Sunday, March 17, 2013
Quotes of the day
Economics evolved as a more moral and more egalitarian approach to policy than prevailed in its surrounding milieu. Let’s cherish and extend that heritage. The real contributions of economics to human welfare might turn out to be very different from what most people — even most economists — expect. --Tyler Cowen
In the longer run, the solution to the economic plight of high school dropouts and other low skilled persons is, as I have argued in previous blog posts, to ease the obstacles to boys and girls from poorer backgrounds that prevent them from finishing high school and getting additional training after high school, such as learning to drive trucks or work with computers. In the shorter run, it would be desirable to replace the welfare benefits that discourages many low skilled individuals from working with an expanded earned income tax credit that does the opposite and encourages them to work.--Gary Becker
In Ms. Sandberg's ideal world, "half our institutions are run by women and half our homes are run by men." Until this utopia comes to pass, it might be wise to take another look at "society." Society is, after all, a fancy word for other people. And what is society actually telling women these days? It is telling them that they ought to go out and earn a string of degrees qualifying them for hard-charging careers that the majority of them eventually discover that they don't actually want. As a result, many of them quietly cut back their hours and do what they actually want to do and do very well: make homes for their families. Sheryl Sandberg isn't one of them, and more power to her. But she is likely to find that nagging men and women to change their natures is a more daunting task than anything she does at her day job.--Charlotte Allen
Because pursuit of the truth is often irrelevant in evolutionary competition, humans have an evolved tendency to hold self-favoring priors and self-deceive about the existence of these priors in ourselves, even though we frequently observe them in others.--Eli Dourado
The minimum wage is far from the most harmful regulation on the books. Why then do I make such a big deal about it? Because it is a symbol of larger evils.
From the standpoint of public policy, the minimum wage is a symbol of the view that "feel-good" policies are viable solutions to social ills: "Workers aren't paid enough? Pass a law so employers have to pay them more. Problem solved." From the standpoint of social science, the minimum wage is a symbol of the myopic view that you can become an expert on X by reading nothing but the leading research that explicitly addresses X: "Does the minimum wage reduce employment? Read the top papers on the minimum wage. Problem solved."
We need to get rid of the minimum wage. But that's only a first step. Our ultimate goal should be to get rid of the errors that the minimum wage has come to represent.--Bryan Caplan