In this Freakonomics Radio podcast, Peter Leeson discusses his research ("Ordeals") on how medieval trials by ordeal worked, and why it is that the majority of criminal suspects who were forced to grab a hot bar of iron were somehow not burned.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or "Drones" have been an increasingly contentious issue in American foreign policy. While their cost and ethical nature are relevant topics for debate, we focus instead on analyzing drone policy through an economic framework called Public Choice.
The scope and number of regulations continues to grow, but proof that problems are being solved remains elusive. Several reform efforts are focusing on ways to improve economic analysis so that agencies can make better decisions about when and how to use regulation for problem-solving. New research indicates several reforms that could have a positive impact.
Peter Boettke of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about his book, Living Economics. Boettke argues for embracing the tradition of Smith and Hayek in both teaching and research, arguing that economics took a wrong turn when it began to look more like a branch of applied mathematics. He sees spontaneous order as the central principle for understanding and teaching economics. The conversation also includes a brief homage to James Buchanan who passed away shortly before this interview was recorded.
Economist Scott Beaulier tackles a number of topics including the differences between Medicare and Medicaid, the perverse incentives states face with regards to health care, and how Medicaid will affect state and federal budgets going forward.
Mercatus PhD Fellow Vipin Veetil, along with Akshaya Vijayalakshmi and Srikanth Viswanathan, address Amartya Sen's criticism of cash-transfer programs such as education vouchers in the Wall Street Journal.
While the "invisible hand" argument was initially focused on the ability of commerce to generate cooperation and ameliorate conflict among strangers, it gradually came to be exclusively associated with a sort of ruthless efficiency and the obtainment of optimality conditions. The authors attempt to recapture the doux-commerce thesis and its relevance for contemporary debates over commerce and culture.