Russ Roberts

September 2015

A Monthly Archive (10 entries)
 

Amber Waves of Grain

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

If you've started playing a drinking game for every time EconTalk host RussRoberts has said the word "prairie" in recent episodes, this week's conversation with Pete Geddes of the American Prairie Reserve is sure to top your favorites list!

What are your thoughts on this attempt to re-create a prairie? Please respond to the prompts below. As always, we love to hear from you.

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1. The role of incentives in conservation is a dominant theme throughout the conversation, and Geddes notes early on that part of his objective is to "flip" the incentives of the ranchers surrounding the reserve. What do you think of his proposals for doing so? What additional incentive modifications would you suggest?

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CATEGORIES: Environment , Extras



Podcast episode Pete Geddes on the American Prairie Reserve

EconTalk Episode with Pete Geddes
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Dollarphotoclub_68878163.jpg 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 the American Prairie Reserve talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about creating the Serengeti of the Americas--a 3.3 million acre prairie that would allow bison, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs and their friends to inhabit a Wildlife Reserve in Montana, the size of Connecticut. Geddes discusses the goals of the American Prairie Reserve and how they're using a for-profit company, Wild Sky Beef, to gather support and help from local ranchers for the project.

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Being Wrong

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

Journalist Kathryn Schulz, in Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, describes how very uncomfortable, and indeed how very difficult it is for we humans to be wrong. (You can watch Schulz' TED talk on being wrong here.) Indeed, she argues, we revel in being right. Further, we generally associate being wrong with being ignorant, indolent, morally degenerate, etc. But, says Schulz, we make a "meta-mistake;" we are wrong about being wrong. She writes, "Far from being a sign of intellectual inferiority, the capacity to err is crucial to human cognition. Far from being a moral flaw, it is inextricable from some of our most humane and honorable qualities: empathy, optimism, imagination, conviction, and courage." Why, them is admitting we were wrong so hard?

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A remarkable part of this week's EconTalk episode was when one such moment came to light. Tina Rosenberg described how, over the course of her research on the Iranian kidney market, she changed her mind. Prior to this project, she says she held two assumptions that she no longer holds. She says, "And one of them is that paying donors is necessarily exploitative. And the second one is: There are serious moral and ethical reasons not to pay donors. I no longer believe either of those things." Our hats are off to Rosenberg; such an admission takes courage.

But what we're interested here are examples from your own experience. Have you ever experienced a change in a belief you held very strongly? What was it? And more importantly, what precipitated the change? We'd like to hear about your experience. It could become a future EconTalk Extra, or perhaps even part of an episode. Please share your story with us via email at econlib@libertyfund.org by noon EST on Monday, September 28. Thanks in advance, and we look forward to hearing from you.

CATEGORIES: Extras



Transplanting Kidneys in Tehran

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

There's only one place in the world where individuals can be financially compensated for donating a kidney- Iran. This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts chatted with New York Times writer Tina Rosenberg, as a follow-up to an earlier episode on matching markets with Nobel laureate Alvin Roth.

We'd like to hear your reactions on this controversial topic. Use the prompts below to start a conversation offline, and share your thoughts in the Comments to continue our conversation online. As always, we love to hear from you.

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1. Rosenberg describes the process in Iran whereby a non-governmental organization coordinates donors and recipients. Of this process, she says, "You don't want brokers in the middle who are going to take a cut or who have a financial incentive." Go back and listen to this EconTalk episode from 2008 with Mike Munger on the economics of middlemen. If kidney sales were legal in the United States, do you think a for-profit broker would do a better or worse job than a non-profit broker?

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CATEGORIES: Extras , Health , Theory of Markets



Podcast episode Tina Rosenberg on the Kidney Market in Iran

EconTalk Episode with Tina Rosenberg
Hosted by Russ Roberts

kidneys2.jpg 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 strengths and weaknesses, and whether its lessons apply to the United States or elsewhere.

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They Say the Neon Lights Shine Bright...

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

It turns out the odds in Vegas may beat those on Broadway, but this week's guest (and host!) find Broadway much more magical. Roberts takes a fascinating peek behind the stage door this week with Broadway manager Mitch Weiss.

Join us on this theatrical journey, and share your thoughts on the prompts below in the Comments section. We love engaging with you, and watching you engage with one another. Let's continue the conversation!

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1. Toward the end of this week's episode, Weiss talked about premium seating--some of the best seats at the hottest shows are prices many times higher than other nearby seats. Here is Weiss's reaction:

The great thing--as I said, for me, working in the theater--I don't have to worry about whether or not it's going to survive. It's--first of all, it's blooming. I've never seen it like this. We are making a fortune. Of course, those premium priced seats, which I am one of the few people on Broadway totally against--I just see it as greed. But people are willing to buy it; and that's our marketplace.

Roberts did not follow-up on this point. If he had, what might have been his response? How would he deal with the concern that the poorest citizens may be priced out of seeing a Broadway show?

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CATEGORIES: Extras



Podcast episode Mitch Weiss on the Business of Broadway

EconTalk Episode with Mitch Weiss
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Business%20of%20Broadway.jpg 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 like to manage the production of a blockbuster musical in New York City. Topics discussed include the eight-performance-per-week grind, the how and why of creating a Broadway set, the challenges of wardrobes (domestic and international) and the pluses and minuses of unions which are a central part of the Broadway workplace.

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Earning to Live or Earning to Give?

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

What are you doing to make the world a better place? Co-founder of the Effective Altruism movement, Will MacAskill, joins Roberts this week to talk about Doing Good Better, "tooling up" to change the world, and earning to give.

We'd like to hear what you took away from this week's episode, and how it might affect the way you try to make a difference. Use the prompts below, or suggest alternative ones, to continue the conversation. We love to hear from you!

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1. What is the "Hundred Times Multiplier," according to MacAskill? Roberts is skeptical. Which side are you on?

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Podcast episode William MacAskill on Effective Altruism and Doing Good Better

EconTalk Episode with William MacAskill
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Doing%20Good.jpg 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 about the book and the idea of effective altruism. MacAskill urges donors to spend their money more effectively and argues that the impact on human well-being can be immense. MacAskill wants donors to rely on scientific assessments of effectiveness. Roberts pushes back on the reliability of such assessments. Other topics include sweatshops, choosing a career to have the biggest impact on others, and the interaction between private philanthropy and political action.

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Crime & Punishment & Cooperation

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

Are humans instinctively cooperative? Under what circumstances does human cooperation tend to break down? Can we experience cooperation in the absence of sanctions? How much are individuals willing to sacrifice to achieve justice?

This week, Roberts spoke with Paul Robinson, co-author (with Sarah Robinson) of Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers: Lessons from Life Outside the Law.

In this week's Extra, we'd like to further explore these ideas, and give you an opportunity to let us (and each other!) know your thoughts, Please use the prompts below to continue the conversation. We love to hear from you!

Lady Justice2.jpg 1. Many economists argue that government activities crowd out private ones. How does this week's episode fit in with those arguments?

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CATEGORIES: Extras



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