Thursday, 4 August 2011

Interesting blog bits

  1. rauparaha on Greens on poverty
    I like the idea of helping poor families but is the best plan really to:
    • raise marginal tax rates on them,
    • give them cheaper bachelor’s degrees,
    • increase the barriers to entering the workforce at the minimum wage; and,
    • increase the cost of rental properties?
  2. Eric Crampton explains Why I still can't take the Greens seriously
    I love the Greens on civil liberties, or at least relative to most other parties and with a big caveat on their nannying proclivities with respect to tobacco and fatty foods. And they're good on copyright. But their economic policy prescriptions...egads.
  3. Seamus Hogan gives us A Diatribe Against Capital Gains Taxes-Part I
    I noted in my post on Labour’s tax policy here that there were arguments on both sides for capital gains taxes. This was a euphimistic way of saying that there are economists who I respect who are in favour of capital gains taxes, so I wouldn’t want to dismiss the idea out of hand, but I have a hard time understanding how they could come to that conclusion. So I am going to lay out the case against in a couple of posts. Most of the points below are standard fare but a couple of them I haven’t seen before.
  4. Seamus Hogan gives us A Diatribe Against Capital Gains Taxes-Part II
    I noted yesterday that the main argument put by proponents of capital gains taxes is that they are needed to encourage savings into productive investments rather than into chasing capital gains. This sounds plausible on the surface, but I’m not sure that those making that argument have fully stated their implicit assumptions.
  5. Seamus Hogan gives us Capital Gains Taxes Redux
    A couple of comments on my previous posts have suggested two possible efficiency motivations for having capital gains taxes. Both are theoretically correct, but neither makes a convincing case for a real-world CGT, in my opinion.
  6. Freakonomics on Killer Cars: An Extra 1,000 Pounds Increases Crash Fatalities by 47%
    Ever since the SUV craze began in the late 1980s, we’ve all known that heavier vehicles are safer for those driving them, but more dangerous for others on the road. Which is why we all started driving them. Now, in a new working paper, a pair of Berkeley economists have quantified not only the fatality risks of heavier cars for other drivers, but also the costs associated with them.
  7. Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor on The “Out of Africa” hypothesis, human genetic diversity, and comparative economic development
    The reasons given for the vast divide in standard of living between different parts of the world are many, with some economic historians claiming the roots lie in the colonial period. This column goes back even further to the cradle of humankind in East Africa, suggesting that the genetic diversity of the tribes that dispersed to different parts of the globe determined their success many thousands of years later.
  8. David Starkie argues that Air Passenger Duty - damaging a major growth industry
    UK aviation has been a major growth industry in recent years, with high gross value added - just the sort of industry you might imagine the government would wish to encourage. Yet recent changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD) mean that it is the most highly taxed aviation industry in the world and it is showing serious signs of fatigue.
  9. Mark Pennington on Ha Joon Chang: Wrong on Free Trade, Markets and Development
    My first post on 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism addressed Ha Joon Chang’s dubious debating tactics when discussing ‘free market economics’. I turn now to some of Chang’s more specific critiques of economic liberalism to illustrate these tactics in greater detail.

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