The Top Ten MR Posts of 2015

Here are the top ten MR posts from 2015, mostly as measured by page views. The number one viewed post was:

  1. Apple Should Buy a University. People really like to talk about Apple and this post was picked up all over the web, most notably at Reddit where it received over 2500 comments.

Next most highly viewed were my post(s) on the California water shortage.

2. The Economics of California’s Water Shortage followed closely 4) by The Misallocation of Water.

3. Our guest blogger Ramez Naam earned the number 3 spot with his excellent post on Crispr, Genetically Engineering Humans Isn’t So Scary.

5. My post explaining why Martin Shkreli was able to jack up the price of Daraprim and how this argued in favor of drug reciprocity was timely and got attention: Daraprim Generic Drug Regulation and Pharmaceutical Price-Jacking

6. What was Gary Becker’s Biggest Mistake? generated lots of views and discussion.

7. Tyler’s post Bully for Ben Carson provided plenty of fodder for argument.

8. The Effect of Police Body Cameras–they work and should be mandatory.

9. Do workers benefit when laws require that employers provide them with benefits? I discussed the economics in The Happy Meal Fallacy.

10. Finally, Tyler discussed What Economic Theories are Especially Misunderstood.

Posts on immigration tend to get the most comments. The Case for Getting Rid of Borders generated over 700 comments here and over 1700 comments and 57 thousand likes at The Atlantic where the longer article appeared.

Other highly viewed posts included two questions, Is it Worse if foreigners kill us? from Tyler and Should we Care if the Human Race Goes Extinct? from myself.

The Ferguson Kleptocracy and Tyler’s posts, Greece and Syriza lost the public relations battle and a Simple Primer for Understanding China’s downturn (see also Tyler’s excellent video on this topic) were also highly viewed.

I would also point to Tyler’s best of lists as worthy of review including Best Fiction of 2015, Best Non-Fiction of 2015 and Best Movies of 2015. You can also see Tyler’s book recommendations from previous years here.


I guess they are right who say YMMV!

Congratulations on a great year blogging Alex and Tyler! That is a terrific assortment of links. One issue, link #6 does not go anyway on my phone, could be an iOS bug, or a problem in the link.

Anyway, congratulations! I wish all blogs had such quality.

Fixed! Thanks.

I would like to see total pages views of Tyler's posts vs total page views of Alex's posts. (Alex's wording of this post is the one that invited comparison between the two posters.) I think TC by far is the better blogger, and I suspect most people agree---however you wouldn't gather that from reading this post.

Cowen posts quite a bit more overall, so there is little doubt he would win on your metric. However, the metric should be page views/post if you are doing a top 10 list. I only wonder about the insertion of "mostly".

Right. These stats have made me realize that I actually liked AT's presence on the blog more than I realized. Many of his posts I don't think twice about, but a few of them I find very interesting. So I hope both TC and AT keep up the good work!

'I only wonder about the insertion of “mostly”.'

A disloyal reader would suggest that it allows the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center the ability to place a post of interest to the person that created that chair in a top ten list.

As seen by the wording of no. 5 - 'My post explaining why Martin Shkreli was able to jack up the price of Daraprim and how this argued in favor of drug reciprocity was timely and got attention.' Almost reads like a banal request for further funding, actually.

These rankings accord with my personal impression, which is that Prof. Cowen posts thoughtful content while Prof. Tabarrok posts inflammatory clickbait.

It might have occurred to Prof. Tabarrok that when the principal beltway in greater St. Louis runs through your jurisdiction, and that beltway touches on only about 12 of the 90 municipalities in the county, your department just might be one that writes an abnormal number of tickets. Of course, if it did occur to you, you might be more reserved about the cop bashing, which would spoil the fun.

Intersting. It seems Cowen is providing entertaining the daily crowd and pushing out more blogs while Tabarrok is writing a few blogs that generate high traffic. (I personally am here mostly fro the Cowen stuff.

You should hire Steve Sailer

Either that or disembowel yourself with a spoon. Hard to say which one would be less enjoyable or counter-productive.

Thanks for another informative and thought provoking year at MR. You guys are great. Best Wishes for 2016 !

Overall it was a good year for posts on this blog. It was an excellent year for comments. The posts that receive the most comments are usually the worst, and I learn more from reading the comments. But bad posts stir the pot and generate traffic so I guess they serve a purpose.

I learn the most from Steve Sailer, Art Deco, so much for subtlety, and Dearieme. Some others too that I forget. Ray Lopez is like a crazy uncle. Nathan W posts too much and most of it is knee-jerk leftist stuff. Rayward's posts are always too long and could be replaced with inequality=bad.

In 2016 I would love to see more posts about the economics of energy and government debt. How can Japan keep running up the debt? Doesn't anyone else notice? Peak oil is an idea that went bust; economists knew better. What do you have to say about the effects of abundance?

Hmmm. A bunch of folks keep on calling me leftist, but when I ask why they never answer.

I agree that economics of energy and government debt would be interesting.

I don't mean to offend, Nathan W. Your comments are often good, but when they miss the mark they do so because they take a stereotypical stance that if often used by people on the left. My suggestion is to post fewer times, and when you do, make the post count. When you post, rely on your own thoughts rather than what you have read from others. It comes across as more thoughtful and nuanced.

Our hosts started deleting a lot more comments in 2015, which render the bottom sections total gibberish.

Otherwise, I agree that the comments under the blogs are often fantastic.

I think Alex's willingness to defend very explicit positions about highly contentious and current policy issues, e.g., health care, immigration, gun violence, excessive use of force by police tend to bring out a lot of interesting (sometimes heated) discussion.

But what keeps me coming back (even if there weren't the discussion boards) is the daily smorgasbord offered by Tyler, who seems rather disinclined to be explicit about his personal opinions on the more controversial issues.

Between the two of you, you sure seem to attract a fairly diverse and well informed following. I learn lots and lots from these comment boards, including loads of ideas, views and facts that I never even knew existed.

Hah! I was the guy who posted the Apple University article to Reddit. You get a bunch of page hits and I get a bunch of link karma--a fair trade in my books!

You can get rid of borders but you have to get rid of socialists, communists and the welfare system and all those who believe in heaven on earth at the same time. Everyone works, no slackers. Kind of like India with free market capitalism.

Just a brief observation on the water posts -- Tyler cites the oft-noted statistic that 80% of water use is for agriculture. That's not quite right; actually, about half the water goes to various releases, including environmental, while 80% of what remains (or 40% overall) is used by agriculture. If one looks further to consumptive versus non-consumptive uses, the numbers change again. A further distinction involves water use in plentiful versus non-plentiful years, with agriculture getting its supplies interrupted much more readily.

This isn't to dispute the main thrust of Tyler's comments, only to say that there's more going on that ought to be included in a discussion of issues and solutions.

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