Using Freedom Creatively

Melinda Anderson has a great article at the Atlantic on The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschooling:

For VaiVai and many other black homeschoolers, seizing control of their children’s schooling is an act of affirmation—a means of liberating themselves from the systemic racism embedded in so many of today’s schools and continuing the campaign for educational independence launched by their ancestors more than a century ago. In doing so, many are channeling an often overlooked history of black learning in America that’s rooted in liberation from enslavement. When seen in this light, the modern black homeschooling movement is evocative of African Americans’ generations-long struggle to change their children’s destiny through education—and to do so themselves.

Categories: Education

The Data Call for Optimism

Extreme poverty is set to fall below 10% of the world’s population.

“This is the best story in the world today,” said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. “These projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty.”

Extreme poverty has long been defined as living on or below $1.25 a day, but the World Bank’s adjustment now sets the poverty line at $1.90 a day.

It would be interesting to see just how much of the drop in extreme poverty is attributable to economic reforms in China.

Categories: China, Income Distribution

Spot the Unintended Consequences

Government enacts a price floor. What could possibly go wrong?

I hope my students can analyze this story using several of the concepts we’ve covered so far in class: segmented and non-segmented markets, incentives, binding and non-binding price floors, tax incidence, etc.

Why Elephants Are Endangered But Cows Aren’t, Exhibit #348

newsEngin.21791515_043018-tigers-04The fact that Texas has the “second-largest tiger population in the world behind India” should be good news for people concerned about the survival of tigers.

But not everyone is happy.

People who think more government regulation is the solution describe the situation as a “tragedy” that is “really very, very sickening to us.”

Others are sure that “People are not set up to provide the right kind of housing, a tiger’s proper diet and appropriate veterinary care.” Only people connected with the government can know these things, right?

Because if the government actually allowed private ownership of endangered animals, all kinds of terrible things could happen….like there now being “more tigers in the U.S. than there are left in the wild.”

Something tells me it isn’t “more tigers” that the regulators are bothered by, but that they despise the idea of private ownership as a solution to the tragedy of the commons. Such people have a sweetly naive view of the ability of governments to solve the problem of overuse of common resources.

Categories: Environment

When Journalists Who Write about Prices Forget Opportunity Costs


It’s conventional wisdom: they’re trying to rip you off by overcharging you. But you can’t calculate the true cost of providing any cost or service without including opportunity costs. When Sally French says, “And you’re definitely better off making pizza at home,” I hope my students are asking as they read: “Really? Even people with high opportunity costs of making their own pizza?”

But, the Narrative…


Here’s another great example of “what everyone knows” not being supported by hard data. At a minimum, the idea that Chinese companies simply steal technology or force its transfer lacks nuance. How many of my students would guess that China may be the second largest licensee of  technology?

Megan McArdle on Reducing Inequality

March 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Some  interesting observations here related to things we’ve been discussing in the Intermediate Microecomins class this past class session: discrimination, marriage as a way to fight poverty, role of government, etc.

Worth reading!

Categories: Microeconomics