Season 9, Episode 31

Congress just passed the biggest aid package in modern history. We ask six former White House economic advisors and one U.S. Senator: Will it actually work? What are its best and worst features? Where does $2 trillion come from, and what are the long-term effects of all that government spending? To find out more, check […]

Is $2 Trillion the Right Medicine for a Sick Economy? (Ep. 411)

Congress just passed the biggest aid package in modern history. We ask six former White House economic advisors and one U.S. Senator: Will it actually work? What are its best and worst features? Where does $2 trillion come from, and what are the long-term effects of all that government spending?

Season 9, Episode 30

There are a lot of upsides to urban density — but viral contagion is not one of them. Also: past experiments with a universal basic income. And: a nationwide lockdown will show if familiarity really breeds contempt. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Side Effects of […]

What Does COVID-19 Mean for Cities (and Marriages)? (Ep. 410)

There are a lot of upsides to urban density — but viral contagion is not one of them. Also: a nationwide lockdown will show if familiarity really breeds contempt. And: how to help your neighbor.

Season 9, Episode 28

Every year, Americans short the I.R.S. nearly half a trillion dollars. Most ideas to increase compliance are more stick than carrot — scary letters, audits, and penalties. But what if we gave taxpayers a chance to allocate how their money is spent, or even bribed them with a thank-you gift? To find out more, check […]

Season 9, Episode 27

Innovation experts have long overlooked where a lot of innovation actually happens. The personal computer, the mountain bike, the artificial pancreas — none of these came from some big R&D lab, but from users tinkering in their homes. Acknowledging this reality — and encouraging it — would be good for the economy (and the soul […]

Does Anyone Really Know What Socialism Is? (Ep. 408)

Trump says it would destroy us. Sanders says it will save us. The majority of millennials would like it to replace capitalism. But what is “it”? We bring in the economists to sort things out and tell us what the U.S. can learn from the good (and bad) experiences of other (supposedly) socialist countries.

Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet) (Ep. 405)

Why do so many promising solutions — in education, medicine, criminal justice, etc. — fail to scale up into great policy? And can a new breed of “implementation scientists” crack the code?

Season 9, Episode 15

Tipping is an acutely haphazard way of paying workers, and yet it keeps expanding. We dig into the data to find out why. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why Does Tipping Still Exist?” and “Why You Shouldn’t Open a Restaurant.”

How to Hate Taxes a Little Bit Less (Ep. 400)

Every year, Americans short the I.R.S. nearly half a trillion dollars. Most ideas to increase compliance are more stick than carrot — scary letters, audits, and penalties. But what if we gave taxpayers a chance to allocate how their money is spent, or even bribed them with a thank-you gift?