EconTalk: Conversations for the Curious is an award-winning weekly podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of Shalem College in Jerusalem and Stanford's Hoover Institution. The eclectic guest list includes authors, doctors, psychologists, historians, philosophers, economists, and more. Learn how the health care system really works, the serenity that comes from humility, the challenge of interpreting data, how potato chips are made, what it's like to run an upscale Manhattan restaurant, what caused the 2008 financial crisis, the nature of consciousness, and more. EconTalk has been taking the Monday out of Mondays since 2006. All 900+ episodes are available in the archive. Go to EconTalk.org for transcripts, related resources, and comments.
Elie Hassenfeld on GiveWell
When then-hedge fund manager Elie Hassenfeld began his philanthropic journey in 2006, he knew that he wanted to get the most charitable bang for his buck. He quickly realized, however, that detailed data on charitable impact simply didn't exist. So he and Holden Karnovsky founded GiveWell, an organization inspired by effective altruism that identifies the charities that save or improve lives the most for every dollar given. Listen as Hassenfeld, GiveWell's CEO, explains to EconTalk's Russ Roberts how GiveWell determines the small number of charities they recommend to achieve optimal impact. They also discuss the dangers of an over-reliance on data and the case for bucketing our philanthropy to allow for local or personal giving.
Peter Attia on Lifespan, Healthspan, and Outlive
We spend too much of our health care focus on lifespan and not enough on healthspan--the quality of our life as we get older. So argues Dr. Peter Attia, author of Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity. Attia speaks with EconTalk's Russ Roberts about what kills us, what slows us down as we age, and the weapons we have to allow us to live better and longer.
Michael Munger on How Adam Smith Solved the Trolley Problem
In the original version of a now classic thought experiment, five people are about to be killed by a runaway trolley. Would you divert the trolley knowing that your choice will kill a single innocent bystander? Listen as Michael Munger of Duke University argues that Adam Smith gave an answer to this challenge a few hundred years before it was proposed by the philosopher Philippa Foot and brought vividly to life in the miniseries, The Good Place. Along the way, Munger and EconTalk's Russ Roberts discuss effective altruism, the moral claims of Peter Singer, what the trolley problem really tells us, if anything, and how our moral choices differ according to context.
Anupam Bapu Jena on Random Acts of Medicine
Do marathons kill people who aren't in the race? Does when you're born make you more likely to get the flu? And what's the difference between a good doctor and a bad one? These are some of the questions Anupam Bapu Jena of Harvard University and EconTalk host Russ Roberts take up as they discuss Jena's book, Random Acts of Medicine.
Roland Fryer on Race, Diversity, and Affirmative Action
Can economics and better measurement help us understand racial disparities and suggest how to reduce or eliminate them? Economist Roland Fryer of Harvard University believes deeply in the power of data to help us understand how the world works and how we might change it. Listen as he tells EconTalk's Russ Roberts of his devotion to this mission, what he learned from his grandmother, and what colleges can do if they really want to increase minority enrollment.
Vinay Prasad on Cancer Screening
Early detection of cancer seems like a very good idea. But it's a lot more complicated than it seems. Oncologist and epidemiologist Vinay Prasad of the University of California, San Francisco talks to EconTalk's Russ Roberts about why many tests to detect cancer do little or nothing to extend lifespan.
A fascinating weekly talk with the most prominent scientists and writers
Every week Russ Roberts manages to get to talk during one hour about a fascinating variety of economy-related topics with the most prominent scientists and writers. I am not an economist by education, but after listening to Econtalk for a while, I feel up-to-date regarding the current state of economic thought. Russ discusses the topic of the week extensively with his guest by looking at it from different angles and sometimes challenging the guest with critical questions. Although it's quite high-level economics, the podcast is rather easy to understand by any educated listener. Highly recommendable and lots of fun to listen to!