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Even Adam Smith recognized national security as a possible justification for tariffs on strategically important commodities. But is it a good justification for tariffs on steel and aluminum in the 21st century when the United States has many potential sources of those two items? This month's Feature Article author, Jon Murphy, a fan of Adam Smith, says no. Read on.
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Arnold Kling

Playing the Game of Life to Avoid Losing

Arnold Kling
May 7, 2018
We all learn from our mistakes, right? But do legislators? How can a society best align decision-making with responsibility? It's all about having "skin in the game," according to Nassim Taleb's newest book, the subject of Kling's exploration this month.
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How has your grocery shopping experience changed over the years? In this month's column, Steven Horwitz claims a lot. But what explains why grocery stores have gotten so much better?
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In a recent episode of EconTalk, John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, argues that the vast majority of estimates of economic parameters are "underpowered." What does that mean exactly? In this month's Featured Article, economist Robert P. Murphy shows, using a simple example of multiple coin flips, what it means. He points out that 74 percent of studies that estimate the value of a "statistical life"--a concept widely relied on in cost/benefit analyses--are underpowered and likely give an exaggerated estimate of that value.
MORE ARTICLES BY ROBERT P. MURPHY


AN ECONOMIST LOOKS AT EUROPE

Pedro Schwartz

Language and Liberty

Pedro Schwartz
April 2, 2018
How does the language we speak influence our culture, our politics, and our economy? And how is it that we choose the language we speak? This month, Pedro Schwartz wades again into nationalist waters exploring the intervention of the state into the very way in which we speak.
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dirtylaundry.jpg

Taken to the Cleaners

Lauren F. Landsburg
March 5, 2018
Have you been planning on buying a new washing machine? How about installing some solar panels on your roof? Think again. Lauren Landsburg exposes the recent tariff increases announced by President Trump, along with the murky reasoning behind them.


dietcola.jpeg

Of Diet Cokes and Brain-Focused Economics

Richard B. McKenzie
March 5, 2018
Many of us can point to habits we have that are entrenched: we simply don't seem willing to experiment. In a recent New York Times article, Sendhil Mullinaithan argues that in refusing to experiment more we are making an error and are not doing as well for ourselves as we could. This month's Econlib Feature article author, Richard B. McKenzie, challenges that thinking. He argues that one of a person's most important limited resource is his or her brain. Our refusal to experiment on small things, he argues, may not be a failure at all: maybe we are using our brain power to decide on more-important choices.
MORE ARTICLES BY RICHARD B. MCKENZIE