Friday, August 15, 2008

Rent-seeking and Electioneering

I know it's getting close to the opening of school and you probably already have lessons planned for the coming semester, but those of you considering using the upcoming campaign season as a method to illustrate economic concepts should consider adding something.

Back in 2006, Russ Roberts who does the podcast interviews on Econtalk did an interesting and informative interview with Mike Munger, an economist at Duke University, on rent-seeking, politics and government. It has an advantage of being less than a half-hour long. Consequently you or your students can listen to it easily. However, even if your students don't have mp3 players (there must be some out there), they can go to the web site and listen to the podcast on their computer at home or in a library. The disadvantage is that, unlike some of the later Econtalk podcasts, there's no text summary to help those who want to quickly scan and pick up the main points.

It also has some related readings listed. While it's not a comprehensive list, it does provide some solid background.

For those of us who have trouble explaining why good politics often is bad economics (or why good economics often is bad politics) this is a good intro.

I look forward to your thoughts.

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