Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Revealed Preference

A Category Archive (52 entries)

Is the Sharing Economy a Rip-Off?

Regulation
David Henderson
Don't buy Dean Baker's hype The "sharing economy" - typified by companies like Airbnb or Uber, both of which now have market capitalizations in the billions - is the latest fashion craze among business writers. But in their exuberance over... MORE

From the Vault: Reply to the Village Voice

Regulation
David Henderson
In writing a tribute to the late Murray Weidenbaum last weekend, I came across a piece I wrote in 1979, a piece that had caused me to get in touch with Murray. I titled it "Reply to the Voice." It... MORE

Smoking Prevention: Nagging versus Taxing

Regulation
James Schneider
Often times, government policies are ostensibly about providing knowledge, when they are actually about nagging. Consider cigarette warning labels. They now take up more space on the packaging than they did in the past, but they still provide surprisingly little... MORE

Over at TheMoneyIllusion I used to do occasional stories on why China will not get stuck in the middle income trap. Here's another interesting piece of evidence: BEIJING (Reuters) - Zhong Jian and his wife are willing to pay... MORE

Denver Post's Media Bias, Part Two

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
Was the murderer a socialist? Can a high school student possibly use that word correctly? A point that a commenter made on my post yesterday about the Denver Post's bias was so important that it deserves its own post. Commenter... MORE

Media Bias, Case No. 15239

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
Arapahoe High gunman held strong political beliefs, classmates said That's the headline of the Denver Post news story about Denver high school murderer Karl Pierson. OK. He had strong political beliefs. Given that that's the headline, wouldn't a good reporter... MORE

Ron Paul's Misunderstanding of the CPI

Economic Methods
David Henderson
One of the least discussed, but potentially most significant, provisions in President Obama's budget is the use of the "chained consumer price index" (chained CPI), to measure the effect of inflation on people's standard of living. Chained CPI is an... MORE

Obama: Government Doesn't Work

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
You know, one of the lessons--learned from this whole process on the website [healthcare.gov]--is that probably the biggest gap between the private sector and the federal government is when it comes to I.T. [Information Technology] ... Well, the reason [that... MORE

Daniel Kuehn on Immigration

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
David Henderson
Appropriately, given that it's Labor Day, one of Econlib's two feature articles is on immigration. In "Why the Conventional View of Immigration is Wrong," author and economics graduate student Daniel Kuehn challenges two conventional views on immigration: (1) That the... MORE

Galbraith and the Southern Sharecroppers

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
David Henderson
"I am astonished how little we were concerned." In the mid-1930s, under the Franklin Roosevelt-inspired Agricultural Adjustment Act, the U.S. government paid farmers not to grow. Richard Parker, in John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics, writes: If... MORE

Daniel Kuehn on Questions about Funding Sources

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
Ad hominem is contextual. Daniel Kuehn, a frequent commenter on this blog, defends Senator Barbara Boxer's questioning of who funds the Institute for Energy Research, the organization under whose auspices Bob Murphy testified on Thursday. His general point is that... MORE

NSA Surveillance: A Cost/Benefit Analysis

Cost-benefit Analysis
David Henderson
However, the reaction has continually been to expand the enterprise, searching for the needle by adding more and more hay. Far overdue are extensive openly published studies that rationally evaluate homeland-security expenditures. The NSA's formerly secret surveillance programs have been... MORE

I already wear a lot of hats. I'm excited to add another: travel writer. I love to travel, and at the beginning of the year, I started dabbling in the world of credit card travel rewards and the like. This... MORE

Daniel Kuehn Follows in George Stigler's Footsteps

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
Correction: Daniel Kuehn is tempted to follow in George Stigler's footsteps. On a short blog post today, Daniel Kuehn, preparing to teach an undergraduate course in the history of economic thought, writes: I wish I could completely skip Marx... does... 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

Revealed Preference

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
"Nobody likes to pay taxes. Nobody wants to raise taxes on anybody." This is a quote from a newly elected Democratic congressman from Illinois named William L. Enyart. So, unless he considers himself a nobody, would he advocate raises on... MORE

Ezra Klein: Pass Laws, Be Productive

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
Ezra Klein claims that the current Congress is "one of the very worst congresses we have ever had" and then claims to "prove it." He gives 14 reasons. Reason #1 is "They're not passing laws." What's his implicit assumption? That... MORE

Taking Lousy Government for Granted

Public Choice Theory
David Henderson
Their Supreme Gall There are two ways to take lousy government for granted: (1) to understand clearly how lousy, petty, vicious, self-serving, and narcissistic most government is, and (2) to understand implicitly how lousy, petty, vicious, self-serving, and narcissistic most... MORE

Life in the Bubble

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
I've been busy all week teaching an intense course. Thus the hiatus in my blogging. I took the Charles Murray quiz that Arnold suggested and I scored, depending on the definition of a close friend, either 12 or 13 points... MORE

Abba Lerner on Consumer Sovereignty

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
David Henderson
One of the deepest scars of my early youth was etched when my teacher told me, "You do not want that," after I had told her that I did. I would not have been so upset if she had said... MORE

What I Thought, at Age 16, Academia was Supposed to Be

Economics of Education
David Henderson
And the company offers a treasure trove of traditional academic content that undergraduates paying $50,000 a year may find nowhere on their Club Med-like campuses. This past academic year, for example, a Bowdoin College student interested in American history courses... MORE

The Economics of Gifts

Cost-benefit Analysis
David Henderson
The Institute for Humane Studies did an interview with George Mason University economist Chris Coyne just before Valentine's Day on the economics of gifts. Chris lays out one of the standard claims that economists have made about gifts: that to... MORE

James Bovard on the Peace Corps

Central Planning vs. Local Knowledge
David Henderson
"The toughest job you'll ever love." Robert E. White, Peace Corps regional director for Latin America, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1970, "In the early days ... it was like a parachute drop. A Volunteer would be told,... MORE

I Don't Want It, But I Insist on Paying for It

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
House Refuses To Authorize Libyan War, Then Refuses To Defund Libyan War That's the headline on an article by Doug Mataconis yesterday. The House of Representatives voted yesterday not to authorize the use of the U.S. military in Libya and... MORE

John Goodman on Medicaid

Economics of Health Care
David Henderson
Economics teaches that people reveal their preferences through their actions. If people act as though they are indifferent between being uninsured and being on Medicaid, we may infer they are equally well off in both states of the world from... MORE

Taking Consumer Surplus Seriously

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
In a comment on my December 21 post, "John Papola on Behavioral Economics," John Papola wrote: [W]hat is consumer surplus really and why does anyone take such an idea seriously? As someone who takes it seriously--I don't know of any... MORE

Brett Arends on CPI

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
Brett Arends has an article in the January 26 Wall Street Journal titled, "Why You Can't Trust the Inflation Numbers." His distrust is all in one direction: he thinks the Consumer Price Index understates inflation. My distrust is all in... MORE

TSA's Phony Choice

Politics and Economics
David Henderson
This is from an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. The "he" referred to is John Pistole. [Ayn Rand was accused of overdoing it when she used less-obvious names for villains.] "If you have two planes, one where people are... MORE

My Reason Interview

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
Peter Suderman of Reason interviewed me last week in connection with a short article I did on how Canadian politicians Jean Chretien and Paul Martin turned around the federal budget from persistent deficits to persistent surpluses (until the latest recession.)... MORE

Robert Frank and Progressive Taxes

Taxation
David Henderson
In a debate with Robert Frank, David Friedman has pointed out some huge flaws in Frank's argument for higher taxes on "the rich." I found Friedman's critique devastating. I'll point to one highlight and then point out two criticisms I... MORE

Gifts in Kind vs. Gifts in Money

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
A standard thing we teach our students is that it's more efficient to give money to people than to give stuff. Here's a beautiful statement of the point by Alanna Shaikh, a global health professional. An excerpt: Donating stuff instead... MORE

The Economics of Cities

Economics and Culture
Arnold Kling
Edward L. Glaeser and Joshua D. Gottlieb survey the fundamental economics questions about cities, including why they exist. Cities are ultimately nothing more than proximity, so the returns to urban concentration can be seen as reductions in transport costs. ...a... MORE

Andy Roddick's Economic Literacy

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
Economist blogger Craig Newmark has linked to a hilarious Andy Roddick press conference. Roddick is so refreshing, answering questions honestly rather than doing the evasion and bulls**t that so many people at press conferences do. There's something else to note... MORE

Dan Seligman, RIP

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
I know this is a little late, but I was just surfing the web and found out that my mentor at Fortune magazine, Dan Seligman, died in January. I'm usually better than this at keeping in touch with friends who... MORE

Lie to Me

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
Like my fellow blogger Bryan, I take particular pleasure in seeing people "tell it like it is." For that reason, I particularly like the new TV show, "Lie to Me." In it, some federal government employees (you can't have everything)... MORE

James Wolcott and Stereotypes

Revealed Preference
David Henderson
My co-blogger, Arnold Kling, posted today about a blogger named James Wolcott. Mr. Wolcott appears to be someone who is deeply troubled by those who would use stereotypes to make their case. But because I didn't know who Mr. Wolcott... MORE

The Must-Read Economics Book of 2008

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Arnold Kling
Bruno Frey writes, procedural utility has also been found to play a role in consumers' decisions. The first evidence of this was presented by Kahneman, et al., who investigated customers' reactions to a situation where the price of a good... MORE

Vermont and Secession

Revealed Preference
Arnold Kling
Today's Washington Post contains an op-ed by Ian Baldwin and Frank Bryan on Vermonters' desire to secede from the union. We secessionists believe that the 350-year swing of history's pendulum toward large, centralized imperial states is once again reversing itself.... MORE

Revealed Preference vs. Happiness

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
Will Wilkinson writes, The neuroscience shows that satisfaction of the highest ranked preference does not imply the greatest hedonic satisfaction. It does not imply any hedonic satisfaction. Take a look at this paper, “Parsing Reward,” [pdf] by Kent Berridge and... MORE

Parents Say the Darndest Things

Revealed Preference
Bryan Caplan
Steve Levitt often quips that "People lie, numbers don't." I say that both people and numbers lie some of the time. The tough question is figuring out how much trust you should give people or numbers in any particular case.... MORE

Immigration

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing
Arnold Kling
I write, On the issue of poverty and immigration, which Robert J. Samuelson raised, I would ask, "Where would you prefer that people be poor?" That is, do we want to insist that poor Hispanics should remain in their native... MORE

An Envy Tax?

Income Distribution
Arnold Kling
Catching up on a week's worth of blog reading, the best thing I missed appears to be this post by Will Wilkinson. Richard Layard points out that one's perceived position in the income distribution is a better predictor of self-reported... MORE

Happiness Research Still Makes Me Unhappy

Revealed Preference
Arnold Kling
Tyler Cowen acknowledges, Unlike Arnold Kling, however, I do not reject the implications of happiness research altogether. The ever-excellent Michael of 2Blowhards.com has now come forward and offered a good summary of what happiness research implies... "Everyone seems to have... MORE

Mass Transit and Happiness

Public Goods
Arnold Kling
Peter Gordon reports on declining use of mass transit. As a group, the 20 largest U.S. metro areas declined in transit use (all trip purposes; thank you, Wendell Cox) in the 1990s. Not relative decline but absolute decline. As a... MORE

Money and Happiness

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
Robert H. Frank writes, Considerable evidence suggests that if we use an increase in our incomes, as many of us do, simply to buy bigger houses and more expensive cars, then we do not end up any happier than before.... MORE

European Scientists and America

Revealed Preference
Arnold Kling
Do European elites hate America? Not if you judge on the basis of revealed preference. According to Time, No amount of funding can buy a culture of competitiveness. And if researchers don't see opportunities for reward, they'll take their talent... MORE

Surveys and Happiness

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Arnold Kling
I have already given so-called "happiness research" a pretty hard bashing. But Tyler Cowen thinks that there is something to it. He links to a paper that says that people who work for nonprofits are happier than people who work... MORE

Comment of the Week, 2003-05-16

Revealed Preference
Arnold Kling
On the topic of revealed preference, David Thomson writes, Human beings are neither existentially [n]or psychologically able to endure lives of everyday indolence and unrelenting pleasure seeking. That sounds like the introductory sentence for a thesis in behavioral economics. For... MORE

Surveys Vs. Revealed Preference, III

Revealed Preference
Arnold Kling
I take a skeptical view of surveys in this essay. From the standpoint of revealed preference, the [survey evidence] that income over $20,000 does not raise happiness simply falls apart. Observing the fact that even people with very high incomes... MORE

Surveys Vs. Revealed Preference, II

Revealed Preference
Arnold Kling
In a previous post, I mentioned Richard Layard's critique of economics, based on survey research. Now, I have written an extended response to Layard. An excerpt: [Layard] is saying that you cannot trust people's behavior as an indicator of their... MORE

Surveys Vs. Revealed Preference

Revealed Preference
Arnold Kling
Richard Layard uses survey research and some fancy philosophical footwork to argue against conventional wisdom in economics and in favor of a nanny state. Some quotes from the series of three lectures: People in the West have got no happier... MORE

Income Vs. Happiness

Revealed Preference
Arnold Kling
A short article by Don Peck and Ross Douthat in The Atlantic Monthly summarizes some research on the relationship between income and happiness by Dutch sociologist Ruut Veenhoven. Peck and Douthat interpret the results as suggesting that Above about $20,000... MORE

Return to top