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Do poverty programs reduce poverty?

The answer is "probably", but by less than you might assume. The LA Times has an interesting article entitled: New evidence shows that our anti-poverty programs, especially Social Security, work well I'm not quite convinced by this argument.  The article discusses some very interesting research by Bruce D. Meyer and Derek Wu, which shows the poverty rate looking at only official income data, and then again after accounting for taxes and various income support programs.  I'm convinced by their argument...
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Tyler Cowen recently linked to an excellent post by Agnes Callard, on progress in philosophy. At one point she makes this offhand remark: In philosophy proper--which is to say, that by reference to which the progress of philosophy ought to be judged--there is nothing "we"...

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There is a strange thing about that graph. The poverty rate after taxes is the same as the poverty rate after taxes plus non-cash benefits. That's a bit odd, no? It suggests that the in-kind anti-poverty programs don't really do much of anything.

Whose Tariff Rates Are Higher?

I've been having discussions with a number of pro-Trump friends who favor Trump's raising of tariffs as a way to induce other countries' governments to reduce their tariffs. They think my fear of a trade war is overstated. One major premise of their argument is that the United States has lower tariff rates than othe...

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Does Liberalism Destroy Liberty?

Liberal individualism demands the dismantling of culture; and as culture fades, Leviathan waxes and responsible liberty recedes. —Patrick J. Deneen, Why Liberalism Failed1 (page 88) Patrick Deneen has written a deeply pessimistic book. In short, his thesis is: 1. Liberalism is the philosophy which we...

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Immigration: A Confession and a Value Judgment

I must confess that, contrary to my former anarcho-capitalist stance for unrestricted immigration (shared by many of my co-bloggers here), I now find the topic more complicated. I of course have no economic objection to immigration, if by “economic” is meant its effects on wages, incomes, and the allocation of res...

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A Cure for Our Health Care Ills

"Nobody knew health care could be so complicated," was Donald Trump's now famous pronouncement on the issue. The Congressional Republicans were struggling too. Not only did they fail to reach a legislative solution, but, even worse, they were confused about where to even search for a solution. All told, health care beg...

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A Conversation with Ronald H. Coase

Nobel laureate Ronald H. Coase (1910-2013) was recorded in 2001 in an extended video now available to the public. Coase's articles, "The Problem of Social Cost" and "The Nature of the Firm" are among the most important and most often cited works in the whole of economic literature. Coase recounts how he tried to encour...

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Great Depression

  A worldwide depression struck countries with market economies at the end of the 1920s. Although the Great Depression was relatively mild in some countries, it was severe in others, particularly in the United States, where, at its nadir in 1933, 25 percent of all workers and 37 percent of all nonfarm workers wer...

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Richard Reinsch on the Enlightenment, Tradition, a...

Richard Reinsch, editor of Law and Liberty and the host of the podcast Liberty Law Talk, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Enlightenment. Topics discussed include the search for meaning, the stability of liberalism, the rise of populism, and Solzhenitsyn's indictment of Western values from his Harvard Com...

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The Economic Consequences of the Peace

THE writer of this book was temporarily attached to the British Treasury during the war and was their official representative at the Paris Peace Conference up to June 7, 1919; he also sat as deputy for the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Supreme Economic Council. He resigned from these positions when it became evide...

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The Grocery Store as an Indicator of American Prog...

I have written much about the extraordinary increase in living standards1 that Americans have enjoyed over the last century, and especially in the last forty years. For me, one of the best indicators of this incredible progress can be seen in the evolution of the grocery store. A great treatment of this evolution is fo...

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Ten Key Ideas: Opening the Door to the Economic Way of Thinking

By Russell Roberts Ten Key Ideas: Opening the Door to the Economic Way of Thinking Introduction Here are ten fundamental ideas to help you explore and understand the world around us using the economic way of thinking. I've written an essay on each idea and listed some reading and listening suggestions if you want ...

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