Saturday, June 30, 2007

Appearence on Dennis Prager Show on Monday

Dennis Prager is nice enough to have me on his show for a full hour on Monday from 2 to 3 PM EDT. You can find his stations to listen to here.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Another note on Freedomnomics

Medved Show Today

I should have put down that I did Bill Bennett's show yesterday. But today at 4 PM EDT I have Medved's show again. It is extremely nice of him to have me on for a second hour within a month. I have something like eight radio shows today.

Note all times EDT:

Kirby Wilbur
Friday 6/29/2007 at 11am ET for 10 to 12 minutes

Friday June 29, 1:00-1:30pm ET
1820 Eastlake Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98102
Contact: Tina (producer) 206.726.7000

Host: Chuck Bates
Friday 6/29/2007 at 2:00pm ET for 30 minutes (maybe 1 hour - please see below)
Contact: Chuck Bates: (800) 325-0919 Ext. 212
Notes: Our flagship program is News & Views heard daily in approx: 70 markets nationwide from 1-3pm EST on AM & FM stations.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

More Reviews of Freedomnomics

At least three reviews on for Freedomnomics are by Economics Professors -- All are very positive (Thank you!)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
More than just three cheers for the free market., June 28, 2007
By Douglas W. Allen - See all my reviews

I'm a professor of economics, and I'm very familiar with the work of John Lott. I bought this book because I enjoy reading arm-chair econ books ... just can't get enough econ! Normally I'm disappointed because the examples and applications are usually stolen and reworked material that's been around for years. Not so with Lott's book.

The great thing about the book is not just the refreshing topics, but Lott's gifted approach to understanding them. Take, for example, the growth of government. Many bright minds have worked to explain why did governments grow so fast after WWI? Dozens of theories have been spun, none very successful. Not only does Lott have an ingenious answer (women's suffrage), but he also has an ingenious test and exploits the fact that some states voluntarily granted the right, while other states had it forced on them. It is Lott's ability to come up with clever and convincing tests and evidence that separates him from others.

I don't like the title of the book, and I don't like the sub-line "a rebuttal to Freakonomics." The book is much more than this, and I'm sure the publisher had more to do with the cover than the author. If the cover turns you off, I'd open the book and read a few pages.

The book is well written and accessible to anyone interested in social behavior. A very good read and highly recommended.

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
Toward Understanding How Markets Work, June 16, 2007
By Edgar K. Browning (Texas) - See all my reviews

As a professor of economics, I am aware of how difficult it is to communicate the "simple" principles of economics. The approaoch that seems to work best involves the use of lots of examples, especially ones that engage and challenge students. John Lott's new book is filled with such examples. While it can be recommended to anyone with an interest in how the economy works, it should be especially valuable to teachers and students of economics. (I am going to assign the section "Women's Suffrage and the Growth of Government" in my public finance class in the fall.)

37 of 42 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent defense of free markets, May 17, 2007
By James D. Miller (South Deerfield, MA USA) - See all my reviews

Excellent book showing the power of free markets and the harm that manifests when governments interfere in markets. Many economists claim that free markets work great in theory but there are many types of market failures that require government intervention. Lott points out how markets themselves can overcome these so called market failures and how government attempts to correct these failures often makes the situation much worse.

Lott takes on very politically incorrect topics that the mainstream media would never touch such as how affirmative action influences police effectiveness and how giving women the right to vote has influenced the size of the government.

The book is very readable and is clearly intended for a general audience. I would strongly recommend it to people who enjoy the writings of columnists such as Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell.

I have also gotten nice emails from Ralph Winter at UBC and a young professor at Univ of Wisconsin as well as many others.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dennis Prager on the importance of reputations

My new book discusses the reputational penalty that people face in even being charged with a crime and I gave the Duke case as an example. Dennis Prager also looks at this issue:

The rape of a name can be as vicious a crime and as destructive an act as the rape of a body. Sometimes the rape of a body is worse, sometimes the rape of a name is worse. But they are both rapes. And morally likening the two is in no way meant to lessen the horror of rape; it is meant only to heighten awareness of the horror of intentionally destroying the name of an innocent person.

These words are written in the aftermath of the destruction of three young men's names by a lying woman whose name is still hidden by The New York Times and other major newspapers whose commitment to truth is not as strong as their commitment to political correctness. . . . .

The point that I would make is that for the vast majority of those convicted of crime the reputational penalty is the most important penalty that they face.


New Op-ed Tech Central Station: On the new Energy Bill Going Through Congress

Here is a link to my new op-ed:

With gas prices around $3 a gallon, the Senate last week passed new energy legislation. It will ultimately go to conference with the House to work out differences between the Senate and House bills. But any bill that gets agreed upon seems certain to increase the swings in gas prices and leave the average American worse off.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) claims that oil companies are colluding to drive up the price, "they wink at each other and do the same thing." Likewise, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) blames the companies for taking advantage of Hurricane Katrina to raise prices: "You have a hurricane, and all of a sudden you see prices going up like that. That has... everything to do with people trying to make money off the backs of this tragedy."

With such reactions, it is not too surprising that a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll shows that 38 percent of Americans view the U.S. oil industry's "gouging, greed, profits" as the main reason for higher gas prices. The second reason is "the Bush Administration" at 21 percent. . . . .

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A new attempt at deterrence

Monday, June 25, 2007

The bizarre myth of the bad economy

Some useful numbers in this piece. It has been a real puzzle for many why people think that the economy is doing so much worse than it actually is. With a 4.5 percent unemployment rate, and growth in everything from personal income to the stock market, it is very hard to see how people see things as getting worse. Donald Lambro has a nice discussion in his column:

Seventy percent of Americans now say the economy is getting worse, a belief contradicted by a growing workforce, increased wages and household wealth, and a stock-market rally that has boosted worker-retirement investments. . . . .

Kevin Hassett and I have a discussion on this general issue here.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Some more reviews of Freedomnomics

Margaret at State of Nature:

This morning's radio program King Banaian and I interviewed economist John Lott, author of More Guns Less Crime and the new Freedomnomics . . . . Everything is a market failure, if you leave the market to its own devices, the market will surely screw us all.

Lott shows with many simple examples how that's just not so.

Giltner Review notes that
Perhaps the most startling claim that Lott makes is that women’s suffrage caused a dramatic increase in the size of government, because the “gender gap” reflects a genuine difference in how men and women—-especially single or divorced women—-see the appropriate role of government with respect to income security and education. He points to how state government expenditures changed in states as the percentage of women voting increased—and how the varying years in which different states granted women the vote confirms that this was not a coincidence.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Appearing on Kudlow & Company on CNBC during the 5 to 6 PM EDT Hour

I will be on Larry Kudlow's show to talk about my new book. It should be fun. I will put up a note when I exact time is known.

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I will be appearing Tom Hartman's show at 1:06 PM EDT. I am letting people know about this primarily because it should be pretty fun. I have never been on Air America before.

UPDATE: It has been lively and fun. Tom is holding me over for a second segment.

One listener writes:

"I am truly shocked that you believe that unbridled capitalism is a good idea. . . . ." Bob Hirst

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Study Makes the Drudge Report

New Op-ed Death as Deterrence

Reviewing Critical Readers' Responses to My Op-ed at on Abortion

The responses to my op-ed piece at were pretty balanced and can be seen here.

Let me just respond to a few of the critiques:

1) Malarkey
Roger Bleier - Houston
This article makes no argument whatsoever for an interrelationship between the various statistical trends cited. In so many words, it simply implies that there is one. I guess nowadays one can write a whole book similarly premised.

Response: The arguments in the piece are based on one paper that I published in Economic Inquiry (See here for an early version of the paper). The evidence that I find on out-of-wedlock births as a result of abortion is based upon state level statistical study. My book Freedomnomics also provides some additional discussion on this point.

2) The Economics of Subsidies
George Marcom - League City, Texas
Mr. Lott has neglected to address the key factor in the increase of illegitimate births and single-parent families: subsidization. Our vast safety net of social programs enables this problem. If you want more of anything--be it cotton, rice, sugar cane, or ethanol--subsidize it and you will get more.

Sadly, the very social welfare programs we have adopted to ease the misery of the single mother have enabled this explosion if "illegitimacy," and have seriously eroded the nuclear family.

Response: This was the main reason that I wrote: "While not all of this rise can be attributed to liberalized abortion rules, it was nevertheless a key contributing factor." I agree that there are other important factors, such as the one you mention, and I definitely do not think that the evidence supports the claim that abortion is the only factor.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Yet more reviews of Freedomnomics

Op-ed in tomorrow's

I think that this is a pretty important piece: It's Not Enough to Be 'Wanted': Illegitimacy has risen despite--indeed, because of--legal abortion. The article is based upon my new book Freedomnomics and a research paper that I have just published in April in Economic Inquiry.

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Audio from interview Dennis Miller Radio Show

The audio of my interview from the Dennis Miller Radio show can be found here.


Only about 7 percent of private sector workers are now unionized

In the 1950s, 35% of private-sector workers belonged to unions; only about 7% do today.

The economics point here is pretty simple. You raise the price of something (labor through unionization) and people demand less of it. Sometimes the adjustment takes a long time, but it still occurs.

I recommend that people read the entire piece because John Fund does a great job of discussing the Employee Free Choice Act, where 30 percent of workers (some possibly because of union intimidation) can sign a statement that determines whether the entire company is unionized.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Online discussions that I am having regarding Freedomnomics chapter 1

I have been having online discussions with people who have been reviewing my book here and here. Shalom Bayit's blog is moderated so it will probably take a while before my most recent response is posted. See the bottom of both pages for my responses.


Another Review of Freedomnomics

Xrlq is nice enough to post a long review of Freedomnomics here. Here is one critique that Xrlq has of the book:

On the one hand, common sense would appear to support Levitt and Dubner’s basic theory that unwanted kids are more likely to be raised badly, and therefore, more likely to turn to crime, than wanted ones. Lott does not appear to dispute the general connection between unwanted children and crime, but reaches the opposite conclusion with regard to abortion on the more tenuous theory that abortion causes more unwanted children by lowering the incentives for unprotected sex.

I don't argue that the liberalization of abortion increases the number of wanted kids. What I argue is that it increased the number of single parent families, with all the well known problems in raising children there compared to a two parent family. It is an empirical question whether the reduction in the number of "unwanted" children as a result of more abortions is offset by liberalizing abortion rules increasing the number of single parent families. The book lays out why there is an increase in out-of-wedlock births and single parent families.


Interview on CBN

An interview that I had on Friday night on CBN can be seen here. You can watch the interview on the website. Besides my head being tilted to the side, I think that the short 3 minute interview went pretty well.


University Cancels Final Exams Because of Bomb Threats

Friday, June 15, 2007

Bizarre Government Regulation: Dems going after one particular company

Here is one classic example to show that government just can't keep politics out of its regulatory decisions:

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Private-equity giant Blackstone Partners, which is in the process of going public, found itself in the sights Thursday of the powerful Senate Finance Committee as top tax writers introduced legislation that would block publicly-traded private-equity and hedge funds from continuing to enjoy favorable tax treatment.

The legislation would require publicly-traded partnerships to be treated as corporations for federal tax purposes. Under current law, income distributions for many private-equity funds are taxed at the capital-gains rates of 15% -- well below the top corporate tax rate of 35%. . . .

What is the point of imposing a 20 percentage point higher tax rate on a company just because it is publicly traded? Here you have only one company that this legislation could possibly be aimed at.


Oil Company Greed Responsible for higher Gas Prices

In a sense this is right, but I would argue that this is good, not something to be upset about. If more people want gas than gas is available, what is the alternative? Low prices with long gas lines?

Polling Data

As you may know, gas prices have been rising over the last year and the average price of regular gas for your car is about $3.50 a gallon in some areas. Who or what do you think is the main reason for the higher gasoline prices these days: Is it the Bush administration, or the oil exporting countries, or the U.S. oil industry, or supply and demand, or environmental regulations, or is there another reason for the higher gasoline prices?

U.S. oil industry (gouging, greed, profits) 38%

Bush administration 21%

Supply and Demand (market forces) 12%

Oil exporting countries 10%

Environmental regulations 5%

Other 2%

No one / No one thing in particular 1%

All 7%

Don’t know 4%

Source: Bloomberg / Los Angeles Times
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,183 American adults, conducted from Jun. 7 to Jun. 10, 2007. Margin of error is 3 per cent.


Red State reviews pharmaceutical price control discussion in Freedomnomics

Red State objects to the concerns that I raise about pharmaceutical price controls here. He promises to write regular discussions of the book as he reads through it.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another Review of Freedomnomics

Gas price conspiracy? Revisited

Given all the recent claims over the last couple of weeks about a conspiracy in selling gasoline, I thought I would relink to this previous post of mine here.


Monday, June 11, 2007

More Reviews of Freedomnomics

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Freedomnomics: Radio interviews that are set up for this coming Monday

Monday, June 11
7:15 AM-7:30 AM Radio WMT Cedar Rapids, IA
8:35 AM-9:00 AM Radio KRCS Midland, TX
10:00 AM-10:30 AM Radio WLW Cincinatti, OH (Also Syndicated)
11:15 AM-11:40 AM Radio KRMS-AM Osage Beach, MO
12:07 PM-12:30 PM Radio WDAY Fargo, ND
2:35 PM-3:05 PM Radio WMUZ Detroit, MI
4:09 PM-4:28 PM Radio WIBA Madison, WI
5:10 PM-5:30 PM Radio: Jerry Doyle ( Nationally Syndicated)
6:15 PM-6:40 PM Radio WTKF Morehead City, NC


Listen to Michael Medved's interview with me

Just click on the listen button here.


Thursday, June 7, 2007

Guest workers v. Illegals on worker wages

Dorgan said that "the main reason that big corporations want a guest worker program is that it will drive down U.S. wages." . . . .

Here is the puzzle. Democrats say that they are against a guest worker program because it will lower the wages of American workers. OK, fine, that is indeed the effect of letting in more workers. The puzzle is that the Democrats don't have any problem passing other laws that encourage more illegal immigration which would also reduce the wages of those same workers. To put it differently, making it harder for illegals to stay would also increase wages. It is interesting that the arguments regarding wages are only raised for guest workers and not the rest of the issues in the debate.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

More Reviews of Freedomnomics

1) But as economist John Lott argues in his new book, Freedomnomics (Regnery, a Human Events sister company), today’s soaring prices are actually a good thing. They mean our free market is working to deliver a product many people want at a price they’re willing to pay. “Temporarily high prices result in increased gas supplies, ultimately leading to a faster reduction in gas prices,” he writes.

The alternative to the free market, Lott notes, would be for the federal government to impose price controls on gasoline. Washington has done this in the past, specifically during the oil crises in the 1970s.

Instead of making things better for consumers, though, these price controls led to gas shortages in 1973 and again in 1978. “Americans waited in lines for hours to fill up their tanks due to chronic shortages” in the 1970s, Lott writes, shortages that “instantly disappeared as soon as the price controls were removed.” When it comes to setting gas prices, Lott writes, “the free market is working, and it’s ultimately working far more efficiently than any government-mandated controls would.” . . . .

2) Riding to the rescue is John Lott, another economist from academia, including the University of Chicago current home of Steven Levitt. Lott takes the position in his book “FREEDOMnomics, that not only is FREAKonomics a pile of rubbish, it is a veiled attack on the free market and business in general. Lott points out that the assertion that the Klan is like a group of Real Estate agents who use “fear” to take advantage of others is beyond the rhetorical boundaries of taste if not accuracy. In fact Lott dissects the example used by Levitt and Dubner and demonstrates that while it might have been an actual example, their analysis of the motivation and result is a simplistic view of the data and a more detailed analysis would show their conclusions to be incorrect. . . . .

3) A critical review post on a web site called Shalom Bayit claims that among other things that free markets don't increase income: see here.

4) Michael Medved was nice enough to put the book first on his web page here

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Monday, June 4, 2007

Sample audio of Freedomnomics

Sample audio of Freedomnomics is available here. This is particularly nice because it starts with the dedication to Milton Friedman. It is also my first book that rated an audio version of it.


Discussions of Freedomnomics

David Hardy has a nice discussion of my new book here.

Spontaneous Order includes the book on its suggested summer reading list here.

Betsy Newmark also mentions the book here.


National Radio Shows on Freedomnomics

I have 22 radio interviews scheduled for this week. Of some of the national shows I have:

11:30 AM-12:00 PM Radio G. Gordon Liddy Show
2:10 PM-2:40 PM Jerry Doyle Show (rescheduled for next week)
11:00 PM-11:30 PM Radio Alan Colmes Show
8:10 AM-8:30 AM Radio Mancow's Morning Madhouse
5:00 PM-6:00 PM Michael Meved Show
10:33 AM-10:50 AM Radio Accent Radio Network
11:15 AM-11:25 AM Radio Laura Ingraham (rescheduled for next week)

Note: All times are EDT.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Another Review of Freedomnomics

China takes another move towards Capitalism, moves more towards honoring contracts