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Author: EconTalk: Russ Roberts, Library of Economics and Liberty

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EconTalk is an award-winning weekly talk show about economics in daily life. Featured guests include renowned economics professors, Nobel Prize winners, and exciting speakers on all kinds of topical matters related to economic thought. Topics include health care, business cycles, economic growth, free trade, education, finance, politics, sports, book reviews, parenting, and the curiosities of everyday decision-making. Russ Roberts, of the Library of Economics and Liberty ( and the Hoover Institution, draws you in with lively guests and creative repartee. Look for related readings and the complete archive of previous shows at, where you can also comment on the podcasts and ask questions.
738 Episodes
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.
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

Paul Romer on the Pandemic


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 ease a return to something like normalcy for many sectors of the economy. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the dynamics of the labor market in the current situation.
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.
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 and choices.
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.
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.
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.
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 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

Azra Raza on The First Cell


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 narrowly defined problems at the cellular level. Instead, she suggests an alternative approach that might better take account of the complexity of human beings and the way that cancer morphs and spreads differently across people and even within individuals. The conversation includes the challenges of dealing with dying patients, the importance of listening, and the bittersweet nature of our mortality.
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

Isabella Tree on Wilding


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.
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 around the world struggling to trade and prosper in extreme environments.
Yuval Levin on A Time to Build

Yuval Levin on A Time to Build


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 platform to gain attention and notoriety. This in turn means that institutions are increasingly unable to perform their primary function as they once did. The conversation concludes with some ideas for how individuals might change how they see their roles within institutions and life as a way of working together in common purpose.
Richard Robb on Willful

Richard Robb on Willful


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 Crisis of 2008, altruism, and how green beans are sold.
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.
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 transparent. He also discusses a number of ways that employers and patients are trying to avoid the worst aspects of the current system.
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.
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."
Comments (75)

Joel Kosmos

I would love to hear an Econ Talk interview with Physicist Lee Smolin! Have you you rean him Russ?

Apr 30th

William Vaughn

I agree with Romer's assessment that mainstream macroeconomics modeling explanations have deviated from science and are now like plogiston

Apr 26th

Tom Rooney

Yeah, those idiotic, incompetent, nazi-commie libtards are always demonizing conservatives :)

Apr 7th

Simon H

I would really like to read this book but at £24 for the paperback version (Amazon, 27 March 2020) it's a no. Really good podcast

Mar 27th

Gordon Caylor

You have to have been jesting by permitting this author any of your time. His only frame of reference or response to your repeated probing is himself whom he repeatedly cites as the sole authority for wanting to order my life's choices. If this episode was not intended to be released in the spirit of April Fool's Day, then the few minutes I spent listening to it was very high on the list of "How I Wasted My Life's Time".

Mar 8th

Atanas Kotov

I feel like the talk wasn't really moving in any direction. It was quite vague, as all of philosophy can be, but it questioned some things not that well. For example, saying you could hurt people in Africa by giving to charity if you don't know much about them. You don't have to know every detail about something to make a decision to support or not support it. We would end up never helping anyone and being indecisive all the time. I think the theme had more potential than that!

Feb 1st

ZB Fasih

That ending was entertaining.

Jan 31st

ZB Fasih

What a thought-provoking talk! Controversial but brilliant.

Jan 28th

stinky rex

another excellent episode on a topic I would've never even thought about before now. i might actually pick up a copy of Pride and Prejudice!

Jan 21st
Reply (4)

Ingrid Linbohm

Great conversation.

Jan 13th

Lloyd Ritchey

great episode! if only all progressives were so reasonable!

Dec 31st

London Rhodes

I was fascinated and then the bomb dropped. This guy doesn’t employer staff. He doesn’t have administrative cost because he doesn’t have a staff. All of his staff work other places where their getting 401(k) and retirement benefits.

Dec 13th
Reply (1)

Gordon Caylor

This episode was inspirational and reassuring. At times it seems I'm the only person who understands that all of these government ir otherwise subsidized "freebies" are actually more expensive... financially, economically, morally, personally and politically... than services available through the consumer driven market.

Nov 28th

stinky rex

very good episode! didn't score very high on the drinking game but learned a lot about the alternatives for health care.

Nov 26th
Reply (3)

PoptheBubble ChartLeaks

Thanks for this. I'm trying to figure out my opinions on political issues. Intuitively I lean towards the right economically but towards the left socially. The little discussion that I've seen on the left about healthcare just don't feel right. I'd like to hear more about protecting marginalized people in a market context.

Nov 18th

Gary Haase

Definitely in the Top 5 for 2019.

Nov 11th
Reply (1)

Frank Castle

'Climate Change' is a globalist money grab.

Oct 14th
Reply (2)

stinky rex

great discussion, brings up a lot of things new parents think about! will look for her book at my local library.

Aug 28th
Reply (1)


Great guests, interviewer asks good questions, each episode offers insightful conclusions. One of my favourite podcast. I suggest you to search into older episodes, there is excellent stuff there.

Aug 15th

stinky rex

excellent conversation, really gives you hope about the homeless situation.

Aug 10th
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