Archive for August, 2017
Illinois Passes Its First, Country’s 18th, Tax-Credit Scholarship Program

This week the Illinois legislature passed legislation creating the country’s 18th tax-credit scholarship program, and the bill is on its way to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who’s said he’ll sign it. UPDATE: Gov. Rauner signed the bill (see here). Officially called the Invest in Kids Act, Illinois’ flagship tax-credit scholarship program was passed as part...
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Want a Happier, Healthier, and More Prosperous Society? Try Freedom, Innovation and Incentives

“I will promote freedom at all costs,” is the first line of the Draper University pledge. Draper University of Heroes is a school I created to encourage people with ideas and energy to pursue their visions through entrepreneurship and risktaking. For an entrepreneur, freedom matters most. The ability to try new things without government...
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A Plea for Do-Nothing Government

Nothing promotes bad public policy as much as disaster. An economic depression gives rise to demands for Keynesian “economic stimulus” spending; elevated rates of unemployment among low-skilled workers give rise to demands for increases in the legal minimum wage; shortages of goods and services caused by floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other such acts of...
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Wonder Woman Schools James Cameron on Strength in Character

The dust up prompted by iconic filmmaker James Cameron’s critical comments of Wonder Woman, and by implication, director Patty Jenkins, may have triggered a long overdue discussion over the validity of gender stereotypes in Hollywood. Cameron called Wonder Woman, the summer blockbuster, “a step backwards” for strong female characters in an interview with The...
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A Plea to My Male (and Female) Colleagues in Economics

In a recent blog post, Jeffrey R. Brown, a Professor of Business and Dean at the College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, published a “public plea” to his “male senior colleagues in economics.” In the post, he references the research of an undergraduate student who looked at the words used to...
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Review: Detroit Shows How Violence Opens Door to Injustice

The opening lines in the chyron running with the black and white still photos did not bode well for Kathryn Bigelow’s new film Detroit. The overly simplistic, politically hyped, narrative ran, in effect, like this: During the Great Migration, African Americans moved north to jobs, whites moved out to better jobs in the suburbs,...
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Principal-agent Theory and Representative Government

In recent decades economists have devoted great efforts to the analysis of the principal-agent problem (see for example Milgrom and Roberts 1992 and the Wikipedia article on “Principal-agent Problem”). This area of study has to do with the incentives and disincentives of an agent acting on behalf of a principal that he is presumed or...
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Localize, Don’t Federalize, Educational Choice

Parental choice in education has many advantages, as we see in the growing majority of states with choice programs. Yet using the federal government to expand educational choice is risky, as The Heritage Foundation’s Linsdey Burke, The Cato Institute’s Neal McCluskey, and I explain in our Washington Post editorial. The Trump administration has made clear that it wants to...
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Sex and Economics: Is Capitalism Less “Bang” for Your Buck?

Several months ago, I wrote a piece titled, “My Vagina Doesn’t Care for Your Identity Politics,” in which I discussed how the most recent presidential election played directly into the idea of identify politics—that an individual should engage in or refrain from certain activities based on a particular group to which they belong. Alas,...
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Europe’s Lessons for Economic Growth

A bird’s-eye view of the Eurozone economies a decade after the financial crisis invites three conclusions: Governments that made unpopular free-market reforms are already reaping the fruits; families and businesses are acting more sensibly than their governments; last but not least, people have behaved much differently than the European Central Bank (ECB) intended. The...
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