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Some Links

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David Henderson answers a student’s question about the minimum wage [2].  I would add to David’s explanation for why empirical research seldom finds large negative impacts of raising the minimum wage the observation that, because minimum-wage legislation has been around in the U.S. since the 1930s, businesses and employment practices have evolved over this long time to reduce employers’ reliance on low-skilled workers (from what this reliance would have been in the absence of minimum-wage legislation) [3].

Are “liberals” (that is, “Progressives”) more biased when evaluating scientific findings than are conservatives?  This evidence suggests that they are [4].  (HT Tyler Cowen)

Matt Ridley reflects on his life as a climate lukewarmer [5].  A slice:

I was not always a lukewarmer. When I first started writing about the threat of global warming more than 26 years ago, as science editor ofThe Economist, I thought it was a genuinely dangerous threat. Like, for instance, Margaret Thatcher, I accepted the predictions being made at the time that we would see warming of a third or a half a degree (Centigrade) a decade, perhaps more, and that this would have devastating consequences.

Gradually, however, I changed my mind. The failure of the atmosphere to warm anywhere near as rapidly as predicted was a big reason: there has been less than half a degree of global warming in four decades — and it has slowed down, not speeded up. Increases in malaria, refugees, heatwaves, storms, droughts and floods have not materialised to anything like the predicted extent, if at all. Sea level has risen but at a very slow rate — about a foot per century.

Steve Horwitz’s forthcoming paper in the Spring 2015 issue of Social Philosophy and Policy is entitled “Inequality, Mobility, and Being Poor in America [6].”  Here’s the abstract:

The conventional narrative that the last generation has seen the rich get richer and the poor get poorer while the middle class gets hollowed out has serious flaws. First, the claims of growing inequality overlook data on income mobility. It is not the same households who are rich and poor each year, and many poor households become richer over time. Second, the claim of middle class stagnation is largely a statistical deception based on an incomplete interpretation of median household income. The middle class has shrunk but so has the percentage of poor households as the percentage of rich households has grown significantly in the last few decades. Third, looking at consumption rather than income enables us to see both the absolute gains of poor US households and the narrowing of the gap with the wealthy. Poor US households are more likely to have basic appliances than the average household of the 1970s, and those appliances are of much higher quality. Together these three points offer a much more optimistic view of the degree of inequality and the ability of the poor to become rich. The picture is not all rosy and a final section discusses the relevance of housing, health care, and education costs to this argument.

On the same general topic as Steve’s paper is this blog post by Mark Perry [7].

My Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy argues that the federal gasoline tax in the U.S. should be, not increased, but abolished [8].  I agree.

Bob Higgs discusses political slogans [9].

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