About those wacky libertarians

Economics of Education
Scott Sumner
Will Wilkinson has a post discussing libertarianism. He points out that many libertarians are disdainful of politics. They tend to be ideological purists who are so anti-government that they are reluctant to get involved in the rough and tumble of... MORE

Do we really want to control health care costs?

Economics of Health Care
Scott Sumner
In America, the government heavily subsidizes the provision of "health care." (The scare quotes will be explained later.) For example, roughly 40% of the cost of health insurance for middle class families is paid for by the government, via tax... MORE

The Huge Benefits of the Sharing Economy

Free Markets
David Henderson
There has been a lot of excitement recently over what many people call the "sharing economy," in which new firms such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and other website businesses are increasing the value of capital assets. Uber and Lyft allow... MORE

Why is Greece such an economic success?

Cross-country Comparisons
Scott Sumner
Greece is widely viewed as an economic basket case. This recent article in the Financial Times discusses some fanciful proposals to fix the Greek economy. I don't doubt that Greece has performed poorly in recent years, but in one little... MORE

Why can't we have nice things?

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Scott Sumner
If you travel to other countries you might occasionally notice something that you wish the US had. The one I notice most often is good subways. This article caught my eye: Stan Paul, who begins his morning ride to UCLA... MORE

The Wonder of Economic Freedom

Business Economics
David Henderson
Like fellow blogger Alberto Mingardi, I appreciate Jeffrey Tucker's writings on the "marvels of a free market economy." The other person I would put in the same category is Don Boudreaux over at CafeHayek. And another blogger who contributed mightily... MORE

In a recent post I criticized the "free lunch" view of printing money. However I did acknowledge that there was a sort of free lunch aspect to having a monetary system, but only to the tune of a bit over... MORE

You often read very thoughtful progressives explain why the government sector in the US is too small. You'd think 40% of GDP would be enough, but they insist we have "unmet needs" for a single-payer health care system (18% of... MORE

Markets and Prices Allow Us To Use Knowledge We Don't Have

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
Art Carden
Another semester is upon us, and in my principles of macroeconomics class at Samford we spent the first week reading Frederic Bastiat's What is Seen and What is Not Seen and Leonard Read's I, Pencil. In class yesterday we considered... MORE

A Working Economy of Strangers

Free Markets
David Henderson
When I was young, I didn't travel much, and when I did, I always worried. How will I get where I'm going? When I leave the airport, how will I get to the hotel? Who will take care of me?... MORE

Return to top