Innovation + Equality with Dr Andrew Leigh MP – latest Economics Explained episode

In my latest Economics Explained episode, I interview 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. Our wide-ranging conversation covers a range of issues, including labour market impacts of digital disruption, universal basic income, and how to improve teacher effectiveness, among other issues.

Use these timestamps to jump right to the highlights:

  • 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 – I ask 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 I ask about teachers’ unions and performance-based/teacher merit pay; check out Andrew’s 2012 paper The economics and politics of teacher merit pay (NB I mangled the end of my question, but Andrew got the gist of it, thankfully)
  • 28:45 Andrew proposes assessing teacher quality policy measures via Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs)

This episode was recorded on 20 January 2020 via Skype.

Hilary Wardhaugh Photographer

Dr Andrew Leigh, Member of the Australian House of Representatives for Fenner and Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury

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