show episodes
 
With all the noise created by a 24/7 news cycle, it can be hard to really grasp what's going on in politics today. We provide a fresh perspective on the biggest political stories not through opinion and anecdotes, but rigorous scholarship, massive data sets and a deep knowledge of theory. Understand the political science beyond the headlines with Harris School of Public Policy Professors William Howell, Anthony Fowler and Wioletta Dziuda. Our show is part of the University of Chicago Podcast ...
 
Is capitalism the engine of destruction or the engine of prosperity? On this podcast we talk about the ways capitalism is—or more often isn’t—working in our world today. Hosted by Vanity Fair contributing editor, Bethany McLean and world renowned economics professor Luigi Zingales, we explain how capitalism can go wrong, and what we can do to fix it. Cover photo attributions: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/research/stigler/about/capitalisnt
 
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show series
 
Does meritocracy create a better world for everyone, or does it create massive inequality? There's been a lot of debate in the last few years about meritocracy, and it's become even more pressing in light of the pandemic. If essential workers are "essential", are they really less meritorious than a banker or accountant? So, we decided to discuss bo…
 
If shareholders are the owners of a company, they should be able to get that company to do what they want. But what happens when shareholders want something other than profits at any cost?In a major moment for what's come to be called "shareholder capitalism", activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 successfully claimed three seats on Exxon's board of dir…
 
Infrastructure. It’s one of the hottest topics in politics today. But what does the research say about the effects and politics of infrastructure investment? Political scientist, Jon Rogowski, from the University of Chicago has a surprising paper that shows the long-term economic outcomes of post office developments in the United States. But it als…
 
There are plenty of lingering questions about the development of the coronavirus vaccine. How was the pricing decided? Did the public-private partnership with the government work? Who's right in the debate over patent rights and profit sharing?There's no better person to put these questions to than David Meline, the CFO of Moderna. He joins our pod…
 
It seems like extremists politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene receive a disproportionate amount of attention and money. This has led many political actors to believe that extremism is good politics. There’s even some scientific research to back up that claim. But a new paper by Professor of Politics at Princeton, Brandice Canes-Wrone, shows the …
 
Occupy Wall Street, Italy's Five Star Movement, the indignados in Spain—we've seen an increase in anti-elite protests by a disabused public over the last two decades. But what has caused this "revolt of the public"?Martin Gurri, Visiting Fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center and former CIA media analyst, argues that elites have overpr…
 
The debate about abolishing the filibuster isn’t going anywhere. Proponents say it forces compromise and consensus, while detractors claim it leads to gridlock and minority rule. But is there a third option? Harvard scholar, Kenneth Shepsle, has a radically different proposal that addresses all these concerns without abolishing the filibuster altog…
 
In the last few decades, American wages have stagnated for everyone except those at the very top. Yet, during this same period, worker productivity and corporate profits have soared. Why these two trends have coincided has perplexed economists. But, in a new book, economist Jan Eeckhout proposes a simple answer: market power. We discuss his proposa…
 
A lot of people are unhappy with the ideological make-up of the Supreme Court. They say it doesn’t reflect the majority of the country. President Biden’s commission tasked with reforming the Supreme Court started meeting for the first time in May of this year. One of the proposals they’re going to consider is setting term limits on Justices. But th…
 
Have you ever heard the term "regulatory capture"? It's a famous economic theory that the regulation and regulators we create to keep certain industries in check can be captured and bent to the desires of those very industries. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the paper that first proposed this theory. It's called "The The…
 
We’ve been doing this podcast for over a year and we’ve covered a lot of research, but each paper is far from the final word on any topic. On this episode, it’s time to do some updating. We’re going to take three recent papers and show how they change or deepen our understanding of prior papers we’ve covered on this podcast.…
 
Pres. Biden is pursuing some of the largest spending proposals in U.S. history, which should be sparking concerns about inflation and interest rates. But most prominent bankers and economists have told us not to worry. Fmr Central Banker Mervyn King says they shouldn't be so confident. On this episode, we speak with Lord King about his concerns of …
 
Does the ability for minority parties to delay and obstruct legislation force the majority party to only pass bills that are more moderate? It’s a question that informs much of our political debate around dilatory tactics like the filibuster. University of Michigan Political Scientist, Christian Fong, has a paper that models this question and argue…
 
What is causing the widening wealth gap in America? People point fingers in many different directions, but a fairly new idea is to blame The Federal Reserve. In a new book, "Engine of Inequality: The Fed and The Future of Wealth In America", Karen Petrou, a managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics, argues that The Fed's ultra-low interest ra…
 
There’s a lot of debate in our politics about whether we should have stricter voter ID laws. But both sides are having an argument based almost entirely on assumptions because data on the real effect of these laws are scarce. Not anymore. In a brand new paper, Stanford Political Scientist Justin Grimmer gives us a fresh look at whether stricter vot…
 
When it comes to probing the problems of Big Tech, either as a journalist or academic, access is key. Necessary data is highly guarded, often in a "black box", and these companies carefully select what they share and with whom. Few people understand this better than Kara Swisher who has been fearlessly covering and critiquing Big Tech since the 199…
 
This year the U.S. will go through its decennial redistricting process, which is resurfacing our national conversation around gerrymandering. But Stanford Professor of Political Science, Jonathan Rodden, says gerrymandering isn't the least of our problems when it comes to the politics of geography. In his book, "Why Cities Lose", Rodden illustrates…
 
The only thing worse than crony capitalism may be crony capitalism controlled by a centralized communist authority. This is the system that has led to massive wealth disparities in China, even as the country has seen record growth.Former New York Times correspondent, David Barboza, has gotten a first-hand look at how this system in China has led to…
 
Are land-use regulations incredibly boring? Not quite. As our guest argues, these seemingly banal policies could be causing modern-day segregation. In a new paper, Jessica Trounstine, chair of the political science department a the University of California Merced, makes a strong case for why land-use policies aren’t as race-neutral as they seem, an…
 
It's The ORIGINAL Outside the Panels, with host Johnny 'The Machine" Hughes. Johnny “The Machine” Hughes is back with another episode of the ORIGINAL Outside the Panels. This time around he is chatting with Plastic and The Ride: Burning Desire creator and writer Doug Wagner. Listen as the pair talk about Doug’s newest Kickstarter “Yumi”, the benefi…
 
Concerns about the political power of Big Tech and lack of competition are at an all-time high. The business model of Facebook, Google, Twitter, ect. seem to be creating a race to the bottom for the discourse in our social and political lives.Many have argued we should turn to anti-trust laws as a way to solve this problem, but Nobel laureate Paul …
 
We’re constantly told that we’re trapped in media “echo chambers”, that our media diets mirror our political leanings. But what do the data say? Is it possible that a majority of us have a much more moderate media diet than we assume? A new paper by Andrew Guess, Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton, provides a completely unique data set th…
 
The consulting firm McKinsey has agreed to pay nearly $600 million for its role in advising Purdue on how to push opioids sales, even at the cost of human lives. The details of their work are gruesome and should demand self-reflection among all those who work in big business. Has the profit motive gone out of control, and do business schools have a…
 
When was the last time you voted split-ticket in an election? It may not be surprising to hear that our elections have become increasingly nationalized in the last few decades. Most people vote for a single party straight down the ballot. The question is, why? Daniel Moskowitz, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Harris School of Public…
 
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard the story of GameStop and Robinhood. Most writers and outlets have claimed this is either a positive David vs Goliath story or a dangerous new trend. On this episode, we're joined by Matt Stoller, Director of Research at the American Economic Liberties Project, who has an entirely differ…
 
Political scandal is a historically defining aspect of American politics. But, there’s been very little scholarship on the political incentives that surround the production and consequences of scandals. In a recent paper, “Political Scandal: A Theory”, our very own Will Howell and Wioletta Dziuda create a new model of political scandal that makes t…
 
One of the defining discussions of the Trump presidency centers on the fate of our democracy. In the aftermath of his populist presidency, and as we transition to the Biden era, we’re wondering whether the future is bright or dim. There’s no better scholar to put this question to than the University of Chicago Professor and co-author of “Why Nation…
 
In 1998, the U.S. government filed antitrust charges against Microsoft. Today, with a new Department of Justice antitrust case filed against Google, it's worthwhile to track the eerie similarities between these cases in order to understand how one informs the other and vice versa. In order to walk us through both cases, we invited two people on the…
 
It’s an extraordinarily distressing time for democracy in America. The storming of the Capitol and the votes by some Republican elected officials questioning the results of the 2020 election have many asking what force could act as a check on these increasing anti-democratic tendencies in American political life? A paper from Milan Svolik, Prof. of…
 
We’re taking time off to be with our families, even if it’s only over a screen, so we're sharing a shorter episode with you this week. Inspired by our recent election, Bethany and Luigi sit down, just the two of them, to talk through why a robust and strong democracy is essential for capitalism to work. We hope you enjoy this conversation, and we’l…
 
It’s been an incredibly divisive year, and we’re constantly told we’re more politically divided than ever. But, as our team takes some time with their families for the holidays, we want to re-share a more hopeful conversation with you that sheds some new light on these seemingly unbridgeable divides in our country. We hope you enjoy it, and we’ll b…
 
Few people have deeply investigated the inner workings of our problematic student debt system. One person who has is Constantine Yannelis, Assistant Professor of Finance at The University of Chicago. With a proposal by the Biden Administration to forgive some portion of student debt possibly on the table, Yannelis takes us behind the curtain of our…
 
It’s long been thought in political science that giving people resources through government programs will get them more involved in politics. But this has always been a difficult question to answer in a controlled environment. That is until the 2008 Medicaid expansion in Oregon. There was an extensive research initiative done on the roll out of tha…
 
It's not hard to find original conversations about the dangers of "Big Tech", but it is rare to find original solutions. On this episode, we sit down with renowned professor and author, Francis Fukuyama, who has developed a fresh answer to the question of how to rein in the big digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.…
 
This week, we took some time off for Thanksgiving so we're going to feature another University of Chicago Podcast Network show. It’s called Big Brains. On this episode, they spoke with Professor James Robinson, author of the renowned book Why Nations Fail, about his groundbreaking theories on why certain nations succeed and others fail as well as t…
 
During confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees, the debate is always focused on social questions like abortion, but rarely economic questions—the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett was no exception. But the Supreme Court can have a massive influence on our economy and how we conduct business. On this episode, we're joined by appeals lawyer, R…
 
Most of America, and a lot of the world, has been singularly focused on the U.S. presidential election. With so much media attention on this one event, could foreign actors be taking advantage of this moment to do unpopular things? In a new paper, economist Ruben Durante from the University of Pompeu Fabra argues that politicians strategically time…
 
This week, another University of Chicago Podcast Network show called "Big Brains" asked Luigi to share his biggest takeaways from the 2020 election. They covered why the polls got the election so wrong, what messages the record turnout send to our politicians, and what Joe Biden may change in the economy. We’re going to share that episode with you …
 
Last week, the American people elected Joe Biden to be the forty-sixth president of the United States. This was an incredibly contentious and complex election. We decided to get together to try and make sense of what just happened. On this episode, we discuss what message the historic turn out, for both candidates, sends about Trumpism and the incr…
 
It's been 50 years since Milton Friedman's world changing article which argued the only social responsibility of business is to increase profits. Since the Great Financial Crisis, that view has been increasingly challenged. On this anniversary, we revisit Friedman's legacy with New Yorker staff writer and author of "Transaction Man", Nick Lemann. T…
 
In recent weeks, The Great Barrington Declaration erupted the debate about how best to continue the fight against COVID-19. On this episode, we try to have an honest and difficult conversation about the tradeoffs of different strategies for the future, from lockdowns to herd immunity.We also speak to people on both sides of the aisle: Sunetra Gupta…
 
The appointment of Amy Coney Barrett would make the Supreme Court more conservative than it has been in decades. Importantly, it also would be more conservative than the majority of the public. But one piece of political science research suggests that an out-of-step Court will not simply have its way in the years ahead. Judges like to present thems…
 
On this second edition of the "Just Another Politics Podcast Special", we decide to join our fellow political podcasts in sitting back in our armchairs and sharing our thoughts on the first Presidential debate. The day after the Vice Presidential debate, we recorded a response to what happened and what we think its affect on the 2020 election could…
 
MMT—modern monetary theory—has become one of the hottest topics in economics. The best selling book, "The Deficit Myth", by economist Stephanie Kelton has even made this little understood theory go mainstream. But deeply analyzing these ideas has become more pressing than ever as we debate, in the middle of a pandemic, whether the government should…
 
On this "Just Another Politics Podcast Special", we decide to join our fellow political podcasts in sitting back in our armchairs and sharing our thoughts on the first Presidential debate. The day after the debate, we recorded a response to what happened and what we think its affect on the 2020 election could be. We think this insightful conversati…
 
Will rich people be able to buy a coronavirus vaccine before everyone else? Should we pay people to be part of clinical trials? Is a market for vaccine vouchers a terrible idea?On this episode, we tackle the complex questions around developing and distributing a coronavirus vaccine in a capitalist system. And to get some help with the answers, Luig…
 
As we start a new season of Capitalisn't, we welcome our new co-host, Vanity Fair contributing editor Bethany McLean. Academics tend to think journalists are too driven by anecdotes and journalists tend to think that academics are irrelevant. But in our new season, we hope to combine these two expertises to illuminate the ways capitalism is and isn…
 
Every Presidential election, we talk about “getting out the vote”. But what really works and what doesn’t in terms of getting people to go to the polls? And how will the coronavirus pandemic alter those efforts? We speak to one political scientist who has conducted more studies into “get out the vote” campaigns than any other. Professor Donald Gree…
 
We’re heading into the homestretch of the 2020 election and, as October draws near, we want to take a research focused look at the famed “October Surprise.” It’s a political notion that says, if you want to damage a presidential candidate with a political bombshell you’ve discovered, you should wait until just before the election to release the acc…
 
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