Tuesday , July 14 2020
Home / Tag Archives: Economic Methods (page 5)

Tag Archives: Economic Methods

Individual truths, democratic truths, expert truths and market truths

Most people make a distinction between what people believe to be true and what is actually true. I accept Richard Rorty‘s claim that this distinction is not useful. Because our view is in the minority, I’d like to reframe this discussion of truth in a way that is broadly accepted. I’d like to consider propositions that are currently highly uncertain, but where scientific progress is likely to lead to a broad consensus in the future. Now Rortians like me and normal...

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The Art of Moral Self-Defense

I’m going with a friend to see Jordan Peterson speak in San Francisco on Thursday. This morning when I was surfing YouTube, I found a 4-minute segment in which he had an interaction with an audience member in Australia. I particularly liked the way he didn’t simply ignore the insult and go on to answer her question. Instead, he insisted that she ask the question without the insult. To her credit, she did. The whole thing reminded me of an interaction I had had in...

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Government Expenditures in GDP

When three economists meet to eat seafood on the Maine coast, chances are that they will talk about economics, or—what is the same—use economic theory to discuss topics ranging from religion and sex (why are some religions more anti-sex than others?) to the inclusion of government expenditures (on goods and services) in GDP. This is naturally what happened when, yesterday, I met Germain Belzile (HEC-Montréal and Montréal Economic Institute) and Vincent Geloso (who is...

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Kling on markets and imperfections

I’m traveling quite a bit lately, all through Italy, to launch my new book (alas, only available in Italian), titled—misquoting W.H. Auden—“O tell me the truth about neoliberalism”. The book is born, as I’m now quite used to saying and repeating, out of my frustration: today neoliberalism is the scapegoat of choice, being constantly conjured up as the ultimate cause for whatever catastrophe you can think of. In the book, I try to distinguish “properly defined”...

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Happiness pessimist, economic agnostic

Bryan Caplan has a recent post on happiness and economic progress: Seven years ago, my mentor Tyler Cowen did an interview with The Atlantic entitled, “Why I’m a Happiness Optimist but Economic Pessimist.” His point: Though GDP growth has been disappointingly low for decades, the internet does give us tons of free, fun stuff. The more I reflect on the Paasche price index, though, the more I’m convinced that Tyler’s picture is exactly upside-down. At least in the First...

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Fine on Sturgeon

Sociologist Gary Alan Fine is probably best known for his ethnography of role-playing games.  But he’s also written the amusing “Ten Lies of Ethnography.”  Wittiest passage: Science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon allegedly noted in response to claims that most science fiction is of poor quality that “90 percent of science fiction is crap, but then 90 percent of everything is crap.” Following Sturgeon’s “law,” 90% of all ethnography is crap. Although we should...

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Elizabeth Warren Bet Update

Since Elizabeth Warren has announced her Presidential candidacy, my 2017 Warren bet with my friend Ben Haller has officially activated.  He’s betting $50 against my $100 that she wins the Presidency.  When we made the bet, betting markets put her odds at 7.9%, but now they’re down to a measly 3.1%. Of course, back in 2015 I probably would have given Trump about a 3.1% of winning, too…

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What’s Historic?

I regularly read Wikipedia’s “Historical Events on This Day.”  It’s fun, and I learn new history.  But I’m still puzzled by the selection criteria.  Wikipedia casually blends three very different kinds of events: 1. Critical political, diplomatic, and military events that plausibly changed the lives of millions or even billions of people. 2. Terrorist attacks. 3. Natural disasters and major accidents. “Historical events” for February 11, for example, include crucial...

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Immigration and Redistribution: The Research to Trust

Evaluating the quality of research is laborious.  Unless you re-do the whole paper yourself, how do you know the authors were not only truthful, but careful?  Faced with this quandary, one of my favorite heuristics is to ask: Did the authors want to find this result?  If the answer is No, I put a lot more credence into the results.  In research as in the law, statements contrary to interest count more. For example, when I learned that most economists find little...

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