EconTalk is an award-winning weekly talk show about economics in daily life. Featured guests include renowned economics professors, Nobel Prize winners, and exciting speakers on all kinds of topical matters related to economic thought. Topics include health care, business cycles, economic growth, free trade, education, finance, politics, sports, book reviews, parenting, and the curiosities of everyday decision-making. Russ Roberts, of the Library of Economics and Liberty ( and the Hoover Institution, draws you in with lively guests and creative repartee. Look for related readings and the complete archive of previous shows at, where you can also comment on the podcasts and ask questions.

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Leonard Wong on Honesty and Ethics in the Military

Leonard Wong talks with host Russ Roberts about honesty in the military. Based on a recent co-authored paper, Wong argues that the paperwork and training burden on U.S. military officers requires dishonesty--it is simply impossible to comply with all the requirements. This creates a tension for an institution that prides itself on honesty, trust, and integrity. The conversation closes with suggestions for how the military might reform the compliance and requirement process.


 2015-04-27  1h2m

Scott Sumner on Interest Rates

Scott Sumner talks with host Russ Roberts about interest rates. Sumner suggests that professional economists sometimes confuse cause and effect with respect to prices and quantities. Low interest rates need not encourage investment for example, if interest rates are low because of a decrease in demand. Sumner also talk about possible explanations for the historically low real rates of interest in today's economy along with other aspects of monetary policy, interest rates, and investment.


 2015-04-20  1h5m

Phil Rosenzweig on Leadership, Decisions, and Behavioral Economics

Phil Rosenzweig talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Left Brain, Right Stuff. When do the lessons from behavioral economics inform and when do they mislead when applied to real-world business decisions? Topics discussed include overconfidence, transparency, the winner's curse, evaluating leaders, and the role of experimental findings in thinking about decision-making.


 2015-04-13  1h2m

Vernon Smith and James Otteson on Adam Smith

Vernon Smith and James Otteson talk with host Russ Roberts about Adam Smith in front of a live audience at Ball State University. Topics discussed include Smith's view of human nature, the relevance of Smith for philosophy and economics today, and the connection between Smith's two books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations.


 2015-04-06  1h4m

David Skarbek on Prison Gangs and the Social Order of the Underworld

David Skarbek talks with host Russ Roberts about the written and unwritten rules in America's prisons for the most violent and dangerous criminals. Skarbek explains how and why prison gangs emerged in the last half of the 20th century, their influence both inside and outside of prisons, and how their governance structure is maintained.


 2015-03-30  1h16m

Campbell Harvey on Randomness, Skill, and Investment Strategies

Campbell Harvey talks with host Russ Roberts about his research evaluating investment and trading strategies and the challenge of measuring their effectiveness. Topics include skill vs. luck, self-deception, the measures of statistical significance, skewness in investment returns, and the potential of big data.


 2015-03-23  1h5m

Paul Romer on Urban Growth

Paul Romer talks with host Russ Roberts about reforming cities to allow growth and human flourishing. Topics discussed include charter cities, the role of population density in city life, driverless cars, and various ways to help the poorest people in the world.


 2015-03-16  1h3m

Lawrence H. White on Monetary Constitutions

Lawrence H. White talks with host Russ Roberts about the possibility of a monetary constitution. Based on a new book, Renewing the Search for a Monetary Constitution, White explores different constitutional constraints that might be put on the government's role in money and monetary policy. Topics include cryptocurrencies, the gold standard, the Taylor Rule, the performance of the Fed, free banking, and private currency.


 2015-03-09  1h18m

David Zetland on Water

David Zetland talks with host Russ Roberts about the challenges of water management. Topics include sustainability of water supplies, affordability of water for the poor, incentives water companies face, and management of water systems in the poorest countries. Also discussed are the diamond and water paradox, campaigns to reduce water usage, and the role of prices in managing a water system.


 2015-03-02  1h0m

Michael Munger on Choosing in Groups

Michael Munger talks with host Russ Roberts about his latest book (with co-author Kevin Munger), Choosing in Groups. Munger lays out the challenges of group decision-making and of agreeing on constitutions or voting rules for group decision-making. The conversation highlights some of the challenges of majority rule and uses the Lewis and Clark expedition as an example.


 2015-02-23  1h15m