Russ Roberts

Law and Institutions Podcast Episodes and Extras

Category Archive with 70 podcast episodes and extras
 

Podcast episode Yuval Levin on Burke, Paine, and the Great Debate

EconTalk Episode with Yuval Levin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Yuval Levin, author of The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas of Burke and Paine and their influence on the evolution of political philosophy. Levin outlines the differing approaches of the two thinkers to liberty, authority, and how reform and change should take place. Other topics discussed include Hayek's view of tradition, Cartesian rationalism, the moral high ground in politics, and how the "right and left" division of American politics finds its roots in the debates of these thinkers from the 1700s.

Size:31.5 MB
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Podcast episode Steven Teles on Kludgeocracy

EconTalk Episode with Steven Teles
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Steven Teles of Johns Hopkins University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about kludgeocracy, a term Teles coined in a National Affairs article to describe what Teles sees as the complex and unproductive state of political governance in the United States, particularly at the federal level. Teles argues that various rules and procedures in the Senate and the House allow politicians to slow down legislation in return for favors. Teles argues that both liberals and conservatives have an incentive to favor more transparency and a more streamlined governing process that would get things done.

Size:28.6 MB
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Podcast episode Richard Epstein on Classical Liberalism, Libertarianism, and Lochner

EconTalk Episode with Richard Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard Epstein, of New York University and Stanford University's Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the differences between classical liberalism and hard-line libertarianism. What is the proper role of the state? Topics discussed include the Constitution, prudent regulation, contract enforcement, intellectual property, and the Supreme Court case, Lochner vs. New York.

Size:31.5 MB
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Podcast episode Robert Frank on Coase

EconTalk Episode with Robert Frank
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Frank of Cornell University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the implications of Ronald Coase's views on externalities. Drawing on his book, The Darwin Economy, Frank explores the implications of Coase's perspective for assessing public policy challenges where one person's actions affect others. Examples discussed include pollution, cigarette smoking and related issues.

Size:29.7 MB
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Podcast episode Calomiris and Haber on Fragile by Design

EconTalk Episode with Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Charles Calomiris of Columbia University and Stephen Haber of Stanford University, co-authors of Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit, talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their book. The conversation focuses on how politics and economics interact to give some countries such as Canada a remarkably stable financial system while others such as the United States have a much less stable system. The two authors discuss the political forces that explain the persistence of seemingly bad financial regulation. The conversation includes a discussion of the financial crisis of 2008.

Size:35.3 MB
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Podcast episode Laurence Kotlikoff on Debt, Default, and the Federal Government's Finances

EconTalk Episode with Laurence Kotlikoff
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the fiscal health of the federal government of the United States. Kotlikoff argues that the U.S. government is essentially bankrupt because future taxes will fall hundreds of trillions of dollars short of expected expenditures. Kotlikoff argues this problem can be solved by redesigning our tax code, but without changes such as this, large reductions in spending or large increases in tax rates will be necessary.

Size:27.8 MB
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Podcast episode Anthony Gill on Religion

EconTalk Episode with Anthony Gill
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Anthony Gill of the University of Washington and host of the podcast Research on Religion talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of religion. The conversation focuses on the relationship between religion and the State--how does religion respond to a State-sanctioned monopoly? Why do some governments allow religious liberty while others deny it? The conversation concludes with a discussion of how property rights interact with religious freedom.

Size:29.0 MB
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Podcast episode Boudreaux on Coase

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Don Boudreaux of George Mason University and Cafe Hayek talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the intellectual legacy of Ronald Coase. The conversation centers on Coase's four most important academic articles. Most of the discussion is on two of those articles, "The Nature of the Firm," which continues to influence how economists think of firms and transaction costs, and "The Problem of Social Cost," Coase's pathbreaking work on externalities.

Size:33.6 MB
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Podcast episode 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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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 Schneier on Power, the Internet, and Security

EconTalk Episode with Bruce Schneier
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bruce Schneier, author and security guru, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about power and the internet. Schneier argues that the internet enhances the power of the powerless but it also enhances the power of the powerful. He argues that we should be worried about both corporate and government uses of the internet to enhance their power. Recorded before news of the PRISM system and the use of Verizon's customer information by the NSA (National Security Agency), Schneier presciently worries about government surveillance that we are not aware of and explains how governments--democratic and totalitarian--can use the internet to oppress their citizens. The conversation closes with a discussion of terrorism and the costs of the current system for reducing the probability of a terrorist attack.

Size: 29.1 MB
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Podcast episode Epstein on the Constitution

EconTalk Episode with Richard Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard Epstein of New York University and Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the U.S. Constitution. Topics covered in this wide-ranging conversation include how the interpretation of the Constitution has changed over time, the relationship between state and federal power, judicial activism, the increasing importance of administrative agencies' regulatory power, and political influences on the Supreme Court.

Size: 28.7 MB
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Podcast episode Frakt on Medicaid and the Oregon Medicaid Study

EconTalk Episode with Austin Frakt
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Austin Frakt of Boston University and blogger at The Incidental Economist talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Medicaid and the recent results released from the Oregon Medicaid study, a randomized experiment that looked at individuals with and without access to Medicaid. Recent released results from that study found no significant impact of Medicaid access on basic health measures such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but did find reduced financial stress and better mental health. Frakt gives his interpretation of those results and the implications for the Affordable Care Act. The conversation closes with a discussion of the reliability of empirical work in general and how it might or might not affect our positions on social and economic policy.

Size: 31.7 MB
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Podcast episode Glenn Reynolds on Politics, the Constitution, and Technology

EconTalk Episode with Glenn Reynolds
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Glenn Reynolds of the University of Tennessee and blogger at Instapundit talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the political malaise in America, whether it could lead to a Constitutional Convention, and what might emerge were such an event to occur. Reynolds also gives his thoughts on the suggestion advanced in a recent episode of EconTalk that we should ignore the Constitution. The conversation concludes with Reynolds's views on the decentralizing power of technology and Reynolds's music career.

Size: 27.5 MB
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Podcast episode Seidman on the Constitution

EconTalk Episode with Louis Michael Seidman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Louis Michael Seidman of Georgetown University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the United States Constitution. Seidman argues that the we should ignore the Constitution in designing public policy, relying instead on the merits of policy regardless of their constitutionality. Seidman defends his position by citing examples in the past where constitutionality has been ignored and says it would be better to recognize our disdain for the Constitution in a transparent way. In this lively conversation, Roberts pushes back against these ideas, citing the limits of reason and the dangers of using popular sentiment to determine policy.

Size: 28.5 MB
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Podcast episode Boettke on Living Economics

EconTalk Episode with Pete Boettke
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Peter Boettke of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Living Economics. Boettke argues for embracing the tradition of Smith and Hayek in both teaching and research, arguing that economics took a wrong turn when it began to look more like a branch of applied mathematics. He sees spontaneous order as the central principle for understanding and teaching economics. The conversation also includes a brief homage to James Buchanan who passed away shortly before this interview was recorded.

Size: 29.6 MB
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Podcast episode Pettit on the Prison Population, Survey Data and African-American Progress

EconTalk Episode with Becky Pettit
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Becky Pettit of the University of Washington and author of Invisible Men talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the growth of the prison population in the United States in recent decades. Pettit describes the magnitude of the increase particularly among demographic groups. She then discusses the implications of this increase for interpreting social statistics. Because the prison population isn't included in the main government surveys used by social scientists, data drawn from those surveys can be misleading as to what is actually happening among demographic groups, particularly the African-American population.

Size: 28.9 MB
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Podcast episode Boudreaux on Reading Hayek

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the work of F. A. Hayek, particularly his writings on philosophy and political economy. Boudreaux provides an audio annotated bibliography of Hayek's most important books and essays and gives suggestions on where to start and how to proceed through Hayek's works if you are a beginner.

Size: 33.6 MB
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Podcast episode Joshua Rauh on Public Pensions

EconTalk Episode with Joshua Rauh
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Joshua Rauh, Professor of Finance at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the unfunded liabilities from state employee pensions. The publicly stated shortfall in revenue relative to promised pensions is about $1 trillion. Rauh estimates the number to be over $4 trillion. Rauh explains why that number is more realistic, how the problem grew in recent years, and how the fiscal situation might be fixed moving forward. He also discusses some of the political and legal choices that we are likely to face going forward as states face strained budgets from promises made in the past to retired workers.

Size: 31.4 MB
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Podcast episode Rodden on the Geography of Voting

EconTalk Episode with Jonathan Rodden
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Jonathan Rodden, political science professor at Stanford and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution speaks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the geography of voting. The main focus is on the tendency of urban voters around the world to vote for candidates on the left relative to suburban and rural voters. Rodden argues that this pattern is related to the geography of work and housing going back to the industrial revolution. He also discusses the implications of various voting systems such as winner-take-all vs. proportional representation, the electoral college and how political systems and voter preferences can produce unexpected outcomes.

Size: 26.7 MB
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Podcast episode Coase on Externalities, the Firm, and the State of Economics

EconTalk Episode with Ronald Coase
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase of the University of Chicago talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his career, the current state of economics, and the Chinese economy. Coase, born in 1910, reflects on his youth, his two great papers, "The Nature of the Firm" and "The Problem of Social Cost". At the end of conversation he discusses his new book on China, How China Became Capitalist (co-authored with Ning Wang), and the future of the Chinese and world economies.

Size: 27.8 MB
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Podcast episode Schmidtz on Rawls, Nozick, and Justice

EconTalk Episode with David Schmidtz
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Schmidtz of the University of Arizona talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the work of John Rawls and Robert Nozick. The conversation covers the basic ideas of Rawls and Nozick on inequality and justice and the appropriate role of the state in taxation and property rights.

Size: 34.6 MB
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Podcast episode Acemoglu on Why Nations Fail

EconTalk Episode with Daron Acemoglu
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Daron Acemoglu of MIT and author (with James Robinson) of Why Nations Fail talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book: why some nations fail and others succeed, why some nations grow over time and sustain that growth, while others grow and then stagnate.  Acemoglu draws on an exceptionally rich set of examples over space and time to argue that differences in institutions--political governance and the inclusiveness of the political and economic system--explain the differences in economics success across nations and over time. Acemoglu also discusses how institutions evolve and the critical role institutional change plays in economic success or failure. Along the way, he explains why previous explanations for national economic success are inadequate. The conversation closes with a discussion of the implications of the arguments for foreign aid and attempts by the wealthy nations to help nations that are poor.

Size: 26.1 MB
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Podcast episode David Rose on the Moral Foundations of Economic Behavior

EconTalk Episode with David Rose
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Rose of the University of Missouri, St. Louis and the author of The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book and the role morality plays in prosperity. Rose argues that morality plays a crucial role in prosperity and economic development. Knowing that the people you trade with have a principled aversion to exploiting opportunities for cheating in dealing with others allows economic actors to trust one another. That in turn allows for the widespread specialization and interaction through markets with strangers that creates prosperity. In this conversation, Rose explores the nature of the principles that work best to engender trust. The conversation closes with a discussion of the current trend in morality in America and the implications for trust and prosperity.

Size: 32.9 MB
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Podcast episode Tabarrok on Innovation

EconTalk Episode with Alex Tabarrok
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his new book, Launching the Innovation Renaissance. Tabarrok argues that innovation in the United States is being held back by patent law, the legal system, and immigration policies. He then suggests how these might be improved to create a better climate for innovation that would lead to higher productivity and a higher standard of living.

Size: 31.6 MB
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Podcast episode Winston on Lawyers

EconTalk Episode with Clifford Winston
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Clifford Winston of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the market for lawyers and the role of lawyers in the political process. Drawing on a new co-authored book, First Thing We Do, Let's Deregulate All the Lawyers, Winston argues that restrictions on the supply of lawyers and increases in demand via government regulation artificially boost lawyers' salaries. Deregulation of the supply (by eliminating licensing) would lower price and encourage innovation.

Size: 27.3 MB
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Podcast episode Satz on Markets

EconTalk Episode with Debra Satz
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Debra Satz, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale: The Moral Limits of the Market. Satz argues that some markets are noxious and should not be allowed to operate freely. Topics discussed include organ sales, price spikes after natural disasters, the economic concept of efficiency and utilitarianism. The conversation includes a discussion of the possible limits of political intervention and whether it would be good to allow voters to sell their votes.

Size: 28.6 MB
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Podcast episode Skeel on Bankruptcy and the Auto Industry Bailout

EconTalk Episode with David Skeel
Hosted by Russ Roberts

David Skeel of the University of Pennsylvania Law School talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about bankruptcy and the government bailout of the auto industry. Skeel argues that the bailout damaged the rule of law by not allowing a bankruptcy procedure to take its course. Skeel speculates on how bankruptcy for GM and Chrysler might have proceeded. He also argues that the costs to the taxpayer of the bailout have been underestimated. The conversation concludes with a general discussion of the effects of bankruptcy.

Size: 28.0 MB
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Podcast episode Otteson on Adam Smith

EconTalk Episode with James Otteson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

James Otteson of Yeshiva University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Adam Smith. The conversation begins with a brief sketch of David Hume and his influence on Smith and then turns to the so-called Adam Smith problem--the author of The Wealth of Nations appears to have a different take on human nature than the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Smith worked on both books throughout his life, yet their perspectives seem so different. Otteson argues that the books focus on social behavior and the institutions that sustain that behavior--market transactions in The Wealth of Nations and moral behavior in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Both books use the idea of emergent order to explain the evolution of both kinds of social behavior and social institutions. The conversation concludes with a discussion of what Smith got right and wrong.

Size: 32.7 MB
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Podcast episode Easterly on Benevolent Autocrats and Growth

EconTalk Episode with William Easterly
Hosted by Russ Roberts

William Easterly of New York University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the oft-heard claim that poor countries led by autocrats grow faster than poor countries that are democratic. Drawing on a recent paper, "Benevolent Autocrats," Easterly argues that while some autocracies do indeed grow very quickly, a much greater number do not. Yet, the idea that the messiness of democracy is inferior to a dictatorship remains seductive. Easterly gives a number of arguments for the perennial appeal of autocracy as a growth strategy. The conversation closes with a discussion of the limitations of our knowledge about growth and where that leaves policymakers.

Size: 30.0 MB
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Podcast episode 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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Podcast episode Townsend on Development, Poverty, and Financial Institutions

EconTalk Episode with Robert Townsend
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Townsend of MIT and the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about development and the role of financial institutions in growth. Drawing on his research, particularly his surveys of households in Thailand, Townsend argues that both informal networks and arrangements and formal financial institutions play important roles in dealing with risk. Along the way, he discusses the role of microfinance in poor countries and the potential for better financial arrangements to lead to higher growth and the accumulation of wealth.

Size: 32.1 MB
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Podcast episode Richard Epstein on Regulation

EconTalk Episode with Richard Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard Epstein of New York University and Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current state of the economy, particularly the regulatory climate. Epstein argues the current level of regulation is producing unusually high costs. He digs more deeply into the pharmaceutical industry and discusses various regulations and alternative ways to encourage drug safety and innovation.

Size: 30.8 MB
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Podcast episode Blakley on Fashion and Intellectual Property

EconTalk Episode with Johanna Blakley
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Johanna Blakley of the University of Southern California talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the fashion industry and the role of intellectual property. In the fashion industry there is limited protection for innovative designs and as a result, copying is rampant. Despite the ease of copying, innovation is quite strong in the industry and there is a great deal of competition. Topics discussed include the role of the street in generating new designs, the role of fashion in our lives, and whether the host of EconTalk has any hope of being fashionable. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the Grand Intervention, an urban park design competition, and the potential of Second Life for studying social trends.

Size: 31.1 MB
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Podcast episode Romer on Charter Cities

EconTalk Episode with Paul Romer
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Paul Romer of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about charter cities, Romer's idea for helping the poorest of the poor around the world. Romer envisions a city where the rules about property and safety and contract and so on are rules that allow individuals to flourish in an urban setting in contrast to the cities they live in now where so many aspects of economic and personal life are dysfunctional. Charter cities would be havens for the world's poor and could be created on uninhabited land in either rich or poor countries. This concept raises many difficult practical questions--some of them are discussed here along with how Romer came to be interested in creating the concept and how he hopes to bring it to reality.

Size: 29.1 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 Belongia on the Fed

EconTalk Episode with Michael Belongia
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael Belongia of the University of Mississippi and former economist at the St. Louis Federal Reserve talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the inner workings, politics, and economics of the Federal Reserve. Belongia talks about the role that power and politics play in Federal Reserve decision-making and how various Fed chairs used their power to suppress dissent within the Fed that was critical of Fed policy. He argues that the Fed faces an unresolvable dilemma when asked to achieve the multiple goals of full employment and price stability using only the federal funds rate as a policy lever. The discussion concludes with Belongia's indictment of the monetary data that the Fed produces.

Size: 34.4 MB
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Podcast episode Boettke on Elinor Ostrom, Vincent Ostrom, and the Bloomington School

EconTalk Episode with Pete Boettke
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Peter Boettke of George Mason University and author of Challenging Institutional Analysis and Development: The Bloomington School (co-authored with Paul Dragos Aligica), talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the Bloomington School--the political economy of Elinor Ostrom (2009 Nobel Laureate in Economics), Vincent Ostrom, and their students and colleagues at Indiana University. The discussion begins with the empirical approach of Elinor Ostrom and others who have studied the myriad of ways that actual communities have avoided the tragedy of commons. Boettke emphasizes the distinction between privatization vs. informal norms and cultural rules that prevent overuse. The conversation also looks at urban development and the benefits and costs of multiple municipalities vs. a single, large city. Throughout, Boettke embeds the conversation in the Ostroms' interest in how the citizenry can be self-governing and the challenges of implementing local knowledge.

Size: 29.0 MB
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Podcast episode Posner on the Financial Crisis

EconTalk Episode with Richard Posner
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard Posner, federal judge and prolific author, discusses the financial crisis with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Posner (despite the title of his recent book on the crisis, A Failure of Capitalism) places most of the blame for the crisis on the Federal Reserve, inattentive regulators and the subsidization of risk. He also criticizes economists for complacency in the face of impending disaster. A recent convert of sorts to Keynesianism, Posner confesses some disillusion with the implementation of the stimulus plan and the expanding role of the Federal government.

Size: 29.0 MB
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Podcast episode Heller on Gridlock and the Tragedy of the Anticommons

EconTalk Episode with Michael Heller
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Michael Heller of Columbia Law School and author of The Gridlock Economy talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book and the idea that fragmented ownership is a barrier to innovation. Heller makes an analogy between the tragedy of the commons and what he calls the tragedy of the anticommons--the problem of bundling together numerous individual claims to a resource. Examples discussed include drug innovation when the innovator wants to use technologies of multiple patent holders, new music or visual media where the creator wants to use multiple copyrighted works, and allocation of spectrum rights and its role in wireless innovation.

Size: 26.9 MB
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Podcast episode Hanushek on Test-based Accountability, Federal Funding, and School Finance

EconTalk Episode with Eric Hanushek
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Eric Hanushek of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current state of education and education policy. Hanushek summarizes the impact of No Child Left Behind and the current state of the charter school movement. Along the way, he and Roberts discuss the role of testing as a way of measuring achievement. The conversation concludes with a discussion of school finance, the role of the court system, and suggestions for improving finance to create better incentives.

Size: 29.0 MB
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Podcast episode Epstein on the Rule of Law

EconTalk Episode with Richard Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago and Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the rule of law. Epstein lays out a minimalist definition and a more expansive definition when considering the protection that individuals might have when facing the power of the state or the sovereign. Applications include "takings" and the current government interventions in the auto industry and the financial sector.

Size: 30.5 MB
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Podcast episode Leeson on Pirates and the Invisible Hook

EconTalk Episode with Peter Leeson
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Peter Leeson of George Mason University and author of The Invisible Hook talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of 18th century pirates and what we can learn from their behavior. Leeson argues that pirates pioneered a number of important voluntary institutions such as constitutions as a way to increase the profitability of their enterprises. He shows how pirates used democracy and a separation of powers between the captain and the quartermaster to limit the potential for predation or abuse on the part of the captain. He explains the role of the Jolly Roger in limiting damages from conflict with victims. The conversation closes with a discussion of the lessons for modern management.

Size: 33.1 MB
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Podcast episode Zywicki on Debt and Bankruptcy

EconTalk Episode with Todd Zywicki
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Todd Zywicki, of George Mason University Law School, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the evolving world of consumer debt and how institutions and public policy have influenced consumer access to debt and credit. Zywicki defends consumer credit as a crucial benefit to consumers and that innovation has made credit cheaper and more effective. He also talks about how misleading it can be to look at only one piece or another of credit picture. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the evolution of bankruptcy law in the United States.

Size: 30.6 MB
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Podcast episode Hazlett on Telecommunications

EconTalk Episode with Thomas Hazlett
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Thomas Hazlett of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about a number of key issues in telecommunications and telecommunication policy including net neutrality, FCC policy, and the state of antitrust. Hazlett argues for an emergent, Hayekian approach to policy toward the internet rather than trying to design it from the top down and for an increased use of exchangeable property rights in allocating spectrum.

Size: 29.2 MB
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Podcast episode Selgin on Free Banking

EconTalk Episode with George Selgin
Hosted by Russ Roberts

George Selgin of West Virginia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about free banking, where government treats banks as no different from other firms in the economy. Rather than rely on government guarantees to protect depositors (coupled with regulation), banks would compete with each other in offering security and return on deposits. Selgin draws on historical episodes of free banking, particularly in Scotland, to show that such a world need not be unduly hazardous or filled with bank runs. He also talks about Gresham's Law and an episode in British history when banks successfully issued their own currency.

Size: 33.6 MB
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Arnold Kling of EconLog talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role of credit default swaps and counterparty risks in the current financial mess. The conversation opens with the logistics of credit default swaps and counterparty risks and moves on to their role in the financial collapse. The conversation closes with a discussion of the political economy of pending financial regulation.

Size: 29.2 MB
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Podcast episode Patri Friedman on Seasteading

EconTalk Episode with Patri Friedman
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Patri Friedman, Executive Director of the Seasteading Institute, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about seasteading, the creation of autonomous ocean communities as an alternative to existing political and cultural forms. Topics discussed include the political and economic viability of seasteading, risks of piracy, the aesthetics of living on the ocean, and the potential impact of seasteading on conventional governments.

Size: 22.1 MB
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Podcast episode Kling on Freddie and Fannie and the Recent History of the U.S. Housing Market

EconTalk Episode with Arnold Kling
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Arnold Kling of EconLog talks with host Russ Roberts about the economics of the housing market with a focus on the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The conversation closes with a postscript on the current financial crisis.

Size: 44.5 MB
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Podcast episode Karol Boudreaux on Wildlife, Property, and Poverty in Africa

EconTalk Episode with Karol Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Karol Boudreaux, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about wildlife management in Africa. Their conversation focuses on community-based wildlife management in Namibia, a policy to give communities the incentives to protect wildlife and avoid the tragedy of the commons.

Size: 26.1 MB
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Podcast episode Shiller on Housing and Bubbles

EconTalk Episode with Robert Shiller
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Robert Shiller of Yale University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the current housing mess and related financial market problems. Shiller argues that the decade-long run up in housing prices was a bubble where speculative fervor outweighed any economic fundamentals. He also discusses the genesis of the Case-Shiller housing price index and his idea for how it might be used to reduce risk in the mortgage market.

Note: This podcast was recorded on September 5, 2008, days before Secretary of the Treasury Paulson put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. Upcoming in the next two weeks is a podcast with Arnold Kling focusing on the role of Fannie and Freddie and the mortgage market.

Size: 28.0 MB
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Podcast episode Ellis on American Creation and the Founding

EconTalk Episode with Joseph Ellis
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Joseph Ellis, of Mt. Holyoke College and author of American Creation, talks about the triumphs and tragedies of the founding of the United States. His goal in the book and in this podcast is to tell a story for grownups rather than for children, where the Founders are neither saints nor evil white, patriarchal slave-holding demons. It is a nuanced story of triumph--a military victory over a seemingly unbeatable vastly more experienced army, the creation of the first geographically large republic, a nation without a state religion, a nation that creates a party system with a loyal opposition, a Constitution with the virtues of ambiguous sovereignty, and tragedy--the failure to resolve the slavery issue, and the tragic conflict with the Native Americans. Some of these outcomes were intended by the Founders, others emerged unintended.

Size: 31.0 MB
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Podcast episode John Taylor on Monetary Policy

EconTalk Episode with John Taylor
Hosted by Russ Roberts

John Taylor of Stanford University talks about the Taylor Rule, his description of what the Fed ought to do and what it sometimes actually does, to keep inflation in check and the economy on a steady path. He argues that when the Fed has deviated from the Rule in recent years, the economy has performed poorly. Taylor also assesses the chances for a monetary or financial disaster and the Fed's recent expanded role in intervening in financial markets.

Size: 25.0 MB
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Podcast episode Bueno de Mesquita on Iran and Threats to U.S. Security

EconTalk Episode with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita of Stanford University's Hoover Institution and New York University talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about threats to U.S. security, particularly Iran. Bueno de Mesquita argues that Iran is of little danger to the United States and that Ahmadinejad is an unimportant player in Iran's political system, more of a stalking horse for provocative ideas rather than a wielder of power. Bueno de Mesquita then looks at what Iran has to gain and to lose by appearing to build a nuclear weapons program and actually using a nuclear weapon. He then goes on to examine the nature of other threats to the United States. The closing topic of the conversation is the peculiar incentives facing U.S. Presidents as their terms expire.

Size: 28.1 MB
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Podcast episode Hanushek on Education and School Finance

EconTalk Episode with Eric Hanushek
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Eric Hanushek of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the strange evolution of school finance in the last four decades. In particular, the courts have played an important role in recent years in mandating expenditure increases for public school systems. Hanushek talks about why this has come about and the lack of effect these expenditures have had in affecting student achievement.

Size: 30.9 MB
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Podcast episode Gene Epstein on Gold, the Fed, and Money

EconTalk Episode with Gene Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Gene Epstein, Barron's economics editor, talks to EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the virtues of the gold standard relative to fiat money. Epstein argues that privately issued money, backed by gold, would lead to an economy with much greater price stability and fewer and milder recessions.

Size: 30.9 MB
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Podcast episode Coyne on Exporting Democracy after War

EconTalk Episode with Christopher Coyne
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Christopher Coyne of West Virginia University and George Mason University's Mercatus Center talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy. They talk about the successes and failures of America's attempts to export democracy after a war. In some cases, Japan and Germany, for example, after World War II, American efforts have led to stability and democratic institutions. In many other cases, Cuba, Somalia, and Haiti, for example, and so far, Iraq, American efforts have failed, often repeatedly and have sometimes made things worse. Coyne tries to identify factors that lead to an improved likelihood of success or failure. Ultimately, he concludes that a non-interventionist posture accompanied by unilateral free trade is more likely to benefit citizens under repressive governments.

Size: 36.5 MB
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Podcast episode Cowen on Monetary Policy

EconTalk Episode with Tyler Cowen
Hosted by Russ Roberts

cowen.jpg Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and Marginal Revolution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about money, inflation, the Federal Reserve and the gold standard. Cowen argues that alternatives to the current Federal Reserve system promise more risk than return.

Size: 31.6 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 Collier on the Bottom Billion

EconTalk Episode with Paul Collier
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Paul Collier of Oxford University talks about the ideas in his recent book, The Bottom Billion, an analysis of why the poorest countries in the world fail to grow. He talks about conflict, natural resources, being landlocked, and bad governance, four factors he identifies as causes of the desperate poverty and stagnation in the countries where 1/6 of the world's poorest peoples live.

Size: 31.5 MB
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Podcast episode 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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Podcast episode Karol Boudreaux on Property Rights and Incentives in Africa

EconTalk Episode with Karol Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Karol Boudreaux, Senior Research Fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her field work and research in Rwanda and South Africa. In Rwanda, she studied how a change in incentives and property rights for coffee farmers has allowed the coffee bean growers to improve quality and prosper. In South Africa's Langa Township, she looked at how renters were allowed to become homeowners and how the ability to own changed their lives.

Size: 27.7 MB
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Podcast episode Yandle on the Tragedy of the Commons and the Implications for Environmental Regulation

EconTalk Episode with Bruce Yandle
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bruce Yandle of Clemson University and George Mason University's Mercatus Center looks at the tragedy of the commons and the various ways that people have avoided the overuse of resources that are held in common. Examples discussed include fisheries, roads, rivers and the air. Yandle talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the historical use of norms, cooperative ventures such as incorporating a river, the common law, and top-down command-and-control regulation to reduce air and water pollution.

Size: 38.7 MB
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Podcast episode Boudreaux on Market Failure, Government Failure and the Economics of Antitrust Regulation

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

DonB.jpgDon Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about when market failure can be improved by government intervention. After discussing the evolution of economic thinking about externalities and public goods, the conversation turns to the case for government's role in promoting competition via antitrust regulation. Boudreaux argues that the origins of antitrust had nothing to do with protecting consumers from greedy monopolists. The source of political demand for antitrust regulation came from competitors looking for relief from more successful rivals.

Size: 30.5 MB
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Podcast episode Epstein on Property Rights, Zoning and Kelo

EconTalk Episode with Richard Epstein
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Richard Epstein, of the University of Chicago and Stanford's Hoover Institution, makes the case that many current zoning restrictions are essentially "takings" and property owners should receive compensation for the lost value of their land. He also discusses the Kelo case and the political economy of the regulation of land.

Size: 19.0 MB
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Podcast episode Weingast on Violence, Power and a Theory of Nearly Everything

EconTalk Episode with Barry Weingast
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Barry Weingast, Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University, talks about the ideas in his forthcoming book with Doug North and John Wallis, A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. Weingast talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how violence shapes political institutions, the role of competition in politics and economics, and why most development advice from successful nations fails to lift poor nations out of poverty.

Size: 30.0 MB
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Podcast episode Caplan on the Myth of the Rational Voter

EconTalk Episode with Bryan Caplan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bryan CaplanBryan Caplan, of George Mason University and blogger at EconLog, talks about his book, The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. Caplan argues that democracies work well in giving voters what they want but unfortunately, what voters want isn't particularly wise, especially when it comes to economic policy. He outlines a series of systematic biases we often have on economic topics and explains why we have little or no incentive to improve our understanding of the world and vote wisely. So, it's not special interests that are messing things up but the very incentives that lie at the heart of a vote-based system. This is a disturbing and provocative lens for viewing political outcomes.

Size: 37.2 MB
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Podcast episode Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on Democracies and Dictatorships

EconTalk Episode with Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita of NYU and Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks about the incentives facing dictators and democratic leaders. Both have to face competition from rivals. Both try to please their constituents and cronies to stay in power. He applies his insights to foreign aid, the Middle East, Venezuela, the potential for China's evolution to a more democratic system, and Cuba. Along the way, he explains why true democracy is more than just elections--it depends crucially on freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.

Size: 15.4 MB
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Podcast episode Boudreaux on Law and Legislation

EconTalk Episode with Don Boudreaux
Hosted by Russ Roberts

DonB.jpgDon Boudreaux of George Mason University talks about the fundamental principles of economics and civilization: spontaneous order and law. Drawing on volume one of Friedrich Hayek's classic, Law, Legislation and Liberty, Boudreaux talks about the distinction between law and legislation, the appropriate role of judges, and how the fulfillment of our expectations allows us to pursue our goals and dreams.

Size: 16.9 MB
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Podcast episode Clint Bolick Defends Judicial Activism

EconTalk Episode with Clint Bolick
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Clint Bolick, co-founder of the Institute for Justice and President of the Alliance for School Choice makes the case for judicial activism. He and Russ Roberts discuss school choice, interstate wine sales, the Kelo eminent domain case and the crucial role the Supreme Court and the Constitution can and should play in securing economic liberty.

Size: 12.8 MB
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