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Economic Methods

Thinking on the Margin in Politics

By David Henderson | Jun 5, 2024

My friend (although we’ve never met) and fellow economist Jon Murphy stated recently, in a comment on co-blogger Pierre Lemieux’s recent post: When there are two options moving you away from your desired path, choosing the one that moves you away slightly slower is not really any better. I challenged Jon, writing: Yes it is. .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Economic Deepities

By Kevin Corcoran | Jun 5, 2024

The philosopher Daniel Dennett passed away recently. While his work was focused on things like consciousness and the philosophy of mind, his ideas can find applications in other areas of life, including economics. There’s one idea in particular he described in his book Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking I want to highlight here .. MORE

Public Health

Bad Reasoning

By Scott Sumner | Jun 4, 2024

A recent NYT article provides an almost textbook example of how bad reasoning can fuel conspiracy theories. The author claims to provide five pieces of evidence suggesting that Covid escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. In fact, none of the pieces of evidence are at all persuasive, and some are factually inaccurate. Here I’ll .. MORE

Adam Smith

Adam Smith as Founding Father

By David Henderson | Jun 4, 2024

George Mason University professor of economics Daniel Klein has asked me to post this. First, a little background. Dan noted a passage from Andy Smarick at our sister publication Law and Liberty. Smarick, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, wrote, “Who Will Lead Us?” Law and Liberty, June 3, 2024. Here’s the passage: [O]ur .. MORE

Energy, Environment, Resources

The Relationship between CO2 and Global Warming

By David Henderson | Jun 3, 2024

I got in on the tail end of the discussion of Scott Sumner’s post in which he discusses global warming. I posted a comment but it was probably too late for most people to notice. I think the issue is more complicated than Scott seems to suggest. Scott writes: Theory suggests that higher levels of .. MORE

Efficient Markets Hypothesis

Summarizing my Blogging

By Scott Sumner | Jun 2, 2024

I am currently at a blogging conference in Berkeley. Meeting people here has pushed me to think about how I would summarize my blogging. One approach would be to list a bunch of unconventional claims that I have made in various posts over the past 15 years: 1. The Great Recession is usually linked to .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

My Weekly Reading for June 2, 2024

By David Henderson | Jun 2, 2024

Here are some highlights of my reading for this week. President Donald Trump’s Manhattan Convictions are Unconstitutional by Steven Calabresi, Reason, June 1, 2024. Excerpt: President Donald Trump was convicted yesterday of allegedly altering business records to conceal his alleged payment of money to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, in order to influence the 2016 .. MORE

Fiscal Policy

Thanks for Nothing

By Scott Sumner | Jun 1, 2024

David Leonhardt has a NYT piece on the “new centrism”, which he calls neopopulism.  Politicians in both parties increasingly embrace ideas like protectionism and subsidies for manufacturing.  These policies are supposedly necessary because neoliberalism has failed: The new centrism is a response to these developments. It is a recognition that neoliberalism failed to deliver. The .. MORE

Cost-benefit Analysis

Economists are Less Selfish than the Average Person

By David Henderson | May 31, 2024

  There are numerous stereotypes about economists. Two are common. The first is that all we think about and study is money. The second is that economists are more selfish than the average person. Both stereotypes are wrong. My wife, who is not herself an economist but has been married to one for almost forty-one .. MORE

Free Markets

That’s the Style: Markets and Modernism

By Scott Sumner | May 30, 2024

Less is more —  Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Less is a bore — Robert Venturi In a recent post, Alex Tabarrok discussed the problem of modern architecture.  Why do architects no longer produce the sort of beautiful old buildings that we see in many European cities? Alex cites an article by Samuel Hughes, which .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Libertarian Reciprocity

By Kevin Corcoran | May 30, 2024

There are a wide range of arguments for what makes a state legitimate, or what confers authority on a state in such a way as to create a duty to obey. There is one class of argument I’ve always found unsatisfying, and recently while pondering it I realized why it always seemed to fall short .. MORE

Public Choice Theory

Transfers Rather Than Transactions: Rent-Seeking Is Costly

By Art Carden | May 29, 2024

In 1967, Gordon Tullock published a paper titled “The Welfare Costs of Tariffs, Monopolies, and Theft” that described the mechanics of what Anne O. Krueger would later call “the rent-seeking society.” Rent-seeking might seem a little abstract, but if you understand why robbery makes the world worse off, on net, then you understand why the .. MORE

Foreign Policy

The Fight for Memorial Day

By David Henderson | May 29, 2024

  You might think this article comes a little late since it’s being published after Memorial Day. But now that Memorial Day has come and gone, it’s worth thinking about what it represents and why the debate about Memorial Day is so crucial. “Debate,” you might say. “What debate?” Yes, there is a debate. On .. MORE

Labor Market

Economic Theory and Reality

By Scott Sumner | May 28, 2024

Kevin Corcoran recently did a post discussing the distinction between being wrong in theory and wrong in fact.  Here I am interested in another situation, the case where theory matches reality quite closely, but people are reluctant to accept the implications of that fact. For instance, basic economic theory suggests that higher tax rates ought .. MORE

Economic Growth

Brigadoon versus the Hockey Stick

By David Henderson | May 28, 2024

I happened to wake up in the middle of the night last week and turned on Turner Movie Classics (TCM). Playing at the time was the 1954 movie Brigadoon. I’d heard about it but never seen it. It’s about 2 guys on a hunting trip to Scotland who discover a place in mid-18th century Scotland .. MORE

Business Economics

Cell Phones and Competition

By Kevin Corcoran | May 28, 2024

Here’s a hot shopping tip that I suspect most readers won’t be able to take advantage of – at the moment, Apple is discounting the iPhone in China. But I don’t bring that up because I’m actually hoping to influence anyone’s shopping behavior. I find it noteworthy for other reasons.  It may seem odd that .. MORE

Economics of Crime

Conclusions and Consequences Abroad

By Tarnell Brown | May 27, 2024

Consequences of the War on Drugs™ Abroad In 1996, Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Chuck Grassley testified that a recent poll revealed that eighty percent of Americans viewed as their primary foreign policy concern the stopping of illegal drugs being trafficked into the United States. The Senator was responding to his own concerns that .. MORE

International Trade

Some Call it Treason

By Scott Sumner | May 27, 2024

It has been discouraging to see that the lessons learned in the first half of the 20th century have now been forgotten, as nationalism is on the rise in many regions. And now we are seeing a repeat of the McCarthyism of the early 1950s. Here’s Foreign Policy: Not so long ago, consultancies and other .. MORE

Foreign Policy

Highlights of My Weekly Reading for May 26, 2024

By David Henderson | May 26, 2024

From the River to the Sea–One State by Warren Coats, Warren’s Space, May 22, 2024. Excerpt: The recent attack and counterattack were continuations of 70 years of unresolved relations between the areas [sic] Palestinian and Jewish residents. Netanyahu remains adamantly against revising the Two State Solution (Oslo Accord) future and Saudi Arabia is equally insistent on .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Asimov and Tolkein – Intelligence vs Wisdom

By Kevin Corcoran | May 26, 2024

I once posted that I found John Rawls’ argument that it’s unjust to benefit from your natural abilities to be inferior to ideas found in J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings: More than anything, this kind of attitude reminds me of what Boromir says to Frodo when attempting to take the Ring .. MORE

Taxation

The Pink Tax Myth

By John Phelan | May 25, 2024

Back in 2019, Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison tweeted: Haircuts for women cost more than those for men. Also health care, car repairs, etc. That’s reality for the awesome @AOC and every other woman. It’s morally wrong and it threatens the economic security of women and everyone who depends on her income. It’s the “pink .. MORE