Economic theory dating is consolidating student loans a good idea
The source spreadsheet of this chronology is available here.Note: CEPR Recession shading for quarters follows the trough method used by FRED to compute NBER Recession Inndicators for the United States (see here).Only at the moment or instant of choice is cost able to modify behavior…. Buchanan himself speaks of “my little book, Cost and Choice.” Cost and Choice is indeed small in size, but, systematically, it holds quite a central place in Buchanan’s work.[From the Preface] 1969 Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc. For the fundamental economic notion of “cost,” or “opportunity cost,” is intimately related to the individualist and subjectivist perspective that is so essential to the Buchanan enterprise.
If he knew your alternative earnings value, he could place some value on this resource time, a value that would be objective and that would be useful for many purposes of comparison.
1999 First published in 1969 by Markham Publishing Company, Chicago, Ill. The text of this edition is copyright ©: 1999 Liberty Fund, Inc. Buchanan: File photo detail, courtesy Liberty Fund, Inc. As a subjectivist, Buchanan insists that opportunity costs exist only in the “eye of the beholder” as envisioned “alternatives” that are never brought into existence.
As a methodological individualist, Buchanan believes that opportunity costs cannot be measured in terms of a collective welfare functional aggregating utility foregone across persons. These theories, for systematic as well as personal reasons, have quite strong links to even older theories of the so-called Austrian economists.
After all, specific applications of his general views to problems of public economics were much better received and, in fact, enormously influential.
In any event, it might be good policy for those who think highly of Buchanan’s more specific insights and arguments to consider more seriously their general foundations as laid out in Cost and Choice. You must now decide whether to read this Preface, to read something else, to think silent thoughts, or perhaps to write a bit for yourself.