EconTalk

EconTalk

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Economics Brought to Life, Library of Economics and Liberty


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…