An EconTalk Podcast Listening Guide

Enrico Moretti on Jobs, Cities, and Innovation

Listen to the EconTalk podcast Enrico Moretti on Jobs, Cities, and Innovation and consider these questions.

1. The conversation begins as Roberts asks Moretti how The New Geography of Jobs has changed over the last three decades. Describe the changes Moretti highlights.

2. Moretti distinguishes between the traded and local service sectors of the economy. How are they different, and why have they experienced such differing levels of productivity growth? Which has been more impacted by how The New Geography of Jobs, and why?

3. Roberts compliments Moretti on the “very nice story” he tells about the transformation of American manufacturing in recent decades. Describe Moretti’s story.

4. Moretti notes that perhaps for the first time in history, the median American worker’s wages might not surpass those of the preceding generation. Why does he think this is likely to be the case?

5. Moretti and Roberts agree that China and Wal-Mart have both been very beneficial for the poor. What do they maintain this, and to what extent do you agree?

6. Moretti tells a “Tale of Two Cities,” comparing Albuquerque to Seattle. What incorrect lessons does Moretti suggest policy makers have learned from this comparison? What lessons does he think we should learn?

7. How have innovation hubs or clusters, such as Seattle, developed historically, according to Moretti?

8. What lessons does Moretti suggest Silicon Valley could learn from the failure of Detroit to develop as an innovative hub?

9. Describe the “spillover effects” Moretti argues are created by innovation hubs. For what reasons is Roberts skeptical of these claims?

10. What does Moretti suggest as the best means to combat the problem of inequality? To what extent do you agree with his proposals?