Friday , April 20 2018
Home / Tag Archives: Behavioral Economics and Rationality

Tag Archives: Behavioral Economics and Rationality

An Economist Deals With a Cancelled Flight

Today, I flew from Monterey to LAX on United, then on to Washington Dulles, with a connection planned to Dayton, Ohio. My plan was to rent a car in Dayton and drive to my hotel in Richmond, Indiana, and then go to a late dinner with some of the faculty at Indiana University East. I speak tomorrow afternoon at Indiana University East. One problem: when I got to Dulles, I found out that my flight to Dayton had...

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From Game Theory to Gas Theory

What exactly are the strategic advantages of using poison gas?  Militarily, it's hard to see the temptation; by the standards of modern weaponry, poison gas sure doesn't seem remarkably cheap or effective.  Politically, moreover, the danger is obvious.  Since almost every major country deplores the use of poison gas, deploying it is a great way to make powerful enemies.So how would a good game theorist make...

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Adam Smith on the Bipartisan Support for Attacking Syria

With what impatience does the man of spirit and ambition, who is depressed by his situation, look round for some great opportunity to distinguish himself? No circumstances, which can afford this, appear to him undesirable. He even looks forward with satisfaction to the prospect of foreign war, or civil dissension; and, with secret transport and delight, sees through all the confusion and bloodshed which...

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Back Alley Regulation

Before Roe vs. Wade, pregnant women were almost never prosecuted for breaking anti-abortion laws.  Instead, enforcement focused single-mindedly on the sellers of abortion services.[T]here is a long record of states treating women as the second victim of abortion in the law that can be found and read. To state the policy in legal terms, the states prosecuted the principal (the abortionist) and did not...

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The Putin Illusion

In late 2007, the Washington Post ran an op-ed by Boris Jordan called, "He Delivers. That's Why They Like Him."  In it, Johnson tries to explain Vladimir Putin's great political success: "With the presidential election only three months away, Russian citizens appear prepared to vote their pocketbooks, rewarding the president for rising economic security and public order with approval ratings that regularly...

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How I Self-Police My Work

I have a long list of strange and extreme views, and I've been an arrogant hedgehog for as long as I can remember.  As a rule, arrogant hedgehogs with lots of strange and extreme views are severely biased and grossly unreliable.  Which raises two daunting questions. The Reputational Challenge: Why should people take me seriously?  Even if I happen to be correct, why would a reasonable person bother giving me...

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Steelmanning the Iraq War

The Iraq War started 15 years ago today.  I always opposed it, for my standard pacifist reasons.  But here is a case for the Iraq War that would have intellectually and morally impressed me at the time.  To be clear: Though I'm the author, I strongly disagree with this speech.  Still, I'd enjoy talking to someone who sincerely believed it.You can treat what follows as a steelmanning exercise.  (It's not...

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Of Diet Cokes and Brain-Focused Economics

Mullainathan believes he has found a choice bias that undercuts the standard economist's claim that people are rational. But has he? At first glance, his choice not to experiment doesn't make sense. But I think Mullainathan is more rational than he thinks he is. Why? Because the critically scarce resource, which he doesn't mention, is his brain. Our brains seek to optimize the allocation of their own...

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Reply to Tyler on The Case Against Education

Tyler has two recent posts referencing my new book.  Here are my responses.  Tyler is in blockquotes; I'm not.Response to Tyler's first post:I'll be doing a Conversation with Bryan, but for the time being I'll say this: everyone obsesses over the mood-affiliated "I'm going to lower the status of education signaling argument."  Hardly anyone has discussed what to me is Bryan's strangest assumption, namely a...

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