You may know George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan from such contrarian classics as The Case Against Education, The Myth of the Rational Voter, Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids, and the polemical comic book Open Borders. His new book is a little different. Labor Econ Versus the World is not an extended argument but a collection of tidbits loosely grouped around the idea that if you truly understand labor economics, you understand economics, period.
The chapters are blog-post short, and blog posts are what most of them started out as. But each displays Caplan’s characteristic ruthless data-driven cheer. Particularly pleasing are his short chapters on the hypocrisy of unpaid collegiate internships, his comparison between men regularly mentoring women and habitually refusing to wear a seatbelt, and a defense of the professoriate against the charges of laziness.