Russ Roberts

Mike Munger Podcast Episodes and Extras

Category Archive with 25 podcast episodes and extras
 

Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society

EconTalk Episode with Videos, Multiple Guests
Hosted by Russ Roberts

On April 10, 2013, Liberty Fund and Butler University sponsored a symposium, "Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society." The evening began with solo presentations by the three participants--Michael Munger of Duke University, Robert Skidelsky of the University of Warwick, and Richard Epstein of New York University. (Travel complications forced the fourth invited participant, James Galbraith of the University of Texas, to cancel.) Each speaker gave his own interpretation of the appropriate role for government in the economy and in our lives. This was followed by a lively conversation on the topic moderated by Russ Roberts of Stanford University, host of the weekly podcast, EconTalk.

We are also pleased to include the video of the symposium, available on youtube at EconStories.

Audio only:

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Munger on Milk

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about why milk is in the back of the grocery store. Michael Pollan and others argue that milk is in the back so that customers, who often buy milk, will be forced to walk through the entire story and be encouraged by the trek to buy other items. Munger and Roberts argue that competition encourages stores to serve customers and that alternative explanations explain where milk is found in the store. The conversation also discusses restaurant pricing, government "nudging" and related issues of grocery economics.

Size: 28.0 MB
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Munger on Sports, Norms, Rules, and the Code

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of formal rules and informal rules in sports. Many sports restrain violence and retaliation through formal rules while in others, protective equipment is used to reduce injury. In all sports, codes of conduct emerge to deal with violence and unobserved violations of formal rules. Munger explores the interaction of these forces across different sports and how they relate to insights of Coase and Hayek.

Size: 28.4 MB
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Munger on John Locke, Prices, and Hurricane Sandy

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the gas shortage following Hurricane Sandy and John Locke's view of the just price. Drawing on a short, obscure essay of Locke's titled "Venditio," Munger explores Locke's views on markets, prices, and morality.

Size: 31.4 MB
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Munger on Profits, Entrepreneurship, and Storytelling

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about profit. What is profit's role in allocating resources? How should we feel about the people who earn profits or who take them in ways that may not be earned? How easy is it to discover profitable opportunities? Munger examines these questions through a series of stories, real and fictional, to illuminate the sometimes puzzling nature of profit.

Size: 29.4 MB
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Munger on Exchange, Exploitation and Euvoluntary Transactions

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the psychology, sociology, and economics of buying and selling. Why are different transactions that seemingly make both parties better off frowned on and often made illegal? In theory, all voluntary transactions should make both parties better off. But Munger argues that some transactions are more voluntary than others. Munger lists the attributes of a truly voluntary transaction, what he calls a euvoluntary transaction and argues that when transactions are not euvoluntary, they may be outlawed or seen as immoral. Related issues that are discussed include price gouging after a natural disaster, blackmail, sales of human organs, and the employment of low-wage workers.

Size: 28.8 MB
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Munger on Microfinance, Savings, and Poverty

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about microfinance. Munger argues that cultural forces make it difficult for some families to save, and the main value of microfinance is to allow a higher level of savings. Families are willing to save via microfinance even though returns can be negative. Munger argues that this counterintuitive result is possible when other means of savings are unavailable. Munger also discusses microfinance that is used for entrepreneurship and the potential role for microfinance in development.

Size: 26.7 MB
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Munger on Private and Public Rent-Seeking (and Chilean Buses)

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about private and public rent-seeking. When firms compete for either private profit opportunities or government contracts, there are inevitably firms or people who spend resources but end up earning little or nothing. What are the differences, if any between these two forms of competition? How do they related to competitions that award prizes for discovering new technologies? The conversation begins with a discussion of a recent trip Munger took to Chile where he observed the current state of the Chilean bus system, a topic he has discussed in the past.

Size: 26.8 MB
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Munger on Love, Money, Profits, and Non-profits

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the world of profit, money, love, gifts, and incentives. What motivates people, self-interest or altruism? Both obviously. But how do these forces interact with each other? Does relying on one always provide a stronger incentive than the other? Do charities, for-profit businesses or government agencies do a better job providing a good or service? Munger and Roberts have a wide-ranging discussion across these issues including a section where they discuss whether Christmas gift-giving and gift-giving in general is inefficient.

Size: 29.8 MB
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Munger on Many Things

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about many things. Listeners sent in questions for Mike and Russ to talk about and they chose ten of the most interesting questions with the idea of talking about each for six minutes. The topics are the scarcity of clean water, asset bubbles, the role of Fannie and Freddie in the financial crisis, can a business pass a tax on to its customers (or maybe even its workers), compassionate food, the study of economics, how to choose a college, the nature of cooperation in a modern economy, the humanity of non-profits, and the American Dream.

Size: 33.3 MB
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Munger on Shortages, Prices, and Competition

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Mike Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the limits of prices and markets, especially in the area of health. They talk about vaccines, organ transplants, the ethics of triage and what role price should play in allocating. The discussion concludes with a discussion of how markets respond to price controls, particularly minimum wages.

Size: 31.2 MB
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CATEGORIES: Health , Labor , Mike Munger , Regulation

   

Munger on Cultural Norms

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about cultural norms--the subtle signals we send to each other in our daily interactions. Mike, having returned from a four-month stint as a visiting professor in Germany, talks about the challenges of being an American in a different culture with very different expectations on how people will interact. Our speech patterns, how we wait in line, how we treat each other at the grocery, the interaction between a teacher and a student, how we drive, how we tip for services rendered, even how we listen to music all emerge from our culture and are often different in different countries. The listener will learn what Ted Williams and Joe Dimaggio have to do with the Book of Judges along with the relative merits of Williams and Dimaggio performances in 1941.

Size: 26.8 MB
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Munger on Franchising, Vertical Integration, and the Auto Industry

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael Munger, of Duke University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about franchising, particularly car dealerships. Munger highlights how the dealers used state regulations to protect their profits and how bankruptcy appears to be unraveling that strategy. The main themes of the conversation are the incentives in the franchising relationship and the evolution of the auto industry in the United States over the last forty years.

Size: 26.3 MB
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Munger on Middlemen

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Munger.jpg 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.

Size: 33.3 MB
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Munger on the Political Economy of Public Transportation

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Munger's recent trip to Chile and the changes Chile has made to Santiago's bus system. What was once a private decentralized system with differing levels of quality and price has been transformed into a system of uniform quality designed from the top down. How has the new system fared? Not particularly well according to Munger. Commuting times are up and the President of Chile has apologized to the Chilean people for the failures of the new system. Munger talks about why such changes take place and why they persist even when they seem inferior to the original system that was replaced.

Size: 25.7 MB
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Munger on Subsidies and Externalities

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Munger.jpg 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.

Size: 28.6 MB
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CATEGORIES: Mike Munger , Regulation

   

Munger on the Nature of the Firm

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Munger.jpgMike Munger, of Duke University, talks about why firms exist. If prices and markets work so well (and they do) in steering economic resources, then why does so much economic activity take place within organizations that use command-and-control, top-down, centralized structures called firms? Within a firm, most of the goods and services that the workers use are given away rather than allocated by prices--computer services, legal services and almost everything else is not handed out by competition but by fiat, decided by a boss. A firm, the lynchpin of capitalism, is run like something akin to a centrally planned economy. Munger's answer, drawing on work of Ronald Coase, is a fascinating look at the often unseen costs of making various types of economic decisions. The result is a set of fascinating insights into why firms exist and why they do what they do.

Size: 28.6 MB
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Munger on Fair Trade and Free Trade

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Munger.jpgMike Munger, frequent guest and longtime Econlib contributor, speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about fair trade coffee and free trade agreements. Does the premium for fair trade coffee end up in the hands of the grower? What economic forces might stop that from happening? They discuss the business strategy of using higher wages as a marketing strategy to attract concerned consumers. They turn to the issue of free trade agreements. If the ideal situation is open borders to foreign products, is it still worthwhile to negotiate bilateral and multilateral agreements that requires delays, exemptions and a bureaucracy to enforce? What is the cost of including environmental and various labor market regulations in these agreements?

Size: 27.0 MB
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Grab Bag: Munger and Roberts on Recycling, Peak Oil and Steroids

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael MungerMike Munger, of Duke University, and EconTalk host Russ Roberts clean up some loose ends from their previous conversation on recycling, move on to talk about the idea of buying local to reduce one's carbon footprint and then talk about the idea of peak oil. They close the conversation with the Rick Ankiel story and the implications for the Barry Bonds saga.

Size: 30.0 MB
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Munger on Recycling

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael MungerMike Munger, professor of economics and political science at Duke University and frequent guest of EconTalk, talks with host Russ Roberts about the economics and politics of recycling. Munger argues that recycling can save resources, of course, but it can also require more resources than production from scratch. Some curbside recycling, for example, makes sense, while other forms (such as green glass) may be akin to a form of religious expression rather than a wise policy that is environmentally productive. The conversation is based on Munger's recent essay at the Library of Economics and Liberty.

Size: 28.7 MB
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Mike Munger on the Division of Labor

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael MungerMike Munger of Duke University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts talk about specialization, the role of technology in aiding specialization and how the division of labor creates wealth.

Size: 14.2 MB
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Munger on Price Gouging

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael MungerMike Munger of Duke University recounts the harrowing (and fascinating) experience of being in the path of a hurricane and the economic forces that were set in motion as a result. One of the most important is the import of urgent supplies when thousands of people are without electricity. Should prices be allowed to rise freely or should the government restrict prices? Listen in as Munger and EconTalk host Russ Roberts discuss the human side of economics after a catastrophe.

Size: 13.8 MB
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CATEGORIES: Mike Munger , Regulation

   

Private vs. Public Risk-Taking

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael MungerMike Munger and EconTalk's 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.

Size: 11.9 MB
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CATEGORIES: Mike Munger , Public Choice

   

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

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

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

Size: 6.8 MB
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CATEGORIES: Mike Munger , Public Choice

   

Ticket Scalping and Opportunity Cost

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael MungerMichael Munger of Duke University and Russ Roberts talk about the economics of ticket scalping, examining our reactions to free and found goods, gifts, e-Bay, value in use vs. value in exchange, and opportunity costs.

Size: 13.7 MB
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