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EconTalk Archives, 2006

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, free trade, economic growth, 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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Friedman on Capitalism and Freedom

Russ Roberts talks to Milton Friedman about the radical ideas he put forward almost 50 years ago in Capitalism and Freedom. Listen to the most influential economist of the past 50 years discuss the principles of liberty, social responsibility of business, the inertia behind bad legislation and his career as economist and public intellectual.

43mins

4 Sep 2006

Rank #1

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Milton Friedman on Money

Russ Roberts talks with Milton Friedman about his research and views on inflation, the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, and what the future holds.

26mins

28 Aug 2006

Rank #2

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Richard Thaler on Libertarian Paternalism

Richard Thaler of the U. of Chicago Graduate School of Business defends the idea of libertarian paternalism--how government might use the insights of behavioral economics to help citizens make better choices. Host Russ Roberts accepts the premise that individuals make imperfect choices but challenges Thaler on the likelihood that government, in practice, will improve matters. Along the way they discuss the design of Sweden's social security system, organ donations and whether professors at Cornell University are more or less like you and me.

1hr 2mins

6 Nov 2006

Rank #3

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Walter Williams on Life, Liberty and Economics

Professor, Radio Host, and Syndicated Columnist Walter Williams of George Mason University talks with EconTalk's Russ Roberts about his early days as an economist, his controversial view of the Civil War, the insights of Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek, and some deep but simple economic principles.

1hr 3mins

16 Oct 2006

Rank #4

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The Economics of Medical Malpractice

Alex Tabarrok of George Mason U. and Russ Roberts talk about medical malpractice, why insurance premiums vary by state, price gouging by insurance companies, the politics of being a judge and an idea for a new TV show using a tried-and-true formula, the American Victim.

39mins

30 May 2006

Rank #5

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The Economics of Inheritance

Don Cox of Boston College and Russ Roberts discuss the economics of inheritance, estates and the family. They look at how parents divide their time and money between their children and our concerns for what people think of us after we are gone.

39mins

4 May 2006

Rank #6

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The Economics of Sports

Skip Sauer of Clemson University and Russ Roberts talk about the economic impact of sports stadiums, how to create incentives in baseball, football and soccer, and the virtues and failings of socialism in sports.

39mins

18 Apr 2006

Rank #7

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Giving Away Money: An Economist's Guide to Political Life

Mike Munger, of Duke University, and Russ Roberts talk about the economics of politics, rent-seeking, lobbying and the sometimes perverse incentives of the political world.

28mins

23 Jun 2006

Rank #8

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The Political Economy of Power

Russ Roberts talks with Hoover Institution and NYU political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita about his theory of political power--how dictators and democratically elected leaders respond to the political forces that keep them in office. This lengthy and intense conversation covers a wide range of topics including the evil political genius of Lenin, the dark side of US foreign aid, the sinister machinations of King Leopold of Belgium, the natural resource curse, the British monarchy in the 11th century, term limits and the inevitable failure of the standard methods of fighting world poverty.

1hr 28mins

14 Aug 2006

Rank #9

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The Economics of Organ Donation

Richard Epstein, law professor at the University of Chicago, and Russ Roberts discuss the market for kidneys. Should people be allowed to buy and sell kidneys? How might a market for kidneys actually work in practice? Should mercenary motives be allowed to trump altruism? Epstein deals with these questions and more.

39mins

5 Jun 2006

Rank #10

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An Interview with Gary Becker

Russ Roberts interviews Gary Becker, of the University of Chicago, on the challenges of being an intellectual maverick, the economic approach to human behavior, the influences of Adam Smith and Alfred Marshall on Becker's work and Becker's optimism for the future of economics.

29mins

10 Jul 2006

Rank #11

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The Economics of Religion

Larry Iannaccone of George Mason University talks with EconTalk's Russ Roberts about the economics of religion. Iannaccone explains why Americans are more religious than Europeans, why Americans became more religious after the colonies became the United States and why it can be rational and rewarding to make religious sacrifices. Join us for a fascinating exploration of the human side of religion.

1hr 8mins

9 Oct 2006

Rank #12

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The Economics of Obesity

Russ Roberts talks with Darius Lakdawalla of Rand and the National Bureau of Economic Research on the economics of obesity, how much fatter are Americans and why. How much is due to the spread of fast food vs. the falling price of food and the change in the U.S. workplace?

46mins

25 Sep 2006

Rank #13

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Private vs. Public Risk-Taking

Mike Munger and Russ Roberts discuss the differences between public and private risk-taking. Their conversation includes the history of Honda, the Apple computer and even the use of turkey carcasses as an energy source. They also try to understand why the public is skeptical of good new ideas but often embraces bad new ideas.

51mins

3 Oct 2006

Rank #14

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The Economics of Paternalism

Economist Ed Glaeser of Harvard University talks with host Russ Roberts about the dangers of soft paternalism--various forms of government regulation that fall short of outright bans or taxes but that are meant to correct alleged flaws in the choices we make. Glaeser argues that while individuals do inevitably make mistakes, so do politicians, and the concentration of power in the hands of the few makes government "benevolence" particularly dangerous.

43mins

18 Sep 2006

Rank #15