EconTalk
Russ Roberts

Podcast episode Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles on the Captured Economy

EconTalk Episode with Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Captured%20Economy.jpg Brink Lindsey of the Niskanen Center and Steven Teles of the Niskanen Center and Johns Hopkins University talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about their book, The Captured Economy. Lindsey and Teles argue that inequality has been worsened by special interests who steer policy to benefit themselves. They also argue that the influence of the politically powerful has lowered the overall growth of the American economy.

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You Gotta Love Irene Triplett

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

entitlement.jpg If you're unhappy about the growth of government entitlement programs, perhaps it's time you stop harping on the New Deal. According to this week's EconTalk guest, John Cogan, you'll need to look back a lot further...a lot further.

What can the history of the federal governments role in transfer payments teach us about tax reform today? How much of a safety net should the government provide for its citizens? These are complicated questions. So take a trip back in time with us this week, and examine your own thoughts about transfer payment programs then and now.

Please share your thoughts with us...Respond to our prompts in the Comments below, or consider using these questions with your class or your friends. Let's continue the conversation.

1. How did the veterans' benefit program instituted after the American Revolution come to set the pattern for all US entitlement programs to follow? How does Cogan distinguish this entitlement trend from the one begun in the wake of the Great Depression?

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Podcast episode John Cogan on Entitlements and the High Cost of Good Intentions

EconTalk Episode with John Cogan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

High%20Cost.jpg John Cogan of Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Cogan's book, The High Cost of Good Intentions, a history of U.S. entitlement policy. Cogan traces the evolution of government pensions beginning with Revolutionary War vets to the birth and evolution of the Social Security program. Surprises along the way include President Franklin Roosevelt as fiscal conservative and the hard-to-believe but true fact that there is still one person receiving monthly checks from the Civil War veterans pension program. The conversation concludes with Cogan's concerns over the growing costs of financing social security payments to baby boomers.

Size:30.3 MB
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Have you worried about your food today?

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

Do you ever feel a pang of guilt when you throw food scraps in the trash? Do you hear your mother's voice reminding you of starving children in far-flung corners of the globe? Have you ever thought you should be composting? What different sorts of choices have you thought you should make? Counseled others to make? time waste.jpg This week's EconTalk guest, historian Rachel Laudan, argues that food waste has become a moral issue, and that's the wrong way to frame it. Laudan's conversation with host Russ Roberts tries to restructure the argument about food waste and make thinking about our food choices less "neurotic."

What are your thoughts on this week's episode? Are you comfortable in our current (American) food culture, or do you agree that the system is broken? We'd love to continue the conversation.

1. Laudan says there is "a religious aspect" to the way people think about food choices. Roberts says it's all lexicographical. What do they mean, and what do you think has brought this state of affairs about? To what extent do you think the moralization of food choices is permanent?

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Podcast episode Rachel Laudan on Food Waste

EconTalk Episode with Rachel Laudan
Hosted by Russ Roberts

food%20waste.jpg Historian Rachel Laudan talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about food waste. Laudan argues that there are tradeoffs in preventing food waste--in reduced time for example, or a reduction in food security, and that these tradeoffs need to be measured carefully when considering policy or giving advice to individuals or organizations. She also discusses the role of food taboos and moralizing about food. Along the way, Laudan defends the virtue of individual choice and freedom in deciding what to eat.

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Open for Business...in 230 Days

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

open.jpg How many steps would you have to go through if you wanted to open a new business in the United States? How about India? Venezuela? The difference might be important to more than just you...And that's what this week's episode of EconTalk, filmed before a live audience as part of the Atlas Network's Liberty Forum, was all about.

Host Russ Roberts welcomed the founder of the World Bank's Doing Business Report, Simeon Djankov (who also took a turn as the Minister of Finance for Bulgaria) and Atlas Network COO Matt Warner. Djankov's work in measuring the regulatory burden on business across the world's countries was the focus of much of the conversation, though an interesting turn toward the role of think tanks occurred toward the end.

Now we'd like to hear your thoughts on the conversation. Respond to the prompts here in the Comments, or pose your own questions for thought. We'd love to continue the conversation.

1. Naturally, Roberts is skeptical of the reliability of the Doing Business Report (DBR) measurement practices. What does he mean when he says he fears that some nations might "teach to the test?" To what extent is this concern valid?

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Podcast episode Simeon Djankov and Matt Warner on the Doing Business Report and Development Aid

EconTalk Episode with Simeon Djankov and Matt Warner
Hosted by Russ Roberts

econ%20dvpt.jpg Simeon Djankov, creator of the World Bank's Doing Business Report, and Matt Warner, Chief Operating Officer of Atlas Network talk with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the role regulation plays in economic development and the challenges of measuring regulatory barriers to new business creation.

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elevator.jpg This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed back Tim Harford to discuss his new book, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy, based on a BBC podcast series he did by the same name. Their conversation (and Harford's book) is a whirlwind tour of the mundane, and that's exactly what makes it beautiful. According to Harford, his goal with each of his 50 picks was to "teach people a lesson about the way the world economy works through the medium" of each invention. Their chat is full of economic "mysteries," such as, "Why is Manhattan one the greenest cities in America?" And "Why is it better for the environment to ship juice boxes rather than oranges?"

So let's hear what you took away from this week's conversation. Pose a question, suggest a new economic "mystery," or answer one of ours. We'd love to continue the conversation.

1. Both Roberts and Harford muse that we don't even know that names of many of the people who originated these transformative inventions. In thinking about invention and innovation, why do you think we have a tendency to think in terms of the spectacular?

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Podcast episode Tim Harford on Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy

EconTalk Episode with Tim Harford
Hosted by Russ Roberts

50%20Inventions.jpg Financial Times columnist and author Tim Harford talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Harford's latest book, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy. Highlights include how elevators are an important form of mass transit, why washing machines didn't save quite as much time as you'd think, and the glorious illuminating aspects of light throughout history.

Size:31.6 MB
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To Tip or Not to Tip

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

kids tip.jpg Is tipping a relic of the past that has outlived its usefulness? Should restaurant servers work for tips or a living wage? This week, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed back political scientist Anthony Gill to discuss his recent piece on teaching about tipping.

Now we'd like to hear more from you. Use the prompts here to share your reaction to this week's episode, or to spark your own conversation offline. Feel free to post your own questions here, too. We'd love to converse with you.

1. Did your parents teach you to tip for service? If so, what was their rationale, and was there a guideline for how much to tip?

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