115 episodes

The Mixtape with Scott is a podcast in which economist and professor, Scott Cunningham, interviews economists, scientists and authors about their lives and careers, as well as the some of their work. He tries to travel back in time with his guests to listen and hear their stories before then talking with them about topics they care about now.

causalinf.substack.com

The Mixtape with Scott scott cunningham

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 23 Ratings

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The Mixtape with Scott is a podcast in which economist and professor, Scott Cunningham, interviews economists, scientists and authors about their lives and careers, as well as the some of their work. He tries to travel back in time with his guests to listen and hear their stories before then talking with them about topics they care about now.

causalinf.substack.com

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires macOS 11.4 or higher

    S3E25: Avinash K. Dixit, Microeconomics, Princeton University

    S3E25: Avinash K. Dixit, Microeconomics, Princeton University

    Welcome to this week’s episode of “The Mixtape with Scott”! My podcast tries to capture the personal stories of living economists and create an oral history of the profession from the narratives. And this week, I’m thrilled to welcome Dr. Avinash K. Dixit, a distinguished economist whose life’s work has influenced many fields within economics. But let me start by telling you a little about his background.
    Dr. Dixit is the John J. F. Sherrerd ’52 University Professor of Economics Emeritus at Princeton University. He also serves as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Economics at Lingnan University in Hong Kong and is a Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. For his many contributions to science, he has been awarded numerous accolades, including election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He was also honored with India’s Padma Vibhushan in 2016, recognizing his outstanding contributions to literature and education.
    As he will share, he was born in Mumbai, India and attended St. Xavier’s College where he earned a degree in Mathematics and Physics. Afterwards, he earned another degree (also in mathematics) from Cambridge before going to MIT to get his PhD where he was supervised by the late Robert Solow. After graduation, he went to Berkeley, Oxford, Warwick and then Princeton where he’s been since 1981. Both the sheer number of contributions he has made to many fields, but also their influence, is incredible. I put in the title for this episode simply “Microeconomics” after his name, but that was a difficult decision as his work spans microeconomic theory, game theory, international trade, industrial organization, and public economics, just to name a few. I could’ve written any one of those and it would’ve still been inadequate. His recent work continues to address pressing global issues, such as optimal policies for green power generation and the dynamics of social, political, and economic institutions. He is an example of someone who follows his heart and his mind, even taking risks throughout his career to leave entire fields of inquiry in search of more questions.
    In addition to his long list of scientific manuscripts, there have also been many influential books, both textbooks but also more ones aimed at a broader population of readers. Things like “Theory of International Trade” (with Victor Norman), “Investment Under Uncertainty” (with Robert Pindyck), “The Art of Strategy” (with Barry Nalebuff), and “Games of Strategy” (with Susan Skeath and David Reiley).
    So I’ll stop there and turn it over to the show’s host — myself — and my guest, Dr. Dixit. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of “The Mixtape with Scott.” If you enjoy our conversation, please share the podcast and help us continue to bring you stories from the world of economics.
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    S3E24: David Autor, Labor Economist, MIT

    S3E24: David Autor, Labor Economist, MIT

    Welcome to this week’s episode of "The Mixtape with Scott”! This podcast is dedicated to capturing the personal stories of living economists and creating an oral history of the profession through these narratives. This week, I’m excited to welcome David Autor, an esteemed labor economist from MIT, where he serves as the Daniel (1972) and Gail Rubinfeld Professor, as well as the Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow. He was also last year's VP of the AEA, is on the Foreign Affairs board of the US State Department, and is a Digital Fellow at Stanford Digital Economy Lab. The number of accolades is too numerous to list, though, so I will just say that David's pioneering work in labor economics, particularly on the impact of trade, technological change, and the computerization of work, has significantly shaped and re-shaped our understanding of these critical areas.
    David Autor is perhaps best known for his influential research on the economic impacts of globalization and technological advancements. His groundbreaking study with David Dorn and Gordon Hanson on the effects of Chinese trade on U.S. labor markets highlighted the deep and often painful economic adjustments faced by local labor markets exposed to import competition. Additionally, his work on the computerization of labor, including studies on skill-biased technological change, has provided crucial insights into how technological advancements reshape the labor market and wage structures.
    One of the things you’ll learn in the interview, just as a teaser, is that David was mentored by Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger, and that mentorship had a lasting effect. Not only did it changed his own human capital and trajectory, it seems also that it changed David’s own attitudes about mentorship. And although we couldn't delve into artificial intelligence in our conversation, Autor’s extensive research on the computerization of labor probably positions him as one of a handful of working economists at the moment whose voice will be kay in understanding the future intersections of AI and labor economics, and probably more than that. So with that I’ll stop, but thanks again to everyone for all your support. If you like the podcast, please share it!
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    • 1 hr
    S3E23: Adriana Lleras-Muney, Labor Economist, UCLA

    S3E23: Adriana Lleras-Muney, Labor Economist, UCLA

    Welcome to another exciting episode of the Mixtape with Scott! Today, I get to have on the show someone who has become something of a friend the last few years, an expert in health economics and social policy, Adriana Lleras-Muney at UCLA, a Professor of Economics at UCLA.
    Dr. Lleras-Muney's journey in economics is super impressive and even involves traveling through all the alleyways of causal inference. After earning her Ph.D. from Columbia University where she wrote a job market paper on compulsory schooling, at a time where it had just become accepted wisdom that the Angrist and Krueger 1991 article needed a fresh take. She then went to Princeton, the birth place of causal inference in labor, before making her way to UCLA where Guido Imbens had just gotten to, and who is also now one of her coauthors in a new article at the Quarterly Journal of Economics. So when I think about her story, it’s hard for me not to hear the echoes, I guess, of the history of causal inference too.
    Her academic accolades are too many to name, but I’ll name a few. She's an associate editor for the Journal of Health Economics and serves on the board of editors for both the American Economic Review and Demography. She’s also been a permanent member of the Social Sciences and Population Studies Study Section at the National Institute of Health and an elected member of the American Economic Association Executive committee. In 2017, her contributions to the field were recognized with the prestigious Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
    But what really sets Adriana apart is her groundbreaking research. She's been at the forefront of exploring the relationships between socioeconomic status and health, with a particular focus on education, income, and policy. Her recent work has taken a fascinating turn, examining the long-term impact of government policies on children. She's been digging into programs like the Mother's Pension program and the Civilian Conservation Corps from the first half of the 20th century, uncovering insights that are still relevant today. Her work has appeared in all the major journals in economics such as the American Economic Review, Econometrica, The Review of Economic Studies, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.
    So, all that said, I hope you find this interview as interesting as I did. The video will be posted most likely later to YouTube; my Scottish hotel has surprisingly very slow internet and I’m still downloading the video, and so will likely be uploading it too all night. But thank you again for all your support.
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    • 1 hr 29 min
    S3E22: Manisha Shah, Development Economist, UC Berkeley (episode 100!)

    S3E22: Manisha Shah, Development Economist, UC Berkeley (episode 100!)

    We have officially passed 100 episodes with today’s guest, and it’s wonderful to get to do it with my good friend, Manisha Shah. Manisha is the Chancelor’s Professor of Public Policy at University of California Berkeley. Manisha is an applied microeconomist who has historically specialized in topics related to health, education, gender and labor, with a particular focus on low and middle income countries. She has research appointments at NBER, BREAD, J-PAL, IZA and is also an editor at Journal of Health Economics as well as an associate editor at Review of Economics and Statistics. And if I can for just a moment tell you a little about that work, please bear with me.
    First the main area of her work that I am familiar with is the part that overlaps with my own historical research agenda in sex markets. That is because Manisha is arguably the leading expert on the economics of sex markets and has been for many years. She has published on just that topic alone in many high impactful studies like the effect of both legalizing sex work (Review of Economic Studies with me) and the effect of criminalizing it (Quarterly Journal of Economics with Lisa Cameron and Jennifer Seager), the identification of compensating wage differentials for unprotected sex (Journal of Political Economy with Paul Gentler and Stefano Bertozzi) as well as a Journal of Human Resources with Raj Arunachalam on a related topic, and more.
    But that is just her work on sex markets. There are also her many papers related to children development, like her Journal of Political Economy examining investments in human capital and child labor supply, her work on left-handedness and child development in Demography, another paper of hers looking at parents’ investments in children by their underlying ability, her AEJ: Applied looking at the impact of children’s development on their mother’s own labor supply, her work on sanitation and child development, and it goes on and on. There is also her work looking at people’s own risk preferences and how it relates to natural disasters they have experienced.
    One last thing and I’ll quit listing. But one of the things I admire about Manisha’s research is the shoe leather involved. Her usually involves primary data collection, running randomized field experiments, working directly with stakeholders, in places like Uganda, Mexico, India, Tanzania and more.
    It’s such a nice treat, then, to get to interview her for the 100th episode, not just because I get to share her personal story to those who only know her by reputation, but also because I count her as one of my closest friends inside and outside the profession. We worked together on a study about the legalization of sex work in Rhode Island that took around ten years from start to completion to publication. It was during a difficult time for me personally and working on that project with her meant a lot to me everyday, but more than that, working with her meant a lot to me everyday. She says in the interview that me and her similar in that we are both intense and very into our projects, and that’s true. But I guess I never really noticed that about her — all I have ever seen with Manisha is someone who is unbelievably kind, unbelievably fun and funny, unbelievably down to earth, non-judgmental, approachable, disarming, insightful, and hard working. All I can is that she has never once made me feel anything other than better about myself. Being around her, being friends with her, I mean, always leaves me feeling better than I think I would feel without her, and for that I am beyond grateful for her presence in the world. Forget the profession — in the world. So with that let me introduce you to her.
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    • 1 hr 26 min
    (Repeat): S2:E1 Interview with Jeff Wooldridge, Economist and Econometrician

    (Repeat): S2:E1 Interview with Jeff Wooldridge, Economist and Econometrician

    My producer is on vacation this week, and so I am unable to post my latest episode, so I thought I’d post an oldie but a goodie — my season 2 opening interview with Jeff Wooldridge, a much beloved econometrician and economist at Michigan State. So enjoy! Apologies and I’ll see you all next week with a new guest! Thanks again for all your support. Ciao!
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    S3E21: Ashesh Rambachan, Predictive Algorithms and Causal Inference, MIT

    S3E21: Ashesh Rambachan, Predictive Algorithms and Causal Inference, MIT

    Greetings listeners! It is a pleasure to introduce this week’s guest on the podcast, Ashesh Rambachan, an assistant professor of economics at MIT. I wanted to talk to Ashesh for two main reasons. First, because I wanted to, and second, because I was aware of some of his recent work in econometrics. His recent article on evaluating the fragility of parallel trends in difference-in-differences just came out in the Review of Economic Studies. I’m also intrigued by his work with Sendhil Mullainathan on machine learning, algorithmic fairness as well as generative AI. Having a specialist in both causal inference, artificial intelligence and machine learning is rare, so I thought sitting down with him to learn more about his story would be a lot of fun, not just for me, but for others too. With that said, here you go! I hope you enjoy the interview! Thank you again for all your support!
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    • 1 hr 16 min

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