Category: Economics Resources

Carrots or Sticks Redux

A while back we took a look at Daniel Pink’s recent book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us.  Well, actually, instead of reading the book, we waited for the movie version from RSA Animate.  For those of you interested in a bit more meat without actually committing to reading, you might check out his TED talk or even his recent EconTalk interview with the always engaging Russ Roberts.

Pink seems to be as pervasive as whatever that pink stuff was in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.  A former speechwriter for Al Gore,  he also has a pretty cool website and blog that ranges from the minutiae of the day to his Johnny Bunko career guide.

Austrian Economics and Politics

The Wall Street Journal profiles one of the standard bearers of Austrian economics, Pete Boettke of George Mason University, who blogs at Coordination Problem.  The title of the piece is is “Spreading Hayek, Spurning Keynes,” so you know where he’s coming from. This, of course, is a topic we have touched on before.

The blog wasn’t always called Coordination Problem, either.

The resurgence of Austrian economics does have its hazards, Mr. Boettke says. The antigovernment fervor on cable-television shows and the Internet may have popularized its theories, but it also “reinforces the idea to critics that these are crackpot ideas,” he said. He has tried to distance himself from conspiracy theorists and even dropped “Austrian” from the name of his blog. But he hasn’t yet thought of a better term.

If you are unfamiliar with the Austrians, here’s Bottke’s description of Austrian economics at The Library of Economics and Liberty.   We also have Israel Kirzner’s take from the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, available from campus IP addresses (thanks to the good folks over at The Mudd).

Kirzner is an especially important thinker about entrepreneurship, so those of you interested might take a peek at what he has to say.  You might also check out Peter Klein’s The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur, which is some of the most mature work fusing the Austrian school with transaction cost economics.

Journal of Economic Perspectives

For a limited time (I think), the American Economics Association is providing complimentary access to articles in The Journal of Economic Perspectives.  Each issue of the journal provides a series of short papers on one or more topics of common interest as well as other articles of interest to those who want access to the state-of-the-art economic thinking without needing to wade through  the sophisticated mathematics or economic arguments that  require graduate level training.  The Summer 2010 issue, for example, devotes one set of articles to approaches to economic development and a second set to President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program.  Sample early; sample often.

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The New Palgrave Encylopedia of Economics, Redux

While dredging through Steven Landsburg’s excellent, yet interminable, chapter on perfect competition, we took a brief break to contemplate the Austrian critique paused to think about some of the Austrian critiques of the competitive model.   To wit:

The trouble with the concept from the Austrian point of view… is that it describes an equilibrium situation but says nothing about the competitive process which led to that equilibrium. Indeed, it robs the firm of all business activities which might reasonably be associated with the verb ‘to compete’ (Hayek, 1948). Thus, firms in the perfectly competitive model do not raise or lower prices, differentiate their products, advertise, try to change their cost structures relative to their competitors, or do any of the other things done by business firms in a dynamic economic system. This was precisely the reason why Schumpeter insisted on the irrelevance of the concept of perfect competition to an understanding of the capitalist process.

That passage, of course, is from The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, which is one of the fabulous economics resources offered through The Mudd.

Having trouble with the Principal-Agent Model? Wondering about empirical work on the make-or-buy decision?  Need a quick primer on health economics or the ins-and-outs of the logit model?   This might be a good starting place.