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Category Archive: Economic Principles

  1. It’s Always Sunny In Government?

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    With great power comes great responsibility. But what happens when those in power are no longer responsible enough to wield it? From our ever-increasing debt to the chaos of Ferguson, MO, it’s no surprise that people with power end up abusing it. Look no further than ‘The Gang’ from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; each time they’re presented with even a modicum of authority, all hell breaks loose. While the show is clearly a comedy, its underlying themes speak to something much darker. Dr. Peter Jaworski of Georgetown University breaks down the three major ways politics is a dirty game – and offers two easy solutions for fixing the system. And it’s not the DENNIS System.

  2. Choice and Change: How to Close the Gender Gap

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    What holds women back from achieving the same level and consistency of success in the workplace as men? Discrimination, culture, and access to education are all factors which need to be addressed – but they aren’t the whole story. What’s often left out of this important discussion is an examination of the choices that men and women make for their lives. While discrimination should be fought against at every turn, Professor Lauren Hall argues that we have to look at the full scope of the story.

  3. Bridging the Gender Gap: The Problems with Parental Leave | Learn Liberty

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    While it sounds good on paper, mandated maternity leave doesn’t always achieve what it’s created for. Even mandating paternity leave has its own complications. The truth is that, while women are temporarily away, their career goals and advancement opportunities can be permanently stunted. Policy mandates, in practice, can be inefficient; in the worst cases, they can impede the cultural changes they seek to encourage. Professor Lauren Hall discusses the disparities.

  4. Playing Without Protection: Solving Football’s Concussion Crisis

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    Is it crazy to think that making football helmets flimsy or getting rid of them altogether could reduce the amount of football concussions in the NFL? In this video, we discuss the moral hazard of football helmets. Moral hazard refers to the lessening of people’s incentive to avoid negative outcomes when they are presented with additional forms of protection. Will attempts to reduce risk in injuries actually create more?

  5. Football Law: Changing the Rules of the Game

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    What happens when the rules of a game change?

    One of the most important parts of playing a game like football is that the rules remain predictable and consistent for all players. However, this doesn’t just apply to touchdowns and tackles – the rule of law is crucial to a well-functioning free market. The question at hand is whether or not this really does exist in the US; or are the rich and powerful benefitting from hiring lobbyists to get what they want and to protect themselves? In this video, learn from Professor Steve Horowitz what happens when the Rule of Law changes. What is the impact on our society, the economy, and YOUR life?

  6. How Dirty Laws Trash The Environment

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    Dirty Laws? That’s the confusing part of EPA regulations. While intended to do good, they end up doing quite the opposite. When a corporation dumps its toxic waste a few miles upstream from your tomato farm – sure, you can go to the EPA, but odds are the offending party has filed all the right permits that allow them to do their dirtiest and you’re screwed. Join Law and Economics Prof. Roger Meiners in this video as he shows how an age-old, British, free-market concept called “Common Law” may be the best remedy – without bureaucratic trash to stink things up.

  7. The Economics of Jersey Shore

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    What could the denizens of “Jersey Shore” possibly know about economics? In a word: plenty; at least according to Professor Dan D’Amico of Loyola University in New Orleans. Let Professor D’Amico show you how Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi display a keener grasp of basic fundamental economic concepts than you might think – like the Law of Diminishing Returns, scarcity, opportunity costs, and the role of self-interest in the economics of public choice as it applies to dating, packed dance floors, fist pumping, and tanning. We bet you never thought getting “fresh to death” would teach you so much about economic theory. Sit back, relax, and welcome to the shore, baby!

  8. The Costs of Brazil vs Germany: Protest and Poverty at Brazil’s World Cup

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    Brazil gained prestige in landing the World Cup and Olympics, but sometimes hosting a major global event isn’t as glamorous as it seems. For a start, it’s difficult to justify massive spending — Brazil plans to spend $31 billion between the two — for such a temporary payoff. . Many venues created for these events, including those erected for the Olympic Games in Athens and Beijing, have fallen into disrepair after the celebrations ended. Many workers die on these massive construction projects — hundreds, already, for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup. Government often evicts lots of people from their homes, as Beijing did to over 1.5 million people in anticipation of the 2008 Summer Olympics. So why are cities and countries so eager to host? Often for the international prestige. However, support can sour quickly, as it has in Brazil, when the real costs became more apparent. Economist Matt Ryan from Duquesne University asks you to consider those costs now – a country that wins the bid may lose big overall.

  9. How They Beat the Oregon Trail IRL

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    How did more than 300,000 people avoid bloodshed and chaos when they crossed the American plains between 1840 and 1860? Trappers used to say there was no law west of Leavenworth, Kansas.

    No one established a government to rule the wagon trains — it’s true. But they governed themselves instead. They signed contracts that worked like voluntary constitutions. The contracts anticipated disputes among the various groups of travelers and laid out how to resolve them.

    Imagine the red tape if the government had gone with the settlers. Marvel at the ability of people to innovate rules and order in a most unlikely setting. That’s what Hill advises. Tune in to hear more.

  10. Foreigners Are Our Friends | Econ Chronicles

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    Some people say technology is the driver of innovation, but society often takes great steps in prosperity by trading. Like technological shifts over history, trade is a powerful way of creating wealth for all parties. In one example, Professor of Economics Bryan Caplan imagines a machine that turned agricultural products directly into cars: it would disrupt the way we do business, but the US would be wealthier for it.

    If, however, that machine was nothing but a freighter that exchanges corn for cars with another nation, many people think this is unfair. Whether in dislike for foreign trade or worry about immigration, Prof. Caplan calls this “anti-foreign bias,” and points out that most economists don’t share these concerns. Professional economists think trade and immigration benefit all parties involved – just like innovative technology. As we said before: trade is made of win!

  11. Can Capitalism Save Lives? | Econ Chronicles

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    Thousands of people die in the US every year because there’s a shortage of willing kidney donors. Some people are saved by the generosity of friends and family, but many more suffer because no willing & compatible donors come forward. As in most countries, it is illegal to compensate donors in the US for donating a kidney. Prof. Caplan argues that we should allow a market: if donors could be paid to donate a kidney through a reputable hospital, they could earn money and save a life in the process. Such a system would encourage many more donors, and save many more lives. But most people are uncomfortable with the idea that individuals or companies would make money by solving that kind of problem. They equate making a profit with selfish intentions, and bad results. Economics professor Bryan Caplan calls this “anti-market bias.”  He argues that most people (and voters) are prone to this bias, leading to harmful policies. Another example Caplan gives is air pollution. While most economists think that markets could help curb pollution, most regular people reject the idea. Perhaps this is partly because for many problems we face, it is difficult to imagine how markets and profit could help us find a solution. Caplan argues that this makes allowing markets even more important: they incentivize people to find new & creative ways of solving problems, many of which we never could have predicted in advance.

  12. Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy | Econ Chronicles

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    People tend to think the world is much worse off than it actually is. Bad news gets a lot more attention than good news. Professor Bryan Caplan calls this “Pessimistic Bias,” and argues that it affects the policies people  vote for. Despite the amazing economic gains of the past 100 years and even the past decade, most people are under the impression that things are just getting worse. But Prof. Caplan argues that even with all the tough problems in the world, there is reason for optimism; contrary to most people’s expectations, he contends that the best is yet to come.

    Hat tip to Louis C.K.