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Tag Archives: Cross-country Comparisons

Reflections on Guatemala

I first journeyed to Guatemala 20 years ago, hosted by Universidad Francisco Marroquín.  Two weeks ago, I returned for a delightful extended visit, accompanied by my Spanish-speaking elder sons and former EconLog blogger Jim Schneider.  I spent over a week doing guest lectures at UFM, then gave Friday’s keynote talk for the Reason Foundation’s Reason in Guatemala conference.  During our trip, we were also able to visit the awesome Mayan ruins of Tikal and Yaxha.  Here...

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Are the US and the UK political systems converging?

[The ideas in this post are tentative, so please correct me on any errors regarding the UK political system.] As an outsider, the parliamentary system in the UK always seemed quite different from the US system, mostly due to the different roles of the president of the US and the prime minister of the UK. In the UK, voters elect a party, or a coalition of parties, and the party elects a leader. The leader would sometimes be changed in midstream if things were not going...

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Caplans of the Caribbean

I just returned from cruising the Caribbean on Anthem of the Seas.  Maybe you’ve heard of it? Fortunately, no coronavirus panic marred our vacation, and the concluding scare at the dock turned out to be a false alarm.  Though I’d seen a little of the Caribbean before, this trip was a heavy dose: after a stop at San Juan, Puerto Rico, we sailed on to St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts.  My social science reflections: 1. I’ve been writing about Puerto Rico...

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Monnery on Hong Kong and Cuba

On our sister website, Law and Liberty, I’ve reviewed Neil Monnery’s A Tale of Two Economies. Monnery was interviewed by Russ Roberts on the occasion of the publication of his previous book, an engaging biography of John Cowperthwaite, whom he sees as the “architect” of Hong Kong’s prosperity. In this book, he compares Cowperhwaite with Ernesto “Che” Guevara. One was the man behind the key economic choices in Hong Kong, the other the man behind the key economic...

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Garett Jones on Open Borders: More Endogenous Than Thou

Garett Jones faults me for treating cross-country productivity differences as exogenous.  I disagree. On further reflection, though, I think he’s making an analogous error.  Ponder his statement: As you know, my key disagreement is a theoretical and empirical one: the policy of Open Borders flows fairly naturally from the view that a nation’s level of productivity—total factor productivity or TFP to be pedantic—is largely exogenous to the experiences, backgrounds, and...

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Garett Jones on Open Borders: A Belated Reply

Last November, Garett Jones wrote two responses to my Open Borders.  The first was “Measuring the Sacrifice of Open Borders,” a short paper on the distributional effects of free migration.  I replied here. Soon afterward, however, Garett also wrote me this open letter.  Since I didn’t want to hastily respond to serious criticism, I waited until I had time to carefully respond.  Now I’m ready.  Here’s my point-by-point response.  This format works especially well...

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My Hayek Memorial Lecture

Though I’m not a big fan of Hayek, the UK-based Institute of Economic Affairs asked me to deliver the 2019 Hayek Memorial Lecture.  It’s a preview of my book-in-progress, Poverty: Who To Blame.  It’s also an attempt to get people to pay comparable attention to all three parts of my book.  At least until my IEA talk, almost all critics focused entirely on book’s final third, when I explore the extent to which the poor are to blame for their own poverty.  So I rewrote...

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Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies

I’ve easily read a hundred books on the evils of socialism.  I was quite surprised, then, by how much I learned from Kristian Niemietz’s Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies, available for free download.  Yes, I already knew that socialist regimes go through a popularity sequence, starting at “This socialist regime is a model for the world” and ending with “That’s not real socialism.”  Niemietz, however, describes this sequence with great precision and...

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Good news for Trump

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister of the UK. This proved to be a leading indicator of politics in the US, as Reagan was elected a year later. In June 2016, British voters opted to leave the European Union. Here’s what I said the very next day: Of course this is good news for Trump, as it suggests a groundswell of nationalism. It’s also good news (for Trump) in the sense that the Brexit vote was greater than predicted by either polls or betting...

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