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Recent Videos & Podcasts

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The first video (1) and the first podcast (4) Concern My Work with Douglass North and Gary Cox on the “Violence Trap.”

  • The violence trap represents a new approach to the question of why developing countries fail to adopt the institutions and policies that promote development.
    • Violence is surprisingly prevalent in the developing world:
      • The typical developing country experiences violent leadership turnover once every 8 years;
      • at 12.5 years, the richest developing countries do not fare much better.
    • Violence is also the single biggest missing factor from theories of development.
    • We argue that the way developing countries act to mitigate violence impedes both economic and political development, placing massive impediments to meaningful reform.
    • Development advice based on theories that ignore violence are not likely to succeed.
  • These arguments draw on my paper with Gary W. Cox and Douglass C. North, “The Violence Trap: A Political-Economic Approach To the Problems of Development.”

1. “Barry Weingast on the ‘Violence Trap.”

  • Watch the video
  • A short video in English with Dutch subtitles.
  • A quick introduction to the violence trap and the problem of development.
  • Me Judice, May 27, 2013.
  • Professor Barry Weingast of Stanford University discusses why democracy and the
    rule of law so often fail to take root in developing countries.

2. “Short Takes: Barry Weingast on why democracy fails in the developing world.”

3. “Barry Weingast at the Ratio Institute”

4. “Weingast on the Violence Trap and Economic Development.”

  • Listen to the podcast
  • An in-depth examination of the violence trap as the fundamental problem of development. In this podcast, I explain the violence trap in detail along with its implications for both economic and political development.
  •  A podcast hosted by Russ Roberts of EconTalk, August 12, 2013.
  • 68 minutes

5. “Rule of Law and Developing Countries.”

  • Watch the video
  • This short video explains why it is so difficult to transplant institutions from developed societies — such as markets, democracy, and the rule of law — into developing ones.
    • Drawing on my recent book with Douglass North and John Wallis, Violence and Social Orders, I suggest the ways in which developing countries differ from developed ones.
    • These differences suggest that developing countries lack the preconditions of the rule of law and hence cannot sustain it.
    • Indeed, creating these preconditions is central to political development.
  • View the PowerPoint slides connected to this video.
  • Max Weber Programme, Europe University Institute, Mar 18, 2009.
  • 6 minutes

6. “Escape from the Violence Trap: A New View of Adam Smith and the Political Economics of Development ”

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  • The Earl and Edna Stice Lecture In the Social Sciences, University of Washington, February 7th 2014.
    • This lecture begins by explaining the violence trap.
    • It then applies this approach to Adam Smith’s ideas about economic development in book III of the Wealth of Nations. This analysis suggests that Smith understood the violence trap and how it prevented development during the long feudal period in medieval Europe.
  • View the PowerPoint slides connected to this video.
  • 60 minutes

7. “An Intellectual Odyssey”

  • Watch the video
  • The Department of Political Science at the University of Washington asked me to talk about my career, which I did on February 5th 2014.
  • Topics covered:
    • Anstead and economics (1969-1970);
    • UCSC (1970-1973)
    • Caltech (1973-77)
    • Washington University (1977-86)
    • Industrial organization, the theory of the firm, and political institutions.
    • Stanford (1986-present)
    • NWW/ CNW
    • Current Projects (including my obsession with Adam Smith)
    • Caltech Rules.
  • 87 minutes (note the sound quality of the introduction is lower than the rest of the discussion)

8. “Violence, power and a theory of nearly everything.”

  • Listen to the Podcast
  • A podcast focused on my (then forthcoming) book with North and Wallis, Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
  • Hosted by Russ Roberts of EconTalk, August 13, 2007.
  • 65 minutes

9. Caltech Rules for the Job Market: “Advice to PhD Students Going on the Academic Job Market.” 

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  • A joint discussion with Justin Grimmer, May 23, 2014, Stanford University.
  • The discussion covers the job market A-Z, including:
    • An appreciation for the other side of the market: what are universities seeking to hire someone looking for and how they evaluate you;
      • This appreciation helps you answer many questions for yourself about what to do when.
    • Applying for jobs
    • A series of deadlines (many implicit) that applicants must observe in preparing for the job market;
      • Including steps necessary to ensure your adviser has all she needs to play her role;
    • How to prepare, design, and manage your seminar;
    • What to do in one-on-one meetings with faculty;
    • How to handle awkward questions, such as family planning.
  • To summarize: the watchword of advice: engage, engage, engage.
    • Faculty are looking for the best colleague, not the best student. You want to appear dynamic and on the ball, a colleague that others want to have around. As Justin says, you want people to think you’re “awesome!”
  • 93 minutes