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Finance: stocks, options, etc.

ESG is Bad for a Company’s Share Value

By David Henderson | Apr 24, 2023

In response to my post about Don Boudreaux’s and my recent op/ed in the Wall Street Journal in which we argued that ESG would get in the way of maximizing shareholder value, frequent commenter (and friend) David Seltzer pointed out that the “annualized return was 0.02% higher for the S&P 500 ESG Index than the .. MORE


MMTers would fight inflation with fiscal austerity

By Chris Schwing | Apr 23, 2023

Not long ago, policymakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were enamored of something called  Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). This theory starts with a banal observation — that a government that issues the currency its debts are denominated in need never (technically) go bankrupt — and, on that basis, argues that we don’t need to worry about the .. MORE


Leftists and liars

By Scott Sumner | Apr 23, 2023

In the future, only two types of people may be able to teach at our major universities—leftists and liars. That’s because it is increasingly necessary to publicly adhere to extreme left wing views in order to be hired to teach at the university level. Here’s The Economist: Davidson College, in North Carolina, asked prospective computer-science .. MORE

Labor Market

Let Teenagers Work

By David Henderson | Apr 22, 2023

  I got my first job paying hourly wages at age sixteen at a summer resort near my parents’ cottage in Canada. Although you might think that mopping floors doesn’t teach much skill—and you would be right—showing up on time was an important skill. That wasn’t important for the mopping job because it began at 11 a.m., .. MORE

Economics of Crime

Risk, Responsibility, and Liberalism

By Chris Schwing | Apr 21, 2023

The opening metaphor between books in Learnerville and drugs in our own society is more than skin deep. We can easily tweak the conditions of Learnerville to mimic different regime types. First, there’s full prohibition and criminalization as described previously. Second, decriminalization would sustain the locked building of books but eliminate the proactive efforts to .. MORE

Labor Mobility, Immigration, Outsourcing

Heart-breaking Yet Inspiring Story on Chinese Asylum Seekers

By David Henderson | Apr 21, 2023

  Migrants prepared for the Darién crossing in Necoclí, shopping for tents, flashlights and water-purification pills. The passage through the Darién requires hiking along muddy paths in dense, roadless jungle for a couple of days or more, with little access to fresh water or defense against mosquitoes. The cost of a trek like the one .. MORE

Cross-country Comparisons

Millionaires prefer . . .

By Scott Sumner | Apr 20, 2023

1. Well run tax havens. (UAE, Singapore, Switzerland) 2. Spacious and stable English speaking countries. (Australia, US, Canada, New Zealand) 3. Easy entry points to the EU. (Portugal, Greece) 4. The Jewish homeland. (Israel)

Business Economics

Condemning the Profit Motive: Part 3

By Chris Schwing | Apr 20, 2023

While most people accept that business are in the business of pursuing profits, this pursuit nevertheless prompts many complaints, In two previous posts, I outlined twenty objections to the profit motive, and I tried to counter each in turn. In this post, I offer ten more complaints that allegedly result from the pursuit of profits. .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Hayek on “You Didn’t Build That”

By David Henderson | Apr 20, 2023

  It is often contended that the belief that a person is solely responsible for his own fate is held only by the successful. This in itself is not so unacceptable as its underlying suggestion, which is that people hold this belief because they have been successful. I, for one, am inclined to think that .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Lessons from Learnerville: Permission versus Prohibition

By Chris Schwing | Apr 19, 2023

As the newly appointed Director for the Stephenson Institute for Classical Liberalism at Wabash College, I recently had the honor and privilege of hosting a fascinating and passionate scholar-scientist, Carl Hart. Professor Hart participated in a series of scholarly events dedicated to the topic of his most recent book. He makes essentially the same argument .. MORE

Law and Economics

A Socialist Judge Is a Contradiction in Terms

By Pierre Lemieux | Apr 19, 2023

The decision of a Russian “court” to keep Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in jail suggests a few reflections. I put “court” in scare quotes for reasons to be explained below. Political economists are interested in such issues because they widely consider an impartial justice system as one of the essential institutions of a .. MORE


The Fed as social psychologist

By Scott Sumner | Apr 18, 2023

During 2020, public health authorities occasionally put out false or misleading information, or delayed useful innovations, based on armchair theories about how the public reacts to risk and uncertainty. I recall pundits like Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen pointing out that public health authorities are generally not experts on social psychology, and thus should not .. MORE

Income Distribution

The Long Run is Short in Norway

By Chris Schwing | Apr 18, 2023

A news article caught my eye recently. It was describing the results of recent tax increases in Norway, and the responses to those tax increases which apparently caught the policymakers off guard. This isn’t the first time I’ve made reference to Adam Smith’s famous analogy about social planners and chess, nor will it be the .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

On a pursuit of knowledge…

By Chris Schwing | Apr 17, 2023

Imagine a town called Learnerville. Within Learnerville there is a building. All the windows are boarded, and all the doors are locked. The building is guarded by armed officers. Inside, there are copies of all the books in the Learnerville world. Inside of those books, just as in our own reality, there is knowledge. No .. MORE

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Wisdom from Hayek

By David Henderson | Apr 17, 2023

On Saturday evening, a Liberty Fund colloquium on the Austrian and Chicago schools of thought ended. One of the pleasures I got from doing the readings was reading sections of Friedrich Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty. I had read it over 50 years ago from cover to cover but had read only sections of it .. MORE

Game Theory

The cost of giving in to blackmail

By Scott Sumner | Apr 16, 2023

If you watch enough Hollywood films, you eventually learn that it doesn’t pay to accede to the demands of blackmailers. At least in the movies, it always seems to lead to further demands for money. Last year, Russia grabbed a US basketball player and (implicitly) held her for ransom. Eventually, the US government relented and .. MORE

Business Economics

Condemning the Profit Motive: Part 2

By Chris Schwing | Apr 16, 2023

In a previous post, I outlined ten objections to the profit motive, and I tried to counter each in turn. In this post, I offer ten more complaints that allegedly result from the pursuit of profits. See what you think of these, and let me know in the comments!   11- Reduced job satisfaction This .. MORE

Economic Growth

The Significance of Botched Industrial Revolutions

By Pierre Lemieux | Apr 16, 2023

Everybody should be impressed when comparing the effects of the 18th-19th-century Industrial Revolution with the previous world depicted by, say, 15th-century poet François Villon. This world was one of dire and hopeless poverty for ordinary people, with few exceptions. Villon imagined that, if he had any money, he would make a bequest to “three naked .. MORE

Economic Education

Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny Have A Lot To Learn From the Tooth Fairy

By Art Carden | Apr 15, 2023

Will Hodges and Art Carden Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are all notable gift-givers. So who is the best gift-giver? If we define “best” as “most economically efficient” (in a narrow sense), the Tooth Fairy is a runaway winner. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny offer variety, but they presume to .. MORE

Business Economics

The Connection Between “Air” and ESG

By David Henderson | Apr 14, 2023

Some movies not only entertain and inspire but convey broader lessons. “Air” is one of them. The film is about Nike’s efforts in 1984 to secure Michael Jordan’s endorsement of its basketball shoes, which soon after became the iconic Air Jordans. But it also tells anyone who will listen that ESG investing—environmental, social and governance—is .. MORE

Politics and Economics

Taiwan, the ROC, and Super Bowl XXXII

By Scott Sumner | Apr 13, 2023

Late in Super Bowl XXXII, the Green Bay Packers allowed Denver to score, rather than have the clock run down close to zero, at which time Denver would almost certainly kick a game winning field goal.  The thought was that allowing Denver to score with 1:45 left would give Brett Favre a chance to lead .. MORE