this week's episode
Does Market Failure Justify Government Intervention? (with Michael Munger)

Economics students are often taught that government should intervene when there is market failure. But what about government failure? Should we expect government intervention to...

last week's episode
How the Constitution Can Bring Us Together (with Yuval Levin)
Can a document unify a nation? Yuval Levin of the American Enterprise Institute and author of American Covenant argues that...
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related episode
Matt Ridley on How Innovation Works
What's the difference between invention and innovation? Could it be that innovation--the process of making a breakthrough invention available, affordable,...
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Econtalk Extra
By Nancy Vander Veer

Let the Poems Out of the House

What is a poem? What is it meant to do? Who is it meant for? Poet Dana Gioia and host Russ Roberts explore these questions and more as they talk about the meaning of poetry. The conversation touches on many...

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Michael Munger on Industrial Policy

Economist and political scientist Michael Munger of Duke University talks about industrial policy with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Munger argues that in a democracy, the default outcome for industrial policy is crony capitalism--attempts to improve on that outcome either by appointing experts...

Economics students are often taught that government should intervene when there is market failure. But what about government failure? Should we expect government intervention to outperform market outcomes? Listen as Duke University economist Michael Munger explores the history of how economists have thought about this ...

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What is a poem? What is it meant to do? Who is it meant for? Poet Dana Gioia and host Russ Roberts explore these questions and more as they talk about the meaning of poetry. The conversation touches on many personal topics: death, loss, family, and our common humanity. At the beginning of each episode, Roberts mentions...

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Megan McArdle once again joins EconTalk host Russ Roberts to discuss the dangers of the left-leaning bias of Google’s AI to speech and democracy, if such a thing as unbiased information can exist, and how answers without regard for social compliance create nuance and facilitate healthy debate and interaction. McArdle...

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Can a document unify a nation? Yuval Levin of the American Enterprise Institute and author of American Covenant argues that the Constitution unified the United States at the founding of the country and that understanding the Constitution can help bring the country together today. Listen as Levin speaks with EconTalk'...

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When poet, lawyer, and MacArthur Fellow Dwayne Betts was imprisoned for nine years at the age of 16 for carjacking, he only wept twice. One of those times was when he read Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail." In this powerful conversation with EconTalk's Russ Roberts, Betts explains why he cried, wha...

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The Covid vaccine saved many lives but so many mistakes were made in how public health officials discussed it, implemented it, and assessed its effectiveness. Epidemiologist Vinay Prasad of the University of California, San Francisco talks with EconTalk's Russ Roberts about what went wrong, the costs of the mistakes th...

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Zach Weinersmith joins EconTalk host Russ Roberts for the third time to discuss why ambitions of space exploration are unrealistic and overly optimistic, the danger of all-encompassing utopianism, and why space settlement is not like buying a hot tub. Weinersmith is a cartoonist and author/co-author of many books, i...

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If you didn't have to work to enjoy material abundance, would you do it anyway? If an algorithm or a pill could achieve better results, would you bother shopping or going to the gym? These are the kinds of questions we'll need to ask ourselves if AI makes all human labor and other traditional ways of spending time obso...

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When you think of statistics, do you think of a helpful tool for real-world analysis, or does the phrase, "Lies, damn lies, and statistics" come to mind? Regardless of your answer to that question, Jeremy Weber wrote his new book, Statistics for Public Policy, for YOU. In this episode, host Russ Roberts welcomes Weber ...

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Economist and social critic Glenn Loury talks about his memoir, Late Admissions, with EconTalk's Russ Roberts. In a wide-ranging and blunt conversation, Loury discusses his childhood, his at-times brilliant academic work, his roller-coaster ideological journey, and his personal flaws as a drug addict and imperfect husb...

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What does it mean to live Constitutionally in the year 2024? For a start, it means getting off social media. It also means swapping a quill pen for your keyboard, and candlelight for electricity. And don't forget the tricorn hat and musket--though maybe skip the boiled mutton. Join author A.J. Jacobs as he deep-dives w...

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Russ Roberts, EconTalk Host The favorite EconTalk episodes for host Russ Roberts are when he and his guest have an unusually powerful connection such as his recent episode with Charles Duhigg, and the ones where he learns something mind-blowing, like Adam Mastroianni's insight that you can't reach the brain through th...

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It seems obvious that moral artificial intelligence would be better than the alternative. Can we make AI's values align with ours, and would we want to? This is the question underlying this conversation between EconTalk host Russ Roberts and psychologist Paul Bloom. Setting aside (at least for now) the question of ...

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Would an AI simulation of your dead loved one be a blessing or an abomination? And if you knew that after your own death, your loved ones would create a simulation of you, how would that knowledge change the way you choose to live today? These are some of the questions psychologist Paul Bloom discusses with E...

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If the Wright Brothers could have used AI to guide their decision making, it's almost certain they would never have gotten off the ground. That's because, points out Teppo Felin of Utah State University and Oxford, all the evidence said human flight was impossible. So how and why did the Wrights persevere? Felin ex...

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While religion may play less of a role in many people's lives, rituals--the lifeblood of religion--remain central to the human experience. Listen as Michael Norton of the Harvard Business School explains how and why rituals remain at the center of our lives--they give meaning to life-cycle events and secular holidays, ...

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