Category Archives: Podcast

The Seattle Minimum Wage Study with Ekaterina Jardim

My guest for this episode is Ekaterina Jardim of the University of Washington. Ekaterina is one of the authors of the new minimum wage study that has been making headlines recently, “Minimum Wage Increases, Wages, and Low-Wage Employment: Evidence from Seattle.” One reason this study is so interesting is that it was funded by the City of Seattle, which is something that governments aren’t obligated or expected to do when they enact major policy changes like these minimum wage hikes.

There was a broad theoretical and empirical consensus in the 1980s that higher minimum wages have disemployment effects on the low skilled, and then Card and Krueger (1994) started a new empirical literature that found no evidence of disemployment effects. Continue reading The Seattle Minimum Wage Study with Ekaterina Jardim

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Housing, Liquidity, and Closed-Access Cities with Kevin Erdmann

My guest today is Kevin Erdmann, he blogs about economics and finance at Idiosyncratic Whisk.

Kevin has written a ton about housing, as evidenced by the titles of his blog posts. A recent one is labeled Housing: Part 239. This series is part of a larger book project that Kevin is publically drafting on his blog.

We discuss the housing bubble of the 2000s and the post-2008 housing market. I took my first undergraduate economics class in 2008, just as the financial crisis was beginning, so there’s never been a time in my economics career when people weren’t talking about this. And yet, I still have so much to learn!

Kevin makes an interesting distinction between “open-access cities” and “closed-access cities.” Closed-access cities are places like San Francisco, New York, and San Jose that have restricted their housing supplies. Open-access cities are places like Houston and Phoenix with more elastic housing supplies. We talk about these factors and how they relate to the housing boom and bust, liquidity, and central bank policy.

Kevin points out that supply side restrictions on housing construction are necessary for demand-side factors to cause housing bubbles. That’s because in a market with an elastic housing supply, more demand doesn’t result in higher prices, it just causes more homes to be built.


Related links:

Liquidity is a Public Good

Credit supply, housing supply, and financial crises

 

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The Financial Diaries with Jonathan Morduch

The guest for this episode is Jonathan Morduch, he is a professor of public policy and economics at NYU and the author of The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty, co-authored with Rachel Schneider.

The book looks at the financial situations of ordinary American families. It is centered around a detailed survey of 235 households where they recorded what they earned and what they spent at an extremely granular level. Continue reading The Financial Diaries with Jonathan Morduch

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Replicating Anomalies in Financial Markets with Hou, Xue, and Zhang

In this episode, I have three guests on the show with me: Kewei Hou of Ohio State University, Chen Xue of the University of Cincinnati, and Lu Zhang of Ohio State University.

Kewei, Chen, and Lu have coauthored a paper titled “Replicating Anomalies,” a large-scale replication study that re-tests hundreds of so-called “anomalies” in financial markets. An anomaly is a predictable pattern in stock returns, or stated differently, it is a deviation from the efficient markets hypothesis. Continue reading Replicating Anomalies in Financial Markets with Hou, Xue, and Zhang

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Synthetic Control and the Impact of Hugo Chavez with Kevin B. Grier

My guest on this episode is Kevin B. Grier of the University of Oklahoma.

Our topic for today is a paper Kevin wrote on the economic consequences of Hugo Chavez along with coauthor Norman Maynard.

I had Francisco Toro on the show last year to discuss Venezuela’s economic history, so you can listen to that episode if you want a refresher on Chavez. For this episode, our main topic is the empirical method Kevin used to quantify Chavez’ effect on Venezuela: synthetic control. Continue reading Synthetic Control and the Impact of Hugo Chavez with Kevin B. Grier

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State Capacity and the Rise of the Modern Nation State with Mark Koyama

My guest for this episode is Mark Koyama of George Mason University. Our topic is a recent paper titled, “States and Economic Growth: Capacity and Constraints,” which Mark coauthored with Noel Johnson.


As stated in the paper, “state capacity describes the ability of a state to collect taxes, enforce law and order, and provide public goods.” That said, state capacity does not mean big government. A state may have the power to impose rules across its territory, but it doesn’t have to use that power in a tyrannical way. Another way of saying that is to say that having a high state capacity is compatible with Adam Smith’s desire for “peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice.” Continue reading State Capacity and the Rise of the Modern Nation State with Mark Koyama

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Money, Trade, and Economic Growth in the Early Modern Period with Nuno Palma

My guest for this episode is Nuno Palma, he is an assistant professor of economics, econometrics, and finance at the University of Groningen.

Our discussion begins with the monetary history of England. Nuno has authored a study that reconstructs England’s money supply from 1270 to 1870. We discuss his methods and findings. We also discuss the influx of precious metals into European markets after the discovery of the New World. Continue reading Money, Trade, and Economic Growth in the Early Modern Period with Nuno Palma

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The Economic History of War and Conflict with Jari Eloranta

My guest for this episode is Jari Eloranta, he is a professor of comparative economic and business history at Appalachian State University. Jari’s work focuses on the economic history of national defense. In this far-reaching conversation, we go all the way back to pre-modern societies’ methods of financing their militaries, then trace the transitions up through the early modern period and into the 20th century. We discuss the way war has shaped modern states and institutions.

Books mentioned:

The First Total War: Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It, by David A. Bell.

The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History, by Tonio Andrade.


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Rentberry, Digital Markets, and Affordable Housing with Alex Lubinsky

My guest today is Alex Lubinsky, co-founder of the Silicon Valley startup Rentberry.

Rentberry is a platform that lets landlords post units for rent so that tenants can bid on them. Once a landlord posts a vacancy, different potential tenants can make offers and the landlord can select which one to rent to.

Importantly, the landlord doesn’t have to select the highest bidder. Potential tenants on Rentberry put in their personal characteristics up on the site, so landlords can select for the type of tenants they want. Maybe they’re willing to accept a lower rent from a quiet single woman than a family of five with four dogs and six cats.

There has been some controversy about the site, stemming from the fact that it leads tenants to bid against one another, potentially pushing up prices. One tenant advocate said, “I think it’s incredibly arrogant and incredibly concerning in light of the fact that we have the highest number of homeless families since the Great Depression. For them to do something to increase the rents seems really callous.” Vanity Fair said Rentberry would turn rental markets into a Hunger Games-like death match. Continue reading Rentberry, Digital Markets, and Affordable Housing with Alex Lubinsky

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50th Episode Special with Garrett Petersen and Ash Navabi

Hello and welcome to the fiftieth episode special of Economics Detective Radio! Today we have Ash Navabi back on the program, but we’re flipping the script: Ash will be interviewing me about the show and about all the things I’ve learned while making it.

In this episode, I alienate the political right by discussing the importance of labour mobility and the desirability of open borders. I also alienate the political left by expressing a lukewarm position on climate change. I also discuss my own research plans relating to law and economics.

Finally, we discuss literature! Really, if you like Economics Detective Radio you have to hear this episode.


 
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