Russ Roberts

September 2016

A Monthly Archive (9 entries)
 

I Don't Know Why She Swallowed the Fly

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

old lady.jpg There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...So goes the story of the regulation of the United States economy, according to this week's EconTalk guest, John Cochrane. Cochrane is concerned about the effects of creeping regulation and what he sees as a lack of respect for the rule of law in government today. He also sees policy debates today like bad marriages, with each side just shouting over one another. He aspires to change the nature of this debate...

As always, we want to hear from you...Share your thoughts with us in the Comments, on social media, or simply with your own friends and family.

1. Both Roberts and Cochrane are anxious to get rid of barriers to innovation, but they approach this with different rationales. How does the moral case for the removal of such barriers differ from the practical case? Which side are you on, and why?

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CATEGORIES: Extras , Growth



Podcast episode John Cochrane on Economic Growth and Changing the Policy Debate

EconTalk Episode with John Cochrane
Hosted by Russ Roberts

argue.jpg 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 different approach to the standard policy arguments. Cochrane wants to get away from the stale big government/small government arguments which he likens to a couple who have gotten stuck in a rut making the same ineffective arguments over and over. Cochrane argues for a fresh approach to economic policy including applications to growth, taxes and financial regulation.

Size:28.7 MB
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The Maintenance of Memory

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

archives.jpg
Listening to this week's EconTalk episode, I felt a little like a kid in a candy store (and not just because of the reference to Ronald Reagan's jelly beans). It also sparked some wanderlust...specifically, to go visit the archives of the Hoover Institution, about whose collections EconTalk host Russ Roberts chatted with archivist Eric Wakin.

But this week's episode was about more than just the unique nature of the items housed in these archives...Lots of economic questions were raised simultaneously. So we'll share a few, and we hope you'll share your thoughts in return. Why are we as humans so attached to material reminders or our past? What is the role for archives, libraries, museums, etc. in maintaining our memory? How important is accessibility in the preservation of these memories?

1. While the archives generally do not sell the items they have, they still need to approximate the market value of them. In the absence of comparable prices, how do archivists such as Wakin do this? How accurate do you think they are? What of the gap Wakin notes between items' financial and research value- to what extent can this be accounted for?

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CATEGORIES: Extras , History



Podcast episode Eric Wakin on Archiving, Preservation, and History

EconTalk Episode with Eric Wakin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Lusitania.jpg 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 with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what it's like to be an archivist and the importance of archival materials for research, culture, and memory.

Size:29.3 MB
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Bigger is Better?

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

big data.jpg Is economic analysis ready for the age of Big Data? That's the underlying question explored in this week's EconTalk episode. Host Russ Roberts welcomes Stanford's Susan Athey, and they discuss how machine learning might be used in conjunction with more traditional econometric techniques. They also talk about the ways commercial entities, such as amazon and Facebook, use machine learning to change their users' experiences and increase profits.

Are there lessons to be learned from these commercial experiences that can help us analyze policy? Or will counterfactuals, such as what would have happened had NAFTA not passed, forever evade such rigorous analysis? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments...As always, we love to hear from you.

1. Why is it so difficult to measure the effects of a policy such as minimum wage legislation, and how does Athey cast doubt on the Card-Krueger study?

CONTINUE READING...




Podcast episode Susan Athey on Machine Learning, Big Data, and Causation

EconTalk Episode with Susan Athey
Hosted by Russ Roberts

problem.jpg 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 econometric techniques to measure the impact of say, the minimum wage or the effectiveness of a new drug. The last part of the conversation looks at the experimental techniques being used by firms like Google and Amazon.

Size:28.3 MB
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Power to the President?

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

USconstitution.jpg It seems somehow shocking to suggest that the American President be given more power today...Trust me...Having done so in the context of this week's EconTalk episode in different online media (here, for example), the reactions are strong. But that's just what this week's guest, Stanford political scientist Terry Moe, suggests. His reasons are interesting...and he suggests the sort of change he proposes might actually result in smaller, not to mention more efficient, government.

So let's hear what you have to say about Moe's proposal...Share your thoughts in the comments below, join us on twitter or Facebook, or strike up a conversation of your own! As always, we love to hear from you.

1. What is the mechanism by which Moe suggests more power be shifted to the President? How does he think this will increase governmental efficiency, and how convincing do you find his argument?

CONTINUE READING...

CATEGORIES: Books , Extras , Political Science



Podcast episode Terry Moe on the Constitution, the Presidency, and Relic

EconTalk Episode with Terry Moe
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Relic.jpg 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 and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution--talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book (co-authored with William Howell), Relic. Moe wants to give the President the power to propose legislation that Congress would have to approve or reject free of amendments. Moe argues this would improve legislation and reduce the cronyism and special interest influence on Congress.

Size:28.5 MB
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Rock, Paper, Scissors

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

rock paper scissors.jpg Voluntary exchange is good, right? It's a foundational principle of economics, and probably one of the most revered. Why then would the law purposefully not allow some kinds of voluntary exchange? What principles trump property rights and contract? And can we who love markets be OK with that? These are some of the many head-scratching questions Russ Roberts explores in this week's episode with Leo Katz, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania.

This week's conversation sure made me think...How about you? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments, and use some of our prompts to start your own conversations off-line. As always, we love to hear from you.

1. Three main "stories" Katz uses in this conversation to show the occasional perversity in the law are the kidney club, the voting paradox, and emergency room triage. Which of these scenarios (long live Al, Bea, and Chloe!) seemed most counter-intuitive to you, and why?

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