[EconTalk] Paul Romer on Growth, Cities, and the State of Economics

Paul Romer on Growth, Cities, and the State of Economics

22/04/2019 by EconTalk: Russ Roberts

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=68789842
Episode: http://files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2019/Romerstateofeconomics.mp3

Nobel Laureate Paul Romer of New York University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the nature of growth, the role of cities in the economy, and the state of economics. Romer also reflects on his time at the World Bank and why he left his position there as Chief Economist.

Listen Date: 2019-05-21


  • I got excited when Russ Roberts mentioned Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, thinking I had finally found the quote which had been nagging at me not quite remembered; about how trade turns difference from a source of hatred to a source of love. Unfortunately not.
  • It does seem that Paul Romer has given up on charter cities. My main skepticism about how he framed the idea was a) People don’t just have one value which they coalesce around b) people don’t even know their values and self-deceive; c) what happens when they have kids with all new values?
  • But that said, his “A country should just buy a city somewhere and set up all new laws” is one of the things that’s possibly crazy enough to work.
  • Gated communities do have people coming together to provide themselves services that municipalities don’t provide, but do they really scale?
  • I was thinking of dormitories, and then Romer mentioned them. That sweet smell of validation.
  • Maybe I should add Gary Becker to the Econ 501 reading list.
  • All that aside, it seemed to lack any one particular big idea.

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