Bryan Caplan

Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University. In his book The Myth of the Rational Voter, he criticized the assumption that voters are generally rational, which forms the basis of public choice theory. His book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think examines the reasons why, in his view, people underestimate the payoff and overestimate the work of having more children.

A great deal of his professional work has been devoted to the philosophies of libertarianism and free-market capitalism. Caplan is also well known for his criticisms of the Austrian school of economics. While he once considered himself an economist in the Austrian tradition, he has since rejected Austrian “praxeological” methods in favor of neoclassical methods. While Austrian economists have universally disagreed with his criticisms, many have praised him as one of their more knowledgeable and interesting critics.

He has published in notable journals such as American Economic Review, Public Choice, the Journal of Law and Economics, the Journal of Public Economics, Social Science Quarterly, and Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, among others.

Caplan received his B.S. in economics from University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Essays

March 2013: Authority, Obedience, and the State

Response Essays: Plausible Libertarianism: Philosophy, Social Science, and Huemer

The Conversation: The Case of Murder

The Conversation: The Rights of the World’s Poor: A Reply to Hassoun

The Conversation: What’s Missing in The Problem of Political Authority

The Conversation: Positive Rights and Poverty: What They Suggest and Imply

September 2012: Theory and Practice in the Austrian School

Response Essays: Horwitz, Economy, and Empirics

The Conversation: Questions for Steve Horwitz

The Conversation: Austrian Exceptionalism

The Conversation: Horwitz’s Answers

May 2011: The Politics of Family Size

Lead Essay: Population, Fertility, and Liberty

The Conversation: Want to Bet? A Reply to Greg Clark

The Conversation: Connelly’s Fears

The Conversation: The Psychology and Economics of Parenting – Reply to Betsey Stevenson

The Conversation: Clark’s Muted Malthusianism

The Conversation: Fertility and the Gift of Life

The Conversation: The Cost of Natalist Tax Credits, the Magnitude of Coercion, and the Value of People

The Conversation: Population, Land, and Movies: Another Reply to Clark

October 2008: Is College Worth It?

Response Essays: Murray Needs a Model — How About Mine?

The Conversation: Murray Is Selling His Own Argument Short

The Conversation: Dropping Out and the Return to Education

The Conversation: Why Do Students Drop Out, and Does It Matter?

The Conversation: But All the Other Countries Are Doing It!

The Conversation: Thresholds: Who Needs Them?

The Conversation: Closing Questions

November 2006: Majority Fools? Irrationality and the Limits of Democracy

Lead Essay: The Myth of the Rational Voter

The Conversation: Reply to My Critics

The Conversation: Question for Estlund

The Conversation: The Bossy Majority

The Conversation: The Circularity of General Acceptability?

The Conversation: Our Life to Ruin Our Own Way?

The Conversation: Overruling the Majority

The Conversation: Why Not Irrationality?

The Conversation: Winning Jeff’s Trust

The Conversation: All Questions Answered… In My Book!