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Ep. 6 Steve Landsburg on Learning Economics From Friedman and Stigler

Steve Landsburg went to Chicago to do his graduate work in mathematics but was intrigued by the economics taught by Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Gary Becker, and other luminaries.  We discuss the essence of Chicago price theory, the time when Steve was picketed by campus feminists, how Steve can climb aerial silks like Batman (while Bob looked more like the Penguin), and puzzles from his new book.


Mentioned in the Episode:

The sound engineer for this episode was Chris Williams. Learn more about his work at

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. […] this is another good one, folks. Steve talks about grad school at Chicago. Beyond economics, we also talk about the time he […]

  2. Bob Robertson on 11/28/2018 at 11:57 PM

    Thank you. I am so down after my post on Quora today which pointed out the benefits of a hard money standard was laughed at and ridiculed, and I was abused for not understanding that “no economist” supports hard money, that it’s “settled science”, etc. I need some good economics, and am looking forward to your show.

  3. Dusan Vilicic on 11/29/2018 at 4:45 PM

    Bob, are you really a christian and a communist?

    • Dusan Vilicic on 11/30/2018 at 8:56 PM

      Damn, I now heard ep. 5 and feel like a latecomer to the party :/

  4. Some Links - Cafe Hayek on 11/30/2018 at 10:44 PM

    […] Bob Murphy discusses economics with Steve Landsburg. […]

  5. John Mann on 12/06/2018 at 9:00 AM

    For me, the most interesting thing about this podcast was discovering which pronoun Bob would use for Deirdre McCloskey!

  6. […] because I included it in Can You Outsmart an Economist? and because I talked about it on my podcast with Bob Murphy, which generated a small flurry of email from listeners. So let me try once again […]

  7. Anonymous on 02/09/2019 at 3:09 AM

    At the end he says attractive people who teach do it because they’re good at it, because attractiveness doesn’t matter for teaching. But does it really not matter? I think the argument has a lot of holes. I don’t know how academia works, but it’s not that far off to think that people who are paying for their education would be willing to pay a plus to be around attractive people, or that the person who’s hiring might take into account personal preferences for the people he’s going to be working with. It is not clear looks matter more in retail or hollywood than in academia, and it’s not clear somebody would choose a career with lower average pay than academia (let’s be honest, most people working retail or being C class actors aren’t exactly millionaires) just because that average happened to be raised a little from the mean across the general population just because the person happened to be a little more pretty than average, assuming looks do indeed matter more there than in academia.
    And lastly it wouldn’t be that surprising if looks happened to be correlated with IQ, personality, education or other socio-economic attributes.
    With respect to the resting in the stairs thing, sure, it’s a nice brain teaser, but if it took a room full of people a long discussion to conclude that the reason people “rest” on the escalator is because it reduces the total distance walked, I’m not sure if the people in the room were so smart…
    And I quote “rest” because it sounds like a word probably specifically chosen instead of the more natural “wait”, to prime the listener to think about getting temporarily exhausted from walking and stopping to catch breath rather than the simple fact that people don’t want to walk and would rather be transported.
    In fact, how is the supposedly naive response “because stopping on a fixed stair won’t get them anywhere, duh” wrong in any sense? The whole point of escalators IS so people don’t have to climb stairs.

  8. COVID on 04/27/2020 at 2:59 AM

    That s ridiculous, anyone who wants to walk can walk, and if they are short of time that s the best option. Those people choosing not to walk on the escalator are clearly not in a hurry and have therefore been robbed of nothing.

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