Office Hours Podcast Bridges Gap Between Policy and Economic Research

Season Two in Review
HHEI office hours

Last Spring the Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute released the second season of the “Office Hours” Podcast. In under 30 minutes, each episode explores economic topics that impact our daily lives, ranging from taxes, to international trade, minimum wage, and inequality. 

Office Hours was designed to fulfill a central mission of HHEI: to build a bridge between economic research and public policy.

 Formatted as a conversation between host Chris Farrell, senior economics contributor at NPR news, and Minnesota economists, the podcast connects high level economic research to meaningful policy implications. From Bob Litterman’s season finale on Pricing the Risk of Climate Change, to Interim HHEI Director Chris Phelan’s evaluation of Trust in Government and Central Bankers, the topics explored this season dealt directly with the most challenging questions of our time.

One primary theme in Office Hours Season 2 is economic inequality. Professor Kjetil Storesletten kicks off episode one with the question: Are we taxing people fairly? Tax progressivity and redistribution since 1980. According to Kjetil’s research, there is perhaps a trade off between what is fair and what is efficient. “We worry that some people are getting a rotten deal…We've seen the biggest increase in inequality in the century over the last [few] decades, and that's concerning to many."

Cash assistance programs, antitrust legislation, and racial wealth gaps also made an appearance on this season’s episode list. "We made a lot of progress in, you know, gender wage gaps and earnings gap, and so on, throughout the 70’s, the 80’s and early 90’s," says Federal Reserve Bank Researcher Anusha Nath. "And after all the policy changes that were made … we still see a huge wage gap, whether it's by gender, or whether it's by race. So even today, some of the latest numbers suggest that women earn 82 cents to $1 that men earn, if you look at the Black-white gap, it's 87 cents to $1, for Blacks versus whites."

For a full list of episodes, visit our website, or find us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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