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Russ Roberts

Podcast episode Jonah Goldberg on The Suicide of the West

EconTalk Episode with Jonah Goldberg
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Suicide%20of%20the%20West.jpg Jonah Goldberg of National Review talks about his latest book, Suicide of the West, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Goldberg argues that both capitalism and democracy are at risk in the current contentious political environment. He argues that we take for granted what he calls "the miracle"--the transformation of the standard of living in the democracies with market economies. Goldberg argues that unless we actively work to preserve our political and economic systems, the forces of populism, nationalism, and tribalism will work steadily to destroy them.

Size:40.1 MB
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Measuring Ourselves to Death

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

ed metrics.jpg What is the appropriate relationship between judgments and measurement? Is it not the case that "if it matters, you can measure it?" In this week's episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomed historian Jerry Muller to talk about his new book, The Tyranny of Metrics.

Now we'd like to hear what you think. Is your work evaluated based on metrics? If so, do you find such evaluation reliable? Are you worried about the reliance on standardized tests at your kids' schools? Is crime over- or under-reported in your area, and how would you know? These are just a few of the issues Roberts and Muller discuss.

1. What is the "tyranny of metrics," according to Muller? Under what circumstances are metrics useful?

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Your Favorite Episodes of 2017

EconTalk Extra
by Russ Roberts

Here are the results of the survey of your favorite episodes of 2017. I want to thank everybody who responded--over 2400 people filled out the survey. You live in 68 different countries, which is an EconTalk survey record. And I also want to tell you how much I enjoyed your feedback and comments, that were at the end of the survey. They inspire me; they make me want to make EconTalk better; and they touch me.

Here are your favorite episodes from 2017. These are the episodes that were mentioned in people's top 5 most frequently.

1. Sam Quinones on Heroin, the Opioid Epidemic, and Dreamland (22% put it in their top 5)

2. Michael Munger on Permissionless Innovation

3. Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Work, Slavery, the Minority Rule and Skin in the Game

4. Benedict Evans on the Future of Cars

5. John McWhorter on the Evolution of Language and Words on the Move

6. Michael Munger on the Basic Income Guarantee

7. Megan McArdle on Internet Shaming and Online Mobs

8. Gary Taubes on the Case Against Sugar

9. Tim Harford on 50 Inventions that Shaped the Modern Economy

10. Don Boudreaux, Michael Munger, and Russ Roberts on Emergent Order

Three episodes that did not quite make this list but that I particularly enjoyed because of what I learned would include:

Robin Feldman on Drug Patents, Generics, and Drug Wars

Elizabeth Pape on Manufacturing and Selling Women's Clothing, and Elizabeth Suzann

Paul Bloom on Empathy

Favorites from past years are here.




Podcast episode Jerry Muller on the Tyranny of Metrics

EconTalk Episode with Jerry Muller
Hosted by Russ Roberts

Tyranny%20of%20Metrics.png Historian and author Jerry Muller of Catholic University talks about his latest book, The Tyranny of Metrics, with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Muller argues that public policy and management are overly focused on measurable outcomes as a measure of success. This leads to organizations and agencies over-focusing on metrics rather than their broader mission. The conversation includes applications to education, crime, and health care.

Size:29.7 MB
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The High Cost of Cancer

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

drug scales.jpg If you or someone you love is stricken with cancer, you'd do anything to prolong their life, wouldn't you? To what extent will your response depend on the cost of the treatment available? In this week's episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomes Mayo Clinic oncologist Vincent Rajkumar to talk about the seemingly exorbitant cost of cancer-fighting drugs.

1. What's the "philosophical challenge" Roberts raises at about the ten minute mark (but which persists throughout the episode) regarding the effective use of money to make life better? Where do you stand with regard to this question, and why?

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Podcast episode Vincent Rajkumar on the High Price of Cancer Drugs

EconTalk Episode with Vincent Rajkumar
Hosted by Russ Roberts

cancer%20treatment.jpg Can a life-saving drug be too expensive? What explains the high price of cancer drugs? Dr. Vincent Rajkumar of the Mayo Clinic talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the high price of cancer drugs--drugs that can cost an American with cancer $300,000 per year and require multiple years of treatment. Rajkumar explains how little a role market forces play in setting prices and what might be done to improve the situation.

Size:33.3 MB
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Traffic Jams: Inducing Rage or Zen?

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

by Alice Temnick

Could a congestion tax be a "best solution" among "poor alternatives?" In this week's episode, host Russ Roberts and recurring guest economist Michael Munger delve deeply into variations of taxation and the consequences of taxation in an attempt to reduce this ubiquitous urban problem.

Does your daily commute make you angry? Share your thoughts with us about addressing (or accepting) high traffic commutes, incentives that work and how you think about this collective action problem. We want to hear from you!

1. Munger points out that people are becoming more productive while stuck in traffic, that as disutility decreases, there is an increase in willingness to be on the road during high traffic times. How do smart-phones affect one's opportunity cost of commute time? What else might contribute to this effect? Is this increased productivity a net positive effect?

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Podcast episode Michael Munger on Traffic

EconTalk Episode with Mike Munger
Hosted by Russ Roberts

congestion%20pricing.jpg Does rush-hour traffic drive you crazy? Is a congestion tax on car travel a good idea? Michael Munger of Duke University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of traffic and congestion taxes. It takes a while to get there (how appropriate!) but they eventually agree that a tax on congestion while reducing travel time is harmful to many drivers and may be best thought of as any tax placed on a particular good--a way to raise government revenue from the pockets of the consumers of that good.

Size:34.0 MB
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Heartbreak in the Heartland

EconTalk Extra
by Amy Willis

blacksmith.jpg Despite low official unemployment rates, this week's EconTalk guest, economist Edward Glaeser, argues that joblessness is "the great American domestic crisis of the 21st century." What accounts for this seemingly unprecedented economic and social crisis? And what's different about changing patterns of employment today? We don't bemoan the loss of blacksmiths, but the loss of manufacturing and mining jobs in America's heartland seems much more tragic. Host Russ Roberts and Glaeser explore the possible causes and discuss potential responses in this fascinating episode.

As usual, now we'd like to get your reaction. Consider responding to one of our prompts in the comments, or pose a question of your own. We love to hear from you!

1. What's the distinction between unemployment and joblessness, and why does Glaeser put so much emphasis on it?

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Podcast episode Edward Glaeser on Joblessness and the War on Work

EconTalk Episode with Edward Glaeser
Hosted by Russ Roberts

war%20on%20work.jpg Why are fewer men working over the last few decades? Is a universal basic income a good policy for coping with the loss of employment? Economist Edward Glaeser of Harvard University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about what Glaeser calls the war on work--the policy changes that have reduced employment among prime-aged men. Glaeser does not see the universal basic income as a viable solution to the decrease in work especially if technology ends up reducing employment opportunities more dramatically in the future. The conversation also includes a discussion of the role of cities and the reduction in geographic mobility in the United States.

Size:30.3 MB
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