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Think Like an Economist

An introduction to the big ideas in economics.

Decision-making
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Prof. Stevenson & Wolfers

Prof. Stevenson & Wolfers

Former Obama Economist. A Modulated Media Production. Co-hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far; Executive editor Alastair Elphick.

  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you

Overview

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers believe that economics is a superpower, and they want to teach you to fly. Their signature approach reveals that every decision is an economic decision, and will help you to uncover the economic forces that shape the world around you. 

A Modulated Media Production. Co-hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far; Executive editor Alastair Elphick.


    What You'll Learn

    • How to make decisions based on principles in Economics
    • Core economic principles

    Episodes

    41 Episodes

    Trailer: Introduction to Think Like An Economist

    2min

    0. Why should you Think Like an Economist?

    16min

    Want to make ‘no regrets decisions’? This podcast will teach you how! Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers are on a mission to equip everyone with key tools from economics that can truly transform your life: from career dilemmas and financial conundrums to sorting out complicated problems in your personal life, economics will help you. Let’s get stuck in.A Modulated Media Production. Co-hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far; Executive editor Alastair Elphick.

    1. Core Principle 1 – The Cost-Benefit Principle

    18min

    Making a pros-and-cons list when you’re stuck isn’t a bad piece of advice, it’s actually a staple of Thinking Like An Economist. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers walk us through thinking about the costs and benefits of every decision, and also warn of red flags that can lead us astray.A Modulated Media Production. Co-hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far; Executive editor Alastair Elphick.

    2. Core Principle 2 – The Opportunity Cost Principle

    18min

    What would you do instead of taking that dream job? What would you eat for dinner insteadof that burger? And how would you spend your lunch hour if not at the gym? Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers get us to think about the next best alternative to anything, and how that can transform the decisions we make.A Modulated Media Production. Co-hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far; Executive editor Alastair Elphick.

    3. Core Principle 3 – The Marginal Principle

    16min

    How many hours should you work? How many people should you hire? How many childrenshould you have? Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers teach us how to make decisionsabout ‘how many’ of pretty much anything and in any circumstance.A Modulated Media Production. Co-hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far; Executive editor Alastair Elphick.

    4. Core Principle 4 – The Interdependence Principle

    12min

    Buying an extra cup of coffee means less money for a cup of tea. It also means less coffee for the next person, it will change the prices of milk and sugar and effect the countries which make the coffee beans for your cup of joe. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers teach us about how our decisions are interlinked, and how this can help you to make better decisions.A Modulated Media Production. Co-hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far; Executive editor Alastair Elphick.

    Bonus: Should you go back to school?

    7min

    Betsey & Justin are getting ready for another year of teaching economics. We'll be back on September 8th, looking at that old favourite - Demand. Until then, we've got some good economic advice to keep you going.A Modulated Media Production. Co-hosted by Nastaran Tavakoli-Far; Executive editor Alastair Elphick.

    Bonus: Juggling Work and Childcare During a Pandemic

    8min

    Betsey and Justin help you figure out how to decide how much time to spend working versus looking after your family, when everyone needs more attention these days. Could the decisions you make now affect your career in the future?We’ll be back with a full episode on September 8th, when we’ll be looking at the decisions you make as a buyer - that foundation of the economy, Demand.

    5. The Law of Demand - How You Choose to Buy

    16min

    Buying an extra cup of coffee means less money for a cup of tea. It also means less coffee for the next person, it will change the prices of milk and sugar and effect the countries which make the coffee beans for your cup of joe. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers teach us about how our decisions are interlinked, and how this can help you to make better decisions.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

    6. Supply- Getting the Best Out of What You Sell

    18min

    We're all suppliers. But how do we decide how much to sell? Economists and the authors of the 21st century textbook on economics, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, steer us through the influences and decisions we face in business or in the home.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

    7. Equilibrium - Balance in a Busy World

    18min

    Where Supply meets Demand. Markets are everywhere, but what happens when buyers and sellers get down to business. Leading economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers discuss how markets help buyers and sellers find the sweet spot known as equilibrium, where the two are in balance.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

    8. Elasticity - What Will You Do When Prices Change?

    18min

    When prices go up, buyers want less and sellers want more. But how much more? Economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers discuss how responsive people are to price changes, and why.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production. Summary It's all about flexibility in the marketplace.

    9. When Governments Intervene - Taxes, Price & Quantity Regulations

    18min

    How does Government affect the market? And how can a jar of coins help you understandhow taxes affect buyers and sellers. Leading economists Justin Wolfers and BetseyStevenson have written the economics textbook for the 21st century, and share their insighton how the economy is influenced by government.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production Summary Governments - just another influence on the market?

    10. Economic Surplus - Getting the Most out of Life

    18min

    You know the joy of buying something that's worth more to you than what you paid? Or that jolt when you sell something for more than what it is worth to you? Leading economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers reveal how to know whether our trades spark joy.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

    11. Gains From Trade - Why Ringo played the drums

    16min

    Are you doing what you should be doing, and delegating tasks that others should do? Make sureyou get the most out of your comparative advantage, as Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfersreveal how this economic tool helps run their household. They've written the economics textbookfor the 21st century and want to share their love of economics with you.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production. Summary With a Little Help from Your Friends.

    12. International Trade - Cars from Corn

    17min

    When countries do something well, they can sell that in the global market place. But how doconsumers and producers get the most out of international trade? Economists Betsey Stevensonand Justin Wolfers explain how people around the world can benefit from international trade.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production. Summary Made in your country - sold globally

    13. Externalities - The Full Cost of the Choices we make

    17min

    What happens when others benefit from your choices, like your choice whether or not to wear a mask?Or when your choices hurt others, like smoking? Economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfersdelve into the world of externalities and explore how policy makers can help ensure effects on othersare taken into account.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Mediaproduction. Summary How your actions affect those around you.

    14. The Labor Market - Live to Work, or Work to Live?

    17min

    What can you do to make sure you're working in the right job, and getting paid the right salary? Or, if you're the boss, how can you make sure you're making the right hiring decisions? Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson show you how to make good decisions, as a worker or an employer.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production. Summary Career advice - Economist style

    Bonus: Presidential Econ 101 - A To Do List

    12min

    The U.S. presidential election may be over, but what does the new president need to do to get the economy back on track and prepare for future shocks? In this special episode, Justin Wolfers has some economic advice for the new president. And of course, Betsey Stevenson will be back for the next episode.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media Production. Summary How the President can Think Like an Economist

    Bonus: A New Treasury Secretary - Who is Janet Yellen and what will she do?

    14min

    America’s President-elect has made his choice for the new Secretary of the Treasury. Janet Yellen is an economist and friend of the think Like an Economist team, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers. Before the election, Janet Yellen shared her thoughts on the power of thinking like an economist. And in this special episode, Justin reflects on what decisions Janet Yellen will be making.SummaryThe next Treasury Secretary talks to Think Like an Economist

    15. Inequality - Understanding the Gap between Rich and Poor

    18min

    How hard is it to move out of poverty and up the economic ladder? Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson explore how economic inequality is shaped by people's backgrounds and opportunities. And they look at the tools available for making a more equal society.Co-Host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.SummaryEconomic tools to help create a fairer society

    16. Market Power - Why businesses charge more

    20min

    What's the competition? When businesses have less competition, they have more market power and can raise their prices. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers explore competition in the market place and the way it shapes prices - and profit.Co-Host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.SummaryCompetition, market power & changing prices

    17. Price Discrimination - Why some people pay less

    18min

    Discounts for the elderly or students may seem generous - but they win more customers. When businesses ask how they can make as much money as possible from each customer, they need a sophisticated pricing strategy. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers take a look at who gets a discount and why.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media ProductionSummaryDifferent prices for the same product = More profit

    18. Private Information - I Know Something You Don’t Know

    20min

    What happens when you know something that others don't? Or they know something you don't? These information asymmetries can create a fog of mistrust, and doing business can get tricky. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers help clear the economic fog, and find ways to restore that trust. Summary I know something you don’t know.

    Bonus: Thinking Big, Remembering Small - From Micro to Macro

    6min

    Now we've learned the tools of microeconomics, it's time to step up to macro. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers are here to show you how millions of individual microeconomic decisions affect the macroeconomic world - and how macroeconomics gives decision makers the tools to make our lives better.

    19. Gross Domestic Product - Adding Up Everything We Do

    21min

    We're diving into Macroeconomics with a look at Gross Domestic Product and how it counts everything in the economy - from output, to spending and the income earned. And Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers also show you how even the great yardstick of GDP ignores some vital elements of society.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production. Summary GDP - Measuring what we do

    20. Economic Growth - Improving our Lives

    20min

    When an economy grows, we live better lives. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers show you how economic growth is fuelled by the mix of skilled workers, the right investments and new ideas. As one idea leads to another, innovation helps boost the economy and can make the world a better place.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.SummaryEconomic Growth - just add people, capital and ideas

    21. Unemployment - Does joblessness have to mean hopelessness?

    18min

    At his inauguration, President Bide warned of the feeling of hopelessness that comes with being out of work. Being unemployed can be very stressful, so what can economists do to help people back to work? Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers discuss what it means to be jobless, and what to do if you're unlucky enough to lose your job. Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

    22. Inflation - When money loses its value

    21min

    We might watch the inflation rate to see how the cost of living is changing, and how our money changes value over time. But what happens when we can't trust money any more? Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers explain inflation - what it is, the harm it can do, and how you can protect yourself against it.Co-Host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.SummaryInflation - when your cash erodes

    Assignment: Spending and Saving

    52s

    The Think Like An Economist team are taking a break this week, but we'll be back next week to look at consumption and savings. See you then, Betsey, Justin and Nas. Summary: How do you allocate?

    23. Consumption and Saving - Spend Now or Save to Spend Later

    19min

    We all make decisions about when to spend our money and when to save for our future selves. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers show you the tools to make the right spending and saving choices at different times of your life, and what it all means for the macroeconomy. Summary To spend now or save for later

    24. Investment - Upfront costs for future gains

    19min

    When businesses invest, they're weighing upfront costs against future gains. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers show you how executives make smart investment decisions, and how you can use the same ideas to figure out whether to invest in your education, your health, or your financial future. Summary Investment Decisions

    25. The Financial Sector - Bonds, Stocks and Shares - should you or shouldn't you?

    27min

    Are you thinking about investing in the Financial Markets? Should you put some of your retirement savings into bonds, or stocks and shares? Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers explain how you can invest and have some simple words of advice for you. Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media Production. Summary Bonds, Stocks and Shares

    26. Exchange Rates & International Finance - The flow of currencies around the world

    26min

    How can a change in the currency markets change the price of a loaf of bread? And is a strong currency useful? Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers explain how imports and exports are affected by foreign exchange markets. Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production. Summary The ebb & flow of International Finance

    27. The Boom & Bust of Business Cycles

    20min

    Even economists find navigating the ups & downs of expansions & recessions tricky. And with the COVID-19 recession still affecting millions around the world, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers help you understand the business cycles that affect all of our lives. And they have some handy tools to help you understand where the economy is headed. Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production. Summary Boom & Bust in the economy

    28. Connecting Interest Rates & Output

    24min

    What is the most important price in the economy? Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers say that it's the interest rate, and they dig into where it comes from, and how it drives all spending in the economy. These big ideas yield a framework called the IS-MP model which policymakers use to help devise fiscal and monetary policies to kick-start the economy. Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

    29. Inflation and the Phillips Curve

    26min

    Why do we end up paying higher prices than we used to? And what are the main causes of this economy-wide inflation? Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers talk us through how expectations influence inflation, and how greater demand, and problems with supply can push up prices. Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

    30. The Fed Model - Predicting what will happen to the Economy

    24min

    When a shock such as the Covid pandemic sends waves through the global economy, how do economists find ways to respond? Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers guide you through the Fed Model - the mainstay of policy makers and financiers around the world. They examine the key relationships in the macroeconomy and the shocks that destabilise them.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

    31. Monetary Policy: The Financial Levers That Tame Business Cycles

    25min

    Central Banks around the world, such as the Federal Reserve, work to keep the economy running smoothly. They set interest rates and adjust financial conditions to keep inflation and unemployment stable and low. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers take you to the heart of the Fed's decision making process, and explain how those decisions affects your life and the broader economy.

    32. Fiscal Policy - Government Spending and Taxes

    17min

    There's no bigger player in the economy than the government, which can adjust billions of dollars worth of taxes and spending. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers explain how policymakers can adjust these levers to keep the economy on track.Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

    33. Budget Deficits and Government Debt

    21min

    Government deficits and debt are at record levels in many countries, provoking widespread anxiety. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers explain why governments run deficits and rack up debt, whether they're likely to be sustainable, and if you really need to worry. Co-host: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far. Editor: Alastair Elphick. A Modulated Media production.

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