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Author Archives: mcoats

Economists for centuries have mostly been for free trade.  The namesake of this blog, Frederic Bastiat, was among the most outspoken free traders of his day.  You can read a bit about Bastiat here.   You will find a link to his short, but famous “Petition” on that page.  It is well worth reading. It […]

The Pope recently released his encylcical on the evironment, Laudato si, and man’s relationship to his natural surroundings.  While I would not ask a Catholic to dissent (from the Catholic Herald, a British Catholic magazine) from this teaching of the Pope, I do think that as far as the encyclical deals with economics and not just […]

Tim Taylor, in this blog post, reports some interesting international comparisons of minimum wages.  What Taylor does not show are comparisons of teen and minority (and especially minority teen) unemployment to overall unemployment. But how many people actually earn the minimum wage?  Take a look at this article by Antony Davies.  It will probably be […]

In the U.S. in the 1970s, Congress banned the export of oil from the US.  This restriction on trade did not seem to do much when the US was a new importer of oil–the reason a country is a net importer of a good is because the good is mostly cheaper elsewhere, we valued it […]

A little more than an hour south of California captial city of Sacramento, is the somewhat wealthy town of Mountain House.  Their only water source is from California’s irrigation system (built with federal dollars), but one with “senior” Riparian water rights.  That means that those on that system get to use water first.  Somehow, the […]

On NPR’s “Here and Now” program was this interview with the Behavioral Economist, Richard Thaler, of the University of Chicago.  Behavioral economists reject strict rationality assumptions of economics.  They note that people’s behavior sometimes varies from strict rationality in predictable ways.  The idea is that there are certain biases in people’s actions and sometimes to […]

We have discussed agricultural price supports in class.  Here is a similar program set up by the state of California to monopolize the sales of raisins and keep prices up.  When crops are bountiful, the state of California takes a part of each farmer’s crop and holds onto it and sells it to school lunch […]

I thought I should reintroduce the economist, Norbert Michel, to readers here.  Back in January of 2006, Norbert Michel, Gokhan Karahan and I, three economists here at Nicholls, started Bastiat’s Bastions.  Since then, other economists, Chad Turner and Shane Sanders added their talents, both as professors here at Nicholls and as contributors to Bastiat’s Bastions. […]

In risk and insurance and economics, there is a problem known as “adverse selection.”  The conservative newspaper, The Washington Times, claims that adverse selection, also known as the Death Spiral, is already occurring with the health insurance plans called “ObamaCare,”  (read the article), that  the policies enacted under the Affordable Care Act are leading to […]

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