A podcast series where we interview economists and other social scientist asking about their recent research papers and publications. The aim of this podcast is to share the work that economists, sociologist, anthropologist and historians do, making it accessible to students and the general public, independently from their background and preparation.
A Chat with Timur Kuran on Freedoms Delayed and Political Legacies of Islamic Law in the Middle East
GrowthChat is a podcast on the social and cultural journey of humankind, hosted by Marco Lecci and Sascha O. Becker.
In this episode we chat with Timur Kuran about his book "Freedoms Delayed: Political Legacies of Islamic Law in the Middle East”. Timur explores the lasting political effects of the Middle East's lengthy exposure to Islamic law. It identifies several channels through which Islamic institutions, both defunct and still active, have limited the expansion of basic freedoms under political regimes of all stripes: secular dictatorships, electoral democracies, monarchies legitimated through Islam, and theocracies. Kuran suggests that Islam's rich history carries within it the seeds of liberalization on many fronts; and that the Middle East has already established certain prerequisites for a liberal order. But there is no quick fix for the region's prevailing record of human freedoms.
A Chat with Daron Acemoglu on Power and Progress
GrowthChat is a podcast on the social and cultural journey of humankind, hosted by Marco Lecci and Sascha O. Becker. In this episode we chat with Daron Acemoglu about his book "Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity" co-authored with Simon Johnson. Progress depends on the choices we make about technology. New ways of organizing production and communication can either serve the narrow interests of an elite or become the foundation for widespread prosperity. With their breakthrough economic theory and manifesto for a better society, Acemoglu and Johnson provide the vision needed to reshape how we innovate and who really gains from technological advances.
Chat with Leah Boustan and Ran Abramitzky on America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success
GrowthChat is a podcast on the social and cultural journey of humankind, hosted by Marco Lecci and Sascha O. Becker. In this episode we chat with Leah Boustan and Ran Abramitzky about their book "Streets of Gold: America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success’”. Immigration is one of the most fraught, and possibly most misunderstood, topics in American social discourse—yet, in most cases, the things we believe about immigration are based largely on myth, not facts. Using the tools of modern data analysis and ten years of pioneering research, new evidence is provided about the past and present of the American Dream, debunking myths fostered by political opportunism and sentimentalized in family histories.
Chat with David Weil on Measuring Economic Growth from Outer Space
GrowthChat is a podcast on the social and cultural journey of humankind, hosted by Marco Lecci and Sascha O. Becker. In this episode we chat with David Weil about his paper "Measuring Economic Growth from Outer Space’”. David and his co-authors, J. Vernon Henderson and Adam Storeygard, use nigh lights from satellite data as a proxy for GDP measure. As an application, they examine growth in Sub Saharan African regions over the last 17 years. They find that real incomes in non-coastal areas have grown faster by 1/3 of an annual percentage point than coastal areas; non-malarial areas have grown faster than malarial ones by 1/3 to 2/3 annual percent points; and primate city regions have grown no faster than hinterland areas. Such applications point toward a research program in which "empirical growth" need no longer be synonymous with "national income accounts."
A Chat with Johan Fourie on Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom
GrowthChat is a podcast on the social and cultural journey of humankind, hosted by Marco Lecci and Sascha O. Becker. In this episode we chat with Johan Fourie about his book "Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom: Lessons from 100,000 Years of Human History", published by Cambridge University Press. Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom is an entertaining and engaging guide to global economic history told for the first time from an African perspective. In thirty-five short chapters Johan Fourie tells the story of 100,000 years of human history spanning humankind's migration out of Africa to the Covid-19 pandemic. His unique account reveals just how much we can learn by asking unexpected questions such as 'How could a movie embarrass Stalin?', 'Why do the Japanese play rugby?' and 'What do an Indonesian volcano, Frankenstein and Shaka Zulu have in common?'. The book sheds new light on urgent debates about the roots and reasons for prosperity, the march of opportunity versus the crushing boot of exploitation, and why it is the builders of society – rather than the burglars –who ultimately win out.
A Chat with Alessio Terzi on Growth for Good
GrowthChat is a podcast on the social and cultural journey of humankind, hosted by Marco Lecci and Sascha O. Becker. In this episode we chat with Alessio Terzi about his book "Growth for Good: Reshaping Capitalism to Save Humanity from Climate Catastrophe". Economic growth is wrecking the planet. It’s the engine driving climate change, pollution, and the shrinking of natural spaces. To save the environment, will we have to shrink the economy? Might this even lead to a better society, especially in rich nations, helping us break free from a pointless obsession with material wealth that only benefits the few? Alessio Terzi takes these legitimate questions as a starting point for a riveting journey into the socioeconomic, evolutionary, and cultural origins of our need for growth. It’s an imperative, he argues, that we abandon at our own risk. Terzi ranges across centuries and diverse civilizations to show that focus on economic expansion is deeply interwoven with the human quest for happiness, well-being, and self-determination. Growth, he argues, is underpinned by core principles and dynamics behind the West’s rise to affluence. These include the positivism of the Enlightenment, the acceleration of science and technology and, ultimately, progress itself. Today growth contributes to the stability of liberal democracy, the peaceful conduct of international relations, and the very way our society is organized through capitalism. Abandoning growth would not only prove impractical, but would also sow chaos, exacerbating conflict within and among societies. This does not mean we have to choose between chaos and environmental destruction. Growth for Good presents a credible agenda to enroll capitalism in the fight against climate catastrophe. With the right policies and the help of engaged citizens, pioneering nations can set in motion a global decarbonization wave and in parallel create good jobs and a better, greener, healthier world.