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59 minutes | 7 days ago
Gary Shiffman on the Economics of Violence
Economist and author Gary Shiffman of Georgetown University talks about his book, The Economics of Violence, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Shiffman argues that we should view terrorism, insurgency, and crime as being less about ideology and more about personal expression and entrepreneurship. He argues that approaching these problems as economists gives us better tools for fighting them.
76 minutes | 14 days ago
Don Boudreaux on Buchanan
Economist and author Don Boudreaux of George Mason University discusses the life and work of the economist James Buchanan with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Buchanan received the Nobel Prize in 1986 for his work creating and developing public choice--the field which applies the tools of economics to politicians and political behavior. After discussing the importance of public choice, Boudreaux and Roberts focus on two contrarian articles of Buchanan's where he argues for the importance of markets and life as processes rather than problems to be solved analytically.
75 minutes | 21 days ago
Matthew Crawford on Why We Drive
Author Matthew Crawford talks about his book Why We Drive with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The conversation is about driving but also much more: how human beings interact with technology and what we gain and give up when we embrace technology driven by corporate profit-seeking.
75 minutes | a month ago
Michael Blastland on the Hidden Half
Author Michael Blastland talks about his book The Hidden Half with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Blastland argues that the deeper you delve into science, medicine, astrophysics--pick a topic--the more you realize there is a lot we don't understand. Things we can't explain. Blastland believes we would all do well to admit that and stop pretending that everything is knowable and every problem solvable.
81 minutes | a month ago
Jay Bhattacharya on the Pandemic
Economist and physician Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University talks about the pandemic with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Bhattacharya, along with Sunetra Gupta of the University of Oxford and Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University, authored The Great Barrington Declaration, which advocates a very different approach to fighting the pandemic than current policy and practice. Bhattacharya and his colleagues argue the best way to reduce overall harm is to focus protection efforts on those most at risk, while allowing low-risk populations to return to a more normal way of life. Bhattacharya argues that we have greatly neglected the costs of lockdown and self-quarantine.
63 minutes | a month ago
Katherine Levine Einstein on Neighborhood Defenders
Why is affordable housing in such short supply? Author and political scientist Katherine Levine Einstein of Boston University talks about her book Neighborhood Defenders with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Einstein focuses on the ability of local residents to use the zoning and permit process to prevent development of housing or to reduce the amount of housing that can be built.
83 minutes | 2 months ago
Branko Milanovic on the Big Questions of Economics
Author and economist Branko Milanovic of CUNY talks about the big questions in economics with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Milanovic argues that the Nobel Prize Committee is missing an opportunity to encourage more ambitious work by awarding the prize to economists tackling questions like the rise of China's economy and other challenging but crucial areas of scholarship. In the conversation, he lays out what those questions might be and discusses what we know and don't know in these areas.
64 minutes | 2 months ago
Emily Oster on the Pandemic
Economist and author Emily Oster of Brown University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenge of reopening schools in a pandemic. Oster has been collecting data from K-12 schools around the country. Her preliminary analysis finds little evidence that schools are super-spreaders of COVID. She argues that closing schools comes at a high cost for the students with little benefit in reducing the spread of the disease. The conversation ends with a discussion of parenting.
84 minutes | 2 months ago
Daniel Haybron on Happiness
Philosopher and author Daniel Haybron of St. Louis University talks about his book, Happiness, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Happiness turns out to be a little more complicated than it sounds. Haybron discusses the good life and different philosophical perspectives on how to achieve happiness.
67 minutes | 2 months ago
Virginia Postrel on Textiles and the Fabric of Civilization
Author and journalist Virginia Postrel talks about her book The Fabric of Civilization and How Textiles Made the World with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Postrel tells the fascinating story behind the clothes we wear and everything that goes into producing them throughout history. The history of textiles, Postrel argues, is a good way of understanding the history of the world.
94 minutes | 3 months ago
Steven Levitt on Freakonomics and the State of Economics
Author and economist Steven Levitt is the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and host of the podcast "People I (Mostly) Admire." He is best known as the co-author, with Stephen Dubner, of Freakonomics. The book, published in 2005, became a phenomenon, selling more than 5 million copies in 40 languages. Levitt talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book's surprising success, the controversy it generated, and how it shaped his career. Levitt says, for him, "economics is about going into the world and finding puzzles and thinking about how understanding incentives or markets might help us get a better grasp of what's really going on."
107 minutes | 3 months ago
Rob Wiblin and Russ Roberts on Charity, Science, and Utilitarianism
Rob Wiblin, host of the 80,000 Hours podcast, interviews EconTalk host Russ Roberts about charity, the reliability of data to inform decision-making, and utilitarianism.
77 minutes | 3 months ago
Fredrik deBoer on the Cult of Smart
Author and journalist Fredrik deBoer discusses his book The Cult of Smart with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. DeBoer argues that there is little that can be done to change the distribution of success in K-12 education. He argues that educational reforms like charter schools and No Child Left Behind are doomed to failure. At the end of the conversation, deBoer, a self-described Marxist, makes the case for a radical re-imagining of the U.S. economy.
93 minutes | 3 months ago
Dwayne Betts on Reading, Prison, and the Million Book Project
Author, lawyer, and poet Dwayne Betts talks about his time in prison and the power of reading with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Betts is the founder of the Million Book Project, which aims to put a small library of great books in 1,000 U.S. prisons. Betts discusses his plans for the project and how reading helped him transform himself.
60 minutes | 3 months ago
Anne Applebaum on the Twilight of Democracy
Journalist and author Anne Applebaum talks about her book, Twilight of Democracy, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Applebaum discusses the rise of populist and nationalist movements in Eastern Europe as well as in the West, and the appeal of these movements even when they begin to erode or destroy democracy.
90 minutes | 4 months ago
Zena Hitz on Lost in Thought
Philosopher and author Zena Hitz of St. John's College talks about her book, Lost in Thought, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hitz defends learning for its own sake--learning that has nothing to do with passing an exam or preparing for a career. For Hitz, learning is a refuge and an essential part of what makes us human.
84 minutes | 4 months ago
Agnes Callard on Aspiration
Where do our deepest personal values come from? Can we choose those values? Philosopher and author Agnes Callard of the University of Chicago talks about her book, Aspiration, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Callard explores the challenge of aspiration--who we are versus who we would like to become. How does aspiration work? How can we transform ourselves when we cannot know how it will feel to be transformed? Callard discusses these questions and more in this provocative episode.
69 minutes | 4 months ago
Lisa Cook on Racism, Patents, and Black Entrepreneurship
How much has racism held back the U.S. economy? What would the country look like today if Black entrepreneurs and inventors had been welcomed and encouraged over the past century and a half? Economist Lisa Cook of Michigan State University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her research into the impact of racism, lynching, and segregation on Black inventors and entrepreneurs.
65 minutes | 4 months ago
Robert Chitester on Milton Friedman and Free to Choose
Once upon a time, a man had an idea for a documentary on free-market ideas. Then that man was introduced to Milton Friedman. The result of their collaboration was a wildly successful book and PBS series, Free to Choose, capturing Friedman's view of the world, how markets work, and the role of individual liberty in free-market economies. The man behind that documentary, Robert Chitester, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how that documentary came about and Chitester's long-time friendship and work with Milton and Rose Friedman.
64 minutes | 5 months ago
Margaret Heffernan on Uncharted
How do we prepare for a future that is unpredictable? That's the question at the heart of Margaret Heffernan's new book, Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future. Heffernan is a professor at the University of Bath, but she is also a serial entrepreneur, a former CEO, and the author of five books on leadership, innovation, and the challenge of unleashing talent and creativity in large organizations. In this wide-ranging conversation with EconTalk host Russ Roberts, Heffernan discusses the central thesis of her book: The future may be unpredictable, but that doesn't mean you can't prepare for it. And smart organizations and people can learn how to do it.
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