Sellgren Great Antidote Interview with Henderson
Juliette Sellgren, the daughter of two economists and an economics undergraduate economics major at the University of Virginia, does regular podcasts in which she interviews mainly economists about issues that they and she find interesting. She’s an amazing interviewer. Even though some of us interviewees go long and, in listening to this interview I realize that I went a little long, it’s often a conversation and Juliette is a good conversationalist.
Her podcast is titled “The Great Antidote,” and it’s now hosted by our sister site, AdamSmithWorks.
Juliette contacted me to see if I wanted to talk about various economists I’ve written about who died and/or won the Nobel Prize. The podcast with me is titled “David Henderson on Economists’ Nobels, Obitz, and More.”
Of course I recommend it.
Here are some highlights, including two places where I made an error. Times are approximate.
1:40: The most important thing people in her generation should know.
2:40: How I got to do Nobel Prize write-ups in the Wall Street Journal, starting in 1996, based on an idea I had in 1992.
5:15: My math error. I missed 6 years, 3 because I was traveling, 2 because I didn’t know enough about the winners’ work, and 1 because I thought the winner didn’t deserve it, but wasn’t sure enough of that to state it.
6:10: My tweak on John Cochrane’s advice.
6:57: Bob Lucas.
11:30: Harold Demsetz.
13:20: My second mistake. The 1967 article by Demsetz titled “Towards a Theory of Property Rights” is not the one that a committee found to be one of the 20 most important articles in the American Economic Review. That honor goes to his 1972 article on the theory of the firm, co-authored with Armen Alchian.
15:00: Armen Alchian.
16:00: Universal Economics.
17:00: What to do as a teacher if you can’t answer a student’s question.
19:00: Mirrlees and his idea that the top marginal tax rate should not exceed 20 percent.
22:30: Vickrey on toll roads and how to collect.
23:50: Demsetz came up with the tragedy of the commons before Hardin, but just didn’t call it that.
25:00: Stigler’s Law.
25:15: Wait a minute.
28:05: Coase on blackboard economics.
29:00: Coase on economists thinking about horses.
32:45: Lucas, Barro, and smoking.
34:20: The use of mathematics in economics and Alfred Marshall’s advice.
35:00: Rigor with words.
36:00: Why I hate the word “intuition.”
37:00: Investment vs. consumption and how Juliette used to be like Bill Clinton.
38:00: Equipment vs. parrot.
39:00: Where economics is going.
40:00: Juliette’s future.
42:20: Two views I had on which I changed my mind: (1) Hayek’s tone in The Road to Serfdom, and (2) case for limited government, cute lion cub becomes a lion.