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EconTalk

764 episodes - English - Latest episode: about 7 hours ago - ★★★★★ - 3.3K ratings

EconTalk is an award-winning weekly podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Stanford University's Hoover Institution. The eclectic guest list includes authors, doctors, psychologists, historians, philosophers, economists, and more. Learn how the health care system really works, the serenity that comes from humility, the challenge of interpreting data, how potato chips are made, what it's like to run an upscale Manhattan restaurant, what caused the 2008 financial crisis, the nature of consciousness, and more. EconTalk has been taking the Monday out of Mondays since 2006. All 750+ episodes are available in the archive. Go to EconTalk.org for transcripts, related resources, and comments.

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Episodes

Daniel Haybron on Happiness

November 23, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 38.6 MB

Philosopher and author Daniel Haybron of St. Louis University talks about his book, Happiness, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Happiness turns out to be a little more complicated than it sounds. Haybron discusses the good life and different philosophical perspectives on how to achieve happiness.

Virginia Postrel on Textiles and the Fabric of Civilization

November 16, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 30.6 MB

Author and journalist Virginia Postrel talks about her book The Fabric of Civilization and How Textiles Made the World with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Postrel tells the fascinating story behind the clothes we wear and everything that goes into producing them throughout history. The history of textiles, Postrel argues, is a good way of understanding the history of the world.

Steven Levitt on Freakonomics and the State of Economics

November 09, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 42.9 MB

Author and economist Steven Levitt is the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and host of the podcast "People I (Mostly) Admire." He is best known as the co-author, with Stephen Dubner, of Freakonomics. The book, published in 2005, became a phenomenon, selling more than 5 million copies in 40 languages. Levitt talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the book's surprising success, the controversy it generated, and how it shaped his car...

Rob Wiblin and Russ Roberts on Charity, Science, and Utilitarianism

November 02, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 49.2 MB

Rob Wiblin, host of the 80,000 Hours podcast, interviews EconTalk host Russ Roberts about charity, the reliability of data to inform decision-making, and utilitarianism.

Fredrik deBoer on the Cult of Smart

October 26, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 35.4 MB

Author and journalist Fredrik deBoer discusses his book The Cult of Smart with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. DeBoer argues that there is little that can be done to change the distribution of success in K-12 education. He argues that educational reforms like charter schools and No Child Left Behind are doomed to failure. At the end of the conversation, deBoer, a self-described Marxist, makes the case for a radical re-imagining of the U.S. economy.

Dwayne Betts on Reading, Prison, and the Million Book Project

October 19, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 42.6 MB

Author, lawyer, and poet Dwayne Betts talks about his time in prison and the power of reading with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Betts is the founder of the Million Book Project, which aims to put a small library of great books in 1,000 U.S. prisons. Betts discusses his plans for the project and how reading helped him transform himself.

Anne Applebaum on the Twilight of Democracy

October 12, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 27.7 MB

Journalist and author Anne Applebaum talks about her book, Twilight of Democracy, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Applebaum discusses the rise of populist and nationalist movements in Eastern Europe as well as in the West, and the appeal of these movements even when they begin to erode or destroy democracy.

Zena Hitz on Lost in Thought

October 05, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 41.2 MB

Philosopher and author Zena Hitz of St. John's College talks about her book, Lost in Thought, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Hitz defends learning for its own sake--learning that has nothing to do with passing an exam or preparing for a career. For Hitz, learning is a refuge and an essential part of what makes us human.

Agnes Callard on Aspiration

September 28, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 38.3 MB

Where do our deepest personal values come from? Can we choose those values? Philosopher and author Agnes Callard of the University of Chicago talks about her book, Aspiration, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Callard explores the challenge of aspiration--who we are versus who we would like to become. How does aspiration work? How can we transform ourselves when we cannot know how it will feel to be transformed? Callard discusses these questions and more in this provocative episode.

Lisa Cook on Racism, Patents, and Black Entrepreneurship

September 21, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 31.6 MB

How much has racism held back the U.S. economy? What would the country look like today if Black entrepreneurs and inventors had been welcomed and encouraged over the past century and a half? Economist Lisa Cook of Michigan State University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her research into the impact of racism, lynching, and segregation on Black inventors and entrepreneurs.

Robert Chitester on Milton Friedman and Free to Choose

September 14, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 30 MB

Once upon a time, a man had an idea for a documentary on free-market ideas. Then that man was introduced to Milton Friedman. The result of their collaboration was a wildly successful book and PBS series, Free to Choose, capturing Friedman's view of the world, how markets work, and the role of individual liberty in free-market economies. The man behind that documentary, Robert Chitester, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about how that documentary came about and Chitester's long-time frien...

Margaret Heffernan on Uncharted

September 07, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 29.5 MB

How do we prepare for a future that is unpredictable? That's the question at the heart of Margaret Heffernan's new book, Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future. Heffernan is a professor at the University of Bath, but she is also a serial entrepreneur, a former CEO, and the author of five books on leadership, innovation, and the challenge of unleashing talent and creativity in large organizations. In this wide-ranging conversation with EconTalk host Russ Roberts, Heffernan discusses the centra...

Matt Ridley on How Innovation Works

August 31, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 32.6 MB

What's the difference between invention and innovation? Could it be that innovation--the process of making a breakthrough invention available, affordable, and reliable--is actually the hard part? In this week's EconTalk episode, author Matt Ridley talks about his book How Innovation Works with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Ridley argues that we give too much credit to inventors and not enough to innovators--those who refine and improve an invention to make it valuable to users. Along the way, h...

Franklin Zimring on When Police Kill

August 24, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 29.2 MB

Franklin Zimring's 2017 book, When Police Kill, starts with an alarming statistic: Roughly 1,000 Americans die each year at the hands of police. Zimring, criminologist and law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, talks about his book with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Zimring argues that better policing practices can reduce the number of citizens killed by the police. He also discusses the barriers that stand in the way of more effective and safer policing.

Michael Munger on the Future of Higher Education

August 17, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 31.1 MB

In this 750th (!) episode, Duke University's Michael Munger talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about whether the pandemic might create an opportunity for colleges and universities to experiment and innovate. Munger is Professor of Political Science, Economics and Public Policy at Duke. He believes "top" schools can emerge from the current period of uncertainty to thrive in the long run. The path for "second-tier" institutions could be more difficult. They will still face the challenges tha...

Ben Cohen on the Hot Hand

August 10, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 31.6 MB

Journalist and author Ben Cohen talks about his book, The Hot Hand, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. At times in sports and elsewhere in life, a person seems to be "on fire," playing at an unusually high level. Is this real or an illusion? Cohen takes the listener through the scientific literature on this question and spreads a very wide net to look at the phenomenon of being in the zone outside of sports. Topics include Shakespeare, investing, Stephen Curry, and asylum judges.

John Kay and Mervyn King on Radical Uncertainty

August 03, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 34 MB

John Kay and Mervyn King talk about their book, Radical Uncertainty, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a wide-ranging discussion based on the book looking at rationality, decision-making under uncertainty, and the economists' view of the world.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on the Pandemic

July 27, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 31 MB

Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks about the pandemic with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Topics discussed include how to handle the rest of this pandemic and the next one, the power of the mask, geronticide, and soul in the game.

Glenn Loury on Race, Inequality, and America

July 20, 2020 11:30 - 57 minutes - 26.4 MB

Economist and author Glenn Loury of Brown University talks about race in America with EconTalk host Russ Roberts.

Josh Williams on Online Gaming, Blockchain, and Forte

July 13, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 33.9 MB

Josh Williams, co-founder and CEO of the blockchain gaming company Forte, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of online gaming and the potential of a blockchain-based gaming platform to create market economies with property rights within online games.

Robert Lerman on Apprenticeships

July 06, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 29 MB

Economist Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute talks about apprenticeships with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Lerman argues that apprenticeships--a combination of work experience and classroom learning--have the potential to expand opportunities for young people who don't want to attend college.

Vivian Lee on The Long Fix

June 29, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 29.6 MB

Physician and author Vivian Lee talks about her book The Long Fix with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Lee argues that we can transform health care in the United States, though it may take a while. She argues that the current fee-for-service system incentivizes doctors to provide services rather than keep patients healthy and that these are not the same thing. Topics explored include innovations in Medicare and in technology that might change treatment incentives as well as the weird world of hea...

Agnes Callard on Philosophy, Progress, and Wisdom

June 22, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 31.8 MB

Philosopher and author Agnes Callard talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of philosophy, the power of philosophy, and the search for wisdom and truth. This is a wide-ranging conversation related to the question of how we learn, how to behave ethically, and the role of religion and philosophy in encouraging good behavior.

Diane Ravitch on Slaying Goliath

June 15, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 28.5 MB

Author and historian Diane Ravitch of New York University talks about her book, Slaying Goliath, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Ravitch argues that the charter school movement is a failure and that it drains needed money from public schools.

Rebecca Henderson on Reimagining Capitalism

June 08, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 30.4 MB

Author and economist Rebecca Henderson of the Harvard Business School talks about her book Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Henderson argues that the focus on shareholder value threatens to destroy capitalism from within. Henderson argues that business leaders need to manage their companies differently in order to create a more humane and stable capitalism.

Sarah Carr on Charter Schools, Educational Reform, and Hope Against Hope

June 01, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 27.9 MB

Journalist and author Sarah Carr talks about her book Hope Against Hope with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Carr looked at three schools in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and chronicled their successes, failures, and the challenges facing educational reform in the poorest parts of America.

Martin Gurri on the Revolt of the Public

May 25, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 32.8 MB

Author Martin Gurri, Visiting Fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, talks about his book The Revolt of the Public with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Gurri argues that a digital tsunami--the increase in information that the web provides--has destabilized authority and many institutions. He talks about the amorphous nature of recent populist protest movements around the world and where we might be headed politically and culturally.

Robert Pondiscio on How the Other Half Learns

May 18, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 37 MB

Author and teacher Robert Pondiscio of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute talks about his book How the Other Half Learns with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Pondiscio shares his experience of being embedded in a Success Academy Charter School in New York City for a year--lessons about teaching, education policy, and student achievement.

Paul Romer on the Pandemic

May 15, 2020 17:15 - 1 hour - 28.4 MB

In this bonus episode of EconTalk, economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Romer discusses the coronavirus pandemic with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Romer argues that the status quo of shutdown and fear of infection is unsustainable. Returning to normal requires an inexpensive, quick, and relatively painless test. Such tests are now available. The challenge is in relaxing certain regulations and then creating a supply chain of production and availability. Romer then explains how such a test could e...

Branko Milanovic on Capitalism, Alone

May 11, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 44.9 MB

Economist and author Branko Milanovic of the Graduate Center, CUNY, talks about his book, Capitalism, Alone, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. They discuss inequality, the challenge of corruption in the Chinese system, and Milanovic's claim that in American capitalism, the texture of daily life is increasingly affected by the sharing economy and other opportunities.

L.A. Paul on Vampires, Life Choices, and Transformation

May 04, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 34.1 MB

Philosopher and author L.A. Paul talks about her book Transformative Experience with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Paul explores the uncertainties that surround the transformative experiences that we choose and that happen to us without choosing. How should we think about the morality and personal impact of these kinds of experiences, especially when some decisions are very hard or impossible to reverse? Examples include becoming a vampire, having children, religion, and other life experiences ...

Alan Lightman on Stardust, Meaning, Religion, and Science

April 27, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 37.2 MB

Physicist and author Alan Lightman talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the origins of the universe, meaning, transcendence, and the relationship between science and religion.

Vinay Prasad on Cancer Drugs, Medical Ethics, and Malignant

April 20, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 35.8 MB

Oncologist, author, and podcaster Vinay Prasad talks about his book Malignant with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Prasad lays out the conflicts of interest and scientific challenges that make drugs that fight cancer so disappointing at times. The conversation looks at how policy changes might improve the incentives facing doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and patients.

Ed Leamer on Manufacturing, Effort, and Inequality

April 13, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 33.9 MB

Economist Ed Leamer of UCLA talks about manufacturing, effort, and inequality with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The conversation draws on recent empirical work of Leamer's on how measured inequality is affected by the work effort of Americans at different levels of education. The conversation ends with a discussion of how education can be transformed when it is more personal and allows the student to explore and discover under the guidance of a teacher.

Arnold Kling on the Three Languages of Politics, Revisited

April 06, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 29 MB

Economist and author Arnold Kling talks about the revised edition of his book The Three Languages of Politics in front of a live audience at the Cato Institute, recorded in September of 2019. Kling talks about the changed political landscape in the United States and around the world and how his ideas have changed since the book was first published in 2013.

Jenny Schuetz on Land Regulation and the Housing Market

March 30, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 34.5 MB

Jenny Schuetz of the Brookings Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about zoning, boarding houses, real estate development, and the housing market.

Azra Raza on The First Cell

March 23, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 38.8 MB

Author and oncologist Azra Raza talks about her book The First Cell with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Raza argues that we have made little progress in fighting cancer over the last 50 years. The tools available to oncologists haven't changed much--the bulk of the progress that has been made has been through earlier and earlier detection rather than more effective or compassionate treatment options. Raza wants to see a different approach from the current strategy of marginal improvements on nar...

Tyler Cowen on the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 19, 2020 13:30 - 1 hour - 36.6 MB

Economist and infovore Tyler Cowen of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the political, social, and economic aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Isabella Tree on Wilding

March 16, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 35.6 MB

Author and conservationist Isabella Tree talks about her book Wilding with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Tree and her husband decided to turn their 3500 acre farm, the Knepp Castle Estate, into something wilder, a place for wild ponies, wild pigs, wild oxen, and an ever-wider variety of birds and bugs. The conversation covers the re-wilding phenomenon, the complexity of natural systems, and the nature of emergent order.

Richard Davies on Extreme Economies

March 09, 2020 11:30 - 2 hours - 57.2 MB

Economist and author Richard Davies talks about his book Extreme Economies with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The conversation explores economic life in extreme situations. Examples discussed are the Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana, two Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, the rain forest in the Darien Gap in Panama, and Kinshasa, the largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is an economic and journalistic tour de force as Davies shares insights from his encounters with people a...

Yuval Levin on A Time to Build

March 02, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 31.6 MB

Author and political scientist Yuval Levin of the American Enterprise Institute talks about his book A Time to Build with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Levin argues that institutions in America are less trustworthy than they have been in the past. The cause, in Levin's view, is that the participants in these institutions no longer see the institution they are part of as something that molds them and has norms to which the participants conform. Instead, participants view the institution as a pla...

Richard Robb on Willful

February 24, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 41.9 MB

Economist, author, and investor Richard Robb talks about his book Willful with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Robb is interested in what motivates and explains the choices we make. He explores alternatives to the optimizing model of economics including what he calls "for-itself" behavior--behavior that isn't purposive. Topics discussed in this wide-ranging conversation include the nature of work, decision-making under uncertainty, the Joseph story in the Book of Genesis, Nietzsche, the Financial...

Peter Singer on The Life You Can Save

February 17, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 30.3 MB

Philosopher and author Peter Singer of Princeton University talks about his book, The Life You Can Save with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Singer argues that those of us in the developed world with a high standard of living can and should give/forgo some luxuries and donate instead to reduce poverty and suffering in poor countries. This is a wide-ranging conversation on the potential we have to make the world a better place and the practical challenges of having an impact.

Marty Makary on the Price We Pay

February 10, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 36.7 MB

Physician and author Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University talks about his book The Price We Pay with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Makary highlights some of the stranger aspects of our current health care system including the encouragement of unnecessary or even harmful procedures and the predatory behavior of some hospitals who sue patients and garnish their wages to recover fees that are secret until after the procedure is completed. Makary favors requiring hospitals to make their prices ...

Robert Shiller on Narrative Economics

February 03, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 28.6 MB

Economist, author, and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller of Yale University discusses his book Narrative Economics with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Shiller proposes a novel idea--that the narratives that people believe and use to understand the world affect their economic behavior and in turn affect the macroeconomy. Shiller argues that taking these psychological effects into account is a new frontier of economic research and he gives a number of examples of how we might think about these phenomena.

Daniel Klein on Honest Income

January 27, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 38.3 MB

Economist and author Daniel Klein of George Mason University talks about the ethics of working and the potential for our working lives to make the world a better place. This is a wide-ranging conversation that includes discussion of Adam Smith, what jobs we should work on, what charities we should donate to, how we can make ourselves more virtuous, the movies Se7en and Sabrina, and ultimately what Adam Smith calls "the becoming use of our own."

Janine Barchas on the Lost Books of Jane Austen

January 20, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 32.5 MB

Author and professor Janine Barchas of the University of Texas talks about her book, The Lost Books of Jane Austen, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The conversation explores Austen's enduring reputation, how the cheap reprints of her work allowed that reputation to thrive, the links between Shakespeare and Austen, how Austen has thrived despite the old-fashioned nature of her content, Colin Firth's shirt, and the virtue of studying literature.

Adam Minter on Secondhand

January 13, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 31.5 MB

Journalist and author Adam Minter talks about his book Secondhand with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Minter explores the strange and fascinating world of secondhand stuff--the downsizing that the elderly do when they move to smaller quarters, the unseen side of Goodwill Industries, and the global market for rags.

Melanie Mitchell on Artificial Intelligence

January 06, 2020 11:30 - 1 hour - 36.1 MB

Computer Scientist and author Melanie Mitchell of Portland State University and the Santa Fe Institute talks about her book Artificial Intelligence with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Mitchell explains where we are today in the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and where we might be going. Despite the hype and excitement surrounding AI, Mitchell argues that much of what is called "learning" and "intelligence" when done by machines is not analogous to human capabilities. The capabilities of m...

Kimberly Clausing on Open and the Progressive Case for Free Trade

December 30, 2019 11:30 - 1 hour - 31.5 MB

Economist and author Kimberly Clausing of Reed College talks about her book Open with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Clausing, a self-described progressive, argues that the United States should continue to embrace free trade but she argues for other interventions to soften the impact of trade on workers and communities.

Guests

Tyler Cowen
4 Episodes
Chris Anderson
3 Episodes
Ryan Holiday
3 Episodes
Adam Davidson
2 Episodes
Cathy O'Neil
2 Episodes
David Autor
2 Episodes
David Epstein
2 Episodes
Emily Oster
2 Episodes
Eric Topol
2 Episodes
Kevin Kelly
2 Episodes
Matt Ridley
2 Episodes
Paul Bloom
2 Episodes
Paul Romer
2 Episodes
Tim Harford
2 Episodes
A.J. Jacobs
1 Episode
Alan Lightman
1 Episode
Alex Tabarrok
1 Episode
Amy Webb
1 Episode
Andrew McAfee
1 Episode
Angela Duckworth
1 Episode
Arthur Brooks
1 Episode
Bjorn Lomborg
1 Episode
Cass Sunstein
1 Episode
Chuck Klosterman
1 Episode
Daniel Pink
1 Episode
Dan Pink
1 Episode
Daphne Koller
1 Episode
David Meltzer
1 Episode
Gabriel Zucman
1 Episode
Gary Becker
1 Episode
Gary Greenberg
1 Episode
Hulk Hogan
1 Episode
Iain McGilchrist
1 Episode
James Lindsay
1 Episode
Jennifer Pahlka
1 Episode
Joe Posnanski
1 Episode
John Gray
1 Episode
John McWhorter
1 Episode
Jonathan Haidt
1 Episode
Jordan Peterson
1 Episode
Josh Luber
1 Episode
Kelly Weinersmith
1 Episode
Margaret Heffernan
1 Episode
Mariana Mazzucato
1 Episode
Michael Lewis
1 Episode
Michael Pollan
1 Episode
Nick Bostrom
1 Episode
Patrick Collison
1 Episode
P.J. O'Rourke
1 Episode
Rana Foroohar
1 Episode
Richard Thaler
1 Episode
Rick Hanushek
1 Episode
Robert Wright
1 Episode
Rodney Brooks
1 Episode
Rory Sutherland
1 Episode
Sally Satel
1 Episode
Sebastian Junger
1 Episode
Thomas Piketty
1 Episode
William Black
1 Episode
William Easterly
1 Episode