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→
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.
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.
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.
Our topic for this episode is anthropometric history, the study of history by means of measuring humans. Doing serious historical research into the distant past is difficult work, because the further you look back in time, the less information you can access. For the 20th century we have wonderful thing like chain-weighted real GDP. Going back further, we have some statistics, lots of surviving physical evidence, and loads of documents and writings. Going further than that, we’re left with the odd scrap of thrice-copied surviving manuscripts and second-hand accounts from people who lived centuries after the events they describe. And going even further than that, we have just bones and dilapidated temples with the occasional inscription. Continue reading Anthropometric History, Quebec, and the Antebellum Height Puzzle with Vincent Geloso→
In this interesting and wide-ranging discussion, we discuss Kate’s critiques of the standard models taught to economics undergraduates, as well as her views on development, economic growth, inequality, and the environment. You might think our viewpoints would be very different on these topics, but we find a surprising amount of common ground.
The coup was an attempt by certain rogue elements of the Turkish armed forces to oust President Erdogan. However, unlike past coups in 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997, the Turkish people documented and coordinated their opposition to it on social media in real time, leaving a rich record of events as they unfolded.
Akin’s research, which was featured in an extensive and detailed article for Foreign Affairs, shows how, when, and where the opposition to the coup occurred. He shows, for instance, the importance of mosque networks in coordinating resistance. And while the media put a lot of importance on Erdogan’s personal appeals through FaceTime and Twitter in galvanizing support, the data show that resistance started organically almost as soon as the coup began, hours before Erdogan appeared on television to rally support.
The discussion delves deep into specific details of the coup and the resistance, while also touching on other areas of Akin’s research. Towards the end, we discuss the technical side of working with geospatial data.
This episode features Anton Howes of Brown University. He is a historian of innovation, and in this conversation we discuss his work on the explosion of innovation that occurred in Britain between 1551 and 1851. You can check out his Medium blog for some of the articles we discuss.
Anton has collected a data set of over 1,000 British innovators who worked during this period. He has documented their education, their experience, and their relationships with one another. Some of the interesting patterns that emerge in his data are the large fraction of innovators who developed technologies in industries outside of their areas of expertise, as well as the high degree of interconnectedness between innovators. Continue reading Innovation, Invention, and Britain’s Industrial Revolution with Anton Howes→
What follows is an edited partial transcript of my conversation with Stephen M. Jones. He is an economist for the US Coast Guard. However, we are discussing his own research, so nothing in this conversation should be taken to represent the official views of the US Coast Guard.
Petersen: So Stephen, let’s start just by defining regulatory discretion. What does that mean in this context?
Jones: Sure. So, I think first off, we should probably define regulation because when Congress writes a law, they pass the law on to regulatory agencies and it will say something to the effect of “agencies: issue a regulation.” So, when we talk about regulations this point isn’t always clear because people just aren’t familiar with this process. The regulation is a statement that kind of clarifies existing congressional law or is written in direct response to congressional law. And this could be as specific as, say, Congress can direct an agency to set an exact amount of pollution that is permitted for an industry to as broad as saying something like “protect consumers from unreasonable risks.” And then the agency has room to interpret that statement as wide as it wants to.