The Independent Institute

 
        

The Real Educational Choice Debate Isn’t About Money. It’s About Government Control »

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking about the future of school choice at an event hosted in Washington, DC, by the Independent Women’s Forum, featuring The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke and SAVE President Edward Bartlett. The core issue of this public policy debate is not about money. It’s about competing visions over...
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Who Are the Demanders of Local Government Services? »

Local governments produce lots of services that people value: schools, police protection, water and sewer services, and more. Who are the producers of these services accountable to, and who determines the characteristics of the services local governments provide? Ideally, the people who live in the jurisdictions of those local governments would be the people...
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We Should Pay Teachers More »

I’ve heard the argument many times: teachers should be paid more. According to the slightly out-of-date figures on the NEA website, the average starting pay for teachers in the 2012-13 school year was $36,141. At least part of the argument is that we could have a better educational system if we paid teachers more....
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Introduction to Public Choice »

Public choice uses economic methods to analyze political decision-making. Too often, both “policy experts” and the general public perceive problems and conclude that the government should do something about them, without evaluating whether government intervention could actually make things better. Public choice examines how the political process actually works rather than relying on a...
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Easterly, Buchanan, Hayek, and Economic Development »

When I was an undergraduate student, the vast majority of my readings came from textbooks. For several years I looked at supply and demand graphs, calculated unemployment rates and elasticities, and answered questions about how changes in particular variables would impact inflation and economic growth according to various models. During my senior year, however, our economic...
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First World Problems »

The end of the summer means the beginning of a new semester. Once again, I have the privilege of teaching economic principles. There is something truly exciting about introducing students to the economic way of thinking for the first time. At the same time, I always feel a pang of anxiety. It’s not because...
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Economists Mustn’t Forget the Fallacy of Decomposition »

Because of their field’s stress on logic, economics teachers commonly emphasize some fallacies for students to avoid in the early stages of principles courses. One widespread example is the fallacy of composition—the mistaken notion that what is true of an individual is necessarily true of a group. In reality, of course, what is true...
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Marginal Steps to a Better World »

I was recently asked to give a talk for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) on how we can improve society. Now, I’ve been asked to give my fair share of presentations. Most are things that fit nicely into the economist’s “wheelhouse.” Ask me to explain public choice, price controls, the economics of war,...
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Grateful Remembrances of My Government High Schooling »

I do not speak Spanish fluently. Indeed, I am often at a loss for the right words, not to mention a proper conjugation of the verbs, and I frequently fail to understand what people say to me. Yet all in all, I am astonished that, living in a part of Mexico where few people...
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Does Pell Propel College Graduates? »

Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office projected a $7.8 billion temporary surplus for the federal Pell Grant program next year—and some members of Congress can’t wait to spend it on year-round disbursements, which were eliminated in 2011 but recently revived in the Senate. (See here and here also). The concept has enjoyed bi-partisan...
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