Answering the multi-request

AO has lots of questions:

What's the newest research and the current state of the literature on
school vouchers? Is there a good economics of education blog you
follow? You teach one part of the PhD I.O. sequence at GMU and have
given us your reading list, who teaches the other part and can we have
their reading list as well? Would decriminalization of drugs make us
worse off (by increasing the black market for drugs without allowing
the creation of legal markets) even though complete legalization would
make us better off? Are there other policies where marginal steps
towards the right direction make us worse off? Debate Nassim Taleb or
Dean Baker on! More with any
economists that you find large disagreement with!

In a nutshell: vouchers are better than the status quo but overrated by many market-oriented economists; evidence from Chile and Colombia and Sweden — the more systematic experiments — does show gains.  In the U.S. the key question is how selectively or universally to apply vouchers; universal application creates a new middle-class entitlement and brings the federalization of education.  In the old days I would read Joanne Jacobs on education.  Alex teaches the other part of IO!  Decriminalization for drugs keeps the rents from turning into profits for drug gangs; marginal steps in the right direction are usually all we have.  Likely I am soon doing a Bloggingheads with Peter Singer; Brad DeLong and Arnold Kling are on the list as well.


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