Russ Roberts

Altruism and Charity Podcast Episodes and Extras

Category Archive with 28 podcast episodes and extras
 

Podcast episode Sally Satel on Organ Donation

EconTalk Episode with Sally Satel
Hosted by Russ Roberts

kidney.jpg Sally Satel, psychiatrist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenges of increasing the supply of donated organs for transplantation and ways that public policy might increase the supply. Satel, who has received two kidney donations, suggests a federal tax credit as a way to increase the supply of organs while saving the federal government money. She also discusses the ethical issues surrounding various forms of compensation for organ donors.

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Podcast episode Chris Blattman on Chickens, Cash, and Development Economics

EconTalk Episode with Chris Blattman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

poverty%20chickens.jpg Chris Blattman of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether it's better to give poor Africans cash or chickens and the role of experiments in helping us figure out the answer. Along the way he discusses the importance of growth vs. smaller interventions and the state of development economics.

Size:29.2 MB
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Piling On the Problem of Poverty

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

gravel pile.jpg What's the best way to help the world's poor? Should we give them cash or chickens? Or is the best way to eradicate poverty something else entirely? This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed back Lant Pritchett, of Harvard's Center for International Development. Their starting point was a series of "letters" attempting to answer these questions, each initially responding to Bill Gates's plan of providing chickens to the global poor.

Just how bad is the world poverty situation today, and what's our best approach to reducing poverty in the world's lowest productivity areas? Pritchett has his ideas, and Roberts is on board with some of them. What about you? We'd love to hear from you.

Why does Pritchett object to giving cash- or chickens- to people in poverty-stricken countries? What does he mean by making an analogy to a cancerous tumor?

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Podcast episode Lant Pritchett on Poverty, Growth, and Experiments

EconTalk Episode with Lant Pritchett
Hosted by Russ Roberts

cash%20chicken.jpg How should we think about growth and poverty? How important is the goal of reducing the proportion of the world's population living on less than a dollar a day? Does poverty persist because people lack skills or because they live in economic systems where skills are not rewarded? What is the role of experimental methods in understanding what reduces poverty? Author and economist Lant Pritchett of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about these questions and more in a wide-ranging discussion of how best to help the world's poorest people.

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Podcast episode Jennifer Pahlka on Code for America

EconTalk Episode with Jennifer Pahlka
Hosted by Russ Roberts

code%20US.jpg Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the organization she started. Code for America works with private sector tech people to bring technology to the provision of government services. Pahlka discusses some of the success Code for America has had with improving government and the challenges of citizenship and technology in the 21st century.

Size:27.4 MB
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Everyday Tragedies

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

A special thank you to Alice Temnick for creating this week's Extra.

giving homeless.jpg Do you drop coins in a cup or hand a dollars to homeless people? Does this help that person or perpetuate the "problem"? Does it make you feel better because you are doing something? Have you wondered, as Erica Sandberg and Russ Roberts do, if there is a better way to address this uncomfortable political and social issue?

Podcaster and writer Erica Sandberg talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about homelessness in San Francisco. Sandberg talks about what the city can do about homelessness and her experience with Downtown Streets Team, which gives homeless people in the Bay Area the chance to work in exchange for gift cards that let them buy food and other basics.

Share your thoughts with us about this model or any other private organizations you are aware of that are addressing issues of homelessness. We love to hear from you!

1. A common misconception or description of homelessness is the number of women and children "on the streets". But Sandberg argues that this is not what we are seeing, that the face of homelessness predominantly one of a single male often representing behaviors of substance abuse and/or mental illness. Is this consistent with your first hand observations or second hand information of the problem?

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Podcast episode Erica Sandberg on Homelessness and Downtown Streets Team

EconTalk Episode with Erica Sandberg
Hosted by Russ Roberts

homeless.jpg Podcaster and writer Erica Sandberg talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about homelessness in San Francisco. Sandberg talks about what the city can do about homelessness and her experience with Downtown Streets Team, which gives homeless people in the Bay Area the chance to work in exchange for gift cards that let them buy food and other basics.

Size:26.5 MB
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Podcast episode Paul Bloom on Empathy

EconTalk Episode with Paul Bloom
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Against%20Empathy.jpg Psychologist Paul Bloom of Yale University talks about his book Against Empathy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Bloom argues that empathy--the ability to feel the emotions of others--is a bad guide to charitable giving and public policy. Bloom argues that reason combined with compassion is a better and more effective guide to making the world a better place.

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There's a Hole in the Bucket

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

leaky bucket.jpg There has been a lot of talk lately about the idea of a basic income guarantee, or BIG, which has garnered support from across the ideological spectrum. In this week's EconTalk episode, host Russ Roberts welcomes back listener favorite Mike Munger, a supporter of the idea. The virtual sparks fly as the two friends discuss the the reasons for and against a BIG. After listening, what do you think the potential for a BIG is? Could it really replace all other welfare programs? Would welfare be more effective or cheaper? Would we get bigger or smaller government as a result? Would we--at last--begin to define ourselves not by our jobs but by something more personal? And what of unintended consequences...they always emerge!

We hope you'll share your thoughts with us in response to these prompts, over at EconLog, or in the episode's comments. We also hope you'll take a few minutes to give us your feedback on EconTalk over the last year as well. Remember, we love to hear from you.

1. What are Munger's grounds for support of a BIG? What are Roberts's grounds for his skepticism? By whom were you more convinced, and why?

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Podcast episode Michael Munger on the Basic Income Guarantee

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

UBI.jpg Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the virtues and negatives of a basic guaranteed income--giving every American adult an annual amount of money to guarantee a subsistence level of well-being. How would such a plan work? How would it interact with current anti-poverty programs? How would it affect recipients and taxpayers? Munger attacks these issues and more in a lively conversation with Roberts.

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Podcast episode Chris Blattman on Sweatshops

EconTalk Episode with Chris Blattman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

textiles.jpg If you were a poor person in a poor country, would you prefer steady work in a factory or to be your own boss, buying and selling in the local market? Economist Chris Blattman of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about experimental evidence on how poor people choose in the labor market and the consequences for their income, health, and satisfaction.

Size:35.6 MB
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Podcast episode Canice Prendergast on How Prices Can Improve a Food Fight (and Help the Poor)

EconTalk Episode with Canice Prendergast
Hosted by Russ Roberts

If you have 250 million tons of food to give away every year to local food banks how should you do it? Canice Prendergast of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how he and a team of economists created an artificial currency and a daily auction for the national food bank Feeding America so that local food banks could bid on the types of food that were the most valuable to them. Prendergast explains the results of the new system and the cultural and practical challenges of bringing prices, even artificial ones, to a world accustomed to giving things away.

Size:28.7 MB
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We Know How to Make it Worse.

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

(So why don't we stop?)

If the poor aren't poor because they lack stuff, then why are they? And more importantly, what can we do about it? Michael Matheson Miller, director of the award-winning documentary Poverty, Inc., sat down with EconTalk host Russ Roberts to explore just that. He argues that we've been asking the wrong questions all along.

What did you think? Let's continue our conversation about these ideas.

1. Has this conversation changed the way you think about any particular poverty alleviation programs (TOMS shoes, NGOs, etc.)? Which one(s), and why? What might you do differently going forward, and why?

rice2.jpg

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Podcast episode Michael Matheson Miller on Poverty, Inc

EconTalk Episode with Michael Matheson Miller
Hosted by Russ Roberts


Michael Matheson Miller of the Acton Institute and the Director of the documentary Poverty, Inc., talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his award-winning documentary on the barriers facing the poor around the world. Topics discussed include the incentives facing poverty-fighting NGOs and their staff, the importance of secure and well-defined property rights, and the costs and benefits of agricultural aid.

Size:31.8 MB
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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!

altruism2.jpg

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.

Size:31.8 MB
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Podcast episode Paul Robinson on Cooperation, Punishment and the Criminal Justice System

EconTalk Episode with Paul Robinson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

RobinsonPiratesBookCover.png Are human beings naturally cooperative or selfish? Can people thrive without government law? Paul Robinson of the University of Pennsylvania and author of Pirates, Prisoners and Lepers talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts the ideas in his book. Robinson argues that without government sanctions or legislation, there is an evolutionary drive to cooperate even in life-and-death situations. In such situations private punishment and norms play a crucial role in sustaining cooperative solutions. The last part of the conversation deals with the criminal justice system and how attitudes toward the system affect society-wide cooperation and crime.

Size:32.2 MB
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Podcast episode Chris Blattman on Cash, Poverty, and Development

EconTalk Episode with Chris Blattman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Chris Blattman of Columbia University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a radical approach to fighting poverty in desperately poor countries: giving cash to aid recipients and allowing them to spend it as they please. Blattman shares his research and cautious optimism about giving cash and discusses how infusions of cash affect growth, educational outcomes, and political behavior (including violence). The conversation concludes with a discussion of the limits of aid and the some of the moral issues facing aid activists and researchers.

Size: 32.6 MB
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Podcast episode Nina Munk on Poverty, Development, and the Idealist

EconTalk Episode with Nina Munk
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nina Munk, journalist and author of The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book. Munk spent six years following Jeffrey Sachs and the evolution of the Millennium Villages Project--an attempt to jumpstart a set of African villages in hopes of discovering a new template for development. Munk details the great optimism at the beginning of the project and the discouraging results after six years of high levels of aid. Sach's story is one of the great lessons in unintended consequences and the complexity of the development process.

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Podcast episode Clemens on Aid, Migration, and Poverty

EconTalk Episode with Michael Clemens
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the effects of aid and migration on world poverty. Clemens argues that the effects of aid are positive but small. But emigration has the potential to have a transformative effect on migrants from poor countries who emigrate to richer ones. The discussion concludes with the impact of migrants on the host country.

Size: 27.3 MB
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Podcast episode Pallotta on Charity and the Culture of the Non-Profit Sector

EconTalk Episode with Dan Pallotta
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Dan Pallotta, Chief Humanity Officer of Advertising for Humanity and author of Uncharitable talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Pallotta argues that charities are deeply handicapped by their culture and how we view them. The use of overhead as a measure of effectiveness makes it difficult for charities to attract the best talent, advertise, and invest for the future. Pallotta advocates a new culture for non-profits that takes the best aspects of the for-profit sector to enhance the mission and effectiveness of charities.

Size: 27.1 MB
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Podcast episode Banerjee on Poverty and Poor Economics

EconTalk Episode with Abhijit Banerjee
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Abhijit Banerjee of MIT talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Banerjee's book (co-authored with Esther Duflo), Poor Economics. The conversation begins with how randomized control trials (a particular kind of social experiment) have been used to measure the effectiveness of various types of aid to the poor. Banerjee goes on to discuss hunger, health, and education--the challenges in each area and what we have learned about what works and what does not. The conversation closes with a discussion of the role of the labor market in the private sector.

Size: 23.0 MB
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Podcast episode 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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Podcast episode Srour on Education, African Schools, and Building Tomorrow

EconTalk Episode with George Srour
Hosted by Russ Roberts

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.

Size: 25.4 MB
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Podcast episode Shirky on Coase, Collaboration and Here Comes Everybody

EconTalk Episode with Clay Shirky
Hosted by Russ Roberts

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.

Size: 30.0 MB
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Podcast episode Easterly on Growth, Poverty, and Aid

EconTalk Episode with William Easterly
Hosted by Russ Roberts

William Easterly of NYU talks about why some nations escape poverty while others do not, why aid almost always fails to create growth, and what can realistically be done to help the poorest people in the world.

Size: 28.3 MB
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Podcast episode Postrel on Style

EconTalk Episode with Virginia Postrel
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Author and journalist Virginia Postrel talks about how business competes for customers using style and beauty, going beyond price and the standard measures of quality. She looks at the role of appearance in our daily lives and the change from earlier times when style and beauty were luxuries accessible only to the wealthy. She also talks about her donation of a kidney to a friend and how that affected the intensity of her feelings about the policies surrounding organ donations.

Size: 13.4 MB
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Podcast episode The Economics of Organ Donations

EconTalk Episode with Richard Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Russ Roberts and Richard Epstein, law professor at the University of Chicago, 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.

Size: 18.3 MB
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