Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rejoinders at Cato Unbound

At Cato Unbound, I've replied to Richard Thaler here, and to Jonathan Klick here. My reply to Shane Frederick should go up tomorrow.

UPDATE: My reply to Frederick is here.

8 comments:

seran said...

Well said, Glen. I do not find Thaler's arguments convincing in the least.

Gil said...

Great job on the responses, Glen.

Philip Whitman said...

I agree with Glen on the smoking thing. And in general on most of the things he said, but not all.

Gil said...

I just got my Washington State license renewal notice.

There's a $5 "donation" to state parks that I have to deduct from the total in order to avoid paying.

This opt out gimmick was not a reasonable attempt to help people satisfy their actual preferences. It's a way to scam them out of money, and that's how I expect most uses of these techniques to be used.

nazgulnarsil said...

I think the smoking argument unpacks back to the magical thinking about employment in general (a variation on the old and tired "just/fair prices")

Philip Whitman said...

Nazgulnarsil: Your comment makes no sense to me. What are you saying? What are you talking about?

Glen Whitman said...

I believe nazgulnarsil is saying that many people seem to think of employment as a kind of magic box: we can just ask employers to provide all kinds of things -- from higher wages to better benefits to better working conditions -- without any real trade-offs. This is magical thinking because in reality, there are always trade-offs. Higher benefits typically mean lower wages, for instance. Inasmuch as smoking bans constitute an improvement in work conditions, they presumably also have a downside in terms of reduced wages or other benefits. In a sense, the law is forcing bar and restaurant employees to buy something (better working conditions) even though they might prefer to have the money instead.

Glen Whitman said...

And thanks for the compliments on the Cato Unbound responses, everyone.