Saturday, April 2, 2016

EconTalk is still amazing

We live in a great world for people who love information and who are motivated and enabled to seek it out. One of the most underappreciated treasures is the podcast EconTalk, which was recognized in a recent article by Priceonomics.

Although Russ Roberts is an avowed libertarian, his collection of interviews comprise an exceptionally robust and philosophically diverse set of knowledge. Episodes cover a wide range of topics in social science, but the over-arching themes of epistemic humility and skepticism towards high-powered statistical econometric methods are quite non-partisan. The guest diversity of this podcast is somewhat lacking (perhaps reflective of the academic discipline), but anyone with an open and critical mind should find these dialogues quite rewarding.

It's worth listening to every episode (there are TONS), but here are a few of the best. I've left out most of the purely economics-focused episodes:

Nick Bostrom on superintelligence
Cass Sunstein on worst-case scenarios
Robin Hanson on the singularity
Nassim Taleb on Black Swansfragilityantifragility
Freeman Dyson on science
Sam Peltzman on regulation and safety
Bruce Yandle on bootleggers and baptists
Terry Anderson on PERC
Ed Leamer on econometrics
Ian Ayres on data analysis
Ariel Rubinstein on game theory and behavioral economics
Peter Boettke on collective action problems
Clay Shirky on firms
Alvin Roth on matching markets
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on powercontrol
Tim Harford on distributed knowledge
Jim Manzi on the Oregon Medicaid study (2) and Austin Frakt on the same study (1)
William Easterly on foreign aid
Jeffrey Sachs on millennium villages
Bryan Caplan on discriminationvotingparentingimmigration
Emily Oster on infant mortalitypregnancy
Michael Munger on price gougingpublic vs. private risk-takingdivision of laborrent-seekingmiddlemen
Tyler Cowen #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8
Russ Roberts on ticket scalpingthe crisis, trade, shitty jobs
Arnold Kling on specialization, politics
Gary Taubes on nutrition sciencewhy we get fat
Becky Pettit on prisons and data bias
Steven Teles on kludgeocracy
Michael Lind on libertarianism
Larry Iannaccone on the economics of religion
Chuck Marohn on urbanism
Doug Lemov on teaching
Christopher Hitchens on Orwell

Here are the people who haven't done shows yet that I would most like to see appear. Some are quite old, and their inclusion would enhance the reputation of EconTalk as something a bit deeper than your average journalistic interview (a 'podcast of record').

1. Amartya Sen on welfare economics, social choice theory, India and philosophy
2. Kenneth Arrow on social choice theory and health economics
3. Thomas Schelling on bargaining and strategy
4. Paul Krugman on economic geography and urban economics
5. Donald Saari on social choice theory and the Borda count
6. Francis Fukuyama on institutions, political decay and transhumanism
7. Matthew Kahn on environmental and urban economics
8. Will Wilkinson on liberaltarianism

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