Saturday, June 30, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
Another note on Freedomnomics
Medved Show Today
Note all times EDT:
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
This is more of a note than a review:
I put up a brief reply at the end of the comments (at least now it is #33).
At least three reviews on Amazon.com for Freedomnomics are by Economics Professors -- All are very positive (Thank you!)
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.
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.)
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.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Dennis Prager on the importance of reputations
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
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. . . . .
A new attempt at deterrence
The latest TV campaign to encourage drivers to respect speed limits features attractive young women wiggling their little fingers at passing speedsters — a taunting gesture in Australia's youth culture that means a guy has a small penis.
The new, below-the-belt ad campaign was spearheaded by the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority, which claims speeding doesn't make you a big man. . . . .
Monday, June 25, 2007
The bizarre myth of the bad economy
Kevin Hassett and I have a discussion on this general issue here.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Some more reviews of Freedomnomics
Lott shows with many simple examples how that's just not so.
Giltner Review notes that
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Appearing on Kudlow & Company on CNBC during the 5 to 6 PM EDT Hour
APPEARING on AIR AMERICA
UPDATE: It has been lively and fun. Tom is holding me over for a second segment.
One listener writes:
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
My Study Makes the Drudge Report
See "STUDY: ILLEGITIMACY UP DRASTICALLY SINCE ROE V WADE..." in the first column.
New Op-ed FoxNews.com: Death as Deterrence
Reviewing Critical Readers' Responses to My Op-ed at OpinionJournal.com on Abortion
Let me just respond to a few of the critiques:
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.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Yet more reviews of Freedomnomics
2) Andrew Caplan at Econlib writes:
Also The John Locke Foundation's website notes:
Op-ed in tomorrow's OpinionJournal.com
Audio from interview Dennis Miller Radio Show
Only about 7 percent of private sector workers are now unionized
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
Another Review of Freedomnomics
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
University Cancels Final Exams Because of Bomb Threats
School officials decided to take action after groundskeepers found two plastic bottles that possibly contained flammable liquid near a burning palm tree outside the Life Sciences building around 5:25 a.m., said campus Police Chief Mike Lane. . . .
Putting partially aside the fact that this bomb was pretty trivial, do you really want to give people an incentive to get final exams canceled by threatening to set off a bomb.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Bizarre Government Regulation: Dems going after one particular company
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
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%
No one / No one thing in particular 1%
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
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Another Review of Freedomnomics
This is a very nice and thorough review of the book. I need to apologize to Larry for not citing his related research when I discussed the paper by Tollison and coauthors.
Gas price conspiracy? Revisited
Monday, June 11, 2007
More Reviews of Freedomnomics
King Banian's review of my book concludes that "students of economics inside and outside classrooms will learn some great stories to explain that markets actually work rather well." It was nice of King to have me on his radio show this past Saturday.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Freedomnomics: Radio interviews that are set up for this coming Monday
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
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Guest workers v. Illegals on worker 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
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
Monday, June 4, 2007
Sample audio of Freedomnomics
Discussions of Freedomnomics
National Radio Shows on Freedomnomics
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
Jeff Soyer has only glanced at the book, but he says that This looks VERY interesting.
Finally, another person notes: "I liked Freakonomics, I like this book even more."
China takes another move towards Capitalism, moves more towards honoring contracts
In China, people will find it harder to take things without paying for them.