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EconTalk Archives, 2008

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Education
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Science
Social Sciences
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EconTalk is an award-winning weekly talk show about economics in daily life. Featured guests include renowned economics professors, Nobel Prize winners, and exciting speakers on all kinds of topical matters related to economic thought. Topics include health care, business cycles, economic growth, free trade, education, finance, politics, sports, book reviews, parenting, and the curiosities of everyday decision-making. Russ Roberts, of the Library of Economics and Liberty and George Mason U., draws you in with lively guests and creative repartee. Look for related readings and the complete archive of previous shows at EconTalk.org, where you can also comment on the podcasts and ask questions.

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EconTalk is an award-winning weekly talk show about economics in daily life. Featured guests include renowned economics professors, Nobel Prize winners, and exciting speakers on all kinds of topical matters related to economic thought. Topics include health care, business cycles, economic growth, free trade, education, finance, politics, sports, book reviews, parenting, and the curiosities of everyday decision-making. Russ Roberts, of the Library of Economics and Liberty and George Mason U., draws you in with lively guests and creative repartee. Look for related readings and the complete archive of previous shows at EconTalk.org, where you can also comment on the podcasts and ask questions.

iTunes Ratings

17 Ratings
Average Ratings
16
1
0
0
0

Excellent Podcast

By c48gold - Jul 25 2010
Read more
Very timely, interesting and educational. I have found the podcasts to be very helpful in my work. Listen to them often. The moderator does a great job moving the conversation along and asking the right questions.

iTunes Ratings

17 Ratings
Average Ratings
16
1
0
0
0

Excellent Podcast

By c48gold - Jul 25 2010
Read more
Very timely, interesting and educational. I have found the podcasts to be very helpful in my work. Listen to them often. The moderator does a great job moving the conversation along and asking the right questions.
Cover image of EconTalk Archives, 2008

EconTalk Archives, 2008

Latest release on Dec 22, 2008

Read more

EconTalk is an award-winning weekly talk show about economics in daily life. Featured guests include renowned economics professors, Nobel Prize winners, and exciting speakers on all kinds of topical matters related to economic thought. Topics include health care, business cycles, economic growth, free trade, education, finance, politics, sports, book reviews, parenting, and the curiosities of everyday decision-making. Russ Roberts, of the Library of Economics and Liberty and George Mason U., draws you in with lively guests and creative repartee. Look for related readings and the complete archive of previous shows at EconTalk.org, where you can also comment on the podcasts and ask questions.

Rank #1: Shiller on Housing and Bubbles

Podcast cover
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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 economic fundamentals. He also discusses the genesis of the Case-Shiller housing price index and his idea for how it might be used to reduce risk in the mortgage market. Note: This podcast was recorded on September 5, 2008, days before Secretary of the Treasury Paulson put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship.

Sep 15 2008

1hr

Play

Rank #2: Kling on Freddie and Fannie and the Recent History of the U.S. Housing Market

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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.

Sep 29 2008

1hr 37mins

Play

Rank #3: Kling on Credit Default Swaps, Counterparty Risk, and the Political Economy of Financial Regulation

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Read more
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 on to their role in the financial collapse. The conversation closes with a discussion of the political economy of pending financial regulation.

Nov 10 2008

1hr 3mins

Play

Rank #4: Bernstein on the History of Trade

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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 Jews ended up in Manhattan, the real political economy of the Boston Tea Party and the demise of the Corn Laws in England. The discussion closes with the political economy of trade today and the interaction between trade and income inequality.

Apr 28 2008

1hr 10mins

Play

Rank #5: Munger on Subsidies and Externalities

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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 experience as a farmer to help listeners understand the pros and cons of using government-funded payments to encourage various activities deemed to be worth encouraging.

Mar 24 2008

1hr 2mins

Play

Rank #6: Nye on Wine, War and Trade

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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 trading wool for Portuguese wine is bizarre. Nye turns the traditional story on its head--he argues that France was more of a free trader than Britain and that the repeal of the Corn Laws was not the dividing line between Britain's protectionist past and free trade future. At the end of the discussion, Nye emphasizes the importance of domestic free trade for economic growth.

May 05 2008

1hr 4mins

Play

Rank #7: Karol Boudreaux on Wildlife, Property, and Poverty in Africa

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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 give communities the incentives to protect wildlife and avoid the tragedy of the commons.

Sep 22 2008

57mins

Play

Rank #8: Roberts on the Least Pleasant Jobs

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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 capitalism is a zero sum game where to get ahead, someone has to fall back. He also looks at the evolution of the least pleasant jobs over time and how technology interacts with rising productivity to make the least pleasant jobs more pleasant.

Apr 21 2008

1hr 3mins

Play

Rank #9: Richard Epstein on Happiness, Inequality, and Envy

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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 to explain some of the findings of the happiness literature.

Nov 03 2008

56mins

Play

Rank #10: Vernon Smith on Rationality in Economics

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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 exchange, the robust nature of equilibrium in experiments and the real world, the seeming contradiction between Adam Smith's two great works, the unpredictability of how innovation emerges and its rationality, what neuroscience might tell us about economic decision-making, and the challenges of small-group intimate exchange and our interactions with strangers in the extended order of the marketplace.

Mar 03 2008

1hr 1min

Play

Rank #11: Coyne on Exporting Democracy after War

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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 America's attempts to export democracy after a war. In some cases, Japan and Germany, for example, after World War II, American efforts have led to stability and democratic institutions. In many other cases, Cuba, Somalia, and Haiti, for example, and so far, Iraq, American efforts have failed, often repeatedly and have sometimes made things worse. Coyne tries to identify factors that lead to an improved likelihood of success or failure. Ultimately, he concludes that a non-interventionist posture accompanied by unilateral free trade is more likely to benefit citizens under repressive governments.

Apr 07 2008

1hr 19mins

Play

Rank #12: Marglin on Markets and Community

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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 undermine the connections between us. He wants people to pay more attention to what is lost and not just what is gained by the pursuit of material well-being. Topics discussed include the nature of community, the role that voluntary associations play in our lives, the costs and benefits of mobility, the role of insurance in reducing our dependence on each other, and the nature of knowledge.

Mar 10 2008

1hr 5mins

Play

Rank #13: Coyle on the Soulful Science

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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 have yet to learn about why some nations grow faster than others and some don't grow at all. Subsequent topics include happiness research, the politics and economics of inequality, the role of math in economics, and policy areas where economics has made the greatest contribution.

Apr 14 2008

1hr 4mins

Play

Rank #14: Munger on Middlemen

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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 about how prices emerged in a POW camp during World War II. Munger then applies the analysis to the financial crisis.

Oct 27 2008

1hr 12mins

Play

Rank #15: Patri Friedman on Seasteading

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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 political and economic viability of seasteading, risks of piracy, the aesthetics of living on the ocean, and the potential impact of seasteading on conventional governments.

Oct 13 2008

48mins

Play

Rank #16: Selgin on Free Banking

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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 with regulation), banks would compete with each other in offering security and return on deposits. Selgin draws on historical episodes of free banking, particularly in Scotland, to show that such a world need not be unduly hazardous or filled with bank runs. He also talks about Gresham's Law and an episode in British history when banks successfully issued their own currency.

Nov 17 2008

1hr 13mins

Play

Rank #17: Shirky on Coase, Collaboration and Here Comes Everybody

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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 firm, the power of sharing information on the internet, the economics of altruism, and the creation of Wikipedia.

Oct 20 2008

1hr 5mins

Play

Rank #18: Bernstein on Inequality

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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 of the economy. Roberts challenges Bernstein's empirical evidence. It's a lively conversation on the economics of status, productivity and the progressivity of taxes.

Oct 06 2008

56mins

Play

Rank #19: McCloskey on Capitalism and the Bourgeois Virtues

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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, whether people were nicer in the Middle Ages, and the role of prudence and love.

Mar 31 2008

59mins

Play

Rank #20: Cowen on Monetary Policy

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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 than return.

Mar 17 2008

1hr 8mins

Play

Srour on Education, African Schools, and Building Tomorrow

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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 discusses how he tries to make sure that his organization accomplishes more than bricks and mortar and the rewards and challenges of a start-up non-profit.

Dec 22 2008

55mins

Play

Higgs on the Great Depression

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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 1930s, Higgs argues that New Deal policies created a climate of uncertainty that prolonged the Great Depression. Using consumption data, he argues that prosperity did not return during wartime, but rather after the war when government intervention in the economy subsided.

Dec 15 2008

1hr 7mins

Play

Lipstein on Hospitals

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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 modern medical care, and culture and governance of non-profit hospitals vs. for-profit hospitals. At the end they talk about the positives and negatives of a national health board patterned after the Federal Reserve.

Dec 08 2008

1hr 5mins

Play

Rauchway on the Great Depresson and the New Deal

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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, and the New Deal. They discuss which policies remained after the recovery and what we might learn today from the policies of the past.

Dec 01 2008

1hr 3mins

Play

Hazlett on Telecommunications

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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 emergent, Hayekian approach to policy toward the internet rather than trying to design it from the top down and for an increased use of exchangeable property rights in allocating spectrum.

Nov 24 2008

1hr 3mins

Play

Selgin on Free Banking

Podcast cover
Read more
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 with regulation), banks would compete with each other in offering security and return on deposits. Selgin draws on historical episodes of free banking, particularly in Scotland, to show that such a world need not be unduly hazardous or filled with bank runs. He also talks about Gresham's Law and an episode in British history when banks successfully issued their own currency.

Nov 17 2008

1hr 13mins

Play

Kling on Credit Default Swaps, Counterparty Risk, and the Political Economy of Financial Regulation

Podcast cover
Read more
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 on to their role in the financial collapse. The conversation closes with a discussion of the political economy of pending financial regulation.

Nov 10 2008

1hr 3mins

Play

Richard Epstein on Happiness, Inequality, and Envy

Podcast cover
Read more
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 to explain some of the findings of the happiness literature.

Nov 03 2008

56mins

Play

Munger on Middlemen

Podcast cover
Read more
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 about how prices emerged in a POW camp during World War II. Munger then applies the analysis to the financial crisis.

Oct 27 2008

1hr 12mins

Play

Shirky on Coase, Collaboration and Here Comes Everybody

Podcast cover
Read more
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 firm, the power of sharing information on the internet, the economics of altruism, and the creation of Wikipedia.

Oct 20 2008

1hr 5mins

Play

Patri Friedman on Seasteading

Podcast cover
Read more
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 political and economic viability of seasteading, risks of piracy, the aesthetics of living on the ocean, and the potential impact of seasteading on conventional governments.

Oct 13 2008

48mins

Play

Bernstein on Inequality

Podcast cover
Read more
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 of the economy. Roberts challenges Bernstein's empirical evidence. It's a lively conversation on the economics of status, productivity and the progressivity of taxes.

Oct 06 2008

56mins

Play

Kling on Freddie and Fannie and the Recent History of the U.S. Housing Market

Podcast cover
Read more
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.

Sep 29 2008

1hr 37mins

Play

Karol Boudreaux on Wildlife, Property, and Poverty in Africa

Podcast cover
Read more
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 give communities the incentives to protect wildlife and avoid the tragedy of the commons.

Sep 22 2008

57mins

Play

Shiller on Housing and Bubbles

Podcast cover
Read more
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 economic fundamentals. He also discusses the genesis of the Case-Shiller housing price index and his idea for how it might be used to reduce risk in the mortgage market. Note: This podcast was recorded on September 5, 2008, days before Secretary of the Treasury Paulson put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship.

Sep 15 2008

1hr

Play

Ellis on American Creation and the Founding

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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 Founders are neither saints nor evil white, patriarchal slave-holding demons. It is a nuanced story of triumph--a military victory over a seemingly unbeatable vastly more experienced army, the creation of the first geographically large republic, a nation without a state religion, a nation that creates a party system with a loyal opposition, a Constitution with the virtues of ambiguous sovereignty, and tragedy--the failure to resolve the slavery issue, and the tragic conflict with the Native Americans. Some of these outcomes were intended by the Founders, others emerged unintended.

Sep 08 2008

1hr 7mins

Play

Rauch on the Volt, Risk, and Corporate Culture

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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 time on site at GM writing a piece for the Atlantic Monthly on GM's plans and hopes. Rauch discusses the huge risks, GM's past failures, and GM's hopes that the Volt might change the company's culture. The conversation closes with a discussion of competitors and the implications for energy policy.

Sep 01 2008

58mins

Play

Roberts on the Price of Everything

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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 order, and the hidden harmony of the economic cosmos. Along the way, Roberts talks about novels vs. textbooks and other traditional treatments of economic reasoning.

Aug 25 2008

1hr 3mins

Play

John Taylor on Monetary Policy

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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 Rule in recent years, the economy has performed poorly. Taylor also assesses the chances for a monetary or financial disaster and the Fed's recent expanded role in intervening in financial markets.

Aug 18 2008

54mins

Play

Bueno de Mesquita on Iran and Threats to U.S. Security

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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. He then looks at what Iran has to gain and to lose by appearing to build a nuclear weapons program and actually using a nuclear weapon. He then goes on to examine the nature of other threats to the United States. The closing topic of the conversation is the peculiar incentives facing U.S. Presidents as their terms expire.

Aug 11 2008

1hr 1min

Play

iTunes Ratings

17 Ratings
Average Ratings
16
1
0
0
0

Excellent Podcast

By c48gold - Jul 25 2010
Read more
Very timely, interesting and educational. I have found the podcasts to be very helpful in my work. Listen to them often. The moderator does a great job moving the conversation along and asking the right questions.