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In this bonus episode of EconTalk, economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Romer discusses the coronavirus pandemic with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. Romer argues that the status quo of shutdown and fear of infection is unsustainable. Returning to normal requires an inexpensive, quick, and relatively painless test. Such tests are now available. The challenge is in relaxing certain regulations and then creating a supply chain of production and availability. Romer then explains how such a test could ease a return to something like normalcy for many sectors of the economy. The conversation concludes with a discussion of the dynamics of the labor market in the current situation.

Updated on May 28

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Skin in the Game, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. This is the third episode of EconTalk with Taleb related to the general topic of skin in the game and how it affects decision-making and policy in an uncertain world. This episode focuses on rationality, religion, and the challenge of thinking about probability and risk correctly in a dynamic world.

Updated on March 25

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Russ Roberts, host of EconTalk, does a monologue this week on the economics of trade and specialization. Economists have focused on David Ricardo's idea of comparative advantage as the source of specialization and wealth creation from trade. Drawing on Adam Smith and the work of James Buchanan, Yong Yoon, and Paul Romer, Roberts argues that we've neglected the role of the size of the market in creating incentives for specialization and wealth creation via trade. Simply put, the more people we trade with, the greater the opportunity to specialize and innovate, even when people are identical. The Ricardian insight masks the power of market size in driving innovation and the transformation of our standard of living over the last few centuries in the developed world.

Updated on April 01

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Today, Y Combinator is a household name in Silicon Valley. It is not only the most successful startup incubator, but also a hybrid venture firm that redefined the rules of the game. It's funded companies like Dropbox, Stripe, Weebly, Airbnb, Cruise and Doordash, Coinbase and Flexport, Weblow, Docker, Plangird, Zapier, Twitch and thousands more. Whatever you do in life, you are most likely using at least one Y Combinator backed company every day. How is it possible that a firm that did not even exist 15 years ago is now responsible for countless runaway success? To answer this question, lets take a look into the past.

Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator, is a philosopher, mathematician, programmer and an investor. By now, there is no question that Y Combinator is a success and Paul Graham a genius, but back in 2009 it was not at all clear. Today, we take a look into history, into this wonderful interview Paul Graham did with @Econtalker about his vision and early successes. Most startups that grow massive had never planned it this way, interestingly enough, same applies to Y Combinator.

Updated on September 02

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