Garett Jones of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the art of communicating economics via puzzles and short provocative insights. They discuss Jones's Twitter strategy of posting quotes and short puzzles to provoke thinking. Jones, drawing on his experience as a Senate staffer, discusses the interaction between politics and economics in the area of tax cuts and earmarks. For example, are earmarks good or bad? Jones gives an unconventional analysis. He also discusses the economics of the new workplace and why that might mean a different path for productivity over the business cycle than in the past.
Barry Ritholtz, author of Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the history of bailouts in recent times, beginning with Lockheed and Chrysler in the 1970s and continuing through the current financial crisis. In addition to the government role in aiding ailing companies, Ritholtz also looks at the role of the Fed in discouraging prudence through its efforts to keep asset prices and the stock market at high levels. The conversation closes with a discussion of what Ritholtz has learned from the crisis.
Katherine Newman, Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Newman's case studies of fast-food workers in Harlem. Newman discusses the evolution of their careers and fortunes over time along with their dreams and successes and failures. The conversation concludes with lessons for public policy in aiding low-wage workers.
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about public choice: the application of economics to the political process. Boudreaux argues that political competition is a blunt instrument that works less effectively than economic competition. One reason for this bluntness is the voting process itself--where intensity does not matter, only whether a voter prefers one candidate to the other. A second reason is that political outcomes tend to be one-size-fits-all, which often leads to dissatisfaction. Boudreaux defends the morality of not voting, while Roberts, who does vote from time to time, concedes that one's vote is almost always irrelevant in determining the outcome.