Adept Director’s podcast discussion with Dr Andrew Leigh MP on Innovation + Equality

A recent Economics Explained episode features Adept Economics Director Gene Tunny interviewing Dr Andrew Leigh MP, the Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury, about his excellent new book with co-author Professor Joshua Gans Innovation + Equality: How to Create a Future that is More Star Trek than Terminator, published by MIT Press in 2019. The wide-ranging conversation covers a range of issues, including labour market impacts of digital disruption, universal basic income, and how to improve teacher effectiveness.

Incidentally, Andrew listed the Economics Explained podcast as one of his favourite podcasts to listen to in an Australian Financial Review article published earlier this week:

Andrew Leigh: the virtues of podcasts and why my kids don’t have Xbox


Use these timestamps to jump right to the highlights of the Andrew Leigh interview:

  • 4:20 – impact of AI and automation on jobs
  • 9:50 – criticisms of Universal Basic Income – fiscal critique and the fact work brings meaning – in which Andrew mentions Blanchflower and Oswald study Wellbeing over time in Britain and the USA
  • 11:05 – advises young people not to over-specialise
  • 15:20 – innovation is generally good for the economy and society, so Andrew rejects Bill Gates’s robot tax idea (see this Business Insider article)
  • 19:05 – Gene asks Andrew about Nicholas Gruen’s idea about public private partnerships for digital public goods (e.g. listen to Economics Explained episode 7)
  • 24:00 – Andrew tells us how you can connect with him, including by listening to his Good Life podcast
  • 24:40 – discussion of how to improve teach effectiveness, in which Gene asks Andrew about teachers’ unions and performance-based/teacher merit pay; check out Andrew’s 2012 paper The economics and politics of teacher merit pay
  • 28:45 – Andrew proposes assessing teacher quality policy measures via Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs)

The episode was recorded on 20 January 2020 via Skype.

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