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Paul Romer on the Unrivaled Joy of Scholarship (Ep. 55)

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Mercatus Center
Dec 5, 2018 · 34 min read
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On promoting innovation

COWEN: If you’re called into a White House and asked to give advice — how could the United States promote innovation? — what might you say? I know it’s a big long list, but where would you start?

The way I constrain people with [policy ideas] is, “Okay, what’s your first priority?”

Or, “If you go into the office on Monday, what are you going to work on, on Monday?” I’m really opposed to these long-list policy exercises because it tends to become this political thing. It’s like, “Oh yeah, this is why the World Bank used ‘and’ so much.” It’s like, “Well, we’re in favor of technological change. Oh, but and we’re in favor of this and this.” And every interest group gets on the list.

COWEN: We can search this transcript for how many times we each use the word and.

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On general-purpose technologies

COWEN: So, general-purpose technologies, do you believe in them?

On charter cities

COWEN: Can a charter city work if we import good laws from the outside world but not the appropriate matching culture?

My mother — she raised seven kids. I told her just recently that this prize is for her because there’s this formative period, when you’re a very young child, where the care and affection and warmth, the emotional warmth, with the mother is a big influence on the rest of your life.

She started in the ’60s, I guess, a preschool in Colorado. She was not only raising kids, but she started a preschool because she was so convinced at how important this early childhood nurturing environment was. What I got from her were the emotional capacities that you get if you can grow up in a supportive environment.

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Conversations with Tyler

A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages…

Mercatus Center

Written by

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.

Conversations with Tyler

A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages with today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

Mercatus Center

Written by

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.

Conversations with Tyler

A podcast in which esteemed economist Tyler Cowen engages with today's most underrated thinkers in wide-ranging explorations of their work, the world, and everything in between.

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