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Quadcast transcript: Creating a ‘citizen economist’

September 12, 2018

Peter Iglinski:            I’m Peter Iglinski, your host for this episode. Healthcare, education, food, sports:  they all have one thing in common and that’s economics. In today’s Quadcast we’ll explore the ubiquity of economics in our society and talk about the idea of empowering people, in short, the democratization of economics. It’s easy to think of economics as simply being about money, but it really has to do with options and decisions, which can involve money but often doesn’t.

Our insights will come from Clifford Smith, the Louise and Henry Epstein Professor of Business at the Simon Business School, and David Primo, the Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professor and associate professor of political science and business administration. It’s a pleasure having both of you here.

The premise:  Economics touches virtually every, if not every, aspect of society. Is that a fair statement? I’ll start with Professor Smith.

Clifford Smith:           Economics has been applied to a whole array of circumstances, things that were obvious like how do you price a book to things that are somewhat less obvious like the economics of crime or the economics of family life. Ultimately, what economics is good at is looking at circumstances where a large number of people – buyers, sellers – come together, interact in a market or a market-like setting, and the outcome of that interaction is setting a price. Sometimes there are things like prices like dollars and sense. Sometimes they’re prices like how much time you spend devoted to a particularly activity. That’s really what economics has focused on over the last 200 years. And it turns out to be a fairly powerful social science in trying to help us understand how those dimensions of aspects of our interactions occur.

Peter Iglinski:            So considering how economics is a determining factor in basic human needs – talk about things like food, shelter, healthcare, education – how well-versed are people in general?

Clifford Smith:           A great many more people have never seen the inside of an economics classroom or picked up an economics book than have. So in terms of some formal training in economics, that’s not broad-based. In terms of having experience, making choices, virtually all of us do it all day every day. And so this is one of those things where what economists are ultimately trying to do is to understand how people make choices. It’s that kind of social science. We’d like to be able to explain what we observe people doing out there in the economy. But most of them are doing it with heuristics and by that old rule of thumb “if it feels good, do it.”

David Primo:              So the beauty of a well-functioning market, as I see it, is that you don’t need to understand economics to benefit from its principles in the same way that if I jump up, I don’t need to understand physics to know that I’m gonna be pulled back down to the ground. So Friedrich Hayek, a Nobel prize-winning economist wrote this famous paper “The Use of Knowledge in Society” where he discussed that sort of the beauty of markets is what they do is they aggregate, I would argue, potentially trillions of different decisions and it comes back to – go back to what Cliff is talking about earlier – comes back to pricing, right, to figuring out prices, to figure out how we should make tradeoffs because when we go to the grocery store, we don’t need to understand the laws of supply and demand to know that we’re gonna have to make choices on which products to buy, in part based on price. And those prices are aggregations of, again, trillions of different decisions made in the marketplace.

That said, the beauty of learning economics is that it can help you understand your own decision-making a little bit better. And that’s one reason why I think it’s still beneficial to learn economics even if you don’t need to understand it to fully benefit from its principles.

Peter Iglinski:            So which brings up the point of human nature. Is economics basically the study of human nature at least in some context?

Clifford Smith:           Let me go back to what I said before. I mean economics at its heart is looking at how a large number of people interact in a market or a market-like setting to determine a price or a price-like magnitude. Now economists have taken that set of insights and tried to push it back a level. They’ve tried to say well, what must people be doing if this is the way supply decisions get made in markets, demand decisions get made in markets, prices get determined in markets.

The thing that makes that useful is that, okay, here’s some econ-speak. Prices are determined at the margin. It’s gonna get determined by people where if the price is a little higher, people are going to demand less. If prices are a little lower, people are gonna demand more.

Now, my wife was a medical librarian. She had bookshelves full of abnormal psychology books. I mean there are some loony people out there, I mean just absolutely cuckoo. And to argue that that doesn’t happen is a fool’s errand. But the point is loony people tend not to be at the margin. And so what that means is that the folks that have the biggest impact on determining prices are the ones that are making more careful decisions about how much to supply in a market, how much to demand in a market. And it’s very difficult to tell a story where those people are loony.

Peter Iglinski:            Aren’t there psychological factors involved? I mean you can – if the price of something is too low, some people may interpret it as being, “Oh, that’s too cheap. I don’t want it” or some retailers have raised prices to make them seem – their products seem more lucrative and more desirable. Doesn’t that play into this occasionally?

David Primo:              You can always find dozens of examples where the model of a perfectly rational human being doesn’t work so house-buying is a great example, right. You see deal after deal that fall apart because emotions get in the way and people act, frankly, in irrational ways. That said, right, in an economy where you have millions of transactions, those are not necessarily what are driving prices ultimately. And even if, yes, people aren’t perfect. They’re gonna make mistakes or their emotions come into play in ways that again deviate from what economics might predict. I think the value of economics is A) it helps as a price-setting mechanism. It helps to aggregate out the information. But also it’s going to cancel out a lot of that noise.

So I think it’s important to study the ways in which people deviate from perfectly rational behavior. But I think sometimes we focus so much on the aberrations that we don’t notice the fact that so many transactions occur in a perfectly normal way.

Clifford Smith:           Well, put a slightly different way, I would never argue that we don’t need a psychology department at the university because we have an economics department. There is all kinds of behavior that economists aren’t going to spend a lot of time focusing on because it’s not something that our tools are particularly well-suited to come to grips with. So I could have someone walk into the department store at the mall and there’s a white shirt, a blue shirt, a yellow shirt that are all there for sale for $35.00 a piece. There’s not an economist on this planet that could tell you which individual’s gonna buy the white shirt or the blue shirt or the yellow shirt.

On the other hand, if the blue shirt is for $25.00 and the others for $35, more people are gonna buy blue shirts than they are white or yellow. So there are things that we can focus on that we can talk about, that we can have some useful insights on, but we don’t have a crystal ball. And when you get into the details of trying to understand what a specific individual is going to do with respect to a specific decision, that’s arguably one of those places where talking to somebody from the psychology department may give you a lot more useful information than talking to an economist.

Peter Iglinski:            Would you like, as economists, like to see the average person have more control, be a little more empowered when it comes to the economy?

Clifford Smith:           You know, one of the things that economists regularly get admonished against is making a bunch of value judgments. At first approximation, I would believe that people have the right amount of economics training. If they would benefit from more, they’ve got opportunities to buy books or attend classes or sign up for podcasts that would give them more insight there. And how far you go down that road is gonna be answered in different ways by different people. I’ve got a PhD. I’ve got some really good friends that never took an economics class in their life and don’t ever intend to. We still get along fine.

David Primo:              So there are two parts to your question, as I see it. One is should people know more about economics so they feel more in control of their own personal financial situation? And there I think we need to separate economics from personal finance. And I think everybody should know the basics of personal finance. To be honest, if somebody said to me, “I have time to take one class, Personal Finance 101 or Econ 101.” I’m telling them to take Personal Finance 101 every time and here’s why.

I actually think it’s a great danger to free societies when we believe that we can control an economy because that is precisely what politicians try to claim that they’re doing and I go back to Hayek. It’s actually very difficult to think that if an economy – what a market does is aggregate billions and trillions of pieces of information – that we can have government officials sort of pulling the levers and controlling how that economy is going to function. Yes, at the margins Trump imposing tariffs is going to have an effect or a tax increase is gonna have an effect or a tax cut’s gonna have an effect. But the idea that presidents and governments are controlling the economy is actually one of the great dangers, I would argue, for free societies.

And I’ll give you a quick example. Governor Cuomo – and this is not a partisan claim at all because you can find Republicans who do the same thing – said that “under his administration we created 1,000,000 new jobs in six years” he said in a State of the State Address this year. New York State did not create 1,000,000 jobs. The governor did not create jobs. But like all politicians we take – they take credit when jobs are created. We can put aside good or bad numbers. The fact is that he was not the one who created those jobs in the same way that when President Obama took credit for certain activities of the economy, it wasn’t him. When Donald Trump is taking credit for certain aspects of the economy, it’s not him. And I think that’s the mistake we make is the idea that we can somehow control the economy. The economy is an aggregation of billions and trillions of decisions.

Clifford Smith:           You know, there may be a different spin on exactly that same point. There are economies where a small number of people control huge fractions of the economic decisions that get made. I’m thinking about places like North Korea and Cuba. [Laughs] And if you look at those economies, one of the things that you see is standards of living are among the bottom of the list across nations. And, again, this goes back to something that Hayek said and that is that a lot of individual decision-making, decentralized decision-making, leads to much better decisions than having a few smart people in a room making a lot of really important decisions.

Peter Iglinski:            A person can go through their entire educational career – grammar school, high school, college – without taking any economics courses. Is that where the problem starts?

Clifford Smith:           No, I would argue that it’s not. You know, if you go back to the simplest statement of what economics would tell you about how to make decisions, I can state it in sort of one simple sentence. You’re thinking about doing something. What are the additional costs that I incur if I do it? What are the additional benefits that I receive if I do it? And economics would tell you if the additional benefits are greater than the additional costs, do it. And if the additional costs are greater than the additional benefits, don’t. Now, you don’t need a PhD in economics to get to that point. Again, there are some subtleties that will crop up in more carefully identifying incremental costs at incremental benefits. But when my kids were much younger, I can remember being at the mall with one of them and they said, “Oh, Daddy, I need this doll, shirt, whatever.” And I would say okay, it costs $10.00. You can go buy it or we can continue to look around and see if you find something that you’d like better that you could spend that $10.00 on. And invariably they decided they didn’t need the doll, that they’d like to keep shopping. And that was the first introduction to the notion of opportunity costs that a five-year-old of mine received.

David Primo:              Earlier I pointed out that you don’t need to understand how the economy functions to be affected by prices, to be affected by supply and demand. But I think there are two ways in which understanding the fundamentals of economics can be useful. The first is that it helps you be a better decision-maker potentially. So if you’re aware of the ways in which we sometimes deviate from rational economic maximizing behavior, it might help make – it might help improve your decision-making moving forward.

Quick example:  There’s a famous fallacy called the “sum cost fallacy” that once we’ve invested  a lot of time in something, we’re hesitant to let go of it or we’re hesitant to let go of a project. Oh, I’ve already devoted so much time. I need to see it through. But going back to Cliff’s point about being forward-looking, if the marginal benefits of moving forward don’t exceed the marginal costs of moving forward, you should end the project. What’s done is done. What’s in the past is in the past. And if you’re aware of those kinds of behaviors, it might help you sort of better understand your own decision-making.

The second way in which I think it might be useful or would be useful for somebody to have a better understanding of economics is it actually makes you a better citizen in that you’re more aware of when politicians are promising that they can somehow undo the law of supply and demand or fix issues that are in some sense unfixable given the realities of the marketplace. And so, as Milton Friedman famously said, right, there’s no free lunch. When a politician says “Oh, we can do this at this cost or at no cost and it’s all benefit,” well, you have to ask the question if it were that easy, why wasn’t it done before?

So it helps you be a better citizen if you understand the ways in which politicians try to write down regulations they think are gonna improve the economy when there’s evidence to believe or reason to believe that it’s not gonna help at all.

Peter Iglinski:            Queen Elizabeth once asked her top financial people “Why did you miss the financial collapse?” What would you say to her? I’ll start with Professor Primo this time.

David Primo:              My first reaction would be as somebody who studies earthquakes, a seismologist I suppose, says – doesn’t predict when the next earthquake occurs. Do we then say the entire field of seismology is worthless? Of course we don’t because we may know where the fault lines are in the economy. We may know where the challenges are in the economy. But if people are acting in rational ways, if everybody knew that a crash was coming tomorrow, the crash would’ve already happened because, again, markets aggregate information. And so we’re in a world in which it’s very difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the economy precisely because it’s an amalgamation of all these different individual decisions. And in some sense if we know what’s going to happen, then individuals who are forward-looking will have already factored them into the decision-making today and you sort of get this never-ending cycle. And so predicting is very difficult but I would argue it’s not the goal of much of what we do in social science. That is what economists who work for banks get paid to do. That’s what a lot of economists who are in the private sector get paid to do. But in reality our goal is to understand the economy and prediction is a very different thing I think.

Clifford Smith:           I completely agree with what David just said. If we focus on the stock market for just a minute and let’s suppose that the New York Stock Exchange works amazingly well, that whatever information is out there that might be relevant is impounded in the stock price right now. Well, what that means is that stock price changes have to be driven by new information. And if new information almost by definition is information that you couldn’t have inferred from what was available already, then new information almost by definition has to be independent of the current state of our understanding. Well, that means that stock price changes are not going to follow some trend. They’re not going to follow some pattern that’s easily readily determined. Stock price changes to a first approximation are going to be independent. And that characterizes an incredibly well-functioning market but imposes big constraints on what’s reasonable to ask economists to opine about.

Peter Iglinski:            When people see the daily news reports about stock prices, I think some people are confused thinking that that’s money going to or from the company and it’s not. It’s just between the owners of the company, the shareholders. So what does the fluctuation in the stock market tell or should tell the average person?

Clifford Smith:           In some dimensions it’s like the scoreboard at the football game. If prices are going up, it’s a reflection of the fact that a bunch of well-heeled, very diligent people at places like Merrill-Lynch and Goldman-Sachs are more optimistic about the state of the economy today than they were yesterday. And if it goes down, the opposite’s true so in a lot of ways it’s like a scoreboard. It gives you a reflection of one group of people’s assessment of the state of the economy, not looking in the rearview mirror but looking out past the hood ornament. And this is not like a poll because these people are putting their money where their mouth is. [Laughs]

Peter Iglinski:            To what extent should economists study ways to make life better versus how economy acts the way it does? There’s British economist David Ricardo, 18th century, said that economists study how the produce of the earth is distributed. Should economists also study the best ways to distribute the produce?

David Primo:              There is an entire field or subfield of economics called “welfare economics” that’s devoted to understanding the implications of alternative economic arrangements, how do you think about different allocations of resources. And perhaps I’m revealing my political economy training or my political science training here, but I would argue that the real problem is not the failure – the challenge we face is not the failure of economists to figure out how to meet basic human needs but rather how political hurdles prevent us from meeting basic human needs. I think this is really a job for the political scientists, not the economists in that markets are really good, actually. Functioning markets are really good at wealth creation and at creating situations where everybody’s sort of situation is improved.

But when you introduce war, when you introduce violence, when you introduce imperialism, you run into challenges where the economy can’t work to help everybody. So I say to my students that you can look at these really elegant economic models that are going to give you these beautiful equilibria where we solve this problem that’s facing the world, let’s say, pollution. We can write down these beautiful models that show what the optimal tax rate is to get to some optimal level of pollution. Now the challenge is we have to go from these abstract models to a world in which politicians are going to make these decisions. And there you’re in a whole different world of decision-making, one that has numerous well-known pathologies and that’s where you run into challenges.

Peter Iglinski:            What are the limitations of economics, Professor Smith?

Clifford Smith:           They’re many and varied. You know, we don’t have crystal balls. We’re much better at looking in the rearview mirror and telling people where we’ve been than we are gazing out past the hood ornament and telling them where we’re going in large part because of the things that we talked about a minute ago. When you start talking about a specific individual faced with the very difficult individual decision, economists aren’t particularly good at coming up with answers to exactly what you might expect. For example, if a CEO finds out that his firm is now the target of some tender offer, a takeover attempt, and you’d like to understand how this CEO is gonna react, I’d probably be more comfortable picking up a telephone and calling somebody in the psychology department than picking up the telephone and calling somebody in economics or finance. Large numbers of people in markets or market-like settings determining a price or a price-like dimension is what we’re good at. Things that get very personal, very individualized we’re not particularly good at doing.

David Primo:              One of the challenges that I think economics has faced for decades now and that consumes much of the research that I’ve done and that many of the colleagues in political science have done in the last 30, 40 years is the notion of collective choice, so economics is very much focused on individual choices. Where am I gonna go to dinner tonight? What product am I going to buy? But what happens when you’re in a group of friends and you’re deciding where to go to eat? Many people who are listening have probably been in that situation where you cycle or nobody can reach an agreement and everybody ends up with a restaurant that nobody’s particularly happy about.

The reason is that collective choice suffers from some fundamental limitations and economics has helped us understand what those limitations are and political economy and gain theory have helped us understand what those limitations are. But I think it’s important for us to be aware that collective choice – in other words where a group of people is making a single decision – is going to be very difficult.

So, again, let’s go back to the restaurant example, five people, right, might struggle to figure out where to go to eat. Now imagine it’s not five people deciding where to eat but it’s 10,000,000 people deciding what car emission regulation rules should be or what tax rates should be and so on, and you see where you are gonna run into challenges. And a lot of people don’t think about this as economics but it really is economics. It’s political economics. It’s political economy. And I think that’s a fundamental … I don’t know if I’d say it’s a limitation of economics, but it’s an area that economic reasoning has identified as a challenge for society.

Peter Iglinski:            You make me think of Walter Oi who was an economics professor at the University of Rochester, that he explained that apple pie really isn’t the favorite pie in America, but it’s the pie that people collectively will at least agree on, that there are pies they like better if they were buying an individual slice for themselves. But when you buy it as a group, that’s the one they can all come to terms on.

David Primo:              Yeah, I think that’s sort of like a consensus choice, if you will. And if you think about that as a consensus choice, that’s great. The challenge becomes when there is no consensus choice. So with apple we might be lucky that as a society that we can sort of coalesce around apple pie. But what happens when you have choices that are given to you that are really not very palatable? In your own individual life, one of the choices is not to purchase something at all, so if I go to the store and I don’t like any of the products, I don’t have to buy them. We don’t have that choice when we make collective choices and that’s one of the challenges we face.

Peter Iglinski:            People occasionally wonder why economists who all have PhDs and a lot of experience disagree and I know this is a complicated question. [Laughs] Scratching the surface but, Professor Smith, why don’t you all agree? You study the same books presumably.

Clifford Smith:           In a lot of ways most of the disagreements in my experience have been over magnitudes that we don’t have a good handle on. Most of us would say here’s a choice that we’re thinking about. What level of unemployment compensation would be appropriate? And there’s some economists that think that this benefit of additional unemployment compensation is big and the costs are relatively small and, therefore, they’d be foursquare behind raising unemployment benefits. And there are other economists that could look at exactly the same question and decide that given the information in their experience, the benefits are small and the costs are big and they’d be foursquare against it.

Now if information were readily available, I think a lot of that disagreement would wind up disappearing, that most economists’ approach to problems is the same but if you think something’s big and positive and I think it’s big and negative, we’re not gonna see eye to eye until we can get some information, some evidence that both of us would agree speaks to that question. And if that were to occur, I think it would be a whole lot quicker to receive some consensus.

David Primo:              I would flip that question on its head and argue – and ask why is it that economists agree so much? I actually think one of the big challenges facing social sciences and academia generally is that there isn’t enough disagreement, that there’s too much intellectual homogeneity, if you will, where there’s a set of theories that are sort of the accepted theories that everybody kind of buys into. And you can have little fights among the theories but there isn’t – there often aren’t these big broad-based challenges to ideas in the social sciences and science progresses through disagreement.

We all need to have a common language within a field and we need to have some certain premises that we all subscribe to or else nothing can – science can’t get off the ground. But once you have that, I actually think you need more disagreement, more viewpoint diversity or else you get fields that don’t grow and don’t progress. So I think there is a healthy amount of disagreement in economics because knowledge production is difficult. But I also think we could actually benefit from more disagreement among economists and among political scientists and among social scientists generally.

Peter Iglinski:            When economists miss an event, miss a collapse – to back to the collapse idea – are economists generally, and yourselves, then better prepared for the next event? Are you able to learn enough to help you in the future or would that event be seen as just a singular aberration?

Clifford Smith:           I think we all try and learn from experience, and when something comes out of left field, something we didn’t anticipate crops up, it’s one of those moments where you slap yourself on the forehead and say why didn’t I think about that sooner? And the next time something similar starts evolving, you’re a lot more likely to pay attention to this thing that came up and bit you in the behind three, years, five years, twelve years earlier than you would’ve been if you’d never had that experience at all. Yeah, economists learn.

One of the things that I had the opportunity to do that I really enjoyed tremendously in my professional career, Henry Manny who actually used to be on the faculty here at U of R, started this Law and Economics Center and started offering courses to federal judges. He concluded that they had lots of training in history and political science and all array of challenging academic disciplines. But one that they didn’t have a lot of was economics and business, and he got funding for some foundations to offer courses in economics, finance, accounting, statistics. And some of the people he brought together to provide these programs were just the Who’s Who in Economics. I remember one time after dinner one night there was a panel discussion and Paul Samuelson, the first Nobel Laureate from the US and a professor at MIT, was talking and another person on the panel was Milton Friedman, another Nobel Laureate, this one from Chicago. And my impression was that the judges were struck with how common the analysis was between the two. Both of them agreed that this aspect of this problem represents a benefit and this aspect of this problem represents a cost.

And yet one could say yes and the other no because they thought this benefit was big and this cost was small. But the other one thought that the cost was big and the benefits were small. So when it comes down to the bottom line, they apparently are butting heads and disagreeing with each other. But if you go back to the underlying analysis, they really agreed on a step-by-step basis about what was important in the analysis. And they both agreed at the end of that discussion that, “Well, if we had more information, if we had something that was more focused and gave us a better handle on how big this benefit is, how big this cost is, we’d agree.” And I take a lot of comfort in that because politically you have a hard time finding well-known economists that are further apart on the social spectrum than Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman. [Laughs]

Peter Iglinski:            What’s the biggest economic misconception among the general public?

David Primo:              That’s a hard question.

Peter Iglinski:            [Laughs] Sorry.

David Primo:              I would argue that the biggest misconception is that we can legislate our way around economic principles. That, for instance, if we impose a minimum wage of – let’s make up a number here – of $30.00 an hour, that somehow we could do that and it wouldn’t have, you know, it would work perfectly and nobody would lose their jobs and everything would be great. Or that we can continue to take one debt as an economy at the federal level and we can worry about it in 30 years and it won’t be a problem in 30 years. Or this idea that somehow we’re not subject to the laws of supply and demand. We are whether we like it or not.

Peter Iglinski:            Professor Smith?

Clifford Smith:           I think David’s going down exactly the right road. Engineering professors can’t repeal the laws of physics anymore than business professors or political science professors can repeal the laws of economics. People are gonna in general do what’s in their best interest. And you can pass a law that says that the minimum wage is $30.00 an hour. I don’t have to hire you. And in fact if I don’t expect that you’re gonna add at least $30.00 of value to my business for every hour you work, I’m not gonna hire you. [Laughs]

Peter Iglinski:            Earlier you had talked about how the public can become better informed. There are books, podcasts to listen to. There are TV shows to listen to. But in this morass out there – and there are one or two charlatans out there – how can the people pick their sources for getting a good quality economic foundation?

Clifford Smith:           The advice that I give my students as they’re about to graduate is it’s important to keep up. And if they’re gonna subscribe to a daily, I generally put the Financial Times at the top of the list. I think you get more perspective reading something that’s edited out of London than something that’s edited out of New York or Washington. When you are looking at a weekly, I more frequently recommend The Economist than I do Business Week or Fortune. Again, it’s edited out of London rather than New York. And I think that there’s a lot more global coverage of issues. They’re a lot better at setting things that are US-specific issues in a context that makes sense and is understandable. But, ultimately, there’s gonna be no substitute for doing some homework.

Peter Iglinski:            Professor Primo, what’s your guidance?

David Primo:              I think NPR’s Marketplace Program does a really nice job of distilling some complex economic ideas into stories that are digestible and that convey those ideas in very clear ways and with some balance. So you’ll hear multiple perspective, which I think is useful because I think it’s also important for Americans to know that there is disagreement out there about what monetary policy should look like, what tax policy should look like. There isn’t universal agreement on these issues. The Economist as a magazine I think, as a publication, that’s – that is going to offer, again, a nice world sort of a broader perspective, a worldview, if you will, of the economy.

But I go back to personal finance. If you go onto Amazon, you can find millions of probably, literally millions of personal finance books. Some are gonna be good. Some are gonna be bad. But understanding your own, as the saying goes, your own personal economy is perhaps more important than understanding the macro economy because you have much more control over your personal economic situation than you do over the macro economic situation. And if you can find a book on investing, let’s say, that helps you develop a financial plan, that potentially could be more important to your life than understanding why interest rates went up last week, you know, why the Fed decided to raise interest rates.

Given – this sort of goes back to economic principles. Given limited time and scarce resource of time, understanding how the economy affects you on a day-to-day basis may be the most important thing you can do.

Peter Iglinski:            Any closing thoughts?

Clifford Smith:           We covered a lot of ground. I hope people found some of this thought-provoking and helpful.

David Primo:              The one thing I would want to leave listeners with is that economics does not exist in a vacuum and understanding the links between economics and political science, between economics and psychology is where often we make the greatest strides in our understandings in social science. So this is sort of a plug, I think, for multidisciplinary work or work that cuts across disciplines because that’s the way in which we can learn and in which we can grow. It’s important to have a base of knowledge with any discipline, but I think it’s really useful when you have this cross-fertilization of ideas.

Peter Iglinski:            My thanks to Clifford Smith, the Louise and Henry Epstein Professor of Business at the Simon Business School, and David Primo, the Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professor and associate professor of political science and business administration. Thanks also to Joe Hagan, our audio engineer. For the University of Rochester Quadcast, I’m Peter Iglinski.

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