Planet Money

January 21, 2010

Of course I spend a lot of time doubting or at least pretending to doubt the things that I believe. But I’m only human, too. That’s why yesterday’s Planet Money podcast was unspeakably frustrating for me. Here’s a brief part of the dialogue, which I didn’t work very hard to transcribe accurately, but it’s mostly right.

Jonathan Gruber: I’m reminded of Red Sox baseball player Carl Everett. He didn’t believe in dinosaurs because he’d never seen one walking around. At some level, we have to take evidence as fact. And the evidence from numerous studies are that there is this tradeoff between health insurance costs and wages.

Neil: So, the evidence that you have, is it anything as firm as dinosaur bones?

Jon: Um, it is not as firm as dinosaur bones

Neil: It’s theoretical, right?

Jon: Um, no…It’s… it’s fact-based

There are things in economics that I’m as certain of as I am of dinosaurs. And there are people, a lot of people, who don’t accept them as true. If you want to have some notion of where normal economists disagree with non-economists, this podcast is a good place to start, because everything Jonathan Gruber says is true, and uncontroversially true among economists.

This isn’t a real argument, I know, it’s just curmudgeonly grumbling. Listen to the podcast.

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2 Responses to “Planet Money”

  1. Ryan Says:

    But historical evolution in not falsifiable, and is therefore not science, right?


  2. Too terse for me. I don’t understand your comment.


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