Why don’t more people go to college?

This new piece in American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics seems to be channeling some parts of Bryan Caplan’s argument: Despite increases in the college earnings premium to persistently high levels, investment in college education remains low. We can understand this apparent puzzle by considering the risk of attending college and, in particular, the possibility of failing […]

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In Praise of Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison

Here’s a great video on FastGrants the fast funding institution started by Tyler and Patrick Collison to fund COVID research at a speed that could make a difference on the ground. And it did. Lots of other people stepped in with funding including Arnold Ventures, The Audacious Project, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, John Collison, Crankstart, […]

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Further estimates on the cost of climate change and global warming

Sea level rise will cause spatial shifts in economic activity over the next 200 years. Using a spatially disaggregated, dynamic model of the world economy, this paper estimates the consequences of probabilistic projections of local sea level changes. Under an intermediate scenario of greenhouse gas emissions, permanent flooding is projected to reduce global real GDP […]

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In praise of Alex Tabarrok

Here’s a question I’ve been mulling in recent months: Is Alex Tabarrok right? Are people dying because our coronavirus response is far too conservative? I don’t mean conservative in the politicized, left-right sense. Tabarrok, an economist at George Mason University and a blogger at Marginal Revolution, is a libertarian, and I am very much not. […]

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Arguments for Africa

Despite the past centuries’ economic setbacks and challenges, are there reasons for optimism about Africa’s economic prospects? We provide a conceptual framework and empirical evidence that show how the nature of African society has led to three sets of unrecognized “latent assets.” First, success in African society is talent driven and Africa has experienced high […]

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Mistrust of the CBO is unfortunately a growing bipartisan avocation

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt: Recently the CBO issued a working paper considering what would happen if U.S. government expenditures were to consume an additional 5% to 10% of GDP. The results are pretty grim: By 2030, because of higher taxes and higher borrowing, the level of […]

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Personal bankruptcies have declined during the pandemic

The number of people seeking bankruptcy fell sharply during the pandemic as government aid propped up income and staved off housing and student-loan obligations. Bankruptcy filings by consumers under chapter 7 were down 22% last year compared with 2019, while individual filings under chapter 13 fell 46%, according to Epiq data. After holding above 50,000 […]

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What should I ask Pierpaolo Barbieri?

I will be doing a Conversation with him, here is the opening part of his Wikipedia page: Pierpaolo Barbieri (Buenos Aires, May 17, 1987) is an economic historian, researcher, Executive Director at Greenmantle[and founder of Ualá, an Argentina-based personal financial management mobile app. He is the author of the book Hitler’s Shadow Empire: The Nazis […]

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How might depopulation reverse itself?

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, drawing upon an earlier discussion by Robin Hanson.  The problem is this: if families find that having three or four kids just isn’t that fun, and women wish to focus more on their careers, which forces might be capable of reversing that trend?: One possibility is […]

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