November 21, 2018

We're here to help your holiday travel, cooking, or recovery from family go a little faster. Before we get to podcasts, if you want book recommendations see the Reading posts by David Evans for his recommendations, and remember that many public libraries offer electronic lending so you don't even have to go in the door (audio and e-books, often through downloadable apps in which they subscribe. Check your library's website for instructions).


Podcast Episodes

  • This episode of Reply All (Apple) illustrates how hard it is to get policy right. The law shutting down websites where sex workers could find clients was intended to reduce sex trafficking but probably cost lives of sex workers, immediately.
  • I show up briefly at the beginning of the Planet Money episode The Poop Cartels (Apple), which goes to Senegal to show IPA research with economists Jean-François Houde, Molly Lipscomb, and Laura Schechter on using the tools of economics to help make household sanitation more affordable.
  • The Rough Translation podcast (Apple) is one of my favorites, they do a great job bringing you into another culture and how they're grappling with a difficult issue. Ghana's Parent Trap (Apple) brings us into the world of highly competitive private preschools that proliferate in African cities.
  • The Freakonomics episode with Richard Thaler (Apple) is a lighthearted look back on his career and what it's like to go to the Nobel ceremony (P.S. to his story about econ's ranking - this year there wasn't a Literature Nobel, and rather than move econ up, they just skipped a day and kept econ the following Monday).
  • The 80,000 Hours podcast, broadly about having an impactful career, episode with Eva Vivalt (Apple) delves into her award-winning work aggregating evidence around development RCTs, and what she's learned from comparing multiple studies on the same topic.
  •  Ezra Klein talking with Melinda Gates (Apple)


Podcast feeds

  • The IRC and Vox collaboration Displaced Podcast (Apple) is great, and moves fast. I think the secret is that the hosts come in really prepared, and they work the background into the way they ask the questions so you get up to speed right away, if you're like me and come in knowing very little about the topic.
  • Saint Louis Federal Reserve Bank's Women in Economics podcast (Apple) is a lot of fun—it charts the personal journeys of great scholars to economics and is also inspiring as they explain how they came to their areas of interest. (See especially the first episode with new San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, who has a fascinating personal story.)  
  • Political scientist Kim Yi Dionne’s podcast Ufahamu Africa (Apple)
  • Alice Evans' Four Questions (Apple) always moves fast with Alice's characteristic energy (one of the few podcasts I can't listen to sped up) 
  • Conversations with Tyler Cowen (Apple) (especially the Chris Blattman episode)
  • Vox's Future Perfect podcast (Apple) looks at solutions to social problems


General Interest


Side note: If you're inclined to support the work IPA does around the world finding effective poverty solutions, please donate here, and if you donate by November 29th, an anonymous but also awesome donor will match your gift dollar-for-dollar! (up to $50k total)