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Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) Coordinator at St Leo’s Catholic College Wahroonga, Patrick Gallagher, likes to listen to podcasts while he exercises. In this article he recommends some podcasts of interest to teachers of economics, legal studies and other social sciences.

As a teacher of economics and legal studies, I find it crucial to stay up to date with our rapidly changing world.

Podcasts are an easy way to keep up to date with the dynamic nature of the law, the economy and geopolitics while driving, commuting or exercising.

Moreover, the engaging style of many podcasts can be useful in the classroom or as homework listening tasks for students, enabling them to grasp a deeper understanding of concepts and arguments.

The Economists (ABC)
hosted by Peter Martin & Dr Gigi Foster

This series explores a range of contemporary economic challenges faced by individuals, societies and policy makers. They explore varied topics from the sustainability of Medicare and the morality of taxation to the economics of love.

Martin often introduces the areas being examined from a more conventional economic understanding, allowing Foster to provide a deeper examination as she introduces research and features of behavioural economics into the discussion. These episodes often demonstrate a practical use of economic tools that are useful in the classroom. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/the-economists/

Hidden Brain (NPR) – a US podcast
hosted by Shankar Vedantam

Hidden Brain focuses on human behaviour and “helps curious people understand the world – and themselves”. In many respects, economics has more in common with social sciences such as psychology and sociology than the hard sciences.

For example in a couple of recent episodes, Hidden Brain looked into the Scarcity Trap. This proposes that when we feel something is missing in our lives, eg money or love, we are more likely to make decisions that only make matters worse. This is because the ‘need’ robs people of insight. The researchers argue it helps to explain why, when we’re in a hole, we sometimes dig ourselves in even deeper.

Another episode features Economics Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, who challenges the basic economic theory about people being rational decision makers. He presents a number of his ground breaking experiments that led to a greater use of behavioural economics by policy makers. https://www.npr.org/series/423302056/hidden-brain

Other podcasts I find useful in keeping up to date with national or global economic issues, as well as an exploration of economic theory and concepts include: The Money (ABC), Planet Money (NPR), More or Less: Behind the Stats (BBC), Freakonomics Radio (WNYC) and Money Talks (The Economist).

The Law Report (ABC)

The Law Report is a weekly Radio National program hosted by Erica Vowles that presents stories about law reform, legal education, test cases, miscarriages of justice and legal culture. These episodes often provide useful examples Legal Studies students can use as evidence in their evaluations of the law.

Areas The Law Report has covered in recent months include family violence, elder abuse, child abuse, international humanitarian law, prisoners with disabilities and major high court decisions.

I find this podcast useful for students as it publishes the full transcript of each episode on its website. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lawreport/

Stay Tuned with Preet (NPR)

This is an American podcast presented by Preet Bharara, a former US Attorney who was dismissed 22 hours after refusing to take a phone call from newly elected US President Donald Trump.

Stay Tuned is a series about fairness and justice where Preet’s passionate defence of the rule of law, particularly around the separation of power and the US executive branch, continually shines through. https://www.wnycstudios.org/shows/preetbharara

Finally, for US political junkies (like me) there is a plethora of podcasts that cover all things Trump. Some that I listen to regularly include NPR Politics, Nerdcast, FiveThirtyEight Politics, The Daily, The Gist, Trumpcast and Trump Inc.