Tune in each week as James Pethokoukis interviews economists, business leaders, academics and others on the most important and interesting issues of the day. You can find all episodes at AEI, Ricochet, and wherever podcasts are downloaded, and look for follow-up transcripts and blog posts at aei.org.
Tyler Cowen, Michael Strain, Catherine Tucker, & Dietrich Vollrath: Is the great stagnation over?
Since the early 1970s, Americans have seen disappointing levels of economic growth and technological progress. But the potential of artificial intelligence, gene editing, blockchain technology, clean energy, and many more innovations on the horizon provide great reason to be optimistic about the future of the US economy. I recently discussed this potential in a recent AEI online panel discussion, which I now present in podcast form.
Tyler Cowen is the Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University, and he serves as chairman and faculty director of the Mercatus Center. He is the author of several books, including 2011’s https://www.amazon.com/Great-Stagnation-Low-Hanging-Eventually-eSpecial-ebook/dp/B004H0M8QS (The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better). Michael Strain is the director of economic policy studies here at AEI, as well as the Arthur F. Burns scholar in political economy. And he’s the author of https://www.amazon.com/American-Dream-Not-Dead-Populism/dp/159947557X (The American Dream is Not Dead: (But Populism Could Kill It)), released last year. Catherine Tucker is the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management Science and Professor of Marketing at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. She is also a cofounder of the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab and a co-organizer of the Economics of Artificial Intelligence intiative. And Dietrich Vollrath is a professor of economics and the chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Houston. He is also the author of https://www.amazon.com/Fully-Grown-Stagnant-Economy-Success/dp/022666600X#:~:text=Fully%20Grown%20is%20essential%20reading,due%20to%20success%2C%20not%20failure. (Fully Grown: Why a Stagnant Economy is a Sign of Success), released last April.
Charles Goodhart & Manoj Pradhan: Predicting a global inflation revival
Since the 1980s, the United States has prioritized low inflation, to great success. Policymakers have regularly kept inflation at or below their 2-percent targets, even during periods with record-low interest rates. As a result, many observers have been — and continue to be — pretty comfortable with spending trillions of dollars on pandemic relief… and now infrastructure projects. But what if the low inflation we’ve experienced has been temporary? What if an aging workforce and diminishing returns from globalization will cause wages and prices to begin rising more steeply? That’s the argument made by today’s guests, Charles Goodhart and Manoj Pradhan.
Charles is a financial markets professor emeritus at the London School of Economics, and a former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. Manoj is the founder and chief economist of the independent macroeconomic research firm Talking Heads. They are the co-authors of “https://www.amazon.com/Great-Demographic-Reversal-Societies-Inequality/dp/3030426564 (The Great Demographic Reversal: Ageing Societies, Waning Inequality, and an Inflation Revival),” released last August.
Scott Lincicome: Why America shouldn't embrace industrial policy
On both sides of the aisle, calls for industrial policy seem to be gaining momentum. Americans have grown more skeptical about markets in the aftermath of the Great Recession. And China’s more managed economy seems to be growing faster and rivaling the US as the technological leader of the world. Many policymakers have reacted by saying that the US government needs to embrace industrial policy and take a more hands-on approach to promoting innovation. Today's guest, Scott Lincicome, disagrees, holding that an adoption of stronger industrial policy would be unnecessary and even counterproductive.
Scott is a senior fellow in economic studies at the Cato Institute, where he writes on international trade, industrial policy, and economic dynamism. And he is the author of the recently released policy report, “https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/manufactured-crisis-deindustrialization-free-markets-national-security?queryID=65d39f691ce4087d1e1a4597e0f32490 (Manufactured Crisis: ‘Deindustrialization,’ Free Markets, and National Security).”
Alex Brill: US spending and tax policy after the COVID recession
Is spending $1.9 trillion as the economy emerges from the COVID recession a wise move? At what point will policymakers begin paying for their spending initiatives? And what kinds of taxation will we engage in to collect more revenue when the time comes? On today’s episode, I discuss these questions and many more with Alex Brill.
Alex is a resident fellow at AEI, where he studies the impact of tax policy on the US economy, as well as the economic and political consequences of public policy. Previously, he served as the policy director and chief economist of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Alex Nowrasteh: How does immigration affect developed countries' institutions?
On today's episode, Alex Nowrasteh explores the effect of immigration on cultural and political institutions in developed countries, as well as the future of immigration policy under the Biden administration.
Alex is the director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. He is also the coauthor, along with Benjamin Powell, of https://www.amazon.com/Wretched-Refuse-Political-Immigration-Institutions/dp/1108477631 (Wretched Refuse? The Political Economy of Immigration and Institutions), released in December of last year.
Daniel P. Gross: Lessons in crisis innovation from World War II
In response to the demands of World War II, America generated an impressive amount of innovation in a short time span. Policymakers look back on this record as a model to aspire to, claiming that we “need a new Manhattan Project” to tackle the looming crises of the present. So what lessons should we take away from World War II-era innovation policy? On today’s episode, I discuss this question with Daniel P. Gross.
Daniel is an assistant professor at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, and he’s also a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He’s the author of several papers examining innovation policy in the World War II era, the most recent of which is "https://www.nber.org/papers/w27909 (Organizing Crisis Innovation: Lessons from World War II)," which he co-authored along with Bhaven Sampat.
In depth conversations
I enjoy the focus on a topic and interesting interviews. Well done!
Great podcast, bad mic
I love the no-nonsense, direct, and impartial approach, but I really don’t like your microphone. If not for that 5 stars
Asking all the right questions
Definitely the best set of questions covering broad influential components of modern economy by the host. Where it’s short is reaching any meaningful answers or enlightenment so you are left a bit frustrated feeling incomplete 🤨