"Office Hours" Podcast
Welcome to Heller-Hurwicz Office Hours, a new podcast featuring University of Minnesota economists and their research. Each episode, join host Chris Farrell in conversation with Minnesota economists, exploring economic topics that impact our daily lives. We’ll highlight how careful economic research can improve our understanding of major societal challenges and inform policy decisions on topics ranging from taxes to international trade, minimum wage to inequality.
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Host: Chris Farrell, senior economics contributor at Minnesota Public Radio
Credits: Heller-Hurwicz Office Hours is a production of Matriarch Digital Media. Executive Producer Twila Dang. Producer and Editor Beth K. Gibbs. Music by Bob Bradley.
The economic transformation of China from a poor and centrally planned country in the 1970s to a middle-income market economy today is an amazing story. Kjetil Storesletten lays out the remarkable scale of change. Among the topics he addresses: What was the secret sauce that the Chinese leadership used to deliver rapid growth? Why was the growth broad based and not concentrated in the richer coastal areas? What is the way forward for China now?
The last few years have seen a renewed interest in wealth taxation. What is a wealth tax, and how does a wealth tax differ from taxes on capital income? Fatih Guvenen discusses research that highlights when a wealth tax, designed to encourage entrepreneurship and risk taking, is preferable to the better-known capital income tax.
In this episode, Mariacristina De Nardi discusses how longer lives and unpredictable health make our elder years an economic puzzle. Among the puzzles economists are trying to work out: why do many couples keep putting money away long into retirement? Do we enjoy our money less as we age? She also looks at what public policies might be particularly effective at lowering the degree of financial uncertainty in retirement.
Throughout his career, Art Rolnick has been a researcher and an advocate for government to make large investments in early childhood education for children living in families with low and unstable incomes. The research shows that by investing in quality early childhood education for at-risk children, individuals and society can reap extraordinarily high economic returns, benefits that are low-risk and long-lived.
In this episode, Joseph Mullins talks about his research from the paper, “Firms’ Choices of Wage-Setting Protocols.” The research project examines what drives differences in firms' willingness to bargain and renegotiate wages. Among the results: bargaining does contribute to the overall gender gap in wages. But a policy that prohibits bargaining to close wage gaps would lower wages for all workers, leading to overall welfare losses.
The global population is aging. Rising longevity is a powerful demographic force shaping the global economy in many different ways. In this conversation, economist Hannes Malmberg takes a deep dive into how global aging could impact the long-term direction of interest rates.
Gary Stern, former chief executive of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank and co-author of Too Big To Fail, joins the podcast to talk the Silicon Valley Bank crisis, and why restoring market discipline on banks is the first step to making banks and regulators accountable to bank failures. With discussion of the global credit crunch and great recession contextualized in the present day, this episode stresses that there has to be a better way to regulate the banking industry, and avoid these periodic stressful episodes of bank failures, government rescues and economic turmoil.
Sovereign debt defaults have long threatened the stability and growth of economies. Remember the Latin American debt crisis of the early 1980s? How about Europe in the 2010s? Manuel Amador and Christopher Phelan discuss their research into sovereign debt defaults, including the role of reputation.
The trend toward rising income inequality in the U.S. has been studied and disputed among economists. Fatih Guvenen advances the scholarly discussion by exploring the concept of measuring inflation-adjusted lifetime inequality over six decades. One stark takeaway: the widespread stagnation of living standards of many American men. We also look at some preliminary data on the experience of younger groups who entered the labor market after 1983.
Have you heard of the term “monopsony”? Kyle Herkenhoff explains what monopsony is and how it is measured. His research measures local labor market concentration and its downward trend in the U.S. over the last 40 years – and its link to monopsony. We'll also discuss the Department of Justice push to apply merger guidelines to monopsony, and not just monopoly.
In this episode, Tim Kehoe discusses the impact of liberalizing international trade and foreign investment on the economy. He lays out why he believes globalization has been a source of productivity increases and the spread of economic progress throughout the world. He also calls for greater action by economists to pay more attention to the negative consequences of globalization and on policies to offset the adverse consequences.
In this episode Anusha Nath reviews the initial results from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ long-term minimum wage study. The economic impact of raising the minimum wage is controversial. This project is designed to assess over time the labor market effects of Minneapolis’ and St. Paul's minimum wage increases announced in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
How can economic research inform better policies? How should we define good public policy? What trade-offs are inevitable in any policy decision? V.V. Chari, the founding director of the Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute, discusses his goal for the podcast episodes to address questions like these. He also addresses what makes for good economic research.
Outside of interviews with faculty, the Office Hours Podcast publishes various episodes produced from lectures hosted by HHEI and the Department of Economics.
Scientists agree: global warming is the result of CO2 produced by human activity, and urgent action is needed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. What isn't clear is how this should be done in a global market economy. Fortunately, economic analysis can be used to figure out what policies have the best chance of success given economic and political realities. Tune in to hear Per Krusell, Professor at the Institute for Economic Studies at Stockholm University, discuss the economic approach to reducing carbon emissions. Originally recorded on September 22, 2022.
Raise the debt ceiling or pay the bills? Economists Chris Phelan, Marco Bassetto and Cristina Arellano discuss the looming debt limit deadline, and what the risk of default may mean for the US economy. Recording sourced from our webinar held on May 24, 2023.
Defund the banks? The recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank, Sovereign Bank, and internationally, Credit Suisse, have brought new focus on banks, their ability to pay depositors, and the role of central banks in regulating and ensuring the stability of our financial system. In this conversation, economists V.V. Chari, Terry Fitzgerald, and Christopher Phelan discuss the current banking crisis and what policies need to change going forward. Recorded at event on March 29, 2023.