Results for “daniel klein”
105 found

Daniel Klein views the rise of government through Ngram

Here is the abstract:

In this very casual paper, I reproduce results from the Google Ngram Viewer. The main thrust is to show that around 1880 governmentalization of society and culture began to set in — a great transformation, as Karl Polanyi called it. But that great transformation came as a reaction to liberalism, the first great transformation. The Ngrams shown include liberty, constitutional liberty, faith, eternity, God, social gospel, college professors, psychology, economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, criminology, new liberalism, old liberalism, public school system, Pledge of Allegiance, income tax, government control, run the country, lead the country, lead the nation, national unity, priorities, social justice, equal opportunity, economic inequality, forced to work, living wage, social needs, our society, bundle of rights, property rights, capitalism, right-wing, left-wing, virtue, wisdom, prudence, benevolence, diligence, fortitude, propriety, ought, good conduct, bad conduct, good works, evil, sentiments, impartial, objective, subjective, normative, values, preferences, beliefs, and information.

The paper is here.  Here is one example:

The equilibrium (with apologies to Daniel Klein)

On September 5, the first Sleeping Beauty in Polataiko’s exhibition awoke to a kiss from another woman. Both of them were surprised. Polataiko shot photos of them laughing and looking at each other. Then he posted the images to his Facebook profile, where he has been live-blogging the entire event. Now the Sleeping Beauty must wed her “prince,” thus queering the historically heteronormative fairtytale. Gay marriage is not allowed in the Ukraine, however, so these two women will have to wed in a European country that does allow for same-sex marriage.

Here is more.  I believe that none of you had solved for this equilibrium.  For the pointer I thank Eapen.

Daniel Klein categorizes classical liberals

Here is the abstract:

To participate in establishment political culture one must win recognition by the establishment. Classical liberals have to choose between forthrightness and establishment respectability. Klein will present a framework for distinguishing three types of classical liberal prophets:

  • Challengers focus on fundamentals and point to major policy reforms, notably abolitions. They attack the establishment and its entire culture, and seek to influence the young. Examples: Thomas Paine, Frederic Bastiat, Ludwig von Mises, Thomas Szasz, and Murray Rothbard.
  • Bargainers point to incremental liberalization and obscure the deeper principles. They enjoy mainstream position and seek to influence the currently influential. Examples include Friedrich Hayek, Aaron Wildavsky, Richard Epstein, and Tyler Cowen.
  • Royalty: Whereas the first two types are critics who feel somewhat alienated from establishment culture, royalty are those who enjoy cultural pre-eminence, particularly high academic prestige. Royalty ride a sense of ascendancy. They downplay radicalism. The leading examples are Adam Smith and Milton Friedman.

        Klein will develop two ideas:

1. In the current ideological climate there is little prospect for classical-liberal royalty. In fact, Milton Friedman was something of an aberration.

2. Challengers and bargainers sometimes regard each other with disdain and mistrust. But both are vital to the advancement of their common cause.

Here is the full paper, entitled "Mere Libertarianism: Blending Hayek and Rothbard." 

I view my own writings as less strategic and less "negotiating" than Klein’s analysis would indicate.  Of course Klein has the right — I would say the duty — to read an author as he pleases and not as that author would self-describe.  After all, we all know that Melville’s "Bartleby" is really about the contagious nature of homosexual obsession.  It really is.

Addendum: Dan Klein informs me this is an abstract for a related talk, not for the paper itself.

Hail GMU’s visionary, Dan Klein

I will second Bryan Caplan’s post:

Last week, my colleague Dan Klein kicked off the Public Choice Seminar series.  During the introduction, I recalled some of his early work.  But only after did I realize how visionary he’s been.

In 1999, when internet commerce was still in its infancy, Klein published Reputation: Studies in the Voluntary Elicitation of Good ConductSeventeen years later, e-commerce towers before us, resting on a foundation of reputational incentives – everything from old-fashioned repeat business to two-sided smartphone reviews.

In 2003, long before Uber, Airbnb, or serious talk of driverless cars, Klein published The Half-Life of Policy Rationales: How New Technology Affects Old Policy Issues.  This remarkable work explores how technological change keeps making old markets failures – and the regulations that arguably address them – obsolete.  (Here’s the intro, co-authored with Fred Foldvary).  Fourteen years later, the relevance of Klein’s thesis is all around us.  Transactions costs no longer preclude peakload pricing for roads, decentralized taxis and home rentals, or full-blown caveat emptor for consumer goods.  So why not?

I’m not going to say that Klein caused these amazing 21st-century developments.  But he did foresee them more clearly than almost anyone.  Hail Dan Klein!

Some of Dan’s work, and later work (much of which is covered at MR), you will find here and here.  For instance, his later work on academic bias also was well ahead of its time and prefigured subsequent events, so this is actually a running streak.

Daniel Gross, Me, and the Efficient Market Hypothesis

Daniel Gross is at Davos and writes:

I noticed a piece of gray paper on the floor. It looked like it might
be currency of some sort–certainly not a dollar, but perhaps Swiss
francs or something else. I started to bend over to pick it up, but
then I caught myself. This is the World Economic Forum. It is populated
by hundreds of economists and by thousands of business people schooled
in the tenets of economics. This is possibly the most rational,
profit-maximizing concentration of human capital in the world. These
are the actors who make up an efficient market. And of course adherents
to the efficient market hypothesis famously don't believe in the
concept of found money….

But I'm a
connoisseur of economic irrationality. And so I bent down and picked up
the paper. On one side, the grim visage of Queen Elizabeth. On the
other, Charles Darwin. It was a 10 pound note, worth about $16.25. Just
lying on the floor, unmolested by Nobel Prize-winning economists, CEOs
of Fortune 500 companies, and financial journalists.

Gross concludes the efficient markets hypothesis must be false.

The same thing happened to me once except I wasn't at Davos, I was walking in New York near Wall Street and I saw a green folded up note that looked to be money.  I too paused and thought of the old joke that if it was money someone would have picked it up already, but I picked it up anyway and took a closer look…..alas, it was a cleverly folded piece of paper designed to look like money when dropped on the sidewalk, although it was actually an advertisement.  Kudos to Eugene Fama, I thought on that day.

Perhaps our different experiences account for some of our differing economics views.

Hat tip to Ezra Klein.

Econ Journal Watch

In the issue:

would Adam Smith publish today?  Daniel Sutter and Rex Pjesky show that
almost no math-free research appears in top economics journals.

of what?  Dan Klein and Pedro Romero articulate the difference between
model-building and theorizing, and contend that most articles in
Journal of Economic Theory do not qualify as theory.

Internet and economic discourse: Dan D’Amico and Dan Klein examine the
websites of Harvard and George Mason economists, and ask whether the
differences speak of differences in character type.

Henrik Lindberg tells of the role of economists in liberalizing Swedish agriculture.

Acemoglu says the economic analysis of constitutions and political
structure has been revolutionized by Torsten Persson and Guido
Tabellini.  But Charles Blankart and Gerrit Koester argue that the new
political economics is not that new, and might be a step backwards.

quality is all the rage.  So why doesn’t research in the top economics
journals make better use of the Economic Freedom of the World index?
John Dawson reports.

Development economics has discovered
important truths about trade, aid, property, and planning.  Ian Vasquez
recounts how the truths were advanced in the work of Peter Bauer, and
how the late-comers often neglect that learning.

Kenneth Arrow on academic freedom

Bowen: There was a study done recently by an economist at Santa Clara University,
Daniel Klein, showing disproportionate numbers of registered Democrats
versus registered Republicans in various departments at the
University of California, Berkeley,
and Stanford. [The study’s findings are available at] He has concluded that this
kind of ideological imbalance has a negative impact on the education of
students. He implies
there is a temptation to hire one’s own. Conservative activist David
Horowitz has made much the same kind of statement, saying that faculty
are preaching rather than teaching. And why?  Because there’s a gross
imbalance between liberals and conservatives in the professoriate.
they are calling for government regulation of the academy [TC: Klein is not, this is inaccurate]. Do you worry
about calls for legislation at the state level to correct this
situation? Does this worry you as an economist or as a professor?

You know, it certainly does worry me. It would worry me a lot if
legislation passed. There was a concern at one time that there would be
repression of the left. And now there are concerns that the left is
taking over. It’s hard for me to judge, of course, but I must say that
my department
a number of Republicans. And they were appointed by a democratic group,
whose members said these guys are good, and we’ve got to hire them. And
so far, I have not seen it work the other way, but I’m a little
concerned about where it could swing. In this case, the criticism seems
to be just wrong, because I think the departments hire on the basis of
merit. And I think it’s nonsense to say that we’re discriminating
against Republicans. We hire them all the time. On the other hand,
there was a department here that until the 1960s would not appoint
Jew. And, finally, the university did interfere, you see, in that case.
The dean took over the department. He took away the power to appoint
from the department and changed its   composition in three or four
years. In fact, I was amazed how rapidly he was able to turn things
to strengthen an already very good department. To defend the autonomy
of that department would not have been something I would have been very
happy to do.

Bowen: The  economics department at the University of Chicago
has had a reputation for many years for being quite conservative. Do
you think that’s the exception that proves the rule that you hire, as
you said earlier, on the basis of merit, not on the basis of party
identification of ideology?

There are people in that department who are not conservative. It’s a
very good department. Most of the conservatives are really quite
outstanding. I think they flock together.
don’t think it’s entirely the case where you pick your own kind. I
don’t think the economics department here is reproducing itself.
They’re different politically and methodologically. I think
methodological problems have been bigger more often than political
issues. I do not believe
university, the central administration, should be totally unconcerned
about appointments. I used to believe that the department had to be
completely autonomous. It took me a couple of years to realize that
that was not right.

I can remember an instance at Chicago
in which there was an incident involving a professor of economics who
was sort of a village atheist type. He was a very good economist, but a
little eccentric. He believed that religion was one of the big
oppressive things in this world. This fellow saw a priest in class. He
went and gave his whole lecture on the evils of the Catholic church.
The next time the priest came, he gives another lecture. The priest
finally quit the class, and the professor said that he could finally go
on with the course.

you know, the priest went to the chair of the department who had a very
good record on academic freedom at the university. And the chair said
it was a question of academic freedom. He wouldn’t interfere with this

TC: Does anyone have data on Stanford?

Why I reject the Great Barrington Declaration

Here is my 2x normal length Bloomberg column on that topic, as had been requested by Daniel Klein.  The argument has numerous twists and turns, do read the whole thing but here is one bit (I will indent only their words):

“Here are the key words of the Great Barrington Declaration on herd immunity:

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

What exactly does the word “allow” mean in this context? Again the passivity is evident, as if humans should just line up in the proper order of virus exposure and submit to nature’s will. How about instead we channel our inner Ayn Rand and stress the role of human agency? Something like: “Herd immunity will come from a combination of exposure to the virus through natural infection and the widespread use of vaccines. Here are some ways to maximize the role of vaccines in that process.”

And the close:

“In most parts of the Western world, normal openings for restaurants, sporting events and workplaces are likely to lead to spiraling caseloads and overloaded hospitals, as is already a risk in some of the harder-hit parts of Europe. Reopenings, to the extent they work, rely on a government that so scares people that attendance remains low even with reopening.

In that sense, as things stand, there is no “normal” to be found. An attempt to pursue it would most likely lead to panic over the numbers of cases and hospitalizations, and would almost certainly make a second lockdown more likely. There is no ideal of liberty at the end of the tunnel here.

Don’t get me wrong: The Great Barrington strategy is a tempting one. Coming out of a libertarian think tank, it tries to procure maximum liberty for commerce and daily life. It is a seductive idea. Yet consistency of message is not an unalloyed good, even when the subject is liberty…

My worldview is both more hopeful and more tragic. There is no normal here, but we can do better — with vigorous actions to combat Covid-19, including government actions. The conception of human nature evident in the Great Barrington Declaration is so passive, it raises the question of whether it even qualifies as a defense of natural liberty.”

MR Tyler again: You will note I do not make the emotional, question-begging argument that herd immunity strategies will kill millions (though I do think more people die under that scenario).  If you argue, as many herd immunity critics do, that the elderly cannot be isolated, it seems you also should not be entirely confident that the currently non-infected can be isolated.  The brutal truth is simply that a Great Barrington strategy put into practice would lead to rapidly spiraling cases and a rather quick and oppressive second lockdown, worse than what the status quo or some improved version of it is likely to bring.  Total deaths are likely higher, along with more social trauma, due to the more extreme whipsaw effects, but no not by millions.

Let’s accelerate those biomedicals, people!

From Christianity to liberalism

Daniel Klein sets the record straight:

Olsson: But was it Christianity in particular, or monotheism more generally, that opened up the road to liberalism? Don’t other religious traditions and civilizations also have ideas on individuals, moral agency, and the conscience?

Klein: Monotheism is necessary but not sufficient. Other monotheistic religions didn’t have moral agency, moral equality, and the conscience in quite the same way. Siedentop says that Christianity was quite exceptional in the dignity it accorded the individual. That individual was a votary of the Christ with responsibility to figure out how to advance the well-being of the widest whole of humankind.

Siedentop speaks a lot about moral equality, and I think that one aspect of what he means is that everyone, no matter how depraved or religiously misguided, even an enemy, has the potential for upward vitality, and everyone, no matter how saintly and accomplished up to the present moment, has the potential for downward moral movement. Each of us faces a same sort of moral challenge all the time. Siedentop would associate this image of the individual with Augustine. The implication is that everyone is with or potentially with God, and as an individual. It isn’t about abiding by a set of ritualistic practices. It is a very individual affair.

Siedentop argues that liberalism emerged from, and best prevails today, in what was once thought of as Christendom. If you look at a map of economic freedom today, you will see that the “most free” countries generally correlate to Christendom circa 1300, plus areas (North America, Australia and New Zealand, arguably Japan) that have since been developed by or influenced by the Christian West. In a sense his book is a theory of that correlation, an explanation. Christianity made liberalism possible—which is not say that, within a country, Christianity is sufficient for, or will necessarily produce, liberalism.

Here is the full interview, recommended.  And here is a related tweet.

Where did Swedish schooling go wrong?

Some parts of this paper seem a priori implausible to me, and I don’t think the abstract puts the best foot forward for the paper, but these are such important issues I wanted to pass along the new piece by Magnus Henrekson and Johan Wennström.  Here is the opener:

The Swedish school system suffers from profound problems with teacher recruitment and retention, knowledge decline,and grade inflation. Absenteeism is high, and psychiatric disorders have risen sharply among Swedish pupils in the last ten years. In this pioneering analysis of the consequences of combining institutionalized social constructivism with extensive marketization of education, we suggest that these problems regarding school quality are to no small extent a result of the Swedish school system’s unlikely combination of a postmodern view of truth and knowledge, the ensuing pedagogy of child-centered discovery, and market principles. Our study adds to the findings from previous attempts to study the effects of social-constructivist pedagogy in nonmarket contexts and yields the implication that caution is necessary for countries, notably the U.S., that have a tradition of social-constructivist practices in their education systems and are considering implementing or expanding market-based school reforms.

At the risk of sounding like Bryan Caplan, is schooling even effective enough for mistakes in method to be so fatal?

For the pointer to the paper I thank Daniel Klein.

What went wrong in the West and with liberalism?

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, and the core of my answer is that liberalism and cooperativeness declined in the West, as WWI and the Cold War receded into historical distance (I am indebted to a much earlier conversation with Daniel Klein on these matters).  But I wish to excerpt from another point of the piece:

There is another explanation for the rise in anti-liberal sentiment: immigration. Through a series of historical accidents, it was kept off the table as a major issue for many decades. The U.S. had choked off immigration in 1920, and at first the liberalization of the 1960s did not have much of a visible impact on the American population. In those early decades after the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, many poor nations were so poor and unfree that it wasn’t easy to leave them.

As for Europe, in-migration was too small to make much of a political impact. For a while in the 1960s and 1970s, the bigger story was emigration, due to high taxes, from countries such as the U.K. and Sweden. The presence of the Iron Curtain also blocked some of the routes and sources that enable some migration to Western Europe today.

In a democratic society where there simply isn’t much immigration, it is much harder for nationalists and populists to use it as an issue. But today much of the West has seen high immigration for 20 years or more, giving nationalist and populist forces a major talking point. Even if most of the population is broadly pro-immigration, perhaps a core of 15 to 20 percent will not be. With that base, a movement of counterreaction can have real political impact.

Do read the whole thing.

Tuesday assorted links

1. Rich Lowry on separating families, a contrarian view.  Some good points on broader context, but in my view even if he is completely right this is still a major PR disaster for the United States.  Nor does the law have to be the way it is.  Here is more on the precedents of family separation.  This is a longstanding issue.

2. Daniel Klein criticizes Jordan Peterson’s PoMo bashing.

3. A meta-analysis on whether education improves intelligence.

4. Uber is hiring economists.

5. Canadian court recognizes three legal parents.

6. IBM debater (NYT).

Comprehensive occupational licensing reform in Nebraska

Also known as the Occupational Board Reform Act, LB299 requires legislative committees to review 20 percent of licenses under their purview a year, in a continuous five-year cycle.

This process creates a framework for identifying less restrictive regulations than licensing, including private certification, registration, insurance or bonding requirements, inspections, open market competition, or a combination of these approaches.

Workers with conviction histories could also receive an advisory opinion from state licensing boards about their eligibility to work in a licensed profession prior to beginning a training program.

While piecemeal occupational licensing changes have passed in the Nebraska Legislature before, reforms of more burdensome licenses have had trouble advancing from committee. That motivated the Platte Institute to educate lawmakers about the need for a more comprehensive approach.

Here is the full story, via Daniel Klein.

The Economic Consequences of Partisanship in a Polarized Era

That is the title of a new paper by Christopher McConnell, Yotam Margalit, and Neil Malhotra.  The main (and sad) point is that even in non-political settings we trust other people less if they have different political views than ours:

With growing affective polarization in the United States, partisanship is increasingly an impediment to cooperation in political settings. But does partisanship also affect behavior in non-political settings? We show evidence that it does, demonstrating its effect on economic outcomes across a range of experiments in real-world environments. A field experiment in an online labor market indicates that workers request systematically lower reservation wages when the employer shares their political stance, reflecting a preference to work for co-partisans. We conduct two field experiments with consumers, and find a preference for dealing with co-partisans, especially among those with strong partisan attachments. Finally, via a population-based, incentivized survey experiment, we find that the influence of political considerations on economic choices extends also to weaker partisans. Whereas earlier studies show the political consequences of polarization in American politics, our findings suggest that partisanship spills over beyond the political, shaping cooperation in everyday economic behavior.

For the pointer I thank Daniel Klein.