EconTalk

EconTalk

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Economics Brought to Life, Library of Economics and Liberty


Keith Smith on Free Market Health Care
Nov 18 • 83 min
Entrepreneur and Anesthesiologist Keith Smith of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma talks with host Russ Roberts about what it’s like to run a surgery center that posts prices on the internet and that does not take insurance. Along the way, he discusses the…
Rory Sutherland on Alchemy
Nov 11 • 84 min
Author and Advertising Executive Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy talks about his book Alchemy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Sutherland makes the case for the magic (yes, magic!) of advertising and branding in helping markets work well. This is a wide-ranging…
Venkatesh Rao on Waldenponding
Nov 4 • 79 min
Writer and management consultant Venkatesh Rao talks about Waldenponding with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Rao coined the term Waldenponding to describe various levels of retreating from technology akin to how Thoreau extolled the virtues of retreating…
Michele Gelfand on Rule Makers, Rule Breakers
Oct 28 • 69 min
Psychologist Michele Gelfand talks about her book, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Gelfand distinguishes between loose cultures and tight cultures—the degree to which culture and regulation restrict behavior or leave it alone.…
Susan Houseman on Manufacturing
Oct 21 • 76 min
Economist Susan Houseman of the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research talks about the manufacturing sector with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Houseman argues that the data surrounding both manufacturing output and employment have been misunderstood and…
Andrew McAfee on More from Less
Oct 14 • 94 min
Andrew McAfee of MIT’s Sloan School of Management talks about his book, More from Less, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. McAfee argues that technology is helping developed nations use fewer resources in producing higher levels of economic output. The…
Ryan Holiday on Stillness Is the Key
Oct 7 • 83 min
Ryan Holiday talks about his latest book, Stillness Is the Key, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Holiday explores how stillness—the cultivation of serenity and focus—can affect how we live and how we perceive life. Topics discussed include the performance…
Sabine Hossenfelder on Physics, Reality, and Lost in Math
Sep 30 • 66 min
Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder talks about her book Lost in Math with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hossenfelder argues that the latest theories in physics have failed to find empirical confirmation. Particles that were predicted to be discovered by the…
Dani Rodrik on Neoliberalism
Sep 23 • 68 min
Dani Rodrik of Harvard University talks about neoliberalism with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Rodrik argues that a dogmatic embrace of markets has increased inequality and limited who benefits from economic growth. He argues for a more interventionist…
George Will on the Conservative Sensibility
Sep 16 • 78 min
George Will talks about his new book, The Conservative Sensibility, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Will argues for a conservative vision that embraces the dynamic nature of life. Topics discussed include the current political landscape, the American…
Daron Acemoglu on Shared Prosperity and Good Jobs
Sep 9 • 66 min
Economist and author Daron Acemoglu of MIT discusses with EconTalk host Russ Roberts the challenge of shared prosperity and the policies that could bring about a more inclusive economy. Acemoglu argues for the importance of good jobs over redistribution…
David Deppner on Leadership, Confidence, and Humility
Sep 2 • 76 min
Can a great leader or manager be humble in public? Or is exuding confidence, even when it may not be merited, a key part of leadership? In this episode of EconTalk, host Russ Roberts talks with David Deppner, CEO of Psyberware, about an email David sent…
Andrew Roberts on Churchill and the Craft of Biography
Aug 26 • 70 min
Historian Andrew Roberts talks about the life of Winston Churchill and the art of biography with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. How did Churchill deal with the mistakes he inevitably made in a long career? Was he prescient or just the right man in the right…
Tyler Cowen on Big Business
Aug 19 • 66 min
Author and economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University talks about his book, Big Business, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Cowen argues that big corporations in America are underrated and under-appreciated. He even defends the financial sector while…
Arthur Diamond on Openness to Creative Destruction
Aug 12 • 75 min
Arthur Diamond of the University of Nebraska at Omaha talks about his book, Openness to Creative Destruction, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Diamond sings the sometimes forgotten virtues of innovation and entrepreneurship and argues that they should be…
Andy Matuschak on Books and Learning
Aug 5 • 66 min
Software Engineer Andy Matuschak talks about his essay “Why Books Don’t Work” with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Matuschak argues that most books rely on transmissionism, the idea that an author can share an idea in print and the reader will absorb it. And…
Shoshana Zuboff on Surveillance Capitalism
Jul 29 • 93 min
Shoshana Zuboff of Harvard University talks about her book Surveillance Capitalism with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Zuboff argues that the monetization of search engines and social networks by Google, Facebook, and other large tech firms threatens privacy…
Chris Arnade on Dignity
Jul 22 • 81 min
Photographer, author, and former Wall St. trader Chris Arnade talks about his book, Dignity, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Arnade quit his Wall Street trading job and criss-crossed America photographing and getting to know the addicted and homeless who…
Michael Brendan Dougherty on My Father Left Me Ireland
Jul 15 • 93 min
Author and journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty talks about his book My Father Left Me Ireland with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Dougherty talks about the role of cultural and national roots in our lives and the challenges of cultural freedom in America.…
Arthur Brooks on Love Your Enemies
Jul 8 • 70 min
Economist and author Arthur Brooks talks about his book Love Your Enemies with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Brooks argues that contempt is destroying our political conversations and it’s not good for us at the personal level either. Brooks makes the case…
Adam Cifu on the Case for Being a Medical Conservative
Jul 1 • 73 min
Physician and author Adam Cifu of the University of Chicago talks about being a medical conservative with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Cifu encourages doctors to appreciate the complexity of medical care and the reality that many medical techniques…
Eric Topol on Deep Medicine
Jun 24 • 68 min
Cardiologist and author Eric Topol talks about his book Deep Medicine with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Topol argues that doctors spend too little face-to-face time with patients, and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning is a chance to…
Anja Shortland on Kidnap
Jun 17 • 77 min
Anja Shortland of King’s College London talks about her book Kidnap with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Kidnapping is relatively common in parts of the world where government authority is weak. Shortland explores this strange, frightening, but surprisingly…
Bjorn Lomborg on the Costs and Benefits of Attacking Climate Change
Jun 10 • 70 min
Bjorn Lomborg, President of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, talks about the costs and benefits of attacking climate change with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Lomborg argues that we should always be aware of tradeoffs and effectiveness when assessing…
Alain Bertaud on Cities, Planning, and Order Without Design
Jun 3 • 78 min
Urbanist and author Alain Bertaud of NYU talks about his book Order Without Design with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Bertaud explores the role of zoning and planning alongside the emergent factors that affect the growth of cities. He emphasizes the…
David Epstein on Mastery, Specialization, and Range
May 27 • 101 min
Journalist and author David Epstein talks about his book Range with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Epstein explores the costs of specialization and the value of breadth in helping to create mastery in our careers and in life. What are the best backgrounds…
Mary Hirschfeld on Economics, Culture, and Aquinas and the Market
May 20 • 76 min
Author, economist, and theologian Mary Hirschfeld of Villanova University talks about her book, Aquinas and the Market, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hirschfeld looks at the nature of our economic activity as buyers and sellers and whether our pursuit…
Robert Burton on Being Certain
May 13 • 80 min
Neurologist and author Robert Burton talks about his book, On Being Certain, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Burton explores our need for certainty and the challenge of being skeptical about what our brain tells us must be true. Where does what Burton…
Mauricio Miller on Poverty, Social Work, and the Alternative
May 6 • 78 min
Poverty activist, social entrepreneur and author, Mauricio Miller, talks about his book The Alternative with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Miller, a MacArthur genius grant recipient, argues that we have made poverty tolerable when we should be trying to…
Emily Oster on Cribsheet
Apr 29 • 66 min
Economist and author Emily Oster of Brown University talks about her book Cribsheet with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Oster explores what the data and evidence can tell us about parenting in areas such as breastfeeding, sleep habits, discipline,…
Paul Romer on Growth, Cities, and the State of Economics
Apr 22 • 86 min
Nobel Laureate Paul Romer of New York University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of growth, the role of cities in the economy, and the state of economics. Romer also reflects on his time at the World Bank and why he left his…
Jill Lepore on Nationalism, Populism, and the State of America
Apr 15 • 66 min
Historian and author Jill Lepore talks about nationalism, populism, and the state of America with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Lepore argues that we need a new Americanism, a common story we share and tell ourselves. Along the way, topics in the…
Robin Feldman on Drugs, Money, and Secret Handshakes
Apr 8 • 65 min
Law professor and author Robin Feldman of UC Hastings College of the Law talks about her book Drugs, Money, and Secret Handshakes with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Feldman argues that the legal and regulatory environment for drug companies encourages those…
Jacob Stegenga on Medical Nihilism
Apr 1 • 78 min
Philosopher and author Jacob Stegenga of the University of Cambridge talks about his book Medical Nihilism with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Stegenga argues that many medical treatments either fail to achieve their intended goals or achieve those goals…
Daniel Hamermesh on Spending Time
Mar 25 • 62 min
Economist and author Daniel Hamermesh of Barnard College and the Institute for the Study of Labor talks about his latest book, Spending Time, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hamermesh explores how we treat time relative to money, how much we work and how…
Amy Tuteur on Birth, Natural Parenting, and Push Back
Mar 18 • 62 min
Obstetrician gynecologist Amy Tuteur and author of Push Back, talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Tuteur argues that natural parenting—the encouragement to women to give birth without epidurals or caesarians and to breastfeed—is bad for…
Amy Webb on Artificial Intelligence, Humanity, and the Big Nine
Mar 11 • 84 min
Futurist and author Amy Webb talks about her book, The Big Nine, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Webb observes that artificial intelligence is currently evolving in a handful of companies in the United States and China. She worries that innovation in the…
Jacob Vigdor on the Seattle Minimum Wage
Mar 4 • 73 min
Jacob Vigdor of the University of Washington talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the impact of Seattle’s minimum wage increases in recent years. Vigdor along with others from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance have tried to measure…
Michael Munger on Crony Capitalism
Feb 25 • 70 min
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether real capitalism is unstable and leads inevitably to crony capitalism. They also discuss ways to prevent the descent into cronyism and speculate on their own blind spots.
Catherine Semcer on Poaching, Preserves, and African Wildlife
Feb 18 • 67 min
Catherine Semcer of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of incentives in preserving wildlife in Africa. The conversation discusses how allowing limited hunting of big game such as…
Jessica Riskin on Life, Machinery, and the Restless Clock
Feb 11 • 64 min
Historian Jessica Riskin of Stanford University talks about her book The Restless Clock with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. What is the difference between human beings and machines? How has science thought about this distinction? When do we have agency and…
Gary Greenberg on the Placebo Effect
Feb 4 • 61 min
Author and psychotherapist Gary Greenberg talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the placebo effect. Is it real? How does the placebo effect influence drug testing? If it’s real, what is the underlying mechanism of why it works and how might it be…
Patrick Collison on Innovation and Scientific Progress
Jan 28 • 75 min
Patrick Collison, co-founder and CEO of Stripe, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the pace of innovation. Collison argues that despite enormous increases in the numbers of scientists and researchers, the pace of progress in scientific and…
Jennifer Doleac on Crime
Jan 21 • 82 min
Economist Jennifer Doleac of Texas A&M University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her research on crime, police, and the unexpected consequences of the criminal justice system. Topics discussed include legislation banning asking job applicants…
Stephen Kotkin on Solzhenitsyn
Jan 14 • 60 min
Historian and author Stephen Kotkin of Princeton University and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the historical significance of the life and work of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on the occasion of the 100th…
Ed Dolan on Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance
Jan 7 • 64 min
Economist Ed Dolan of the Niskanen Center talks about employer-based health insurance with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Dolan discusses how unusual it is relative to other countries that so many Americans get their health insurance through their employer…
Sebastian Junger on Tribe
Dec 31, 2018 • 76 min
Journalist and author Sebastian Junger talks about his book Tribe with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Junger explores the human need to be needed and the challenges facing many individuals in modern society who struggle to connect with others. His studies of…
Mariana Mazzucato on the Value of Everything
Dec 24, 2018 • 67 min
Economist and author Mariana Mazzucato talks about her book The Value of Everything with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Mazzucato argues that economists have mismeasured value and have failed to appreciate the role of government as innovator. She argues for…
John Horgan on Mind-Body Problems
Dec 17, 2018 • 77 min
Science journalist and author John Horgan talks about his book, Mind-Body Problems, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Horgan interviewed an array of scientists, philosophers, and others who have worked on consciousness, free-will, and what it means to be…
Peter Berkowitz on Locke, Liberty, and Liberalism
Dec 10, 2018 • 80 min
Peter Berkowitz of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of liberalism and the importance of John Locke. Berkowitz defends the liberal project of individual rights and liberty and argues that…
Maeve Cohen on Rethinking Economics
Dec 3, 2018 • 62 min
Maeve Cohen, Co-director of Rethinking Economics, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her organization and its efforts to change economics education. Cohen, who co-founded the Post-Crash Economics Society, argues for a more human-centered approach…
Anat Admati on the Financial Crisis of 2008
Nov 26, 2018 • 65 min
Anat Admati of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the financial crisis of 2008, the lessons she has learned, and how it has changed her view of economics, finance, and her career.
A.J. Jacobs on Thanks a Thousand
Nov 19, 2018 • 61 min
Journalist and author A. J. Jacobs talks about his book, Thanks a Thousand, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Jacobs thanked a thousand different people who contributed to his morning cup of coffee. In this conversation, Jacobs talks about the power of…
Julia Belluz on Epidemiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
Nov 12, 2018 • 65 min
Science writer Julia Belluz of Vox.com talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of epidemiology, nutrition, and the relationship between obesity and metabolism.
Alan Lightman on Science, Spirituality, and Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine
Nov 5, 2018 • 72 min
Author and Physicist Alan Lightman talks about his book Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a wide-ranging conversation on religion, science, transcendence, consciousness, impermanence, and whether matter is…
Michael Munger on Sharing, Transaction Costs, and Tomorrow 3.0
Oct 29, 2018 • 70 min
Economist and author Michael Munger of Duke University talks about his book, Tomorrow 3.0, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Munger analyzes the rise of companies like Uber and AirBnB as an example of how technology lowers transactions costs. Users and…
Ran Abramitzky on the Mystery of the Kibbutz
Oct 22, 2018 • 66 min
Economist and author Ran Abramitzky of Stanford University talks about his book, The Mystery of the Kibbutz, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Abramitzky traces the evolution of the kibbutz movement in Israel and how the kibbutz structure changed to cope…
Kevin McKenna on Characters, Plot, and Themes of In the First Circle
Oct 18, 2018 • 76 min
Russian Literature Professor Kevin McKenna of the University of Vermont talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the characters, plot, and themes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece, In the First Circle. This is the second episode of the EconTalk…
John Gray on the Seven Kinds of Atheism
Oct 15, 2018 • 96 min
Philosopher and author John Gray talks about his latest book, Seven Types of Atheism, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Gray argues that progress is an illusion and that most atheisms inherit, unknowingly, a religious belief in progress that is not…
Neil Monnery on Hong Kong and the Architect of Prosperity
Oct 8, 2018 • 73 min
Neil Monnery, author of Architect of Prosperity, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book—a biography of John Cowperthwaite, the man often credited with the economic success of Hong Kong. Monnery describes the policies that Cowperthwaite…
Noah Smith on Worker Compensation, Co-determination, and Market Power
Oct 1, 2018 • 75 min
Bloomberg Opinion columnist and economist Noah Smith talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about corporate control, wages, and monopoly power. Smith discusses the costs and benefits of co-determination—the idea of putting workers on corporate boards. The…
Rodney Brooks on Artificial Intelligence
Sep 24, 2018 • 65 min
Rodney Brooks, emeritus professor of robotics at MIT, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the future of robots and artificial intelligence. Brooks argues that we both under-appreciate and over-appreciate the impact of innovation. He applies this…
Paul Bloom on Cruelty
Sep 17, 2018 • 82 min
Yale University psychologist Paul Bloom talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about cruelty—what motivates cruelty, the cruelty of small acts that accumulate into something monstrous, and the question of whether the abuse of a robot is a form of cruelty.
Kevin McKenna on Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet Union, and In the First Circle
Sep 10, 2018 • 78 min
Russian Literature Professor Kevin McKenna of the University of Vermont talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life and times of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This is the opening episode of the EconTalk Book Club for Solzhenitsyn’s masterpiece In the…
Yoram Hazony on the Virtue of Nationalism
Sep 3, 2018 • 82 min
Yoram Hazony discusses his book, The Virtue of Nationalism, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hazony argues that nationalism, for all its flaws, is a better system than a global system of governance. He argues that while the competition between nationalist…
Charlan Nemeth on In Defense of Troublemakers
Aug 27, 2018 • 83 min
Psychologist Charlan Nemeth of the University of California, Berkeley and author of In Defense of Troublemakers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book—the power of groupthink, the power of conviction, and the opportunity for an…
Lilliana Mason on Uncivil Agreement
Aug 20, 2018 • 70 min
Political scientist Lilliana Mason of the University Maryland and author of Uncivil Agreement talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Mason argues that political partisanship has become stronger in America in recent years because it aligns…
David Meltzer on the Doctor-Patient Relationship
Aug 13, 2018 • 68 min
Physician David Meltzer of the University of Chicago talks about the power of the doctor-patient relationship with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Meltzer, who also has a Ph.D. in economics, discusses a controlled experiment he has been running to measure the…
Frank Dikotter on Mao’s Great Famine
Aug 6, 2018 • 72 min
Historian Frank Dikotter of the University of Hong Kong and author of Mao’s Great Famine talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Dikotter chronicles the strategies Mao and Chinese leadership implemented to increase grain and steel production…
Alberto Alesina on Immigration and Redistribution
Jul 30, 2018 • 66 min
Alberto Alesina of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how people in the US and five European countries perceive the population and characteristics of legal immigrants. Reporting on research with Armando Miano and Stefanie…
Teppo Felin on Blindness, Rationality, and Perception
Jul 23, 2018 • 64 min
Teppo Felin of the University of Oxford talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about perception, cognition, and rationality. Felin argues that some of the standard experimental critiques of human rationality assume an omniscience that misleads us in…
Russ Roberts on the Information Revolution, Politics, Yeats, and Yelling
Jul 16, 2018 • 61 min
EconTalk host Russ Roberts does a monologue on how political discourse seems to have deteriorated in recent years and the growth in outrage, tribalism, and intolerance for those with different views from one’s own. Roberts suggests that part of the…
Patrick Deneen on Why Liberalism Failed
Jul 9, 2018 • 74 min
Political Scientist and author Patrick Deneen of the University of Notre Dame talks about his book Why Liberalism Failed with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. By liberalism, Deneen means the modern enterprise—the push for self-actualization free of the…
Arnold Kling on Morality, Culture, and Tribalism
Jul 2, 2018 • 66 min
Economist and author Arnold Kling talks about the economic impact of culture and morality with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Drawing on a recent essay on the importance of social interactions, Kling explores the role of culture and norms and their broad…
Michael Pollan on Psychedelic Drugs and How to Change Your Mind
Jun 25, 2018 • 72 min
Journalist and author Michael Pollan talks about his book, How to Change Your Mind, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Pollan chronicles the history of the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly LSD and psilocybin, to treat addiction, depression and…
Richard Reinsch on the Enlightenment, Tradition, and Populism
Jun 18, 2018 • 66 min
Richard Reinsch, editor of Law and Liberty and the host of the podcast Liberty Law Talk, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Enlightenment. Topics discussed include the search for meaning, the stability of liberalism, the rise of populism, and…
Moises Velasquez-Manoff on Cows, Carbon Farming, and Climate Change
Jun 11, 2018 • 74 min
Journalist and author Moises Velasquez-Manoff talks about the role of dirt in fighting climate change with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Velasquez-Manoff explains how changes in farming can allow dirt and plants to absorb carbon and potentially reduce…
Janet Golden on Babies Made Us Modern
Jun 4, 2018 • 63 min
Historian and author Janet Golden talks about her book, Babies Made Us Modern, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Golden chronicles the transformation of parenting in first half of the 20th century. It’s a fascinating story of how our knowledge of infant…
Iain McGilchrist on the Divided Brain and the Master and His Emissary
May 28, 2018 • 86 min
Psychiatrist and author Iain McGilchrist talks about his book, The Master and His Emissary, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. McGilchrist argues we have misunderstand the purpose and effect of the divided brain. The left side is focused, concrete, and…
Glen Weyl on Radical Markets
May 21, 2018 • 63 min
Economist Glen Weyl of Microsoft Research New England and Visiting Senior Research Scholar at Yale University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book (co-authored with Eric Posner) Radical Markets. Weyl urges a radical transformation of land…
Peter Boettke on Public Administration, Liberty, and the Proper Role of Government
May 21, 2018 • 72 min
Peter Boettke of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the proper role of the state in the economy. This is a wide-ranging conversation on political economy. Topics include Adam Smith’s view of the state, the tension between…
Joel Peterson on Leadership, Betrayal, and the 10 Laws of Trust
May 7, 2018 • 73 min
How did the CEO of a real estate development company become chairman of an airline? How can a competent manager learn to trust his subordinates? Joel Peterson, chairman of the Board at JetBlue Airways and author of The 10 Laws of Trust, talks with…
Ryan Holiday on Conspiracy, Gawker, and the Hulk Hogan Trial
Apr 30, 2018 • 77 min
Author Ryan Holiday discusses his book, Conspiracy, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a crazy episode about a crazy book about a crazy set of events—the Hulk Hogan lawsuit against the website Gawker, a lawsuit that was secretly funded by Peter…
Jonah Goldberg on The Suicide of the West
Apr 23, 2018 • 87 min
Jonah Goldberg of National Review talks about his latest book, Suicide of the West, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Goldberg argues that both capitalism and democracy are at risk in the current contentious political environment. He argues that we take…
Jerry Muller on the Tyranny of Metrics
Apr 16, 2018 • 64 min
Historian and author Jerry Muller of Catholic University talks about his latest book, The Tyranny of Metrics, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Muller argues that public policy and management are overly focused on measurable outcomes as a measure of…
Vincent Rajkumar on the High Price of Cancer Drugs
Apr 9, 2018 • 72 min
Can a life-saving drug be too expensive? What explains the high price of cancer drugs? Dr. Vincent Rajkumar of the Mayo Clinic talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the high price of cancer drugs—drugs that can cost an American with cancer $300,000…
Michael Munger on Traffic
Apr 2, 2018 • 74 min
Does rush-hour traffic drive you crazy? Is a congestion tax on car travel a good idea? Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of traffic and congestion taxes. It takes a while to get there (how…
Edward Glaeser on Joblessness and the War on Work
Mar 26, 2018 • 66 min
Why are fewer men working over the last few decades? Is a universal basic income a good policy for coping with the loss of employment? Economist Edward Glaeser of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what Glaeser calls the war on…
Beth Redbird on Licensing
Mar 19, 2018 • 62 min
Economists often oppose the expansion of licensing in America in recent years because it makes it harder for people with low skills to get access to opportunity. Sociologist Beth Redbird of Northwestern University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts…
Arnold Kling on Economics for the 21st Century
Mar 12, 2018 • 64 min
Economist, blogger, and author Arnold Kling talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of economics in the 21st century. Kling argues that economics would be more useful if it took account of intangibles like culture, incorporated the role of…
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Rationality, Risk, and Skin in the Game
Mar 5, 2018 • 74 min
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Skin in the Game, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. This is the third episode of EconTalk with Taleb related to the general topic of skin in the game and how it affects decision-making and…
Elizabeth Anderson on Worker Rights and Private Government
Feb 26, 2018 • 67 min
Philosopher Elizabeth Anderson of the University of Michigan and author of Private Government talks about her book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Anderson argues that employers have excessive power over employees that we would never accept from…
Jordan Peterson on 12 Rules for Life
Feb 19, 2018 • 78 min
Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life, talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Topics covered include parenting, conversation, the role of literature in everyday life, and the relationship between sacrificial rites and trade.
Bryan Caplan on the Case Against Education
Feb 12, 2018 • 71 min
Bryan Caplan of George Mason University and the author of The Case Against Education talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Caplan argues that very little learning takes place in formal education and that very little of the return to…
Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay on the Enemies of Modernity
Feb 5, 2018 • 69 min
Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their essay on the enemies of modernity. Pluckrose and Lindsay argue that modernity—by which they mean democracy, reason, and individual liberty—is under attack from pre-modern…
Marian Goodell on Burning Man
Jan 29, 2018 • 72 min
Marian Goodell, CEO of the Burning Man Project, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Burning Man, the 8-day art and music festival in the Nevada Desert. Goodell explains how Burning Man has evolved over the years, the principles and rules that…
John Ioannidis on Statistical Significance, Economics, and Replication
Jan 22, 2018 • 65 min
John Ioannidis of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his research on the reliability of published research findings. They discuss Ioannidis’s recent study on bias in economics research, meta-analysis, the challenge of small…
Bill James on Baseball, Facts, and the Rules of the Game
Jan 15, 2018 • 62 min
Baseball stats guru and author Bill James talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of understanding complexity in baseball and elsewhere. James reflects on the lessons he has learned as a long-time student of data and the role it plays…
Dick Carpenter on Bottleneckers
Jan 8, 2018 • 74 min
Dick Carpenter of the Institute for Justice and author of Bottleneckers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book—a look at how occupational licensing and other regulations protect existing job holders from competition.
Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith on Soonish
Jan 1, 2018 • 70 min
Ecologist Kelly Weinersmith and cartoonist Zach Weinersmith—creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal—talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their new book, Soonish—a look at cutting-edge and not-quite cutting edge technologies. The Weinersmiths…
Matt Stoller on Modern Monopolies
Dec 25, 2017 • 70 min
Matt Stoller of the Open Market Institute talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the growing influence of Google, Facebook, and Amazon on commercial and political life. Stoller argues that these large firms have too much power over our options as…
Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles on the Captured Economy
Dec 18, 2017 • 69 min
Brink Lindsey of the Niskanen Center and Steven Teles of the Niskanen Center and Johns Hopkins University talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their book, The Captured Economy. Lindsey and Teles argue that inequality has been worsened by special…
John Cogan on Entitlements and the High Cost of Good Intentions
Dec 18, 2017 • 66 min
John Cogan of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Cogan’s book, The High Cost of Good Intentions, a history of U.S. entitlement policy. Cogan traces the evolution of government pensions beginning with…
Rachel Laudan on Food Waste
Dec 4, 2017 • 61 min
Historian Rachel Laudan talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about food waste. Laudan argues that there are tradeoffs in preventing food waste—in reduced time for example, or a reduction in food security, and that these tradeoffs need to be measured…
Simeon Djankov and Matt Warner on the Doing Business Report and Development Aid
Nov 27, 2017 • 75 min
Simeon Djankov, creator of the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, and Matt Warner, Chief Operating Officer of Atlas Network talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role regulation plays in economic development and the challenges of measuring…
Tim Harford on Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy
Nov 20, 2017 • 68 min
Financial Times columnist and author Tim Harford talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Harford’s latest book, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy. Highlights include how elevators are an important form of mass transit, why washing…
Anthony Gill on Tipping
Nov 13, 2017 • 65 min
Why does tipping persist? Despite the efforts of some restaurants to stop tipping, it remains a healthy institution and has recently spread to Uber. Political scientist Anthony Gill of the University of Washington talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts…
Dennis Rasmussen on Hume and Smith and The Infidel and the Professor
Nov 6, 2017 • 71 min
How did the friendship between David Hume and Adam Smith influence their ideas? Why do their ideas still matter today? Political Scientist Dennis Rasmussen of Tufts University and author of The Infidel and the Professor talks with EconTalk host Russ…
Michael Munger on Permissionless Innovation
Oct 30, 2017 • 67 min
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about permissionless innovation. Munger argues that the ability to innovate without permission is the most important concept of political economy. Munger defends this claim and…
Jennifer Burns on Ayn Rand and the Goddess of the Market
Oct 23, 2017 • 64 min
Jennifer Burns of Stanford University and the Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her biography of Ayn Rand, Goddess of the Market. They discuss Rand’s philosophy, her influence, her relationship with the conservative movement,…
Megan McArdle on Internet Shaming and Online Mobs
Oct 16, 2017 • 74 min
Author and journalist Megan McArdle of Bloomberg View talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how the internet has allowed a new kind of shaming via social media and how episodes of bad behavior live on because Google’s memory is very, very good.…
Tim O’Reilly on What’s the Future
Oct 9, 2017 • 62 min
Author Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media and long-time observer and commenter on the internet and technology, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us. O’Reilly surveys the evolution of…
Robert Wright on Meditation, Mindfulness, and Why Buddhism is True
Oct 2, 2017 • 66 min
Robert Wright, author of Why Buddhism Is True, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the psychotherapeutic insights of Buddhism and the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. Wright argues our evolutionary past has endowed us with a mind that can…
Philip Auerswald on the Rise of Populism
Sep 25, 2017 • 79 min
Author and professor Philip Auerswald of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the rise of populism in the United States and throughout the world. Auerswald argues that the rise of cities and the productivity of urban life…
Gabriel Zucman on Inequality, Growth, and Distributional National Accounts
Sep 18, 2017 • 72 min
Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his research on inequality and the distribution of income in the United States over the last 35 years. Zucman finds that there has been no change in…
Gillian Hadfield on Law and Rules For a Flat World
Sep 11, 2017 • 67 min
Law professor Gillian Hadfield of the University of Southern California and author of Rules for a Flat World talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her book for regulating the digital future. Hadfield suggests the competitive provision…
Rob Reich on Foundations and Philanthropy
Sep 4, 2017 • 63 min
Is private charity always a good thing? Do large foundations have too much power? Political Scientist Rob Reich of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the power and effectiveness of foundations—large collections of wealth…
Benedict Evans on the Future of Cars
Aug 28, 2017 • 67 min
Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about two important trends for the future of personal travel—the increasing number of electric cars and a world of autonomous vehicles. Evans talks about how these two trends are…
John McWhorter on the Evolution of Language and Words on the Move
Aug 21, 2017 • 64 min
How did bad come to mean good? Why is Shakespeare so hard to understand? Is there anything good about “like” and “you know?” Author and professor John McWhorter of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the unplanned ways that…
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Work, Slavery, the Minority Rule, and Skin in the Game
Aug 14, 2017 • 84 min
Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the manuscript version of his forthcoming book, Skin in the Game. Topics discussed include the role of skin in the game in labor markets, the power of minorities, the Lindy effect, Taleb’s…
Tyler Cowen on Stubborn Attachments, Prosperity, and the Good Society
Aug 7, 2017 • 60 min
Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and the co-host of the blog Marginal Revolution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Stubborn Attachments, his book-length treatment of how to think about public policy. Cowen argues that economic…
Alex Guarnaschelli on Food
Jul 31, 2017 • 63 min
Alex Guarnaschelli, Food Channel star and chef at Butter in midtown Manhattan, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what it’s like to run a restaurant, the challenges of a career in cooking, her favorite dishes, her least favorite dishes, and what…
Sally Satel on Organ Donation
Jul 24, 2017 • 60 min
Sally Satel, psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of increasing the supply of donated organs for transplantation and ways that public policy might increase the…
Tamar Haspel on Food Costs, Animal Welfare, and the Honey Bee
Jul 17, 2017 • 61 min
Tamar Haspel, who writes “Unearthed,” a column on food and agriculture at the Washington Post, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a wide variety of issues related to the cost of food and how it’s produced. Topics discussed include why technology…
Martha Nussbaum on Alexander Hamilton
Jul 10, 2017 • 61 min
Martha Nussbaum, professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Alexander Hamilton. Nussbaum talks about the tension between acquiring power and living a life of virtue. The topics discussed include…
Chris Blattman on Chickens, Cash, and Development Economics
Jul 3, 2017 • 63 min
Chris Blattman of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether it’s better to give poor Africans cash or chickens and the role of experiments in helping us figure out the answer. Along the way he discusses the importance…
Robin Feldman on Drug Patents, Generics, and Drug Wars
Jun 26, 2017 • 65 min
Robin Feldman of the University of California Hastings College of Law and author of Drug Wars talks about her book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Feldman explores the various ways that pharmaceutical companies try to reduce competition from generic…
Thomas Ricks on Churchill and Orwell
Jun 19, 2017 • 65 min
Author and historian Thomas Ricks talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Churchill and Orwell. Ricks makes the case that the odd couple of Winston Churchill and George Orwell played and play an important role in preserving individual…
Don Boudreaux, Michael Munger, and Russ Roberts on Emergent Order
Jun 12, 2017 • 73 min
Why is it that people in large cities like Paris or New York City people sleep peacefully, unworried about whether there will be enough bread or other necessities available for purchase the next morning? No one is in charge—no bread czar. No flour czar.…
Christy Ford Chapin on the Evolution of the American Health Care System
Jun 5, 2017 • 65 min
Historian Christy Ford Chapin of University of Maryland Baltimore County and Johns Hopkins and author of Ensuring America’s Health talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book—a history of how America’s health care system came to be dominated by…
David Boaz, P.J. O’Rourke, and George Will on the State of Liberty
May 29, 2017 • 64 min
What is the state of liberty in America? Is liberty increasing or decreasing? Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the future? This week EconTalk features David Boaz, P.J. O’Rourke, and George Will discussing these questions and more with EconTalk…
Lant Pritchett on Poverty, Growth, and Experiments
May 22, 2017 • 63 min
How should we think about growth and poverty? How important is the goal of reducing the proportion of the world’s population living on less than a dollar a day? Does poverty persist because people lack skills or because they live in economic systems where…
Cass Sunstein on #Republic
May 15, 2017 • 67 min
Author and legal scholar Cass Sunstein of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, #Republic. Sunstein argues that the internet has encouraged people to frequent informational echo chambers where their views are…
Tyler Cowen on The Complacent Class
May 8, 2017 • 66 min
Author and economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, The Complacent Class. Cowen argues that the United States has become complacent and the result is a loss of dynamism in the economy and in…
Jennifer Pahlka on Code for America
May 1, 2017 • 59 min
Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the organization she started. Code for America works with private sector tech people to bring technology to the provision of government services. Pahlka discusses…
Elizabeth Pape on Manufacturing and Selling Women’s Clothing and Elizabeth Suzann
Apr 24, 2017 • 75 min
Elizabeth Pape, founder of the women’s clothing company Elizabeth Suzann, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about starting and running her company—a manufacturer and seller of high-end women’s clothing in Nashville, Tennessee. The conversation…
Rana Foroohar on the Financial Sector and Makers and Takers
Apr 17, 2017 • 63 min
Journalist and author Rana Foroohar of the Financial Times talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Makers and Takers. Foroohar argues that finance has become an increasingly powerful part of the U.S. economy and has handicapped the growth…
Erica Sandberg on Homelessness and Downtown Streets Team
Apr 10, 2017 • 57 min
Podcaster and writer Erica Sandberg talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about homelessness in San Francisco. Sandberg talks about what the city can do about homelessness and her experience with Downtown Streets Team, which gives homeless people in the…
Vanessa Williamson on Taxes and Read My Lips
Apr 3, 2017 • 68 min
Are Americans overtaxed? How does the average American feel about the tax system and tax reform? Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Read My Lips. Williamson shares the results of her…
Jason Barr on Building the Skyline and the Economics of Skyscrapers
Mar 27, 2017 • 77 min
Why does the Manhattan skyline look like it does with incredible skyscrapers south of City Hall then almost no tall buildings until midtown? Jason Barr of Rutgers University-Newark and author of Building the Skyline talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts…
Andrew Gelman on Social Science, Small Samples, and the Garden of the Forking Paths
Mar 20, 2017 • 67 min
Statistician, blogger, and author Andrew Gelman of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges facing psychologists and economists when using small samples. On the surface, finding statistically significant results in a…
Robert Whaples on the Economics of Pope Francis
Mar 13, 2017 • 58 min
Is capitalism part of the poverty problem facing the world or part of the solution? Are human beings doing a good job preserving the earth for future generations? To improve the world, should we improve capitalism or ourselves? Robert Whaples of Wake…
Crafts, Garicano, and Zingales on the Economic Future of Europe
Mar 6, 2017 • 62 min
What is the future of the European economy? What are the challenges facing Europe? What are the implications of Brexit for the United Kingdom and the rest of the Europe? Nicholas Crafts of the University of Warwick, Luis Garicano of the London School of…
Paul Bloom on Empathy
Feb 27, 2017 • 68 min
Psychologist Paul Bloom of Yale University talks about his book Against Empathy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Bloom argues that empathy—the ability to feel the emotions of others—is a bad guide to charitable giving and public policy. Bloom argues that…
Tom Wainwright on Narconomics
Feb 20, 2017 • 71 min
When fighting the war on drugs, governments typically devote enormous resources trying to reduce the supply. But is this effective? Journalist and author Tom Wainwright of the Economist and author of Narconomics talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about…
Jim Epstein on Bitcoin, the Blockchain, and Freedom in Latin America
Feb 13, 2017 • 59 min
Writer, reporter, and film producer Jim Epstein talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about mining Bitcoins in Venezuela as a way to import food. Venezuela is a tragicomic example of how policy can lead to strange and presumably unexpected outcomes.…
Gary Taubes on the Case Against Sugar
Feb 6, 2017 • 76 min
Sugar appears to have no nutritional value. But is it more than just empty calories? Is it actually bad for us? Author and journalist Gary Taubes talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, The Case Against Sugar. Taubes argues that there…
George Borjas on Immigration and We Wanted Workers
Jan 30, 2017 • 65 min
George Borjas of Harvard University and author of We Wanted Workers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about immigration and the challenges of measuring the impact of increased immigration on American workers and consumers. The discussion also looks at…
Sam Quinones on Heroin, the Opioid Epidemic, and Dreamland
Jan 23, 2017 • 69 min
How did heroin spread beyond big cities in America? What’s the connection between heroin and America’s opioid problem? Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the explosion in heroin use and how one small Mexican…
Michael Munger on the Basic Income Guarantee
Jan 16, 2017 • 64 min
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the virtues and negatives of a basic guaranteed income—giving every American adult an annual amount of money to guarantee a subsistence level of well-being. How would such a…
Robert Hall on Recession, Stagnation, and Monetary Policy
Jan 9, 2017 • 68 min
Economist Robert Hall of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current state of the U.S. economy and what we know and don’t know about the recovery from the Great Recession. Much of the conversation focuses on the choices…
Mark Warshawsky on Compensation, Health Care Costs, and Inequality
Jan 2, 2017 • 67 min
Economist and author Mark Warshawsky of George Mason Univerity’s Mercatus Center talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his work on the role health care benefits play in measuring inequality. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Warshawsky…
Chris Blattman on Sweatshops
Dec 26, 2016 • 77 min
If you were a poor person in a poor country, would you prefer steady work in a factory or to be your own boss, buying and selling in the local market? Economist Chris Blattman of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about…
Terry Anderson on Native American Economics
Dec 19, 2016 • 67 min
Terry Anderson of PERC talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about economic life for Native Americans. Anderson discusses economic life before the arrival of Europeans and how current policy affects Native Americans living on reservations today.
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on the Spoils of War
Dec 12, 2016 • 75 min
There is a fascinating and depressing positive correlation between the reputation of an American president and the number of people dying in wars while that president is in office. Political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita of NYU and co-author of The…
Thomas Leonard on Race, Eugenics, and Illiberal Reformers
Dec 5, 2016 • 68 min
Were the first professional economists racists? Thomas Leonard of Princeton University and author of Illiberal Reformers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book—a portrait of the progressive movement and its early advocates at the end of the…
Doug Lemov on Reading
Nov 28, 2016 • 62 min
Doug Lemov of Uncommon School and co-author of Reading Reconsidered talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about reading. Lemov makes the case for the educational importance of critical reading of challenging books and texts. Along the way, he gives…
Erik Hurst on Work, Play, and the Dynamics of U.S. Labor Markets
Nov 21, 2016 • 71 min
Erik Hurst of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the labor market in the United States. Hurst notes dramatic changes in employment rates for men and speculates about the causes. Two factors discussed in…
Tim Harford on the Virtues of Disorder and Messy
Nov 14, 2016 • 72 min
Tim Harford, journalist and author, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Messy. Harford argues that we have a weakness for order and neat solutions causing us to miss opportunities to find happiness or success with messier, more…
David Gelernter on Consciousness, Computers, and the Tides of Mind
Nov 7, 2016 • 68 min
David Gelernter, professor of computer science at Yale University and author of The Tides of Mind, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about consciousness and how our minds evolve through the course of the day and as we grow up. Other topics discussed…
Judith Donath on Signaling, Design, and the Social Machine
Oct 31, 2016 • 68 min
Judith Donath, author of The Social Machine, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her book—an examination of signaling, online identity, and online community. Donath argues that design elements in technology play a key role in our…
Casey Mulligan on Cuba
Oct 24, 2016 • 61 min
Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about life in Cuba. Mulligan, who recently returned from a trip to Cuba, discusses the economy, the standard of living and some of the peculiarities of communist control.
Chris Arnade on the Mexican Crisis, TARP, and American Poverty
Oct 17, 2016 • 69 min
Chris Arnade, former Wall Street trader turned photographer and social chronicler, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what he learned from the front lines of the financial industry in the 1990s and 2000s when everything slowly and then very…
Angus Deaton on Inequality, Trade, and the Robin Hood Principle
Oct 10, 2016 • 65 min
Nobel Laureate in Economics Angus Deaton of Princeton University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of trade and aid. Deaton wonders if economists should re-think the widely-held view that redistribution from rich nations to poor…
Cathy O’Neil on Weapons of Math Destruction
Oct 3, 2016 • 71 min
Cathy O’Neil, data scientist and author of Weapons of Math Destruction talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her book. O’Neil argues that the commercial application of big data often harms individuals in unknown ways. She argues that…
John Cochrane on Economic Growth and Changing the Policy Debate
Sep 26, 2016 • 62 min
How are those in favor of bigger government and those who want smaller government like a couple stuck in a bad marriage? Economist John Cochrane of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how to take a…
Eric Wakin on Archiving, Preservation, and History
Sep 19, 2016 • 63 min
What does an x-ray of Hitler’s skull have in common with a jar of Ronald Reagan’s jelly beans? They are both part of the Hoover Institution archives. Eric Wakin, Director of the Library and Archives of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University talks…
Susan Athey on Machine Learning, Big Data, and Causation
Sep 12, 2016 • 61 min
Can machine learning improve the use of data and evidence for understanding economics and public policy? Susan Athey of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how machine learning can be used in conjunction with traditional…
Terry Moe on the Constitution, the Presidency, and Relic
Sep 5, 2016 • 62 min
Are there many Americans today who wish the President of the United States had more power relative to the other branches of Congress? Terry Moe is one of them. In this week’s EconTalk episode, Moe—a professor of political science at Stanford University…
Leo Katz on Why the Law is So Perverse
Aug 29, 2016 • 74 min
Leo Katz, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Why the Law Is So Perverse. Katz argues that certain seemingly inexplicable features of the law are the result of conflicts between…
Munger on Slavery and Racism
Aug 22, 2016 • 74 min
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how attitudes in the American South toward slavery evolved over time and what we can learn from that evolution about the role culture plays in our lives.
Chuck Klosterman on But What If We’re Wrong
Aug 15, 2016 • 62 min
Chuck Klosterman, author of But What If We’re Wrong, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the possibility that things we hold to be undeniably true may turn out to be totally false in the future. This wide-ranging conversation covers music and…
Adam D’Angelo on Knowledge, Experimentation, and Quora
Aug 8, 2016 • 66 min
Adam D’Angelo, CEO of the question and answer website, Quora, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history, evolution, and challenges of Quora. Along the way they discuss the aggregation of knowledge and the power of experiments for improving…
Matthew Futterman on Players and the Business of Sports
Aug 1, 2016 • 64 min
Fifty years ago, many of the best players in the National Football League took jobs in the off-season to augment the salaries they earned playing football. Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal and author of Players talks with EconTalk host Russ…
Angela Duckworth on Grit
Jul 25, 2016 • 69 min
How important is grit relative to talent? Can grit be taught? Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance talks with with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of success in work, play…
Ryan Holiday on Ego is the Enemy
Jul 18, 2016 • 65 min
How does our attitude toward ourselves affect our success or failure in the world of business or in friendship? Ryan Holiday, author of Ego Is the Enemy, talks with Econtalk host Russ Roberts about the role of ego in business, our personal lives, and…
Jonathan Skinner on Health Care Costs, Technology, and Rising Mortality
Jul 11, 2016 • 63 min
Technology and innovation usually mean higher quality and lower prices. Is health care different? Jonathan Skinner of Dartmouth College talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how technology and innovation affect the cost and efficacy of health care.…
Yuval Levin on The Fractured Republic
Jul 4, 2016 • 61 min
Yuval Levin, author and editor of National Affairs, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his latest book, The Fractured Republic. Levin argues that both major political parties suffer from a misplaced nostalgia—a yearning for a time…
Richard Epstein on Cruises, First-Class Travel, and Inequality
Jun 27, 2016 • 63 min
How should we feel about cruise lines that offer special amenities for top-paying travelers, or first-class sections of airplanes? Do such consumption inequalities harm the social fabric or is there more to the story? Richard Epstein of New York…
Kevin Kelly on the Inevitable
Jun 20, 2016 • 62 min
Futurist, author, and visionary Kevin Kelly talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, The Inevitable, Kelly’s look at what the future might be like and the role of the human experience in a world increasingly filled with information,…
Abby Smith Rumsey on Remembering, Forgetting, and When We Are No More
Jun 13, 2016 • 63 min
You might think your tweets on Twitter belong to you. But in 2010, the Library of Congress acquired the entire archive of Twitter. Why would such a majestic library acquire such seemingly ephemeral material? Historian Abby Smith Rumsey, author of When We…
Jason Zweig on Finance and the Devil’s Financial Dictionary
Jun 6, 2016 • 64 min
Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal and author of The Devil’s Financial Dictionary talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about finance, financial journalism and Zweig’s new book. Zweig discusses rationality and the investor’s challenge of…
David Beckworth on Money, Monetary Policy, and the Great Recession
May 30, 2016 • 63 min
Was the Financial Crisis of 2008 caused by a crisis in the housing market? Or did the Federal Reserve turn a garden-variety recession into the Great Recession? David Beckworth of Western Kentucky University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the…
James Bessen on Learning by Doing
May 23, 2016 • 64 min
Are workers being left behind when the economy grows? Is technology making the human workforce obsolete? James Bessen, author of Learning by Doing, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of learning on the job in the past and in the present.…
Leif Wenar on Blood Oil
May 16, 2016 • 64 min
Should the United States allow its citizens to buy oil from countries run by bad men? Is this a case where morality trumps the usual case for free trade? Leif Wenar, professor of philosophy at King’s College, London and author of Blood Oil, talks with…
Pedro Domingos on Machine Learning and the Master Algorithm
May 9, 2016 • 65 min
What is machine learning? How is it transforming our lives and workplaces? What might the future hold? Pedro Domingos of the University of Washington and author of The Master Algorithm talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the present and future of…
Arnold Kling on Specialization and Trade
May 2, 2016 • 66 min
Arnold Kling, economist and author, speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Specialization and Trade: A Reintroduction to Economics. Kling argues that macroeconomics ignores the challenges of buyers and sellers working together in…
Alberto Alesina on Fiscal Policy and Austerity
Apr 25, 2016 • 63 min
Alberto Alesina of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his research on fiscal policy and austerity. Alesina’s research shows that spending cuts to reduce budget deficits are less harmful than tax increases. Alesina discusses the…
Gary Belsky on the Origins of Sports
Apr 18, 2016 • 68 min
Gary Belsky, co-author of On the Origins of Sports and former editor-in-chief of ESPN the Magazine, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of sports—how various sports evolved and emerged into their current incarnations. Along the way he…
Robert Frank on Success and Luck
Apr 11, 2016 • 71 min
Is your success in life your own doing? Robert Frank of Cornell University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Success and Luck. Frank argues that we underestimate the role that luck plays in our success and makes the case for a…
Richard Jones on Transhumanism
Apr 4, 2016 • 71 min
Will our brains ever be uploaded into a computer? Will we live forever? Richard Jones, physicist at the University of Sheffield and author of Against Transhumanism, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about transhumanism—the effort to radically…
Jayson Lusk on Food, Technology, and Unnaturally Delicious
Mar 28, 2016 • 67 min
How bad is pink slime? Are free-range chickens happier? Can robots cook? Jayson Lusk of Oklahoma State University and the author of Unnaturally Delicious talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about these questions and more from his new book. Lusk explores…
Marina Krakovsky on the Middleman Economy
Mar 21, 2016 • 63 min
Why would anyone want to hire a middleman, like a wedding planner, especially if you have time to take care of the planning yourself? Marina Krakovsky, author of The Middleman Economy talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about middlemen in the modern…
David Autor on Trade, China, and U.S. Labor Markets
Mar 14, 2016 • 72 min
David Autor of MIT talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the fundamentals of trade and his research on the impact on workers and communities from trade with China. Autor’s research finds large and persistent effects on manufacturing jobs and…
Will Davies on the Economics, Economists, and the Limits of Neoliberalism
Mar 7, 2016 • 66 min
Will Davies of Goldsmith’s, University of London and author of The Limits of Neoliberalism talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Davies argues that the free-market vision of economists like Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek…
Alison Wolf on Women, Inequality and the XX Factor
Feb 29, 2016 • 71 min
Alison Wolf author of The XX Factor, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the changing roles of women in the family and the workplace. Wolf argues that highly educated women are increasingly similar to highly educated men in their lifestyles and…
Matt Ridley on the Evolution of Everything
Feb 22, 2016 • 69 min
Matt Ridley talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, The Evolution of Everything. Ridley applies the lens of emergent order to a wide variety of phenomena including culture, morality, religion, commerce, innovation, and consciousness.
Adam Cifu on Ending Medical Reversal
Feb 15, 2016 • 64 min
Why do so many medical practices that begin with such promise and confidence turn out to be either ineffective at best or harmful at worst? Adam Cifu of the University of Chicago’s School of Medicine and co-author (with Vinayak Prasad) of Ending Medical…
Adam Ozimek on the Power of Econometrics and Data
Feb 8, 2016 • 62 min
Adam Ozimek of Moody’s Analytics and blogger at Forbes talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why economists change their minds or don’t. Ozimek argues that economists make erratic but steady progress using econometrics and other forms of evidence to…
Timothy Taylor on Government vs. Business
Feb 1, 2016 • 61 min
Timothy Taylor, blogger at the Conversable Economist and editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of government and business in taking care of workers and creating economic growth. Taylor…
James Heckman on Facts, Evidence, and the State of Econometrics
Jan 25, 2016 • 64 min
Nobel Laureate James Heckman of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of econometrics and the challenges of measurement in assessing economic theories and public policy. Heckman gives us his take on natural…
Josh Luber on Sneakers, Sneakerheads, and the Second-hand Market
Jan 18, 2016 • 62 min
How many pairs of sneakers do you own? Josh Luber of Campless and StockX talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the world of sneakerheads—people passionate for collecting and trading sneakers. Each week people line up to buy classic sneaker models…
Greg Ip on Foolproof
Jan 11, 2016 • 66 min
When does the pursuit of safety lead us into danger? Greg Ip, of the Wall Street Journal and author of Foolproof talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book—the way we publicly and privately try to cope with risk and danger and how…
Robert Frank on Dinner Table Economics
Jan 4, 2016 • 58 min
How can you learn to think like an economist? One way is to think about what might be called dinner table economics—puzzles or patterns that arise in everyday life that would be good to understand. Robert Frank of Cornell University and author of The…
Noah Smith on Whether Economics is a Science
Dec 28, 2015 • 68 min
Noah Smith of Stony Brook University and writer at Bloomberg View talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether economics is a science in some sense of that word. How reliable are experiments in economics? What about the statistical analysis that…
Philip Tetlock on Superforecasting
Dec 21, 2015 • 59 min
Can you predict the future? Or at least gauge the probability of political or economic events in the near future? Philip Tetlock of the University of Pennsylvania and author of Superforecasting talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his work on…
George Selgin on Monetary Policy and the Great Recession
Dec 14, 2015 • 69 min
Did Ben Bernanke and the Fed save the U.S. economy from disaster in 2008 or did the Fed make things worse? Why did the Fed reward banks that kept reserves rather than releasing funds into the economy? George Selgin of the Cato Institute tries to answer…
Canice Prendergast on How Prices Can Improve a Food Fight (and Help the Poor)
Dec 7, 2015 • 62 min
If you have 250 million tons of food to give away every year to local food banks how should you do it? Canice Prendergast of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how he and a team of economists…
David Mindell on Our Robots, Ourselves
Nov 30, 2015 • 59 min
Are we on the verge of driverless cars and other forms of autonomous robots and artificial intelligence? David Mindell of MIT and the author of Our Robots, Ourselves talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the robotic revolution. Mindell argues that…
Michael Munger on EconTalk’s 500th Episode
Nov 23, 2015 • 73 min
Michael Munger of Duke University makes his 29th appearance on the 500th episode of EconTalk alongside EconTalk host Russ Roberts. He talks about his personal intellectual journey, his interest in public choice, and Unicorn economics. Other topics include…
Brian Nosek on the Reproducibility Project
Nov 16, 2015 • 67 min
Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia and the Center for Open Science talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Reproducibility Project—an effort to reproduce the findings of 100 articles in three top psychology journals. Nosek talks about the…
Robert Aronowitz on Risky Medicine
Nov 9, 2015 • 70 min
Should women get routine mammograms? Should men get regular PSA exams? Robert Aronowitz of the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Risky Medicine talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the increasing focus on risk reduction rather than…
Michael Matheson Miller on Poverty, Inc
Nov 2, 2015 • 69 min
Michael Matheson Miller of the Acton Institute and the Director of the documentary Poverty, Inc., talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his award-winning documentary on the barriers facing the poor around the world. Topics discussed include the…
Cesar Hidalgo on Why Information Grows
Oct 26, 2015 • 62 min
Cesar Hidalgo of MIT and the author of Why Information Grows talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the growth of knowledge and know-how in the modern economy. Hidalgo emphasizes the importance of networks among innovators and creators and the role…
Yuval Harari on Sapiens
Oct 19, 2015 • 72 min
Yuval Harari of Hebrew University and author of Sapiens talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of humanity. Topics discussed include the move from hunting and gathering to agriculture, the role of fiction in sustaining imagination, the…
Pete Boettke on Katrina, Ten Years After
Oct 12, 2015 • 78 min
Pete Boettke of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the political and economic lessons he has learned as program director of research in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In this wide-ranging conversation, Boettke…
Tim O’Reilly on Technology and Work
Oct 5, 2015 • 63 min
Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his career in technology and media and the challenges facing low-wage workers as technology advances. Topics include the early days of the Internet, the efficacy of regulation to…
Pete Geddes on the American Prairie Reserve
Sep 28, 2015 • 67 min
When Lewis and Clark crossed through Montana, they encountered an extraordinary cornucopia of wildlife. Most of that ecosystem and the animals that once thrived there are gone. But a non-profit wants to bring it all back. Pete Geddes, Managing Director of…
Tina Rosenberg on the Kidney Market in Iran
Sep 21, 2015 • 61 min
There is only one country in the world where a person can sell a kidney to another citizen who buys it. That country is Iran. Tina Rosenberg of The New York Times talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Iranian kidney market—how it works, its…
Mitch Weiss on the Business of Broadway
Sep 14, 2015 • 72 min
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a Broadway show? This week’s EconTalk lifts the curtain on the magical world of Broadway: Mitch Weiss, co-author of The Business of Broadway, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book and what it’s…
William MacAskill on Effective Altruism and Doing Good Better
Sep 7, 2015 • 69 min
How much care do you take when you make a donation to a charity? What careers make the biggest difference when it comes to helping others? William MacAskill of Oxford University and the author of Doing Good Better talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts…
Paul Robinson on Cooperation, Punishment and the Criminal Justice System
Aug 31, 2015 • 70 min
Are human beings naturally cooperative or selfish? Can people thrive without government law? Paul Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania and author of Pirates, Prisoners and Lepers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts the ideas in his book. Robinson…
Jesse Ausubel on Agriculture, Technology, and the Return of Nature
Aug 24, 2015 • 62 min
Thousands of bears in New Jersey. Humpback whales near New York City. Acres devoted to farming stable or declining even as food production soars. Jesse Ausubel of the Rockefeller University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the return of nature.…
Rachel Laudan on the History of Food and Cuisine
Aug 17, 2015 • 66 min
Rachel Laudan, visiting scholar at the University of Texas and author of Cuisine and Empire, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of food. Topics covered include the importance of grain, the spread of various styles of cooking, why…
Summer Brennan on Wilderness, Politics and the Oyster War
Aug 10, 2015 • 64 min
Summer Brennan, author of The Oyster War, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book and the fight between the Drakes Bay Oyster Company and the federal government over farming oysters in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Along the way they…
Roger Berkowitz on Fish, Food, and Legal Sea Foods
Aug 3, 2015 • 63 min
Seafood is highly perishable and supply is often uncertain. Roger Berkowitz, CEO of Legal Sea Foods talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of running 34 seafood restaurants up and down the east coast. Berkowitz draws on his 22 year…
Eric Hanushek on the Education, Skills, and the Millennium Development Goals
Jul 27, 2015 • 71 min
How important are basic skills for economic success and growth? Eric Hanushek of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the importance of basic education in math and literacy and their relationship to economic…
Wences Casares on Bitcoin and Xapo
Jul 20, 2015 • 60 min
Wences Casares, bitcoin evangelist and founder and CEO of Xapo, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how bitcoin works, the genius of bitcoin’s creator, and how Xapo is structured to create security for bitcoin banking.
Lee Ohanian, Arnold Kling, and John Cochrane on the Future of Freedom, Democracy, and Prosperity
Jul 13, 2015 • 56 min
Lee Ohanian, Arnold Kling, and John Cochrane talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the future of freedom, democracy, and prosperity. Recorded in front of a live audience at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution as part of a conference on Magna…
Alvin Roth on Matching Markets
Jul 6, 2015 • 63 min
Nobel Laureate Alvin Roth of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his work on matching markets. Examples include marriage, matching kidney donors to kidney recipients, and students to schools in cities that allow choice in their…
Matt Ridley on Climate Change
Jun 29, 2015 • 67 min
Science writer and author Matt Ridley discusses climate change with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Based on his reading of the scientific evidence, Ridley describes himself as a “lukewarmer.” While Ridley agrees that humans have made the climate warmer, he…
Morten Jerven on African Economic Growth
Jun 22, 2015 • 72 min
Morten Jerven of Simon Frasier University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong. Jerven, who will be joining Noragric at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences this fall, argues that economists…
Adam Davidson on Hollywood and the Future of Work
Jun 15, 2015 • 74 min
What’s it like to hang out with Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carell for two months? Adam Davidson, who writes for the New York Times Sunday Magazine, was the technical advisor to the upcoming movie, The Big Short. Besides rubbing…
Nathaniel Popper on Bitcoin and Digital Gold
Jun 8, 2015 • 67 min
Nathaniel Popper of the New York Times and the author of Digital Gold talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Bitcoin. Can Bitcoin make it? What went wrong with Mt. Gox? Why did Ross Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road, just get sentenced to life in…
Martin Weitzman on Climate Change
Jun 1, 2015 • 68 min
Is climate change the ultimate Black Swan? Martin Weitzman of Harvard University and co-author of Climate Shock talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the risks of climate change. Weitzman argues that climate change is a fat-tailed phenomenon—there…
Bent Flyvbjerg on Megaprojects
May 25, 2015 • 64 min
Bent Flyvbjerg of Oxford University speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the political economy of megaprojects—massive investments of a billion dollars or more in infrastructure or technology. Flyvbjerg argues that such projects consistently end…
Nicholas Vincent on the Magna Carta
May 18, 2015 • 70 min
Did an 800-year old piece of parchment really change the world? Nicholas Vincent of the University of East Anglia talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Magna Carta, the founding document of English law and liberty. The Magna Carta was repudiated…
Eric Topol on the Power of Patients in a Digital World
May 11, 2015 • 67 min
We’re in the middle of a healthcare revolution but it’s about more than marvelous life-saving and life-enhancing apps on our smartphone. Eric Topol of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and author of The Patient Will See You Now argues that the…
Michael O’Hare on Art Museums
May 4, 2015 • 63 min
Michael O’Hare of the University of California, Berkeley talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the management of art museums. O’Hare suggests a number of changes that would allow museums to be more effective and to justify their non-profit…
Leonard Wong on Honesty and Ethics in the Military
Apr 27, 2015 • 62 min
Leonard Wong of the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about honesty in the military. Based on a recent co-authored paper, Wong argues that the paperwork and training burden on U.S. military…
Scott Sumner on Interest Rates
Apr 20, 2015 • 65 min
Scott Sumner, of Bentley University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about interest rates. Sumner suggests that professional economists sometimes confuse cause and effect with respect to prices and quantities. Low interest rates need not encourage…
Phil Rosenzweig on Leadership, Decisions, and Behavioral Economics
Apr 13, 2015 • 62 min
Phil Rosenzweig, professor of strategy and international business at IMD in Switzerland and author of the book Left Brain, Right Stuff: How Leaders Make Winning Decisions talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book. The focus of the conversation…
Vernon Smith and James Otteson on Adam Smith
Apr 6, 2015 • 64 min
Vernon Smith and James Otteson talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Adam Smith in front of a live audience at Ball State University. Topics discussed include Smith’s view of human nature, the relevance of Smith for philosophy and economics today,…
David Skarbek on Prison Gangs and the Social Order of the Underworld
Mar 30, 2015 • 76 min
David Skarbek of King’s College London and author of The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern The American Penal System talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the written and unwritten rules in America’s prisons for the most…
Campbell Harvey on Randomness, Skill, and Investment Strategies
Mar 23, 2015 • 65 min
Campbell Harvey of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his research evaluating various investment and trading strategies and the challenge of measuring their effectiveness. Topics discussed include skill vs. luck, self-deception,…
Paul Romer on Urban Growth
Mar 16, 2015 • 63 min
Paul Romer of New York University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about reforming cities to allow growth and human flourishing. Topics discussed include charter cities, the role of population density in city life, driverless cars, and various ways…
Lawrence H. White on Monetary Constitutions
Mar 9, 2015 • 78 min
Lawrence H. White of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the possibility of a monetary constitution. Based on a new book, Renewing the Search for a Monetary Constitution, White explores different constitutional constraints…
David Zetland on Water
Mar 2, 2015 • 60 min
David Zetland of Leiden University College in the Netherlands and author of Living with Water Scarcity talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of water management. Issues covered include the sustainability of water supplies, the…
Michael Munger on Choosing in Groups
Feb 23, 2015 • 75 min
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book (co-authored with Kevin Munger), Choosing in Groups. Munger lays out the challenges of group decision-making and the challenges of agreeing on constitutions or…
Benn Steil on the Battle of Bretton Woods
Feb 16, 2015 • 65 min
Benn Steil of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Bretton Woods, the conference that resulted…
Daniel Sumner on the Political Economy of Agriculture
Feb 9, 2015 • 69 min
Daniel Sumner of the University of California talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about agricultural subsidies in the United States, the winners and losers from those subsidies, and how the structure of subsidies has changed from the New Deal to the…
Luigi Zingales on the Costs and Benefits of the Financial Sector
Feb 2, 2015 • 61 min
Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts on whether the financial sector is good for society and about the gap between how banks and bankers are perceived by the public vs. finance professors. Zingales discusses…
Alex Tabarrok on Private Cities
Jan 26, 2015 • 68 min
Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a recent paper Tabarrok co-authored with Shruti Rajagopalan on Gurgaon, a city in India that until recently had little or no municipal government. The two discuss the…
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the Precautionary Principle and Genetically Modified Organisms
Jan 19, 2015 • 67 min
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Antifragile, Black Swan, and Fooled by Randomness, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a recent co-authored paper on the risks of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the use of the Precautionary Principle.…
Greg Page on Food, Agriculture, and Cargill
Jan 12, 2015 • 62 min
Greg Page, former CEO of Cargill, the largest privately-held company in America, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the global food supply and the challenges of running a company with employees and activity all over the world. Page talks about the…
Joshua Greene on Moral Tribes, Moral Dilemmas, and Utilitarianism
Jan 5, 2015 • 70 min
Joshua Greene, of Harvard University and author of Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about morality and the challenges we face when our morality conflicts with that of others. Topics…
James Tooley on Private Schools for the Poor and the Beautiful Tree
Dec 29, 2014 • 67 min
James Tooley, Professor of Education at Newcastle University, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about low-cost for-profit private schools in the slums and rural areas of poor countries. Tooley shows how surprisingly widespread private schools are for…
Joshua Angrist on Econometrics and Causation
Dec 22, 2014 • 65 min
Joshua Angrist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the craft of econometrics—how to use economic thinking and statistical methods to make sense of data and uncover causation. Angrist argues that…
Gary Marcus on the Future of Artificial Intelligence and the Brain
Dec 15, 2014 • 58 min
Gary Marcus of New York University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the future of artificial intelligence (AI). While Marcus is concerned about how advances in AI might hurt human flourishing, he argues that truly transformative smart machines…
James Otteson on the End of Socialism
Dec 8, 2014 • 63 min
James Otteson of Wake Forest University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, The End of Socialism. Otteson argues that socialism (including what he calls the “socialist inclination”) is morally and practically inferior to capitalism.…
Nick Bostrom on Superintelligence
Dec 1, 2014 • 68 min
Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. Bostrom argues that when machines exist which dwarf human intelligence they will threaten human existence unless…
Emily Oster on Infant Mortality
Nov 24, 2014 • 59 min
Emily Oster of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why U.S. infant mortality is twice that in Finland and high relative to the rest of the world, given high income levels in the United States. The conversation explores…
Vernon Smith on Adam Smith and the Human Enterprise
Nov 17, 2014 • 68 min
Nobel Laureate Vernon L. Smith of Chapman University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how Adam Smith’s book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments has enriched his understanding of human behavior. He contrasts Adam Smith’s vision in Sentiments with the…
Becky Liddicoat Yamarik on Palliative Care and End-of-Life Medical Issues
Nov 10, 2014 • 69 min
Becky Liddicoat Yamarik, Hospice Palliative Care Physician, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the joys and challenges of providing care for terminally ill patients. The two discuss the services palliative care provides, how patients make choices…
Daron Acemoglu on Inequality, Institutions, and Piketty
Nov 3, 2014 • 69 min
Daron Acemoglu, the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new paper co-authored with James Robinson, “The Rise and Fall of General Laws of Capitalism,” a…
Robert Solow on Growth and the State of Economics
Oct 27, 2014 • 62 min
Robert Solow, Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nobel Laureate, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his hugely influential theory of growth and inspiration to create a model that better reflected the stable long-term…
Luigi Zingales on Incentives and the Potential Capture of Economists by Special Interests
Oct 20, 2014 • 62 min
Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Zingales’s essay, “Preventing Economists’ Capture.” Zingales argues that just as regulators become swayed by the implicit incentives of…
Russ Roberts and Mike Munger on How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life
Oct 13, 2014 • 64 min
EconTalk host Russ Roberts is interviewed by long-time EconTalk guest Michael Munger about Russ’s new book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. Topics discussed include how economists view human…
David Autor on the Future of Work and Polanyi’s Paradox
Oct 6, 2014 • 69 min
David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the future of work and the role that automation and smart machines might play in the workforce. Autor stresses the importance of Michael Polanyi’s insight…
Martha Nussbaum on Creating Capabilities and GDP
Sep 29, 2014 • 61 min
Martha Nussbaum of the University of Chicago and author of Creating Capabilities talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about an alternative to GDP for measuring economic performance at the national level. She is a proponent of the capabilities approach…
Thomas Piketty on Inequality and Capital in the 21st Century
Sep 22, 2014 • 68 min
Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century talks to Econtalk host Russ Roberts about the book. The conversation covers some of the key empirical findings of the book along with a discussion of their…
Elizabeth Green on Education and Building a Better Teacher
Sep 15, 2014 • 64 min
Elizabeth Green, author of the new book Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach it to Anyone), talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the art of teaching and the history of various reforms, mostly failed, trying to improve…
Paul Pfleiderer on the Misuse of Economic Models
Sep 8, 2014 • 60 min
Paul Pfleiderer, C.O.G. Miller Distinguished Professor of Finance at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his recent paper critiquing what Pfleiderer calls “Chameleon Models,” economic models…
Nathan Blecharczyk on Airbnb and the Sharing Economy
Sep 1, 2014 • 59 min
Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder and chief technology officer of Airbnb, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Airbnb, one of the earliest companies to use technology to allow individuals to share underused resources, and in the case of Airbnb,…
Daphne Koller on Education, Coursera, and MOOCs
Aug 25, 2014 • 62 min
Daphne Koller of Coursera talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about online educational website Coursera and the future of education both online and via bricks-and-mortar. Koller, co-founder of Coursera with Andrew Ng, explains how Coursera partners with…
Terry Anderson on the Environment and Property Rights
Aug 18, 2014 • 63 min
Terry Anderson, Distinguished Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about free-market environmentalism, the dynamics of the Yellowstone ecosystem, and…
Barry Weingast on Law
Aug 11, 2014 • 65 min
Barry Weingast, professor of political science at Stanford University and senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of law. Weingast takes issue with some of the standard views of law, and…
Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha on LinkedIn and The Alliance
Aug 4, 2014 • 69 min
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of professional networking site LinkedIn, and Ben Casnocha, former Chief-of-Staff of LinkedIn, talk to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about LinkedIn and their book The Alliance. Hoffman and Casnocha discuss the founding and vision of…
Sam Altman on Start-ups, Venture Capital, and the Y Combinator
Jul 28, 2014 • 65 min
Sam Altman, president of startup accelerating firm Y Combinator, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Y Combinator’s innovative strategy for discovering, funding, and coaching groundbreaking startups, what the company looks for in a potential…
Chris Blattman on Cash, Poverty, and Development
Jul 21, 2014 • 71 min
Chris Blattman of Columbia University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a radical approach to fighting poverty in desperately poor countries: giving cash to aid recipients and allowing them to spend it as they please. Blattman shares his research…
D. G. Myers on Cancer, Dying, and Living
Jul 14, 2014 • 69 min
D.G. Myers, literary critic and cancer patient, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the lessons he has learned from receiving a cancer diagnosis six years ago. Myers emphasizes the importance of dealing with cancer honestly and using it as a way…
Michael Munger on the Sharing Economy
Jul 7, 2014 • 63 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the sharing economy—companies like Uber, AirBnB, FlightApp, and DogVacay that let people share their houses, cars, or other assets with strangers in exchange for money. These…
Hansen on Risk, Ambiguity, and Measurement
Jun 30, 2014 • 60 min
Lars Peter Hansen of the University of Chicago and Nobel Laureate in economics, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the power and limits of economic models and quantitative methods. Hanson defends the value of models while recognizing their…
Gregory Zuckerman on the Frackers and the Energy Revolution
Jun 23, 2014 • 61 min
Gregory Zuckerman of the Wall Street Journal and author of The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, the rise of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), how this…
William Easterly on the Tyranny of Experts
Jun 16, 2014 • 64 min
William Easterly of New York University and author of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Easterly argues that poverty endures in many poor…
Edward Lazear on Becker
Jun 9, 2014 • 63 min
Edward Lazear of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Gary Becker’s innovative contributions to economics. The conversation opens with personal reminiscences by Lazear and Roberts. They then discuss Becker’s application of…
McAfee, McArdle, and Ohanian on the Future of Work
Jun 2, 2014 • 79 min
Andrew McAfee, Megan McArdle, and Lee Ohanian talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts on the future of work. Recorded before a live audience at the 33rd Santa Barbara Economic Summit, the conversation begins with each participant making a brief set of…
Yuval Levin on Burke, Paine, and the Great Debate
May 26, 2014 • 68 min
Yuval Levin, author of The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas of Burke and Paine and their influence on the evolution of political philosophy. Levin outlines the…
Marc Andreessen on Venture Capital and the Digital Future
May 19, 2014 • 68 min
Marc Andreessen, venture capitalist and co-creator of the early web browser Mosaic, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how success in venture capital is more about winners that you missed and not losers that you backed. Other topics discussed…
Charles Marohn on Strong Towns, Urban Development, and the Future of American Cities
May 12, 2014 • 64 min
Charles Marohn, President of Strong Towns, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts urban development and what makes a strong town. The two discuss how the post-World War II approach to town and city planning has led to debt problems and wasteful…
Gavin Andresen on the Present and Future of Bitcoin
May 5, 2014 • 62 min
Gavin Andresen, Chief Scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about where Bitcoin has been and where it might be headed in the future. Topics discussed include competing cryptocurrencies such as Dogecoin, the role of the…
Diane Coyle on GDP
Apr 28, 2014 • 58 min
Diane Coyle, author of GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of GDP, its uses, and its abuses. Topics discussed include the origins of GDP in the developed countries, the challenges of measuring the…
McArdle on Failure, Success, and the Up Side of Down
Apr 21, 2014 • 69 min
Megan McArdle of Bloomberg View and author of The Up Side of Down talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book. McArdle argues that failure is a crucial part of success in personal life and in the large economy. Topics covered include the…
Steven Teles on Kludgeocracy
Apr 14, 2014 • 62 min
Steven Teles of Johns Hopkins talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about kludgeocracy, a term Teles coined in a National Affairs article to describe what Teles sees as the complex and unproductive state of political governance in the United States,…
Bryan Caplan on College, Signaling and Human Capital
Apr 7, 2014 • 62 min
Bryan Caplan of George Mason University and blogger at EconLog talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the value of a college education. Caplan argues that the extra amount that college graduates earn relative to high school graduates is misleading as a…
Cochrane on Education and MOOCs
Mar 31, 2014 • 61 min
John Cochrane of the University of Chicago talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the experience of teaching a massive open online course (MOOC)—a class delivered over the internet available to anyone around the world. Cochrane contrasts the mechanics…
John Christy and Kerry Emanuel on Climate Change
Mar 24, 2014 • 64 min
John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about climate change. Topics discussed include what we know and don’t know about global warming,…
Jeffrey Sachs on the Millennium Villages Project
Mar 17, 2014 • 84 min
Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University and the Millennium Villages Project talks with EconTalk host about poverty in Africa and the efforts of the Millennium Villages Project to fight hunger, disease, and illiteracy. The project tries to achieve the…
Richard Epstein on Classical Liberalism, Libertarianism, and Lochner
Mar 10, 2014 • 68 min
Richard Epstein, of New York University and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the differences between classical liberalism and hard-line libertarianism. What is the proper role of the state? Topics…
Velasquez-Manoff on Autoimmune Disease, Parasites, and Complexity
Mar 3, 2014 • 72 min
Moises Velasquez-Manoff, author of An Epidemic of Absence, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book—a discussion of why allergies and autoimmune diseases have been on the rise in the developed world for the last half-century. Velasquez-Manoff…
Robert Frank on Coase
Feb 24, 2014 • 64 min
Robert Frank of Cornell University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the implications of Ronald Coase’s views on externalities. Drawing on his book, The Darwin Economy, Frank explores the implications of Coase’s perspective for assessing public…
Calomiris and Haber on Fragile by Design
Feb 17, 2014 • 77 min
Charles Calomiris of Columbia University and Stephen Haber of Stanford University, co-authors of Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit, talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their book. The conversation focuses…
Paul Sabin on Ehrlich, Simon and the Bet
Feb 10, 2014 • 63 min
Paul Sabin of Yale University and author of The Bet talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book. Sabin uses the bet between Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon—a bet over whether natural resources are getting scarcer as population grows—as a lens for…
Brynjolfsson on the Second Machine Age
Feb 3, 2014 • 59 min
Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT and co-author of The Second Machine Age talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book, co-authored with Andrew McAfee. He argues we are entering a new age of economic activity dominated by smart machines and…
Nina Munk on Poverty, Development, and the Idealist
Jan 27, 2014 • 63 min
Nina Munk, journalist and author of The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book. Munk spent six years following Jeffrey Sachs and the evolution of the Millennium Villages Project—an…
Jonathan Haidt on the Righteous Mind
Jan 20, 2014 • 63 min
Jonathan Haidt of New York University and author of The Righteous Mind talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, the nature of human nature, and how our brain affects our morality and politics. Haidt argues that reason often serves our…
Laurence Kotlikoff on Debt, Default, and the Federal Government’s Finances
Jan 13, 2014 • 60 min
Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the fiscal health of the federal government of the United States. Kotlikoff argues that the U.S. government is essentially bankrupt because future taxes will fall hundreds…
Anthony Gill on Religion
Jan 6, 2014 • 63 min
Anthony Gill of the University of Washington and host of the podcast Research on Religion talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of religion. The conversation focuses on the relationship between religion and the State—how does religion…
Richard Fisher on Too Big to Fail and the Fed
Dec 30, 2013 • 60 min
Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the problems with “too big to fail”—the policy idea that certain financial institutions are too large to face the bankruptcy or failure and need…
Judith Curry on Climate Change
Dec 23, 2013 • 66 min
Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology and blogger at Climate Etc. talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about climate change. Curry argues that climate change is a “wicked problem” with a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the expected…
Wally Thurman on Bees, Beekeeping, and Coase
Dec 16, 2013 • 63 min
Wally Thurman of North Carolina State University and PERC talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the world of bees, beekeepers, and the market for pollination. Thurman describes how farmers hire beekeepers to pollinate their crops and how that market…
Doug Lemov on Teaching
Dec 9, 2013 • 66 min
Doug Lemov of Uncommon Schools and author of Teach Like a Champion talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about teaching and education. Drawing on his experience working in charter schools with children in poverty, Lemov discusses what makes a great…
Lant Pritchett on Education in Poor Countries
Dec 2, 2013 • 64 min
Lant Pritchett of Harvard University and author of The Rebirth of Education talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Pritchett argues that increases in years of schooling for students in poor countries do not translate into gains…
Joel Mokyr on Growth, Innovation, and Stagnation
Nov 25, 2013 • 65 min
Joel Mokyr of Northwestern University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the future of the American economy. Mokyr rejects the claims that the we are entering an area of stagnation or permanently lower economic growth. He argues that measured…
Deaton on Health, Wealth, and Poverty
Nov 18, 2013 • 60 min
Angus Deaton of Princeton University and author of the Great Escape talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book—the vast improvements in health and standard of living in recent times. Deaton surveys the improvements in life expectancy and income…
Edmund Phelps on Mass Flourishing
Nov 11, 2013 • 66 min
Edmund Phelps of Columbia University, Nobel Laureate in economics, and author of Mass Flourishing talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Phelps argues that human flourishing requires challenges, struggles, and success and goes…
John Ralston Saul on Reason, Elites, and Voltaire’s Bastards
Nov 4, 2013 • 72 min
John Ralston Saul, author and head of PEN International, speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Voltaire’s Bastards, and the role of reason in the modern world. Saul argues that the illegitimate offspring of the champions of reason have…
Boudreaux on Coase
Oct 28, 2013 • 73 min
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University and Cafe Hayek talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the intellectual legacy of Ronald Coase. The conversation centers on Coase’s four most important academic articles. Most of the discussion is on two of…
Calvo on the Crisis, Money, and Macro
Oct 21, 2013 • 69 min
Guillermo Calvo of Columbia University and the National Bureau of Economic Research talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of macroeconomic crises and what we have learned or should have learned in the aftermath of the most recent one.…
Winston on Transportation
Oct 14, 2013 • 60 min
Cliff Winston of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his recent article in the Journal of Economic Literature on the U.S. transportation system. Winston argues that the while the United States has a very good…
Oster on Pregnancy, Causation, and Expecting Better
Oct 7, 2013 • 60 min
Emily Oster of the University of Chicago and author of Expecting Better talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book on pregnancy and the challenges of decision-making under uncertainty. Oster argues that many of the standard behavioral…
Tyler Cowen on Inequality, the Future, and Average is Over
Sep 30, 2013 • 59 min
Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and blogger at Marginal Revolution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Average is Over. Cowen takes a provocative look at how the growing power of artificial intelligence embodied in machines…
David Epstein on the Sports Gene
Sep 23, 2013 • 65 min
David Epstein, writer for ProPublica and author of The Sports Gene, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book. Epstein discusses a number of the ideas in the book including what we have learned about the nature vs. nurture debate, the role of…
David Laidler on Money
Sep 16, 2013 • 64 min
David Laidler of the University of Western Ontario talks about money and monetary policy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Laidler sketches the monetarist approach to the Great Depression and the Great Recession. He defends the Federal Reserve’s…
Taleb on Skin in the Game
Sep 9, 2013 • 62 min
Nassim Taleb of NYU-Poly talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his recent paper (with Constantine Sandis) on the morality and effectiveness of “skin in the game.” When decision makers have skin in the game—when they share in the costs and benefits…
Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society
Sep 4, 2013 • 118 min
On April 10, 2013, Liberty Fund and Butler University sponsored a symposium, “Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society.” The evening began with solo presentations by the three participants—Michael Munger of Duke University, Robert Skidelsky of the…
Munger on Milk
Sep 2, 2013 • 60 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why milk is in the back of the grocery store. Michael Pollan and others argue that milk is in the back so that customers, who often buy milk, will be forced to walk through the…
Hanushek on Education and Prosperity
Aug 26, 2013 • 69 min
Eric Hanushek of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, Endangering Prosperity (co-authored with Paul Peterson and Ludger Woessmann). Hanushek argues that America’s educational system is mediocre…
Bhagwati on India
Aug 19, 2013 • 66 min
Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economy of India based on his book with Arvind Panagariya, Why Growth Matters. Bhagwati argues that the economic reforms of 1991 ushered in a new era of growth for…
Pindyck on Climate Change
Aug 5, 2013 • 64 min
Robert Pindyck of MIT talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of global warming for policy makers. Pindyck argues that while there is little doubt about the existence of human-caused global warming via carbon emissions, there is a great…
Weingast on the Violence Trap
Aug 5, 2013 • 69 min
Barry Weingast, the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of violence and the threat of violence in maintaining…
Narlikar on Fair Trade and Free Trade
Jul 29, 2013 • 61 min
Amrita Narlikar of the University of Cambridge talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about fair trade and policy issues related to trade. Narlikar argues—based on a recent article with Dan Kim—that the Fair Trade movement hurts workers outside of the fair…
Michael Lind on Libertarianism
Jul 22, 2013 • 69 min
Michael Lind of the New American Foundation talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about two recent articles by Lind at Salon.com. In the first article, Lind argues that libertarians are wrong about how to organize a society because they embrace a…
Clemens on Aid, Migration, and Poverty
Jul 15, 2013 • 75 min
Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the effects of aid and migration on world poverty. Clemens argues that the effects of aid are positive but small. But emigration has the potential to have a…
Morris Fiorina on Polarization, Stability, and the State of the Electorate
Jul 8, 2013 • 59 min
Morris Fiorina, the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow at Stanford University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the American electorate and recent election results. Fiorina argues that…
Munger on Sports, Norms, Rules, and the Code
Jul 1, 2013 • 61 min
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of formal rules and informal rules in sports. Many sports restrain violence and retaliation through formal rules while in others, protective equipment is used to reduce…
Stevenson and Wolfers on Happiness, Growth, and the Reinhart-Rogoff Controversy
Jun 24, 2013 • 64 min
Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, of the University of Michigan talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their work on the relationship between income and happiness. They argue that there is a positive relationship over time and across countries…
Pallotta on Charity and the Culture of the Non-Profit Sector
Jun 17, 2013 • 59 min
Dan Pallotta, Chief Humanity Officer of Advertising for Humanity and author of Uncharitable talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Pallotta argues that charities are deeply handicapped by their culture and how we view them. The…
Schneier on Power, the Internet, and Security
Jun 10, 2013 • 63 min
Bruce Schneier, author and security guru, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about power and the internet. Schneier argues that the internet enhances the power of the powerless but it also enhances the power of the powerful. He argues that we should be…
Kling on the Three Languages of Politics
Jun 3, 2013 • 64 min
Arnold Kling, author of The Three Languages of Politics, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Kling argues that Progressives, Conservatives, and Libertarians each have their own language and way of looking at the world that…
Jim Manzi on the Oregon Medicaid Study, Experimental Evidence, and Causality
May 27, 2013 • 60 min
Jim Manzi, founder and chair of Applied Predictive Technologies, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and author of Uncontrolled, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Oregon Medicaid study and the challenges of interpreting experimental…
Epstein on the Constitution
May 20, 2013 • 62 min
Richard Epstein of New York University and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the U.S. Constitution. Topics covered in this wide-ranging conversation include how the interpretation of the Constitution has…
Frakt on Medicaid and the Oregon Medicaid Study
May 13, 2013 • 69 min
Austin Frakt of Boston University and blogger at The Incidental Economist talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Medicaid and the recent results released from the Oregon Medicaid study, a randomized experiment that looked at individuals with and…
Bernstein on Communication, Power and the Masters of the Word
May 6, 2013 • 61 min
William Bernstein talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, Masters of the Word. Bernstein traces the history of language, writing, and communication and its impact on freedom. The discussion begins with the evolution of language and…
Galbraith on Inequality
Apr 29, 2013 • 62 min
James Galbraith of the University of Texas and author of Inequality and Instability talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about inequality. Galbraith argues that much of the mainstream analysis of inequality in the economics literature is flawed.…
Glaeser on Cities
Apr 22, 2013 • 63 min
Edward Glaeser of Harvard University and author of The Triumph of Cities talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about American cities. The conversation begins with a discussion of the history of Detroit over the last century and its current plight. What…
Sachs on the Crisis, the Recovery, and the Future
Apr 15, 2013 • 67 min
Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University and author of The Price of Civilization talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the American economy. Sachs sees the current malaise as a chronic problem rather than a short-term challenge caused by…
Admati on Bank Regulation and the Bankers’ New Clothes
Apr 8, 2013 • 60 min
Anat Admati of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her new book (co-authored with Martin Hellwig), The Bankers’ New Clothes. Admati argues that the best way to reduce the fragility of the banking system is to increase capital…
Topol on the Creative Destruction of Medicine
Apr 1, 2013 • 63 min
Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Institute and the author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Topics discussed include “evidence-based” medicine, the influence of the pharmaceutical…
Sumner on Money, Business Cycles, and Monetary Policy
Mar 25, 2013 • 69 min
Scott Sumner of Bentley University and blogger at The Money Illusion talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the basics of money, monetary policy, and the Fed. After a discussion of some of the basics of the money supply, Sumner explains why he thinks…
Burgin on Hayek, Friedman, and the Great Persuasion
Mar 18, 2013 • 69 min
Angus Burgin of Johns Hopkins University and the author of The Great Persuasion talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the idea in his book—the return of free market economics in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Burgin describes the reaction to…
Searls on the Intention Economy
Mar 11, 2013 • 62 min
Doc Searls, author of The Intention Economy and head of Project VRM at Harvard University’s Berkman Center talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the how the relationship between buyers and sellers might evolve as the internet evolves. Searls…
Leigh Steinberg on Sports, Agents, and Athletes
Mar 4, 2013 • 70 min
Leigh Steinberg, legendary sports agent, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his career as a sports agent. He discusses the challenges of building a clientele, how sports agents spend their time, strategies for building a brand as an athlete, and…
Varoufakis on Valve, Spontaneous Order, and the European Crisis
Feb 25, 2013 • 63 min
Yanis Varoufakis of the University of Athens, the University of Texas, and former economist-in-residence at Valve Software talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the unusual structure of the workplace at Valve. Valve, a software company that creates…
Glenn Reynolds on Politics, the Constitution, and Technology
Feb 18, 2013 • 59 min
Glenn Reynolds of the University of Tennessee and blogger at Instapundit talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the political malaise in America, whether it could lead to a Constitutional Convention, and what might emerge were such an event to occur.…
Cathy O’Neil on Wall St and Occupy Wall Street
Feb 11, 2013 • 63 min
Cathy O’Neil, data scientist and blogger at mathbabe.org, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her journey from Wall Street to Occupy Wall Street. She talks about her experiences on Wall Street that ultimately led her to join the Occupy Wall Street…
Seidman on the Constitution
Feb 4, 2013 • 62 min
Louis Michael Seidman of Georgetown University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the United States Constitution. Seidman argues that the we should ignore the Constitution in designing public policy, relying instead on the merits of policy…
Boettke on Living Economics
Jan 28, 2013 • 64 min
Peter Boettke of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Living Economics. Boettke argues for embracing the tradition of Smith and Hayek in both teaching and research, arguing that economics took a wrong turn when it…
Kelly on the Future, Productivity, and the Quality of Life
Jan 21, 2013 • 58 min
Kevin Kelly talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about measuring productivity in the internet age and recent claims that the U.S. economy has entered a prolonged period of stagnation. Then the conversation turns to the potential of robots to change the…
Esther Dyson on the Attention Economy and the Quantification of Everything
Jan 14, 2013 • 60 min
Esther Dyson talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the market for attention and how technology has changed, how much we pay attention to others, and vice versa. Along the way Dyson reminisces about Steve Jobs, the nature of the start-up and venture…
Jerven on Measuring African Poverty and Progress
Jan 7, 2013 • 69 min
Morten Jerven of Simon Fraser University, author of Poor Numbers, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the quality of data coming out of Africa on income, growth, and population. Jerven argues that the inconsistency of the numbers and methodology…
Pettit on the Prison Population, Survey Data and African-American Progress
Dec 31, 2012 • 62 min
Becky Pettit of the University of Washington and author of Invisible Men talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the growth of the prison population in the United States in recent decades. Pettit describes the magnitude of the increase particularly…
Lisa Turner on Organic Farming
Dec 24, 2012 • 62 min
Lisa Turner of Laughing Stock Farm talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about life as a small organic farmer. She describes her working day, the challenges of farming, the role of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in her life and what some job…
Boudreaux on Reading Hayek
Dec 17, 2012 • 73 min
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the work of F. A. Hayek, particularly his writings on philosophy and political economy. Boudreaux provides an audio annotated bibliography of Hayek’s most important books…
Chris Anderson on Makers and Manufacturing
Dec 10, 2012 • 64 min
Chris Anderson, author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book—the story of how technology is transforming the manufacturing business. Anderson argues that the plummeting prices of 3D printers and…
Mulligan on Redistribution, Unemployment, and the Labor Market
Dec 3, 2012 • 65 min
Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago and the author of The Redistribution Recession, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Mulligan argues that increases in the benefits available to unemployed workers explains the…
Angell on Big Pharma
Nov 26, 2012 • 59 min
Marcia Angell of Harvard Medical School and the author of The Truth About the Drug Companies talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the impact of pharmaceutical companies on academic research, clinical trials and the political process. Angell argues…
Cochrane on Health Care
Nov 19, 2012 • 59 min
John Cochrane of the University of Chicago and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how existing regulations distort the market for health care. Cochrane argues that many of the problems in the health care…
Munger on John Locke, Prices, and Hurricane Sandy
Nov 12, 2012 • 64 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the gas shortage following Hurricane Sandy and John Locke’s view of the just price. Drawing on a short, obscure essay of Locke’s titled “Venditio,” Munger explores Locke’s views on…
Joshua Rauh on Public Pensions
Nov 5, 2012 • 68 min
Joshua Rauh, Professor of Finance at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the unfunded liabilities from state employee pensions. The…
Hanke on Hyperinflation, Monetary Policy, and Debt
Oct 29, 2012 • 66 min
Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins and the Cato Institute talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about hyperinflation and the U.S. fiscal situation. Hanke argues that despite the seemingly aggressive policies of the Federal Reserve over the last four years,…
Rodden on the Geography of Voting
Oct 22, 2012 • 57 min
Jonathan Rodden, political science professor at Stanford and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the geography of voting. The main focus is on the tendency of urban voters around the world to vote for…
Kling on Education and the Internet
Oct 15, 2012 • 66 min
Arnold Kling, economist and teacher, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about recent technological innovations in education and Kling’s forecast for their impact on learning and how they might affect traditional education. Examples include the recent…
Garett Jones on Fisher, Debt, and Deflation
Oct 8, 2012 • 61 min
Garett Jones of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas of Irving Fisher on debt and deflation. In a book, Booms and Depressions and in a 1933 Econometrica article, Fisher argued that debt-fueled investment booms lead…
Robert Skidelsky on Money, the Good Life, and How Much is Enough
Oct 1, 2012 • 54 min
Robert Skidelsky, noted biographer of John Maynard Keynes and author (with his son Edward) of the recently published How Much is Enough, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about materialism, growth, insatiability, and the good life. Skidelsky argues…
Frank and Roberts on Infrastructure
Sep 24, 2012 • 57 min
Robert Frank of Cornell University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts debate the merits of a large increase of infrastructure spending. In the summer of 2012, Frank and Roberts were interviewed by Alex Blumberg of NPR’s Planet Money. That interview was…
Paul Tough on How Children Succeed
Sep 17, 2012 • 55 min
Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why children succeed and fail in school and beyond school. He argues that conscientiousness—a mixture of self-control and determination—can be a more important measure…
Nosek on Truth, Science, and Academic Incentives
Sep 10, 2012 • 56 min
Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how incentives in academic life create a tension between truth-seeking and professional advancement. Nosek argues that these incentives create a subconscious bias toward…
Barofsky on Bailouts
Sep 3, 2012 • 62 min
Neil Barofsky, author of Bailout and the former Special Inspector General for the TARP program, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book and the government bailouts by the Bush and Obama Administrations. Barofsky recounts what he learned about…
Roger Noll on the Economics of Sports
Aug 27, 2012 • 66 min
Roger Noll of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of sports. Noll discusses the economic effects of stadium subsidies, the labor market for athletes, the business side of college sports, competitive balance in…
Ohanian on the Great Recession and the Labor Market
Aug 20, 2012 • 74 min
Lee Ohanian of UCLA talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the recession, the recovery, and the state of labor market. Ohanian describes the unusual aspects of this recession and recovery in the United States as shown by the labor market and the…
Frisby on Tax Reform
Aug 13, 2012 • 67 min
Tammy Frisby of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the likelihood of U.S. tax reform in the near future. Frisby reviews the changes in tax policy over the last 30 years focusing on the changes of the…
Ober on the Ancient Greek Economy
Aug 6, 2012 • 66 min
Josiah Ober of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economy of ancient Greece, particularly Athens. Ober notes that the standard view of ancient Greece is that it was very poor. Drawing on various kinds of evidence, Ober…
Scott Atlas on American Health Care
Jul 30, 2012 • 61 min
Scott Atlas, Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and author of In Excellent Health, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the U.S. health care system. Atlas argues that the U.S. health care system is top-notch relative to other…
Brady on the 2012 US Election
Jul 23, 2012 • 65 min
David Brady, Professor of Political Science and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the November elections in the United States. Brady…
Taubes on Why We Get Fat
Jul 16, 2012 • 80 min
Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why we get fat and the nature of evidence in a complex system. The current mainstream view is that we get fat because we eat too much and don’t exercise enough. Taubes…
Stiglitz on Inequality
Jul 9, 2012 • 67 min
Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his recent book, The Price of Inequality. Stiglitz argues that the American economy is dysfunctional, benefitting only those at the very top…
Zingales on Capitalism and Crony Capitalism
Jul 2, 2012 • 65 min
Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago and author of A Capitalism for the People talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Zingales argues that the financial sector has used its political power to enhance the size of the…
Moretti on Jobs, Cities, and Innovation
Jun 25, 2012 • 71 min
Enrico Moretti of the University of California, Berkeley and the author of the New Geography of Jobs talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Moretti traces how the economic success of cities and the workers who live there depends…
Manzi on Knowledge, Policy, and Uncontrolled
Jun 18, 2012 • 63 min
Jim Manzi, author of Uncontrolled, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the reliability of science and the ideas in his book. Manzi argues that unlike science, which can produce useful results using controlled experiments, social science typically…
Jonah Lehrer on Creativity and Imagine
Jun 11, 2012 • 70 min
Jonah Lehrer, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the science of creativity. They discuss focusing vs. ignoring as a way to solve problems, the potential for…
Yong on Science, Replication, and Journalism
Jun 4, 2012 • 71 min
Ed Yong, science writer and blogger at “Not Exactly Rocket Science” at Discover Magazine, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of science and science journalism. Yong was recently entangled in a controversy over the failure of…
Larry White on the Clash of Economic Ideas
May 28, 2012 • 62 min
Lawrence H. White of George Mason University and author of The Clash of Economic Ideas talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economists and their ideas of the past one hundred years. They discuss Keynes and Hayek, monetary policy and the Great…
Coase on Externalities, the Firm, and the State of Economics
May 21, 2012 • 60 min
Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his career, the current state of economics, and the Chinese economy. Coase, born in 1910, reflects on his youth, his two great papers, “The Nature of the…
Owen on Parenting, Money, and the First National Bank of Dad
May 14, 2012 • 63 min
David Owen, author of The First National Bank of Dad, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how to educate our children about money and finance. Owen explains how he created his own savings accounts for his kids that gave them an incentive to save…
Schmidtz on Rawls, Nozick, and Justice
May 7, 2012 • 75 min
David Schmidtz of the University of Arizona talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the work of John Rawls and Robert Nozick. The conversation covers the basic ideas of Rawls and Nozick on inequality and justice and the appropriate role of the state…
Taylor on Rules, Discretion, and First Principles
Apr 30, 2012 • 62 min
John Taylor of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America’s Prosperity. Taylor argues that when economic policy adhere to the right basic principles…
Cowen on Food
Apr 23, 2012 • 61 min
Tyler Cowen of George Mason U. and author of An Economist Gets Lunch, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about food, the economics of food, and his new book. In this wide-ranging conversation, Cowen explains why American food was once a wasteland, the…
Autor on Disability
Apr 16, 2012 • 61 min
David Autor of MIT talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI has grown dramatically in recent years and now costs about $200 billion a year. Autor explains how the program works, why the…
Burkhauser on the Middle Class
Apr 9, 2012 • 69 min
Richard Burkhauser of Cornell University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the middle class. Drawing on recently published papers, Burkhauser shows that changes in the standard of living of the middle class and other parts of the…
Eugene White on Bank Regulation
Apr 2, 2012 • 60 min
Eugene White of Rutgers University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the regulation of banks and financial crises. White argues that most regulation tries to limit the choices of banks to restrain them from making choices that create instability…
Boudreaux on Public Debt
Mar 26, 2012 • 84 min
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of public debt. One view is that there is no burden of the public debt as long as the purchasers of U.S. debt are fellow Americans. In that case, the argument…
Acemoglu on Why Nations Fail
Mar 19, 2012 • 56 min
Daron Acemoglu of MIT and author (with James Robinson) of Why Nations Fail talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book: why some nations fail and others succeed, why some nations grow over time and sustain that growth, while others…
Derman on Theories, Models, and Science
Mar 12, 2012 • 59 min
Emanuel Derman of Columbia University and author of Models. Behaving. Badly talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about theories and models, and the elusive nature of truth in the sciences and social sciences. Derman, a former physicist and Goldman Sachs…
Calomiris on Capital Requirements, Leverage, and Financial Regulation
Mar 5, 2012 • 87 min
Charles Calomiris of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about corporate debt, capital requirements, and financial regulation. This is an in-depth conversation about how debt works on a firm’s balance sheet and the risks that debt…
Weinberger on Too Big to Know
Feb 27, 2012 • 63 min
David Weinberger of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and author of Too Big to Know, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book—how knowledge and data and our understanding of the world around us are being…
Adam Davidson on Manufacturing
Feb 20, 2012 • 71 min
Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about manufacturing. Based on an article Davidson wrote for The Atlantic, the conversation looks at the past, present, and future of manufacturing. Davidson visited an after-market…
David Owen on the Environment, Unintended Consequences, and The Conundrum
Feb 13, 2012 • 70 min
David Owen of the New Yorker and author of The Conundrum talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Owen argues that innovation and energy innovation have increased energy use rather than reduced it and similarly, other seemingly…
William Black on Financial Fraud
Feb 6, 2012 • 82 min
William Black of University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about financial fraud, starting with the Savings and Loan debacle up through the current financial crisis.…
Fama on Finance
Jan 30, 2012 • 61 min
Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the evolution of finance, the efficient market hypothesis, the current crisis, the economics of stimulus, and the role of empirical work in finance and economics.
David Rose on the Moral Foundations of Economic Behavior
Jan 23, 2012 • 71 min
David Rose of the University of Missouri, St. Louis and the author of The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book and the role morality plays in prosperity. Rose argues that morality plays a crucial role…
Taleb on Antifragility
Jan 16, 2012 • 73 min
Nassim Taleb, author of Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about antifragility, the concept behind Taleb’s next book, a work in progress. Taleb talks about how we can cope with our ignorance and uncertainty in a…
Dean Baker on the Crisis
Jan 9, 2012 • 63 min
Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy and Research talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the financial crisis. Baker sees the crisis as part of a broader set of phenomena—rising inequality and declining unionization. Baker is highly critical…
Sumner on Money and the Fed
Jan 2, 2012 • 66 min
Scott Sumner of Bentley University and the blog The Money Illusion talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of monetary policy, the actions of the Federal Reserve over the past two years and the state of the economy. Sumner argues that…
Tabarrok on Innovation
Dec 26, 2011 • 68 min
Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, Launching the Innovation Renaissance. Tabarrok argues that innovation in the United States is being held back by patent law, the legal system, and…
Klein on Knowledge and Coordination
Dec 19, 2011 • 65 min
Dan Klein of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in Klein’s new book, Knowledge and Coordination. Klein argues that allegory is a powerful way to think about outcomes of emergent order. He goes deeply into the…
Munger on Profits, Entrepreneurship, and Storytelling
Dec 12, 2011 • 64 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about profit. What is profit’s role in allocating resources? How should we feel about the people who earn profits or who take them in ways that may not be earned? How easy is it to…
Cowen on the European Crisis
Dec 5, 2011 • 58 min
Tyler Cowen of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the European crisis. Cowen argues that Greece is likely to default either in fact or in spirit but that the key question is which nations might follow—whether Italy and…
Simon Johnson on the Financial Crisis
Nov 28, 2011 • 64 min
Simon Johnson of MIT and the author (with James Kwak) of 13 Bankers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of the financial crisis and how the next one might be prevented. Invoking the work of George Stigler, Johnson argues that the…
Taubes on Fat, Sugar and Scientific Discovery
Nov 21, 2011 • 82 min
Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what we know about the relationship between diet and disease. Taubes argues that for decades, doctors, the medical establishment, and government agencies…
Baumeister on Gender Differences and Culture
Nov 14, 2011 • 76 min
Roy Baumeister of Florida State University and the author of Is There Anything Good About Men talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the differences between men and women in cultural and economic areas. Baumeister argues that men aren’t superior to…
Kaplan on the Inequality and the Top 1%
Nov 7, 2011 • 66 min
Steven Kaplan of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the richest Americans and income inequality. Drawing on work with Joshua Rauh, Kaplan talks about the composition of the richest 1% and 1/10 of 1%—what proportions come…
Avent on Cities, Urban Regulations, and Growth
Oct 31, 2011 • 65 min
Ryan Avent of the Economist and author of The Gated City talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about The Gated City and how cities have restricted access to land and housing. Avent argues that restricted access has raised housing prices artificially on…
Ramey on Stimulus and Multipliers
Oct 24, 2011 • 62 min
Valerie Ramey of the University of California, San Diego talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the effect of government spending on output and employment. Ramey’s own work exploits the exogenous nature of wartime spending. She finds a multiplier…
Wapshott on Keynes and Hayek
Oct 17, 2011 • 68 min
Nicholas Wapshott, author of Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich A. Hayek—their ideas, their disagreements, their friendship and how the two men influenced…
Frank Rose on Storytelling and the Art of Immersion
Oct 10, 2011 • 62 min
Frank Rose, author of The Art of Immersion and correspondent for Wired Magazine, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how the web has changed the art of storytelling and the interactions between the web, advertising, games, movies, and television.…
Bruce Meyer on the Middle Class, Poverty, and Inequality
Oct 3, 2011 • 59 min
Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the middle class, poverty, and inequality. Many economists and pundits argue that the middle class has made little or no economic progress over the last 30 years, that…
Rosenberg on the Nature of Economics
Sep 26, 2011 • 57 min
Alex Rosenberg of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the scientific nature of economics. Rosenberg, a philosopher of science talks about whether economics is a science. He surveys the changes in economics over the last 25…
Garett Jones on Stimulus
Sep 19, 2011 • 62 min
Garett Jones of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the workers who were hired with money from the 2009 American Recovery and Re-investment Act—the stimulus package. Jones (with co-author Daniel Rothschild) recently…
Frank on Competition, Government, and Darwin
Sep 12, 2011 • 63 min
Robert Frank of Cornell University and author of The Darwin Economy talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about competition, government and the relevance of Darwin for economics. In a lively and spirited discussion, Frank argues that because people care…
Winston on Lawyers
Sep 5, 2011 • 61 min
Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the market for lawyers and the role of lawyers in the political process. Drawing on a new co-authored book, First Thing We Do, Let’s Deregulate All the Lawyers,…
Hanushek on Teachers
Aug 29, 2011 • 59 min
Eric Hanushek of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the importance of teacher quality in education. Hanushek argues that the standard measures of quality—experience and advanced degrees—are uncorrelated…
O’Donohoe on Potato Chips and Salty Snacks
Aug 22, 2011 • 89 min
Brendan O’Donohoe of Frito-Lay talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how potato chips and other salty snacks get made, distributed, and marketed. The interview follows an hour-long tour of a local supermarket where O’Donohoe showed Roberts some of…
Brady on the Electorate and the Elections of 2010 and 2012
Aug 15, 2011 • 67 min
David Brady of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the lessons of the election of 2010 and what we might expect from the elections of 2012. Brady draws on political history as well as survey results from work with colleagues…
Satz on Markets
Aug 8, 2011 • 62 min
Debra Satz, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale: The Moral Limits of the Market. Satz argues that some markets are noxious and should not be allowed…
Admati on Financial Regulation
Aug 1, 2011 • 61 min
Anat Admati of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about ways to make the financial system more stable. In particular, Admati explores the implications of higher capital requirements. She argues that current policies subsidize…
Hennessey on the Debt Ceiling and the Budget Process
Jul 25, 2011 • 71 min
Keith Hennessey of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the debt ceiling and the budget process. Hennessey, who worked for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott on budget issues in the late 1990s, explains the…
Taylor on Fiscal and Monetary Policy
Jul 18, 2011 • 59 min
John Taylor of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the economy and the prospects for recovery. Taylor argues that the design of the fiscal stimulus was ineffective and monetary policy, so-called quantitative…
Banerjee on Poverty and Poor Economics
Jul 11, 2011 • 50 min
Abhijit Banerjee of MIT talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Banerjee’s book (co-authored with Esther Duflo), Poor Economics. The conversation begins with how randomized control trials (a particular kind of social experiment) have been used to…
Skeel on Bankruptcy and the Auto Industry Bailout
Jul 4, 2011 • 60 min
David Skeel of the University of Pennsylvania Law School talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about bankruptcy and the government bailout of the auto industry. Skeel argues that the bailout damaged the rule of law by not allowing a bankruptcy procedure…
Otteson on Adam Smith
Jun 27, 2011 • 71 min
James Otteson of Yeshiva University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Adam Smith. The conversation begins with a brief sketch of David Hume and his influence on Smith and then turns to the so-called Adam Smith problem—the author of The Wealth of…
Munger on Exchange, Exploitation and Euvoluntary Transactions
Jun 20, 2011 • 62 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the psychology, sociology, and economics of buying and selling. Why are different transactions that seemingly make both parties better off frowned on and often made illegal? In…
Buchholz on Competition, Stress, and the Rat Race
Jun 13, 2011 • 59 min
Todd Buchholz, author of Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Buchholz argues that competition and striving for excellence is part of our evolutionary inheritance. He criticizes…
Eichengreen on the Dollar and International Finance
Jun 6, 2011 • 65 min
Barry Eichengreen of University of California, Berkeley and author of Exorbitant Privilege talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history and importance of the dollar as the dominant international currency. Eichengreen explains the advantages to…
Easterly on Benevolent Autocrats and Growth
May 30, 2011 • 65 min
William Easterly of New York University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the oft-heard claim that poor countries led by autocrats grow faster than poor countries that are democratic. Drawing on a recent paper, “Benevolent Autocrats,” Easterly…
Harford on Adapt and the Virtues of Failure
May 23, 2011 • 58 min
Tim Harford, author and journalist, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Adapt, Harford’s book on the virtues of failure and the trial and error process. Harford argues that success is more likely when there is experimentation and trial and error…
Byers on the Blind Spot, Science, and Uncertainty
May 16, 2011 • 70 min
William Byers of Canada’s Concordia University and author of The Blind Spot talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of knowledge, science and mathematics. Byers argues that there is an inherent uncertainty about science and our knowledge…
Caplan on Parenting
May 9, 2011 • 67 min
Bryan Caplan of George Mason University and EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in Caplan’s new book, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. Caplan argues that parents spend too much time trying to influence how their kids will turn…
Papola on the Keynes Hayek Rap Videos
May 2, 2011 • 80 min
John Papola of Emergent Order talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their collaboration creating rap videos based on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek. Their first was “Fear the Boom and Bust” which was released January 25, 2010. This…
Rubinstein on Game Theory and Behavioral Economics
Apr 25, 2011 • 60 min
Ariel Rubinstein of Tel Aviv University and New York University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of game theory and behavioral economics, two of the most influential areas of economics in recent years. Drawing on his Afterword for the…
Munger on Microfinance, Savings, and Poverty
Apr 18, 2011 • 58 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about microfinance. Munger argues that cultural forces make it difficult for some families to save, and the main value of microfinance is to allow a higher level of savings. Families are…
Rodrik on Globalization, Development, and Employment
Apr 11, 2011 • 60 min
Dani Rodrik of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about trade, the labor market, and trade policy. Drawing on a recent paper with Margaret McMillan on trade and productivity, Rodrik argues that countries have very differing abilities…
Andresen on BitCoin and Virtual Currency
Apr 4, 2011 • 57 min
Gavin Andresen, Principal of the BitCoin Virtual Currency Project, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about BitCoin, an innovative attempt to create a decentralized electronic currency. Andresen explains the origins of BitCoin, how new currency gets…
Vincent Reinhart on Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, and the Financial Crisis
Mar 28, 2011 • 69 min
Vincent Reinhart of the American Enterprise Institute talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the government interventions and non-interventions into financial markets in 2008. Conventional wisdom holds that the failure to intervene in the collapse of…
Coyle on the Economics of Enough
Mar 21, 2011 • 58 min
Diane Coyle, author of The Economics of Enough, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the future and the ideas in her book. Coyle argues that the financial crisis, the entitlement crisis, and climate change all reflect a failure to deal with the…
Townsend on Development, Poverty, and Financial Institutions
Mar 14, 2011 • 69 min
Robert Townsend of MIT and the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about development and the role of financial institutions in growth. Drawing on his research, particularly his surveys of households in…
Dyson on Heresy, Climate Change, and Science
Mar 7, 2011 • 66 min
Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about science, his career, and the future. Dyson argues for the importance of what he calls heresy—challenging the scientific dogmas of the day. Dyson…
George Will on America, Politics, and Baseball
Feb 28, 2011 • 62 min
Author and syndicated columnist George Will talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the country, the nature of politics, and at the end, a little about baseball. The conversation begins with Will discussing his career and how someone with…
Acemoglu on Inequality and the Financial Crisis
Feb 21, 2011 • 63 min
Daron Acemoglu of MIT talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role income inequality may have played in creating the financial crisis. Raghuram Rajan in his book, Fault Lines, argues that growing income inequality in the last part of the 20th…
Cowen on the Great Stagnation
Feb 14, 2011 • 60 min
Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and author of the e-book The Great Stagnation talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. Cowen argues that in the last four decades, the growth in prosperity for the average family has slowed…
Kling on Patterns of Sustainable Specialization and Trade
Feb 7, 2011 • 69 min
Arnold Kling of EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a new paradigm for thinking about macroeconomics and the labor market. Kling calls it PSST—patterns of sustainable specialization and trade. Kling rejects the Keynesian approach that…
Deer on Autism, Vaccination, and Scientific Fraud
Jan 31, 2011 • 64 min
Investigative journalist Brian Deer talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Deer’s seven years of reporting and legal issues surrounding the 1998 article in The Lancet claiming that the MMR vaccine causes autism and bowel problems. Deer’s dogged…
Fazzari on Stimulus and Keynes
Jan 24, 2011 • 60 min
Steve Fazzari of Washington University in St. Louis talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of Keynesian stimulus. They discuss the stimulus package passed in February 2009 and whether it improved the economy and created jobs. How should…
Boudreaux on Monetary Misunderstandings
Jan 17, 2011 • 64 min
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts on some of the common misunderstandings people have about prices, money, inflation and deflation. They discuss what is harmful about inflation and deflation, the importance of…
Caldwell on Hayek
Jan 10, 2011 • 75 min
Bruce Caldwell of Duke University and the General Editor of the Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Hayek, his life, his ideas, his books, and articles. The conversation covers Hayek’s intellectual encounters with…
Hanson on the Technological Singularity
Jan 3, 2011 • 97 min
Robin Hanson of GMU talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the idea of a technological singularity—a sudden, large increase in the rate of growth due to technological change. Hanson argues that it is plausible that a change in technology could lead…
Boettke on Mises
Dec 27, 2010 • 75 min
Pete Boettke of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life, work, and legacy of Ludwig von Mises. Boettke outlines Mises’s most important contributions to economics—business cycle theory, the socialism/calculation debate,…
Nocera on the Crisis and All the Devils Are Here
Dec 20, 2010 • 61 min
Joe Nocera, New York Times columnist and co-author with Bethany McLean of All the Devils Are Here, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of the financial crisis. Drawing on his book, Nocera identifies many people he considers devils for…
Abdallah on Hair and Running a Small Business
Dec 13, 2010 • 60 min
Wafaya Abdallah of Oasis Hair Salon in Rockville, Maryland talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges and rewards of running a small business. Abdallah discusses her career path from would-be lawyer to owning her own salon with many…
Selgin on the Fed
Dec 6, 2010 • 78 min
George Selgin, of the University of Georgia, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 has been a boon or a bust for the U.S. economy. Drawing on a recent paper by William Lastrapes and Lawrence White…
Kelly on Technology and What Technology Wants
Nov 29, 2010 • 78 min
Kevin Kelly, author of What Technology Wants, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about technology and the ideas in the book. Kelly argues that technology is best understood as an emergent system subject to the natural forces underpinning all emergent…
Phillipson on Adam Smith
Nov 22, 2010 • 70 min
Nicholas Phillipson, author of Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life of Adam Smith. Drawing on his recent biography of Smith, Phillipson discusses his intellectual roots, his intellectual journey, and what we…
Robert Frank on Inequality
Nov 15, 2010 • 61 min
Robert Frank of Cornell University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about inequality. Is there a role for public policy in mitigating income inequality? Is such intervention justified or effective? The conversation delves into both the philosophical…
Don Boudreaux on China, Currency Manipulation, and Trade Deficits
Nov 8, 2010 • 64 min
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Chinese exchange rate policy and the claim that China keeps the value of its currency artificially low in order to boost exports to the United States and reduce U.S.…
Quiggin on Zombie Economics
Nov 1, 2010 • 64 min
John Quiggin of Crooked Timber and the author of Zombie Economics talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about ideas in economics that should stay dead and buried. Quiggin argues that many economic theories such as the Great Moderation, the efficient…
Hazlett on Apple vs. Google
Oct 25, 2010 • 68 min
Thomas Hazlett of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the growing rivalry between Apple and Google. It is commonly argued that Apple with its closed platform and tight control from the top via Steve Jobs is making the same…
Ridley on Trade, Growth, and the Rational Optimist
Oct 18, 2010 • 59 min
Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why he is optimistic about the future and how trade and specialization explain the evolution of human development over the millennia. Ridley argues that life is…
Irwin on the Great Depression and the Gold Standard
Oct 11, 2010 • 68 min
Douglas Irwin of Dartmouth College talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role the gold standard played in the Great Depression. Irwin argues that France systematically accumulated large amounts of gold in the late 1920s and 1930s, imposing…
Caplan on Immigration
Oct 4, 2010 • 73 min
Bryan Caplan of George Mason University and EconLog blogger talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about immigration. Caplan takes on the common arguments against open borders and argues that they are either exaggerated or can be overcome while still…
Greenberg on Depression, Addiction, and the Brain
Sep 27, 2010 • 73 min
Gary Greenberg, psychologist and author of The Noble Lie and Manufacturing Depression, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of addiction, depression and mental illness. Drawing on ideas in the two books, Greenberg argues that there are…
Richard Epstein on Regulation
Sep 20, 2010 • 67 min
Richard Epstein of New York University and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current state of the economy, particularly the regulatory climate. Epstein argues the current level of regulation is…
de Botton on the Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
Sep 13, 2010 • 59 min
Author Alain de Botton talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. How has the nature of work changed with the increase in specialization? Why is the search for meaningful work a modern phenomenon? Has…
Kling on Knowledge, Power, and Unchecked and Unbalanced
Sep 6, 2010 • 66 min
Arnold Kling of EconLog and author of Unchecked and Unbalanced, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book and the relationship between knowledge and power. In a modern economy, specialization has increased and knowledge is increasingly…
Daniel Pink on Drive, Motivation, and Incentives
Aug 30, 2010 • 79 min
Daniel Pink, author of Drive, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about drive, motivation, compensation, and incentives. Pink discusses the implications of using monetary rewards as compensation in business and in education. Much of the conversation…
Munger on Private and Public Rent-Seeking (and Chilean Buses)
Aug 23, 2010 • 58 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about private and public rent-seeking. When firms compete for either private profit opportunities or government contracts, there are inevitably firms or people who spend resources but…
Kennedy on the Great Depression and the New Deal
Aug 16, 2010 • 64 min
David Kennedy of Stanford University and the author of Freedom from Fear talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Great Depression and its political and economic relevance. Kennedy talks about the economic policies of Hoover and Roosevelt, and how…
Laughlin on the Future of Carbon and Climate
Aug 9, 2010 • 85 min
Robert Laughlin of Stanford University and the 1998 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about energy use and the future of the earth’s climate. Drawing on his forthcoming book on energy, Laughlin predicts that…
Brady on the State of the Electorate
Aug 2, 2010 • 62 min
David Brady of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the electorate and what current and past political science have to say about the upcoming midterm elections. Drawing on his own survey work and that of others,…
Robert Service on Trotsky
Jul 26, 2010 • 82 min
Robert Service of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the University of Oxford talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life and death of Leon Trotsky. Based on Service’s biography of Trotsky, the conversation covers Trotsky’s influence on…
Taylor on the State of the Economy
Jul 19, 2010 • 58 min
John Taylor of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the economy. Is the economy recovering? What policies have helped and hurt? Taylor gives his views on both monetary and fiscal policy including the stimulus…
Gregory on Politics, Murder, and Love in Stalin’s Kremlin
Jul 12, 2010 • 62 min
Paul Gregory of the University of Houston and a Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Nikolai Bukharin’s power struggle with Stalin and Bukharin’s romance with Anna Larina, who was 26 years…
Kling on the Unseen World of Banking, Mortgages, and Government
Jul 5, 2010 • 61 min
Arnold Kling of EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the weird world of banking. Why do mortgages look the way they do? What do banks contribute to economic activity? How does regulation and legislation change the structure of what banks…
Caplan on Hayek, Richter, and Socialism
Jun 28, 2010 • 69 min
Bryan Caplan of George Mason University and blogger at EconLog talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about two books: Eugene Richter’s Pictures of the Socialistic Future and F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. Both books warn against the dangers of…
Sumner on Growth and Economic Policy
Jun 21, 2010 • 70 min
Scott Sumner of Bentley University and the blog, The Money Illusion, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the last 30 years of economic policy and macroeconomic success and failure. Sumner argues that there was a neoliberalism revolution beginning…
Blakley on Fashion and Intellectual Property
Jun 14, 2010 • 67 min
Johanna Blakley of the University of Southern California talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the fashion industry and the role of intellectual property. In the fashion industry there is limited protection for innovative designs and as a result,…
Okrent on Prohibition and His Book, Last Call
Jun 7, 2010 • 68 min
Daniel Okent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. They discuss how the 18th Amendment banning the manufacture, sale, and transport of intoxicating beverages came to pass in 1920,…
Menand on Psychiatry
May 31, 2010 • 58 min
Louis Menand of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of psychiatry. Drawing on a recent article of his in the New Yorker, Menand talks about the state of knowledge in psychiatry and the scientific basis for making…
Belsky on Journalism, Editing, and Trivia
May 24, 2010 • 74 min
Gary Belsky, Editor-in-Chief at ESPN The Magazine, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his career path in journalism and the day-to-day life of editing a major American magazine. Belsky discusses some of the lessons of his early career as a…
Roberts on the Crisis
May 17, 2010 • 90 min
Russ Roberts, host of EconTalk, discusses his paper, “Gambling with Other People’s Money: How Perverted Incentives Created the Financial Crisis.” Roberts reflects on the past eighteen months of podcasts on the crisis, and then turns to his own take, a…
Leamer on the State of Econometrics
May 10, 2010 • 59 min
Ed Leamer of UCLA talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of econometrics. He discusses his 1983 article, “Let’s Take the ‘Con’ Out of Econometrics” and the recent interest in natural experiments as a way to improve empirical work. He also…
Taleb on Black Swans, Fragility, and Mistakes
May 3, 2010 • 67 min
Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his latest thoughts on robustness, fragility, debt, insurance, uncertainty, exercise, moral hazard, knowledge, and the challenges of fame and…
Romer on Charter Cities
Apr 26, 2010 • 63 min
Paul Romer of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about charter cities, Romer’s idea for helping the poorest of the poor around the world. Romer envisions a city where the rules about property and safety and contract and so on are…
Munger on Love, Money, Profits, and Non-profits
Apr 19, 2010 • 65 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the world of profit, money, love, gifts, and incentives. What motivates people, self-interest or altruism? Both obviously. But how do these forces interact with each other? Does…
Ravitch on Education
Apr 12, 2010 • 60 min
Diane Ravitch of NYU talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. Ravitch argues that the two most popular education reform…
Benkler on Net Neutrality, Competition, and the Future of the Internet
Apr 5, 2010 • 59 min
Yochai Benkler of Harvard University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about net neutrality, access to the internet, and innovation. Benkler argues in favor of net neutrality and government support of broadband access. He is skeptical of the virtues of…
De Vany on Steroids, Baseball, and Evolutionary Fitness
Mar 29, 2010 • 65 min
Arthur De Vany, of the University of California, Irvine, and creator of Evolutionary Fitness, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about performance-enhancing drugs in baseball and Evolutionary Fitness, De Vany’s ideas about diet and fitness. In the…
Meyer on the Music Industry and the Internet
Mar 22, 2010 • 67 min
Steve Meyer, music industry veteran and publisher of the Disc and Dat Newsletter, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the evolution of the music industry and the impact of the digital revolution. After discussing his background and experience in…
Don Boudreaux on Public Choice
Mar 15, 2010 • 69 min
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about public choice: the application of economics to the political process. Boudreaux argues that political competition is a blunt instrument that works less effectively than…
Newman on Low-wage Workers
Mar 8, 2010 • 60 min
Katherine Newman, Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Newman’s case studies of fast-food workers in Harlem. Newman discusses the evolution of their careers and fortunes over time along with their…
Ritholtz on Bailouts, the Fed, and the Crisis
Mar 1, 2010 • 73 min
Barry Ritholtz, author of Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of bailouts in recent times, beginning with Lockheed and Chrysler in the 1970s…
Garett Jones on Macro and Twitter
Feb 22, 2010 • 63 min
Garett Jones of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the art of communicating economics via puzzles and short provocative insights. They discuss Jones’s Twitter strategy of posting quotes and short puzzles to provoke…
Phelps on Unemployment and the State of Macroeonomics
Feb 15, 2010 • 75 min
Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the market for labor, unemployment, and the evolution of macroeconomics over the past century. The conversation begins with a discussion of Phelps’s early…
Roberts on Smith, Ricardo, and Trade
Feb 8, 2010 • 62 min
Russ Roberts, host of EconTalk, does a monologue this week on the economics of trade and specialization. Economists have focused on David Ricardo’s idea of comparative advantage as the source of specialization and wealth creation from trade. Drawing on…
Larry White on Hayek and Money
Feb 1, 2010 • 76 min
Larry White of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Hayek’s ideas on the business cycle and money. White lays out Hayek’s view of business cycles and the role of monetary policy in creating a boom and bust cycle. The…
Spence on Growth
Jan 25, 2010 • 67 min
Nobel Laureate Michael Spence of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the Commission on Growth and Development talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the determinants of economic growth. Spence discusses the findings of the Commission’s…
Munger on Many Things
Jan 18, 2010 • 72 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about many things. Listeners sent in questions for Mike and Russ to talk about and they chose ten of the most interesting questions with the idea of talking about each for six minutes.…
Belongia on the Fed
Jan 11, 2010 • 75 min
Michael Belongia of the University of Mississippi and former economist at the St. Louis Federal Reserve talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the inner workings, politics, and economics of the Federal Reserve. Belongia talks about the role that…
Rustici on Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression
Jan 4, 2010 • 85 min
Thomas Rustici of George Mason University and author of Lessons from the Great Depression talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the impact of the Smoot-Hawley Act on the economy. The standard view is that the decrease in trade that followed…
Winston on Market Failure and Government Failure
Dec 28, 2009 • 66 min
Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution talks about the ideas in his book, Market Failure vs. Government Failure, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Winston summarizes a large literature on antitrust, safety regulation and environmental regulation. He…
Hamilton on Debt, Default, and Oil
Dec 21, 2009 • 67 min
James Hamilton of the University of California, San Diego, and blogger at EconBrowser talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the rising levels of the national debt and the growing Federal budget deficit. What is the possibility of an actual default,…
Kling on Prosperity, Poverty, and Economics 2.0
Dec 14, 2009 • 58 min
Arnold Kling of EconLog and the author (with Nick Schulz) of From Poverty to Prosperity: Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities and the Lasting Triumph over Scarcity talks about the book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Kling discusses how modern…
McArdle on Debt and Self-Restraint
Dec 7, 2009 • 78 min
Megan McArdle, who writes the blog Asymmetrical Information at The Atlantic, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about debt and the challenge of self-restraint. She discusses her recent Atlantic article on her experience at a Dave Ramsey personal…
Boettke on Elinor Ostrom, Vincent Ostrom, and the Bloomington School
Nov 30, 2009 • 63 min
Peter Boettke of George Mason University and author of Challenging Institutional Analysis and Development: The Bloomington School (co-authored with Paul Dragos Aligica), talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Bloomington School—the political…
Reinhart on Financial Crises
Nov 23, 2009 • 67 min
Carmen Reinhart of the University of Maryland talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her book This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (co-authored with Kenneth Rogoff). They discuss the role of capital inflows in…
Posner on the Financial Crisis
Nov 16, 2009 • 63 min
Richard Posner, federal judge and prolific author, discusses the financial crisis with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Posner (despite the title of his recent book on the crisis, A Failure of Capitalism) places most of the blame for the crisis on the Federal…
Sumner on Monetary Policy
Nov 9, 2009 • 69 min
Scott Sumner of Bentley University and the blog The Money Illusion talks with host Russ Roberts about monetary policy and the state of the economy. Sumner argues that tight money in late 2008 precipitated the recession. He argues that the standard…
Heller on Gridlock and the Tragedy of the Anticommons
Nov 2, 2009 • 58 min
Michael Heller of Columbia Law School and author of The Gridlock Economy talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book and the idea that fragmented ownership is a barrier to innovation. Heller makes an analogy between the tragedy of the commons and…
Calomiris on the Financial Crisis
Oct 26, 2009 • 88 min
Charles Calomiris of Columbia Business School talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the financial crisis. Calomiris argues that it is important to put the crisis in historical perspective in the context of other bank crises. He argues that bank…
Munger on Shortages, Prices, and Competition
Oct 19, 2009 • 68 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the limits of prices and markets, especially in the area of health. They talk about vaccines, organ transplants, the ethics of triage and what role price should play in allocating.…
Willingham on Education, School, and Neuroscience
Oct 12, 2009 • 63 min
Daniel Willingham of the University of Virginia and author of the book Why Don’t Students Like School? talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how the brain works and the implications for teaching, learning, and educational policy. Topics discussed…
Gary Stern on Too Big to Fail
Oct 5, 2009 • 67 min
Gary Stern, former President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Stern’s book, Too Big To Fail (co-authored with Ron Feldman), a prescient warning of the moral hazard created when government rescues…
Cohan on the Life and Death of Bear Stearns
Sep 28, 2009 • 65 min
William Cohan, author of House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Steet, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life and death of Bear Stearns. The discussion starts with how Bear Stearns and other Wall Street firms made money…
Buchheit on Google, Friendfeed, and Start-ups
Sep 21, 2009 • 61 min
Paul Buchheit, developer of Gmail and founder of FriendFeed, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the evolution of the Gmail project, how innovation works and doesn’t work in a large corporation, how Google has changed as it has grown, and…
Nye on the Great Depression, Political Economy, and the Evolution of the State
Sep 14, 2009 • 58 min
John Nye of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Great Depression, the evolution of the State, and attitudes people have toward free markets. Nye argues that support for modern capitalism is fragile because people have…
Cowen on Culture, Autism, and Creating Your Own Economy
Sep 7, 2009 • 56 min
Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and author of Create Your Own Economy talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his recent book. The conversation ranges across a wide array of topics related to information, the arts, and the culture…
Munger on Cultural Norms
Aug 31, 2009 • 58 min
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about cultural norms—the subtle signals we send to each other in our daily interactions. Mike, having returned from a four-month stint as a visiting professor in Germany, talks about…
Brady on Health Care Reform, Public Opinion, and Party Politics
Aug 24, 2009 • 70 min
David Brady of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about American public opinion on changing the health care system. Brady discusses the impact of taxation on public opinion toward health care reform—if the poll includes a measure of…
Hitchens on Orwell
Aug 17, 2009 • 69 min
Christopher Hitchens talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about George Orwell. Drawing on his book Why Orwell Matters, Hitchens talks about Orwell’s opposition to imperialism, fascism, and Stalinism, his moral courage, and his devotion to language. Along…
Hanushek on Test-based Accountability, Federal Funding, and School Finance
Aug 10, 2009 • 63 min
Eric Hanushek of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current state of education and education policy. Hanushek summarizes the impact of No Child Left Behind and the current state of the charter school…
Graham on Start-ups, Innovation, and Creativity
Aug 3, 2009 • 62 min
Paul Graham, essayist, programmer and partner in the y-combinator talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about start-ups, innovation, and creativity. Graham draws on his experience as entrepreneur and investor to discuss the current state of the start-up…
Peter Henry on Growth, Development, and Policy
Jul 27, 2009 • 64 min
Peter Blair Henry of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about economic development. Henry compares and contrasts the policy and growth experience of Barbados and Jamaica. Both became independent of England in the 1960s, so both…
John Taylor on the Financial Crisis
Jul 20, 2009 • 57 min
John Taylor of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the fundamental causes of the financial crisis of 2008. Taylor argues that the housing bubble of the early 2000s was caused by excessively loose monetary policy, in particular,…
Justin Fox on the Rationality of Markets
Jul 13, 2009 • 58 min
Justin Fox, author of The Myth of the Rational Market, talks about the ideas in his book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Fox traces the history of the application of math and economics to finance, particularly to the question of how markets and prices…
Collier on Democracy and Violence
Jul 6, 2009 • 62 min
Paul Collier of Oxford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his new book, Wars, Guns, and Votes, a study of democracy and violence. Collier lays out the incentives facing a dictator who is considering the seductive appeal of…
Helprin on Copyright
Jun 29, 2009 • 61 min
Novelist Mark Helprin talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about copyright and the ideas in his book, Digital Barbarism. Helprin argues for an extension rather than a reduction in the length of time that authors have control over their work. He also…
Munger on Franchising, Vertical Integration, and the Auto Industry
Jun 22, 2009 • 57 min
Michael Munger, of Duke University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about franchising, particularly car dealerships. Munger highlights how the dealers used state regulations to protect their profits and how bankruptcy appears to be unraveling that…
Platt on Working at Wal-Mart
Jun 15, 2009 • 59 min
Charles Platt, author and journalist, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts what it was like to apply for a job at Wal-Mart, get one, and work there. He discusses the hiring process, the training process, and the degree of autonomy Wal-Mart employees have…
Rebonato on Risk Management and the Crisis
Jun 8, 2009 • 62 min
Riccardo Rebonato of the Royal Bank of Scotland and author of Plight of the Fortune Tellers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of measuring risk and making decisions and creating regulation in the face of risk and uncertainty.…
Epstein on the Rule of Law
Jun 1, 2009 • 66 min
Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the rule of law. Epstein lays out a minimalist definition and a more expansive definition when considering the protection…
Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 6—A Discussion of Parts VI and VII, and Summary
May 27, 2009 • 96 min
This is the sixth and concluding podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Parts VI and VII of the book. They…
Leeson on Pirates and the Invisible Hook
May 25, 2009 • 72 min
Peter Leeson of George Mason University and author of The Invisible Hook talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of 18th century pirates and what we can learn from their behavior. Leeson argues that pirates pioneered a number of…
Boldrin on Intellectual Property
May 18, 2009 • 79 min
Michele Boldrin of Washington University in St. Louis talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about intellectual property and Boldrin’s book, co-written with David Levine, Against Intellectual Monopoly. Boldrin argues that copyright and patent are used by…
Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 5—A Discussion of Parts III (cont.), IV, and V
May 13, 2009 • 90 min
This is the fifth podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts finish discussing Part III, and discuss Parts IV and V of…
Wolfe on Liberalism
May 11, 2009 • 53 min
Alan Wolfe, Professor of Political Science at Boston College and author of The Future of Liberalism, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about liberalism. Wolfe argues that the essence of liberalism is giving as many people as possible control over…
Leamer on Macroeconomic Patterns and Stories
May 4, 2009 • 66 min
Ed Leamer, of UCLA and author of Macroeconomic Patterns and Stories, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how we should use patterns in macroeconomic data and stories about those patterns to improve our understanding of the economy. Leamer argues…
Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 4—A Discussion of Part III
Apr 29, 2009 • 94 min
This is the fourth podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Part III of the book.
Reis on Keynes, Macroeconomics, and Monetary Policy
Apr 27, 2009 • 66 min
Ricardo Reis of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Keynesian economics in the classroom and in research. Reis argues that Keynesian models are a useful framework for helping undergraduates understand macroeconomic ideas of…
Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 3—A Discussion of Part II
Apr 22, 2009 • 62 min
This is the third podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Part II of the book.
Roberts on Wealth, Growth, and Economics as a Science
Apr 20, 2009 • 51 min
EconTalk host Russ Roberts talks with reporter Robert Pollie about the basics of wealth and growth. What happens when the stock market goes down or the price of housing? When wealth goes down, where does the wealth go? How do these changes affect our…
Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 2—A Discussion of Part I
Apr 15, 2009 • 89 min
This is the second podcast in the EconTalk Book Club discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. In this episode, Dan Klein of George Mason University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Part I of the book.
Don Boudreaux on Macroeconomics and Austrian Business Cycle Theory
Apr 13, 2009 • 68 min
Don Boudreaux, of George Mason University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the microfoundations of macroeconomics and the Austrian theory of business cycles. Boudreaux draws on Erik Lindahl’s distinction between microeconomics and…
Klein on The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Episode 1—An Overview
Apr 6, 2009 • 83 min
Dan Klein, of George Mason University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Adam Smith’s lesser-known masterpiece, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Klein highlights key passages and concepts of the book including its relation to The Wealth of…
Brink Lindsey on the Age of Abundance
Mar 30, 2009 • 65 min
Brink Lindsey, of the Cato Institute and author of The Age of Abundance: How Prosperity Transformed America’s Politics and Culture, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the interaction between culture and politics and prosperity. Lindsey outlines…
Taleb on the Financial Crisis
Mar 23, 2009 • 56 min
Nassim Taleb talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the financial crisis, how we misunderstand rare events, the fragility of the banking system, the moral hazard of government bailouts, the unprecedented nature of really, really bad events, the…
Klein on Truth, Bias, and Disagreement
Mar 16, 2009 • 68 min
Dan Klein, of George Mason University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts on truth in economics, bias, and groupthink in academic life. Along the way they discuss the Food and Drug Administration (and the drug approval process), the culture of academic…
Wales on Wikipedia
Mar 9, 2009 • 41 min
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the birth and growth of Wikipedia. He talks about the role of Hayek’s insights into the design of Wikipedia, how Wikipedia deals with controversy, the reliability of Wikipedia…
Zywicki on Debt and Bankruptcy
Mar 2, 2009 • 66 min
Todd Zywicki, of George Mason University Law School, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the evolving world of consumer debt and how institutions and public policy have influenced consumer access to debt and credit. Zywicki defends consumer credit…
Meltzer on Inflation
Feb 23, 2009 • 63 min
Allan Meltzer, of Carnegie Mellon University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current state of monetary policy and the potential for inflation. Meltzer explains why inflation hasn’t happened yet, despite massive increases in reserves…
Bhide on Outsourcing, Uncertainty, and the Venturesome Economy
Feb 16, 2009 • 66 min
Amar Bhide, of Columbia University and author of The Venturesome Economy, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of entrepreneurship and innovation in a global economy. Bhide argues that the worries about outsourcing and America’s alleged…
Acemoglu on the Financial Crisis
Feb 9, 2009 • 74 min
Daron Acemoglu, of MIT, talks with EconTalk Russ Roberts about the financial crisis and the lessons that need to be learned from the crisis. He argues that economists overestimated the stability of self-interest and ignored the institutional context of…
Cochrane on the Financial Crisis
Feb 2, 2009 • 73 min
John Cochrane, of the University of Chicago, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the financial crisis. He talks about the origins of the crisis, why the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) was flawed from the beginning, why mark-to-market…
Roberts (and Hanson) on Truth and Economics
Jan 26, 2009 • 74 min
EconTalk host Russ Roberts talks about the role of empirical evidence and bias in economics and why economists disagree. Roberts talks about how his interviews with various economists at EconTalk have forced him to reassess the role of empirical evidence…
Eric Raymond on Hacking, Open Source, and the Cathedral and the Bazaar
Jan 19, 2009 • 67 min
Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book—why open source software development has been so successful, the culture of open source, under what conditions open source is likely to…
Fazzari on Keynesian Economics
Jan 12, 2009 • 65 min
Steve Fazzari, of Washington University in St. Louis, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Keynesian economics. Fazzari talks about the paradox of thrift, makes the case for a government stimulus plan, and weighs the empirical evidence for a…
Boettke on the Austrian Perspective on Business Cycles and Monetary Policy
Jan 5, 2009 • 64 min
Peter Boettke, of George Mason University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Austrian perspective on business cycles, monetary policy and the current state of the economy.
Srour on Education, African Schools, and Building Tomorrow
Dec 22, 2008 • 55 min
George Srour, founder of Building Tomorrow, a non-profit that builds schools in Uganda, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his experience starting, funding, and running an organization that tries to change the world one school at a time. Srour…
Higgs on the Great Depression
Dec 15, 2008 • 67 min
Robert Higgs, of the Independent Institute, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the effect of World War II on the American economy. Using survey results, financial data, and the pattern of investment in the…
Lipstein on Hospitals
Dec 8, 2008 • 65 min
Steven Lipstein, President and CEO of BJC HealthCare—a $3 billion hospital system in St. Louis, Missouri—talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of hospitals. They discuss pricing, the advantages and disadvantages of specialization in…
Rauchway on the Great Depresson and the New Deal
Dec 1, 2008 • 63 min
Eric Rauchway of the University of California at Davis and the author of The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the 1920s and the lead-up to the Great Depression, Hoover’s policies,…
Hazlett on Telecommunications
Nov 24, 2008 • 63 min
Thomas Hazlett of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a number of key issues in telecommunications and telecommunication policy including net neutrality, FCC policy, and the state of antitrust. Hazlett argues for an…
Selgin on Free Banking
Nov 17, 2008 • 73 min
George Selgin of West Virginia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about free banking, where government treats banks as no different from other firms in the economy. Rather than rely on government guarantees to protect depositors (coupled…
Kling on Credit Default Swaps, Counterparty Risk, and the Political Economy of Financial Regulation
Nov 10, 2008 • 63 min
Arnold Kling of EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of credit default swaps and counterparty risks in the current financial mess. The conversation opens with the logistics of credit default swaps and counterparty risks and moves…
Richard Epstein on Happiness, Inequality, and Envy
Nov 3, 2008 • 56 min
Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the relationship between happiness and wealth, the effects of inequality on happiness, and the economics of envy and altruism. He also applies the theory of evolution…
Munger on Middlemen
Oct 27, 2008 • 72 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the often-vilified middleman—someone who buys cheap, sells dear and does nothing to improve the product. Munger explains the economic function of arbitrage using a classic article…
Shirky on Coase, Collaboration and Here Comes Everybody
Oct 20, 2008 • 65 min
Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, talks about the economics of organizations with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The conversation centers on Shirky’s book. Topics include Coase on the theory of the…
Patri Friedman on Seasteading
Oct 13, 2008 • 48 min
Patri Friedman, Executive Director of the Seasteading Institute, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about seasteading, the creation of autonomous ocean communities as an alternative to existing political and cultural forms. Topics discussed include the…
Bernstein on Inequality
Oct 6, 2008 • 56 min
William Bernstein, author of A Splendid Exchange, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about inequality. Bernstein is worried about it; Roberts is not. Bernstein argues that inequality is damaging to the health of low-status people and hurts the health…
Kling on Freddie and Fannie and the Recent History of the U.S. Housing Market
Sep 29, 2008 • 97 min
Arnold Kling of EconLog talks with host Russ Roberts about the economics of the housing market with a focus on the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The conversation closes with a postscript on the current financial crisis.
Karol Boudreaux on Wildlife, Property, and Poverty in Africa
Sep 22, 2008 • 57 min
Karol Boudreaux, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about wildlife management in Africa. Their conversation focuses on community-based wildlife management in Namibia, a policy to…
Shiller on Housing and Bubbles
Sep 15, 2008 • 60 min
Robert Shiller of Yale University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current housing mess and related financial market problems. Shiller argues that the decade-long run up in housing prices was a bubble where speculative fervor outweighed any…
Ellis on American Creation and the Founding
Sep 8, 2008 • 67 min
Joseph Ellis, of Mt. Holyoke College and author of American Creation, talks about the triumphs and tragedies of the founding of the United States. His goal in the book and in this podcast is to tell a story for grownups rather than for children, where the…
Rauch on the Volt, Risk, and Corporate Culture
Sep 1, 2008 • 58 min
Jonathan Rauch, of the Brookings Institution and the Atlantic Monthly, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the evolution of the Chevy Volt, GM’s planned electric car. Due to the transparency of GM’s effort, Rauch was able to spend a great deal of…
Roberts on the Price of Everything
Aug 25, 2008 • 63 min
Russ Roberts, host of EconTalk and author of the economics novel, The Price of Everything, talks with guest host Arnold Kling about the ideas in The Price of Everything: price gouging, the role of prices in the aftermath of natural disaster, spontaneous…
John Taylor on Monetary Policy
Aug 18, 2008 • 54 min
John Taylor of Stanford University talks about the Taylor Rule, his description of what the Fed ought to do and what it sometimes actually does, to keep inflation in check and the economy on a steady path. He argues that when the Fed has deviated from the…
Bueno de Mesquita on Iran and Threats to U.S. Security
Aug 11, 2008 • 61 min
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and New York University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about threats to U.S. security, particularly Iran. Bueno de Mesquita argues that Iran is of little danger to the United States.…
Barro on Disasters
Aug 4, 2008 • 64 min
Robert Barro of Harvard University and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks about disasters—significant national and international catastrophes such as the Great Depression, war, and the flu epidemic in the early part of the 20th century. What…
Varian on Technology
Jul 28, 2008 • 39 min
Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist and University of California at Berkeley professor, talks with Russ Roberts about Google, the role of technology in our everyday lives, the unintended paths of innovation, and the value of economics.
Rivers on Polling
Jul 21, 2008 • 68 min
Doug Rivers of Stanford University and YouGov.com talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the world of political polling. Rivers explains why publicly provided margins of error overstate the reliability of most polls and why it’s getting harder and…
Hanushek on Education and School Finance
Jul 14, 2008 • 67 min
Eric Hanushek of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the strange evolution of school finance in the last four decades. In particular, the courts have played an important role in recent years in mandating…
Munger on the Political Economy of Public Transportation
Jul 7, 2008 • 56 min
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Munger’s recent trip to Chile and the changes Chile has made to Santiago’s bus system. What was once a private decentralized system with differing levels of quality and price…
Kling on Hospitals and Health Care
Jun 30, 2008 • 59 min
Arnold Kling of EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the death of his father and the lessons to be learned for how hospitals treat patients and our health care system treats hospitals.
McKenzie on Prices
Jun 23, 2008 • 75 min
Richard McKenzie of the University California, Irvine and the author of Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies and Other Pricing Puzzles, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a wide range of pricing puzzles. They discuss why Southern California…
Don Boudreaux on Energy Prices
Jun 16, 2008 • 63 min
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the recent surge in energy prices. They talk about why prices have risen, the implications for America’s standard of living and the implications for public policy.
Cole on the Market for New Cars
Jun 9, 2008 • 72 min
Steve Cole, the Sales Manager at Ourisman Honda of Laurel in Laurel, Maryland talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the strange world of new car pricing. They talk about dealer markup, the role of information and the internet in bringing prices…
Gene Epstein on Gold, the Fed, and Money
Jun 2, 2008 • 67 min
Gene Epstein, Barron’s economics editor, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the virtues of the gold standard relative to fiat money. Epstein argues that privately issued money, backed by gold, would lead to an economy with much greater price…
Hanson on Signalling
May 26, 2008 • 85 min
Robin Hanson of George Mason University talks about the phenomenon of signalling—the ways people spend resources to convey information about ourselves to others. It begins with Hanson revisiting his theory from an earlier podcast that we spend too much on…
Meltzer on the Fed, Money, and Gold
May 19, 2008 • 80 min
Allan Meltzer of Carnegie Mellon University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what the Fed really does and the political pressures facing the Chair of the Fed. He describes and analyzes some fascinating episodes in U.S. monetary history,…
Chris Anderson on Free
May 12, 2008 • 71 min
Chris Anderson talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his next book project based on the idea that many delightful things in the world are increasingly free—internet-based email with infinite storage, on-line encyclopedias and even podcasts, to name…
Nye on Wine, War and Trade
May 5, 2008 • 64 min
John Nye of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, War, Wine, and Taxes. The conversation covers the history of Britain and France’s trade policy, why the British drink beer and why Ricardo’s example of Britain…
Bernstein on the History of Trade
Apr 28, 2008 • 70 min
William Bernstein talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of trade. Drawing on the insights from his recent book, A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World, Bernstein talks about the magic of spices, how trade in sugar explain why…
Roberts on the Least Pleasant Jobs
Apr 21, 2008 • 63 min
EconTalk host Russ Roberts talks about the claim that for capitalism to succeed there have to be people at the bottom to do the unpleasant tasks and that the rich thrive because of the suffering of those at the bottom. He critiques the idea that…
Coyle on the Soulful Science
Apr 14, 2008 • 64 min
Diane Coyle talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in her new book, The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why it Matters. The discussions starts with the issue of growth—measurement issues and what economists have learned and…
Coyne on Exporting Democracy after War
Apr 7, 2008 • 79 min
Christopher Coyne of West Virginia University and George Mason University’s Mercatus Center talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy. They talk about the successes and failures of…
McCloskey on Capitalism and the Bourgeois Virtues
Mar 31, 2008 • 59 min
Deirdre McCloskey of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of The Bourgeois Virtues talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about capitalism and whether markets make people more ethical or less. They also discuss Adam Smith’s world view,…
Munger on Subsidies and Externalities
Mar 24, 2008 • 62 min
Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of subsidies. What is the economic argument for subsidies? What is the history of the economic argument and what is its relevance today? Munger draws on his personal…
Cowen on Monetary Policy
Mar 17, 2008 • 68 min
Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and Marginal Revolution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about money, inflation, the Federal Reserve and the gold standard. Cowen argues that alternatives to the current Federal Reserve system promise more risk…
Marglin on Markets and Community
Mar 10, 2008 • 65 min
Stephen Marglin of Harvard University and author of The Dismal Science: How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the markets and community. Marglin argues that markets and commercial transactions…
Vernon Smith on Rationality in Economics
Mar 3, 2008 • 61 min
Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith of Chapman University and George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his new book, Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms. They discuss the social and human sides of…
Sowell on Economic Facts and Fallacies
Feb 25, 2008 • 66 min
Thomas Sowell of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his new book, Economic Facts and Fallacies. He discusses the misleading nature of measured income inequality, CEO pay, why nations grow or…
Brook on Vermeer’s Hat and the Dawn of Global Trade
Feb 19, 2008 • 61 min
Timothy Brook, professor of history at the University of British Columbia and author of Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the expansion of global trade between Europe and…
Easterly on Growth, Poverty, and Aid
Feb 11, 2008 • 61 min
William Easterly of NYU talks about why some nations escape poverty while others do not, why aid almost always fails to create growth, and what can realistically be done to help the poorest people in the world.
Dan Klein on Coordination and Cooperation
Feb 4, 2008 • 68 min
Dan Klein of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the marvel of economic coordination that takes place without a coordinator—the sequence of complex tasks done by individuals often separated by immense distances who…
Collier on the Bottom Billion
Jan 28, 2008 • 68 min
Paul Collier of Oxford University talks about the ideas in his recent book, The Bottom Billion, an analysis of why the poorest countries in the world fail to grow. He talks about conflict, natural resources, being landlocked, and bad governance, four…
Don Boudreaux on Globalization and Trade Deficits
Jan 21, 2008 • 79 min
Don Boudreaux, of George Mason University, talks about the ideas in his book, Globalization. He discusses comparative advantage, the winners and losers from trade, trade deficits, and inequality with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.
Munger on the Nature of the Firm
Jan 14, 2008 • 62 min
Mike Munger, of Duke University, talks about why firms exist. If prices and markets work so well (and they do) in steering economic resources, then why does so much economic activity take place within organizations that use command-and-control, top-down,…
Edward Castronova on the Exodus to the Virtual World
Jan 7, 2008 • 71 min
Edward Castronova, of Indiana University and author of Exodus to the Virtual World, talks about his provocative thesis that a growing number of people around the world will be spending more and more time playing multiplayer games in virtual reality both…
Duggan on Strategic Intuition
Dec 24, 2007 • 55 min
William Duggan, professor of management at Columbia Business School at Columbia University, talks about his latest book, Strategic Intuition. Duggan critiques traditional methods of strategy and planning and suggests that the opportunism and adaptability…
Karol Boudreaux on Property Rights and Incentives in Africa
Dec 17, 2007 • 60 min
Karol Boudreaux, Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her field work and research in Rwanda and South Africa. In Rwanda, she studied how a change in incentives and property rights…
Boettke on Austrian Economics
Dec 10, 2007 • 77 min
Pete Boettke, of George Mason University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins and tenets of Austrian economics. This is a wonderful introduction to how the so-called Austrian economists look at the world and how they continue to…
Munger on Fair Trade and Free Trade
Dec 3, 2007 • 58 min
Mike Munger, frequent guest and longtime Econlib contributor, speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about fair trade coffee and free trade agreements. Does the premium for fair trade coffee end up in the hands of the grower? What economic forces might…
Botkin on Nature, the Environment and Global Warming
Nov 26, 2007 • 66 min
Daniel Botkin, ecologist and author, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how we think about our role as humans in the natural world, the dynamic nature of environmental reality and the implications for how we react to global warming.
Sunstein on Worst-case Scenarios
Nov 19, 2007 • 64 min
Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago talks about the ideas in his latest book, Worst-Case Scenarios. How should individuals and societies cope with low-probability events with potentially catastrophic consequences? In this conversation with EconTalk…
Henry Aaron on Health Care Costs
Nov 15, 2007 • 39 min
In this bonus middle-of-the-week podcast, Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about health care costs. Researchers in a New England Journal of Medicine article have estimated that the US could save $209 billion…
Waldfogel on Markets, Choice, and the Tyranny of the Market
Nov 12, 2007 • 51 min
Joel Waldfogel of the Wharton School of Business talks about the idea in his new book, The Tyranny of Markets: Why You Can’t Always Get What You Want. He argues that when fixed costs are large, markets don’t necessarily give people what they want and…
Arnold Kling on the Economics of Health Care and the Crisis of Abundance
Nov 5, 2007 • 58 min
Arnold Kling of EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of health care and his book, A Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care. Kling discusses whether we get what we pay for when we spend money on health care,…
Yandle on the Tragedy of the Commons and the Implications for Environmental Regulation
Oct 29, 2007 • 84 min
Bruce Yandle of Clemson University and George Mason University’s Mercatus Center looks at the tragedy of the commons and the various ways that people have avoided the overuse of resources that are held in common. Examples discussed include fisheries,…
Ayres on Super Crunchers and the Power of Data
Oct 22, 2007 • 62 min
Ian Ayres of Yale University Law School talks about the ideas in his new book, Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart. Ayres argues for the power of data and analysis over more traditional decision-making methods using…
Robert Frank on Economics Education and the Economic Naturalist
Oct 15, 2007 • 69 min
Author Robert Frank of Cornell University talks about economic education and his recent book, The Economic Naturalist. Frank argues that the traditional way of teaching economics via graphs and equations often fails to make any impression on students. In…
McCraw on Schumpeter, Innovation, and Creative Destruction
Oct 8, 2007 • 66 min
Thomas McCraw of Harvard University talks about the ideas of Joseph Schumpeter from his book, Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction. McCraw and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss innovation, business strategy, the role of…
Boudreaux on Market Failure, Government Failure and the Economics of Antitrust Regulation
Oct 1, 2007 • 66 min
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about when market failure can be improved by government intervention. After discussing the evolution of economic thinking about externalities and public goods, the conversation…
Grab Bag: Munger and Roberts on Recycling, Peak Oil and Steroids
Sep 24, 2007 • 65 min
Mike Munger, of Duke University, and EconTalk host Russ Roberts clean up some loose ends from their previous conversation on recycling, move on to talk about the idea of buying local to reduce one’s carbon footprint and then talk about the idea of peak…
Epstein on Property Rights, Zoning and Kelo
Sep 17, 2007 • 41 min
Richard Epstein, of the University of Chicago and Stanford’s Hoover Institution, makes the case that many current zoning restrictions are essentially “takings” and property owners should receive compensation for the lost value of their land. He also…
Cowen on Your Inner Economist
Sep 10, 2007 • 58 min
Tyler Cowen, of George Mason University, talks about his new book, Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist. Cowen, legendary blogger at MarginalRevolution.com, talks with EconTalk…
George Shultz on Economics, Human Rights and the Fall of the Soviet Union
Sep 3, 2007 • 35 min
George Shultz, the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of economics in his career, the tension between morality…
Romer on Growth
Aug 27, 2007 • 77 min
Paul Romer, Stanford University professor and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about growth, China, innovation, and the role of human capital. Also discussed are ideas in creating growth, the idea that ideas allow for…
Gordon on Ants, Humans, the Division of Labor and Emergent Order
Aug 21, 2007 • 66 min
Deborah M. Gordon, Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford University, is an authority on ants and order that emerges without control or centralized authority. The conversation begins with what might be called the economics of ant colonies, how they…
Weingast on Violence, Power and a Theory of Nearly Everything
Aug 13, 2007 • 65 min
Barry Weingast, Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University, talks about the ideas in his forthcoming book with Doug North and John Wallis,…
Hanushek on Educational Quality and Economic Growth
Aug 6, 2007 • 63 min
Eric Hanushek, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, talks about his research on the impact of educational quality on economic growth. Past efforts to increase the economic growth rate of poor countries have focused on years of schooling, neglecting…
Henderson on Disagreeable Economists
Jul 30, 2007 • 60 min
David Henderson, editor of the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics and a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about when and why economists disagree. Harry Truman longed for a one-armed economist, one…
Bueno de Mesquita on Reagan, Yeltsin, and the Strategy of Political Campaigning
Jul 23, 2007 • 67 min
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, NYU and the Hoover Institute, talks about the political economy of political campaigns and his forthcoming book, The Strategy of Campaigning: Lessons from Ronald Reagan and Boris Yeltsin. He talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts…
Ticket Prices and Scalping
Jul 16, 2007 • 40 min
EconTalk host Russ Roberts talks about scalping and visits AT&T Park hours before Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game to talk with a scalper, a merchandiser, a fan, and the police about prices, tickets, baseball and the law.
Leamer on Outsourcing and Globalization
Jul 9, 2007 • 65 min
Is outsourcing good for America? How does foreign competition affect wages in the United States? Ed Leamer, professor of economics at UCLA, talks about the effects of outsourcing on wages, jobs, and the U.S. standard of living. Drawing on a review of…
Munger on Recycling
Jul 2, 2007 • 62 min
Mike Munger, professor of economics and political science at Duke University and frequent guest of EconTalk, talks with host Russ Roberts about the economics and politics of recycling. Munger argues that recycling can save resources, of course, but it can…
Caplan on the Myth of the Rational Voter
Jun 25, 2007 • 81 min
Bryan Caplan, of George Mason University and blogger at EconLog, talks about his book, The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. Caplan argues that democracies work well in giving voters what they want but unfortunately, what…
Weinberger on Everything is Miscellaneous and the Wonderful World of Digital Information
Jun 18, 2007 • 74 min
Author David Weinberger, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Institute for Internet and Society, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his latest book, Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. Topics include the…
Dan Pink on How Half Your Brain Can Save Your Job
Jun 11, 2007 • 67 min
Author Dan Pink, talks about the ideas in his book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. He argues that the skills of the right side of the brain—skills such as creativity, empathy, contextual thinking and big picture thinking—are…
Shlaes on the Great Depression
Jun 4, 2007 • 65 min
Amity Shlaes, Bloomberg columnist and visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, talks about her new book, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. She and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss Herbert Hoover, Franklin…
Hanson on Health
May 28, 2007 • 72 min
Robin Hanson, of George Mason University, argues that health care is different, but not in the usual ways people claim. He describes a set of paradoxical empirical findings in the study of health care and tries to explain these paradoxes in a unified way.…
Vernon Smith on Markets and Experimental Economics
May 21, 2007 • 66 min
Vernon Smith, Professor of Economics at George Mason University and the 2002 Nobel Laureate in Economics, talks about experimental economics, markets, risk, behavioral economics and the evolution of his career.
Sunstein on Infotopia, Information and Decision-Making
May 14, 2007 • 65 min
Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago talks about the ideas in his latest book, Infotopia. What are the best ways to get the information needed to make wise decisions when that information is spread out among an organization’s members or a society’s…
Allison on Strategy, Profits, and Self-Interest
May 7, 2007 • 57 min
John Allison, CEO of BB and T Bank, lays out his business philosophy arguing for the virtues of profits, self-interest and production. His definition of justice, one of the core values of his firm, is that those who produce more, get more. He argues that…
Taleb on Black Swans
Apr 30, 2007 • 83 min
Nassim Taleb talks about the challenges of coping with uncertainty, predicting events, and understanding history. This wide-ranging conversation looks at investment, health, history and other areas where data play a key role. Taleb, the author of Fooled…
Rabushka on the Flat Tax
Apr 23, 2007 • 64 min
Alvin Rabushka of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution lays out the case for the flat tax, a reform of the current system that would replace the 66,000 page U.S. tax code with a single rate and no deductions other than personal exemptions. An…
Boudreaux on the Economics of “Buy Local”
Apr 16, 2007 • 55 min
Proponents of buying local argue that it is better to buy from the local hardware store owner and nearby farmer than from the Big Box chain store or the grocery store headquartered out of town because the money from the purchase is more likely to “stay in…
Bogle on Investing
Apr 9, 2007 • 58 min
The legendary John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the index mutual fund, talks about the Great Depression, the riskiness of bond funds, how he created the Index 500 mutual fund—now the largest single mutual fund in the world—how the…
Mike Munger on the Division of Labor
Apr 2, 2007 • 61 min
Mike Munger of Duke University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts talk about specialization, the role of technology in aiding specialization and how the division of labor creates wealth.
Kevin Kelly on the Future of the Web and Everything Else
Mar 26, 2007 • 69 min
Author Kevin Kelly talks about the role of technology in our lives, the future of the web, how to time travel, the wisdom of the hive, the economics of reputation, the convergence of the biological and the mechanical, and his impact on the movies The…
David Leonhardt on the Media
Mar 19, 2007 • 57 min
David Leonhardt, of the New York Times talks with Russ Roberts about media bias, competition between old and new media, global warming, and the role of information as an incentive to provide better health care.
Cowen on Liberty, Art, Food and Everything Else in Between
Mar 12, 2007 • 55 min
Tyler Cowen, co-blogger (with Alex Tabarrok) at MarginalRevolution.com, talks about liberty, global warming, using the courts vs. regulation to protect people, the challenges of leading a country out of poverty, the political economy of cuisine, and a…
Easterbrook on the American Standard of Living
Mar 5, 2007 • 55 min
Author Gregg Easterbrook talks about the ideas in his latest book, The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. How has life changed in America over the last century? Is the average person getting ahead or are the rich taking all…
Viviana Zelizer on Money and Intimacy
Feb 26, 2007 • 54 min
Viviana Zelizer, Princeton University sociologist, talks about the ideas in her new book, The Purchase of Intimacy. Does money ruin intimacy? Does intimacy ruin our commercial transactions? Zelizer and host Russ Roberts have a lively conversation on the…
Richard Epstein on Property Rights and Drug Patents
Feb 19, 2007 • 66 min
Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks about property rights, drug patents, the FDA, and the ideas in his latest book, Overdose: How Excessive Government Regulation Stifles Pharmaceutical Innovation…
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on Democracies and Dictatorships
Feb 12, 2007 • 66 min
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita of NYU and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution talks about the incentives facing dictators and democratic leaders. Both have to face competition from rivals. Both try to please their constituents and cronies to stay in power.…
Lucas on Growth and Poverty
Feb 5, 2007 • 48 min
Bob Lucas, Nobel Laureate and professor of economics at the University of Chicago talks about wealth and poverty, what affects living standards around the world and over time, the causes of business cycles and the role of the money in our economy. Along…
Michael Lewis on the Hidden Economics of Baseball and Football
Jan 29, 2007 • 75 min
Michael Lewis talks about the economics of sports—the financial and decision-making side of baseball and football—using the insights from his bestselling books on baseball and football: Moneyball and The Blind Side. Along the way he discusses the…
Greg Mankiw on Gasoline Taxes, Keynes and Macroeconomics
Jan 22, 2007 • 60 min
Greg Mankiw of Harvard University and Greg Mankiw’s Blog talks about the state of modern macroeconomics and Keynes vs. the Chicago School. He defends his proposal to raise gasoline taxes and discusses the politics of tax policy.
Bruce Yandle on Bootleggers and Baptists
Jan 15, 2007 • 68 min
Bruce Yandle of Clemson University explains why politics makes such strange bedfellows and the often peculiar alliance of self-interested special interests with more altruistic motives. He uses his insights to explain some of the seemingly perverse but…
Munger on Price Gouging
Jan 8, 2007 • 60 min
Mike Munger of Duke University recounts the harrowing (and fascinating) experience of being in the path of a hurricane and the economic forces that were set in motion as a result. One of the most important is the import of urgent supplies when thousands…
Boettke on Katrina and the Economics of Disaster
Dec 18, 2006 • 75 min
Pete Boettke of George Mason University talks about the role of government and voluntary efforts in relieving suffering during and after a crisis such as Katrina. Drawing on field research he is directing into the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Boettke…
Boudreaux on Law and Legislation
Dec 11, 2006 • 73 min
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks about the fundamental principles of economics and civilization: spontaneous order and law. Drawing on volume one of Friedrich Hayek’s classic, Law, Legislation and Liberty, Boudreaux talks about the…
Caplan on Discrimination and Labor Markets
Dec 4, 2006 • 57 min
Bryan Caplan and Russ Roberts discuss the economics of discrimination and government’s regulation of labor markets. They talk about the role of the profit motive in reducing or eliminating discrimination and the role of government, particularly in…
Engerman on Slavery
Nov 27, 2006 • 70 min
Stanley Engerman of the University of Rochester talks about slavery throughout world history, the role it played (or didn’t play) in the Civil War and the incentives facing slaves and slave owners. This is a wide-ranging, fascinating conversation with the…
Postrel on Style
Nov 27, 2006 • 58 min
Author and journalist Virginia Postrel talks about how business competes for customers using style and beauty, going beyond price and the standard measures of quality. She looks at the role of appearance in our daily lives and the change from earlier…
Peltzman on Regulation
Nov 13, 2006 • 53 min
Sam Peltzman of the University of Chicago talks about his views on safety, regulation, unintended consequences and the political economy of bad regulation. The focus is on his pioneering studies of automobile safety and FDA pharmaceutical regulation and…
Richard Thaler on Libertarian Paternalism
Nov 6, 2006 • 62 min
Richard Thaler of the U. of Chicago Graduate School of Business defends the idea of libertarian paternalism—how government might use the insights of behavioral economics to help citizens make better choices. Host Russ Roberts accepts the premise that…
Clint Bolick Defends Judicial Activism
Oct 31, 2006 • 55 min
Clint Bolick, co-founder of the Institute for Justice and President of the Alliance for School Choice makes the case for judicial activism. He and Russ Roberts discuss school choice, interstate wine sales, the Kelo eminent domain case and the crucial role…
The Economics of Moneyball
Oct 23, 2006 • 61 min
Skip Sauer of Clemson University and Russ Roberts discuss the economics of Michael Lewis’s Moneyball. Lewis claims that the Oakland As found an undervalued asset—the ability of a baseball player to draw a walk—and used that insight to succeed while…
Walter Williams on Life, Liberty and Economics
Oct 16, 2006 • 63 min
Professor, Radio Host, and Syndicated Columnist Walter Williams of George Mason University talks with EconTalk’s Russ Roberts about his early days as an economist, his controversial view of the Civil War, the insights of Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek,…
The Economics of Religion
Oct 9, 2006 • 68 min
Larry Iannaccone of George Mason University talks with EconTalk’s Russ Roberts about the economics of religion. Iannaccone explains why Americans are more religious than Europeans, why Americans became more religious after the colonies became the United…
Private vs. Public Risk-Taking
Oct 3, 2006 • 51 min
Mike Munger and Russ Roberts discuss the differences between public and private risk-taking. Their conversation includes the history of Honda, the Apple computer and even the use of turkey carcasses as an energy source. They also try to understand why the…
The Economics of Obesity
Sep 25, 2006 • 46 min
Russ Roberts talks with Darius Lakdawalla of Rand and the National Bureau of Economic Research on the economics of obesity, how much fatter are Americans and why. How much is due to the spread of fast food vs. the falling price of food and the change in…
The Economics of Paternalism
Sep 18, 2006 • 43 min
Economist Ed Glaeser of Harvard University talks with host Russ Roberts about the dangers of soft paternalism—various forms of government regulation that fall short of outright bans or taxes but that are meant to correct alleged flaws in the choices we…
Legislators vs. Wal-Mart
Sep 11, 2006 • 44 min
Russ Roberts and Richard Epstein discuss the attempts to use legislation to handicap Wal-Mart. They also discuss the evolution of the union movement and the constitutionality of various legislative attacks on Wal-Mart.
Friedman on Capitalism and Freedom
Sep 4, 2006 • 43 min
Russ Roberts talks to Milton Friedman about the radical ideas he put forward almost 50 years ago in Capitalism and Freedom. Listen to the most influential economist of the past 50 years discuss the principles of liberty, social responsibility of business,…
Milton Friedman on Money
Aug 28, 2006 • 26 min
Russ Roberts talks with Milton Friedman about his research and views on inflation, the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, and what the future holds.
The Political Economy of Power
Aug 14, 2006 • 88 min
Russ Roberts talks with Hoover Institution and NYU political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita about his theory of political power—how dictators and democratically elected leaders respond to the political forces that keep them in office. This lengthy and…
Chris Anderson and the Long Tail
Aug 7, 2006 • 52 min
Russ Roberts talks with Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine about the ideas in his new book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Topics include the weird world of internet distribution and production, how the Sears catalog of…
Cogan on Improving the Health Care System
Jul 31, 2006 • 52 min
Russ Roberts talks with Stanford University’s John Cogan about what’s wrong with America’s health care system and how to make it right.
Making Schools Better: A Conversation with Rick Hanushek
Jul 24, 2006 • 34 min
Russ Roberts and Rick Hanushek, of Stanford University, talk about why the standard reforms such as more spending or better educated teachers have failed and what needs to be done in the future.
Barro on Growth
Jul 17, 2006 • 47 min
Russ Roberts interviews Robert Barro, Harvard University Professor and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, on the economics of growth, what the developed world can do to help poor people around the world, and the role of US assets and the dollar in world…
An Interview with Gary Becker
Jul 10, 2006 • 29 min
Russ Roberts interviews Gary Becker, of the University of Chicago, on the challenges of being an intellectual maverick, the economic approach to human behavior, the influences of Adam Smith and Alfred Marshall on Becker’s work and Becker’s optimism for…
Giving Away Money: An Economist’s Guide to Political Life
Jun 23, 2006 • 28 min
Mike Munger, of Duke University, and Russ Roberts talk about the economics of politics, rent-seeking, lobbying and the sometimes perverse incentives of the political world.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder: Mental Illness or Made-Up Malady?
Jun 16, 2006 • 24 min
Russ Roberts looks at the economics and science of intermittent explosive disorder—violent rage out of proportion to its cause. Was the recent study that discovered this problem good science or unreliable? Was the media coverage of the study accurate? How…
The Economics of Organ Donation
Jun 5, 2006 • 39 min
Richard Epstein, law professor at the University of Chicago, and Russ Roberts discuss the market for kidneys. Should people be allowed to buy and sell kidneys? How might a market for kidneys actually work in practice? Should mercenary motives be allowed…
The Economics of Medical Malpractice
May 30, 2006 • 39 min
Alex Tabarrok of George Mason U. and Russ Roberts talk about medical malpractice, why insurance premiums vary by state, price gouging by insurance companies, the politics of being a judge and an idea for a new TV show using a tried-and-true formula, the…
The Economics of Inheritance
May 10, 2006 • 39 min
Don Cox of Boston College and Russ Roberts discuss the economics of inheritance, estates and the family. They look at how parents divide their time and money between their children and our concerns for what people think of us after we are gone.
The Economics of Sports
Apr 18, 2006 • 39 min
Skip Sauer of Clemson University and Russ Roberts talk about the economic impact of sports stadiums, how to create incentives in baseball, football and soccer, and the virtues and failings of socialism in sports.
Ticket Scalping and Opportunity Cost
Apr 10, 2006 • 29 min
Michael Munger of Duke University talks with Russ Roberts about the economics of ticket scalping, examining our reactions to free and found goods, gifts, e-Bay, value in use vs. value in exchange, and opportunity costs.
The Economics of Parenting
Mar 16, 2006 • 34 min
Don Cox of Boston College talks with Russ Roberts about how creating incentives can ease daily life with toddlers and young children.