Beatrix Potter: Victorian through the Child’s Eyes

“Land is as much personal property as plate or carriages.” “In future day people will not be able to realize how completely England has been under the thumb of that shifting, incapable old man. May it never again be so completely in any one man’s power for good or ill!” “If you offer a thing,…

The State and the Superstar

The shock of Lebron James leaving Cleveland has worn off by now for basketball fans. I don’t know the first thing about basketball and don’t know if in terms of the sport he made the right choice. I do, however, know a thing or two about economics and believe that he made the right choice.…

Financial Regulations and Capture …

The new financial regulatory agencies created by Congress, as well as the Federal Reserve, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the SEC, have some new rules to make thanks to recent legislation.   The newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Financial Stability Oversight Council both have a total of about 80 new regulations to…

Beyond Markets and States

I recently received the latest edition of the American Economic Review and it was quite the pleasure to read Elinor Ostrom’s Nobel lecture.  Ostrom’s work has helped us understand how people go about dealing with tragedy of the commons problems.  Through her work she finds that there are several examples where people are able to manage…

Do Food Stamps Increase Unemployment?

Many argue that welfare programs such as food stamp programs will often create additional unemployment.  Now, a new NBER paper shows empirical evidence supporting this claim. Abstract: Labor supply theory makes strong predictions about how the introduction of a social welfare program impacts work effort. Although there is a large literature on the work incentive…

Evolution, Social Cost, and Ideas to Change the World.

Over at Org Theory, David Stark has an interesting piece on game theory and sociology that is self-recommending.  One of the interesting observations in the post in the first paragraph: Some years ago, when they were little kids, my children developed a hybrid game.They’d taken their Monopoly board over to a friend’s house.  They’d remembered…

Obama in Holland MI

Earlier this summer, Vice President Biden visited a battery plant in Midland. This week another visitor from the White House visited a battery plant in Michigan: President Obama himself. Obama called it a rebound from desperate times. Apparently he feels pressured to demonstrate that his administration has made progress and this plant seems like a poster…

Shining Example of “The Good Life”

Today’s Lansing State Journal has the obituary of a woman who lived a life full of accomplishment and adventure. It’s hard not to feel a touch of envy, but there’s no question that she worked hard for and earned all the deep satisfactions such a life can provide. Here’s the text: Teresa Bernardez, MD, born…

Free-trade principles should extend to labor market

The following is my letter published by the Detroit Free Press in response to their editorial on immigration: I commend the Detroit Free Press for supporting the Department of Justice’s decision to contest Arizona’s new immigration law, but the prescriptions offered are reminiscent of worn-out Republican talking points. Bolstered immigration legislation will not solve the…