Tag Archives: Podcast

Economics audio and video

Royal Economic Society logoThis week the Royal Economic Society (RES) annual public lecture will be delivered by Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsay Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge, on ‘Law and Morality in Economic Life’.

The lecture will explore fundamental questions about our world by looking at differences in institutions – cultural, legal, social, political and economic – within which people try to shape their lives. He will argue that the importance of law and morality in economic life follows from the essentiality of trust in the social world. The enormous differences in people’s lives are based in the extent to which they trust one another to comply with agreements.

The RES website features videos of lectures from previous years, while the RES annual conference website features a range of videos of keynote addresses and special sessions from the 2009 conference at the University of Surrey.

The RES are not the only economics related organisation to make lecture videos available. The Economic History Society have published the last three Tawney Memorial Lectures on their website, looking at the Britishness of the Industrial Revolution, the role of nature in economic history and famine in the Twentieth Century.

The recent Growth Week at the International Growth Centre at the LSE included a range of audio and video recordings of speakers, including: Esther Duflo (MIT) on ‘Developing Rural Areas’, Nicholas Sterm on ‘Green Growth’, Tim Besley (LSE) on ‘The Political Economic of Development’ and Paul Collier (Oxford) on ‘Natural Resource Management’.

… and if that is not enough, then there are regular audio interviews with leading economists available as Vox Talks from the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the podcasts from the Centre for Market and Public Organisation at the University of Bristol.

Intute has an archive of Economics podcasts from RES conferences and other Internet resources on the topic of Economics.

A Bakers Dozen of Practical Podcasting Tips

Audio podcasting may seem to have taken a bit of a back seat in comparison to video based resources recently, but there are still plenty of people interested in the possibilities of sound based resources.

I was recently asked to pull together my Top Ten Tips for producing an audio podcast – alas 10 soon became 12 and then I added one for luck … but they are presented below:

Beware the audio phile – audio recording can get very involved – feedback from those who spend weeks mastering a track may not be relevant – ask yourself is this good enough for someone listening on an iPod or at their PC?

Beware the audio file – investigate the quality settings on your chosen recording / editing software – in general record in as a high a quality as possible, mix it down so that final file sizes are about 1MB per minute for the audio.

One voice or two – listening to a monologue can be monotonous over an extended period of time. It is much easier on the ear to listen to a conversation, preferably with a male and female voice.

Be natural – use your normal voice while recording, as any affectation will be picked up by the sound recording and will be difficult for you to maintain over time, so get used to the sound of your recorded voice. Pause, don’t ummm.

Prepare for your podcast – either script every word or have a detailed running order for your recording and notes of what you want to say, as this enables you to concentrate on your delivery.

Read it out loud – words that make sense on a page, may not do so when read out loud. Keep sentences short. Allow for breathing. Similar sounds seem silly in the same space. Check it by reading it out loud yourself.

Sound quality – record the best quality sound you can, use a pop filter if you are recording at a desk, be careful where you place the microphone and avoid setting your recording level too high as the sound will clip or distort.

Music – fade in/outs, stingers between segments and a theme tune can make your podcast sound more professional, but will add to the editing time. Resist the temptation to use a track from your favourite album, as you don’t own the copyright.

Be aware of your environment – a high ceiling in a large open room will create an echo, similarly a small bathroom will produce sound reflections, so scout your potential locations in advance and take a test recording.

Noise is everywhere – there is a lot of ambient noise in the world around us that we get used to – computers whirring away, traffic going past etc. – this may be useful colour in some podcasts e.g. a sound-seeing tour, but not for others.

Practice with your equipment – don’t waste your own time by not knowing how to work your recorder, or by setting the level on your microphone is too high, know how your kit works.

Take two – try to get more than one take of a recording, as this gives you more choices while editing. Re-recording later will be very tricky, as you won’t match the sound levels exactly.

Test your results – the sound levels on your PC or recording kit are not the same as those elsewhere – once you have a finished a recording, listen to it on another PC or an mp3 player to see if it sounds OK.

Further Reading

Secrets of Podcasting / Bart G. Farkas ISBN: 0321369297
Podcasting Hacks / Jack D. Herrington ISBN 0596100663
Podcasting for Learning in Universities / Gilly Salmon ISBN 0335234291

Online resources

The Science of Listener Attention

My Podcasting life … or the reverse Obama effect

Intute: Social Sciences podcast archive

Delicious links on podcasting

Sound like a good education?

Will audio podcasts improve your grades or help you learn about the financial crisis?

A recent study from the journal Computers and Education (DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2008.11.004) compared student performance with and without the supplement of an audio podcast of the lecture, concluding that:

Results indicated that students in the podcast condition who took notes while listening to the podcast scored significantly higher than the lecture condition.

While some of the reaction in the blogosphere has focussed on the death of the lecture or a move to an iPod based University – the reality is that this study seems to back-up what I have gleaned from talking to learning technologist colleagues of mine – that blended learning (technology as a part, not the whole of the process) is best for the broadest array of students and for improving learning outcomes.

The Oxbridge universities certainly seem to be sparring in audio form with the University of Oxford recently celebrating their 500,000th audio download via iTunes and the University of Cambridge producing an interesting take on the global financial crisis.

It explores the credit crunch from an interdisciplinary perspective – how the crude use of historical analogies can cloud our understanding of the credit crunch, how hormones can affect the decision-makers who control the global financial system and how the breakdown in trust is threatening the world’s financial stability.


But you don’t have to go to university to get up to speed on the financial crisis – Open Culture have brought together a nice list of blogs and podcasts on the crisis, which I would supplement with the VOX Talks series and Global Crisis Debate from VoxEU.

Intute: Social Sciences features more podcasts of interest to academics, as well as an archive of podcast related blog posts.

The reverse Obama effect

What is the reverse Obama effect? Well take a quick peek at the SlideShare presentation below or follow the link to sample it from the site itself and you may find out.

My podcasting life

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

… actually, I volunteered to put together a few slides for my colleagues at the University of Bristol on my various podcasting experiments and got a little carried away.

If you are interested in exploring some of our past podcast experiments – why not try:

Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources on the topic of podcasts.

Economics Podcasts from Vox

Vox a policy portal set up by the Centre for Economic Policy Research in conjunction with a consortium of national sites, aims to promote research-based policy analysis and commentary. Vox has marked a year in existence by launching a range of new features including a weekly email, events listings and an archive of their past articles.

It also includes a range of podcasts interviewing economics researchers by Royal Economic Society media consultant Romesh Vaitilingam, with the most popular download being a recent discussion with Stephen Cecchetti on the Monetary policy responses to the financial crisis of 2007-2008 on both sides of the Atlantic.


Romesh has collaborated with us in the past to produce a range of podcasts available on the Why Study Economics website and here on the Intute: Social Sciences blog podcast archive.

Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources dealing with podcasting in economics.

Podcasts on video, sociology and economics

About 18 months ago, Intute: Social Sciences ran a podcast pilot of 12 episodes presenting some Social Science information news, new resources from Intute and interviews with the Social Science community.

While checking through our web stats, I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of these episodes are still being regularly downloaded.

All the Intute: Social Sciences podcast pilot episodes are available as mp3 files in the archive

Economics Podcasts from the Royal Economic Society

RES logoIntute: Social Sciences has been featuring a series of podcasts supporting the Royal Economic Society Conference 2008 that includes a range of interviews with researchers in economics talking about their work.

They have been produced in association with the Economics Network as part of their Why Study Economics initiative.

Topics covered include:

There is also an archive of podcasts from the 2007 RES Conference on the Economics in Action blog.

Intute: Social Sciences features more academic podcasts and more Internet resources in economics.

When the Economy Slows, Spending on Incapacity Benefits, Health and Pensions Increases – and May Keep us Out of Recession

RES logoIn the last of our podcasts supporting the Royal Economic Society Conference 2008, Romesh Vaitilingam talks to Jacques Melitz about how increased spending on Social Security benefits may help to keep us out of recession.

Listen to the interview


Increased public spending on incapacity benefits, health and pensions can all help the economy recover in a slowdown or recession. That is one of the findings of new research by Professors Julia Darby and Jacques Melitz presented at the Royal Economic Society’s 2008 annual conference.

In a slowdown some policies help the economy recover automatically. A recession increases the total amount spent on unemployment benefit (as more people are claiming it) and reduces the total tax take (as people’s tax bills drop). This helps to stimulate the economy without any active government intervention.

The report finds that these ‘automatic stabilisers’ play an even greater role smoothing the business cycle than previously thought. This is because programmes such as incapacity benefit, pensions and health spending all act as such stabilisers as well.

Find out more about this piece of research on the Economics in Action blog. Read more research papers by Jacques Melitz at EconPapers. Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources on the topic of economics.

Children of Socially Active Parents have Better Exam Results

RES logoIn the latest of out podcasts supporting the Royal Economic Society Conference 2008, Romesh Vaitilingam talks to Karl Taylor about how socially active parents choose to be and the effect that can have on their kids.

Listen to the interview


Parents who are active in various kinds of clubs – from sports to charities, from political parties to religious groups – may raise the test scores of their children. That is the central finding of new research by Professor Sarah Brown and Dr Karl Taylor presented at the Royal Economic Society’s 2008 annual conference.

The report uses data from the National Child Development Study, which has tracked the lives of a representative sample of the British public born in a single week in 1958. It finds that the test scores of children in reading, mathematics and vocabulary tests are positively related to their parents’ level of social participation.

Find out more about this research from the Economics in Action blog or read more research papers by Karl Taylor at EconPapers.

Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources on the topics of the economics of education, economics of the family and economic sociology.

The MMR Controversy: Highly educated parents were more likely to stop their children being vaccinated

RES logoIn the latest of our podcasts supporting the Royal Economic Society Conference 2008 Romesh Vaitilingam talks to Dan Anderberg about some socio-economic analysis of the effects of the MMR controversy.

Listen to the interview


Highly educated parents responded more strongly to the controversial study linking the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the development of autism in children. That is the central finding of new research by Professor Dan Anderberg and colleagues presented at the Royal Economic Society’s 2008 annual conference.

What’s more, the study finds, these parents were less likely to have their children vaccinated against other diseases after the controversy, not just MMR. Since there was never any suspicion of doubt about other vaccines, this may have put the health of their children at risk.

Find out more about this research at the Economics in Action blog. Read more research by Dan Anderberg at EconPapers.

Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources on the topic of health economics.