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Tag Archives: Cross-country Comparisons

Fun with life expectancies

The WSJ just reported that life expectancy in the US declined for the third consecutive year in 2017. This is unusual. Life expectancy is now lower than in 2010, when Obamacare was enacted. In addition, America has one of the lowest life expectancies in the developed world, and the gap is widening between the US on the one hand and Europe/East Asia on the other. Furthermore, in 2009 there were sizable differences among ethnic groups in the US: So what can we make of...

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What “austerity”?

The New York Times has a long article on the cost of British "austerity", which begins as follows: PRESCOT, England -- A walk through this modest town in the northwest of England amounts to a tour of the casualties of Britain's age of austerity. The old library building has been sold and refashioned into a glass-fronted luxury home. The leisure center has been razed, eliminating the public swimming pool....

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How People Get Good at Their Jobs: IDF Edition

 Email from EconLog reader Joshua Fox, reprinted with his permission.  There's no reason, of course, that you couldn't have a similar job training model without the injustice of conscription.Bryan, I loved The Case Against Education. Further support for your thesis comes from the Israel Defense Forces, where twenty-year-olds control air traffic, direct large organizations, and develop software. In...

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Dr. Pritchett’s Six Bitter Pills

When Chris Blattman publicly asked, "As a development economist, what is one politically-incorrect research finding (a finding reflecting an unpopular belief) that you wish more people cared about?," Lant Pritchett swiftly rattled off six responses.  I stitch them together here, with Lant's permission.  Lant speaking:1. One of course is that the income gains to movers from migration are an order of...

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We Rule: A Socratic Dialogue

Socrates: You look troubled, Glaucon.Glaucon: [sighs] I'm tired of all the lies, Socrates.Socrates: What lies do you have in mind?Glaucon: Did you witness the Festival of Barbaric Thought?Socrates: No.  Did I miss anything?Glaucon: Hardly.  But the whole Athenian elite was there, oohing and aahing over the paltry "achievements" of mere barbarians.Socrates: Did you criticize them for their lack of...

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The West was right about China

The Economist magazine has a recent cover entitled: How the West Got China Wrong One of the stories inside the issue suggests that during the 1990s and 2000s, many western pundits were increasingly optimistic that China would gradually move closer to Western values. The magazine now says that these pundits were wrong.Part of what is so spectacular about the decline of Sino-optimism is how recently and how...

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Americans are richer and happier* than Europeans

The asterisk refers to my skepticism about happiness surveys. But other people cite and believe this data, so I'll play along and show the implications of the actual survey data. Megan McArdle has a very nice article discussing the Danish model, cited by progressives like Bernie Sanders as something we should emulate. I agree with virtually everything in the article. Nonetheless, I'd like to add a few...

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Why I’m not a progressive

I am a utilitarian. Many (most?) utilitarians are progressives. So why am I not a progressive? I recently ran across three news articles that help to explain my skepticism of progressivism. First I'll briefly summarize the key takeaways, and then I'll explain what I believe they tell us. Here is the New York Times on building infrastructure in New York: The Times observed construction on site in Paris,...

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Ryan Murphy on government effectiveness and growth

A decade ago I wrote a paper that looked at several definitions of neoliberalism, and found that what I called "egalitarian neoliberalism" was especially closely correlated with civic virtue. This model was based on the various indices of economic freedom, with the sign on size of government inverted (so that bigger government was a plus, not a minus as in the typical economic freedom indices). For example,...

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