Crossing Channels

Bennett Institute for Public Policy & Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse

Monthly podcast series produced by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy (Cambridge) and Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST) to give interdisciplinary answers to today's challenging questions. Hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones with guest experts from both research centres. Subscribe to the Crossing Channels podcast feed https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/1841488.rss & download each episode at the start of the month.

Has digital technology made us better off?
4d ago
Has digital technology made us better off?
Rory Cellan-Jones talks to leading economists Diane Coyle, Jacques Crémer and Jean Tirole, about why productivity growth has slowed in spite of immense technological progress and what policy can do about it.This episode unravels the impact of digitalisation on economic growth and its implications for policy. Leading economists discuss the productivity puzzle, why regulating Big Tech is so difficult, the threats of mass surveillance, and what policymakers can do to address these challenges. This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones (former technology correspondent for the BBC), and features guest experts Professor Diane Coyle (Bennett Institute for Public Policy), Professor Jacques Crémer (Toulouse School of Economics) and Professor Jean Tirole (Toulouse School of Economics – International Advanced Study in Toulouse). Listen to this episode on your preferred podcast platform: 2 Episode 1 transcript:  For more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at and us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouseWith thanks to:Audio production by Steve Hankey.Podcast editing by Stella Erker. More information about our guests:Professor Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. She co-directs the Bennett Institute where she heads the themes of progress and productivity, and researches the digital economy and economic measurement. Diane is also a Director of the Productivity Institute, and a Fellow of the Office for National Statistics. Professor Jacques Crémer received his undergraduate degree from the Ecole Polytechnique in 1971, a SM in Management and a PhD in economics, both from MIT, in 1973 and 1977. He has held appointments at the University of Pennsylvania and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. His current research interests are the economics of organization, the economics of the Internet and of the software industries, as well as contract theory.Professor Jean Tirole is honorary chairman of the Foundation JJ Laffont-Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), and scientific director of TSE-Partnership. He is also affiliated with MIT, where he holds a visiting position, and the Institut de France. Professor Tirole’s research covers industrial organization, regulation, finance, macroeconomics and banking, and psychology-based economics. Rory Cellan-Jones is a former technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism saw him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021.
What can political leaders learn from history?
Jun 29 2022
What can political leaders learn from history?
In this episode, Rory Cellan-Jones talks to expert guests Lucy Delap (University of Cambridge) and Victor Gay (IAST) about how lessons from history can inform policymaking today.They discuss what the recession in the 1970s  can tell us about government response to the current cost-of-living crisis, and what the 1918 Spanish Flu can tell us about dealing with a pandemic. The guests explore what history adds to policy debates but is currently left out, and why explaining what happened in the past isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Episode 10 transcriptListen to this podcast on your favourite platform.For more information about the podcast and the work of the Institutes, visit our websites:  www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk and www.iast.fr/Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouseAudio production by Steve Hankey.Podcast editing by Annabel Manley.About our guests and host:Lucy Delap is a Professor in Modern British and Gender History at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include the history of feminisms in Britain, the US, and the British Empire, and in labour history with a focus on the intersections of gender, class, and disability in the workplace. She is the author of three books, most recently  'Feminisms: a global history' in 2020. She was also the winner of the Royal Historical Society Public History Prize for public debate and policy in 2018.Victor Gay is an Assistant Professor at the Toulouse School of Economics and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. His research interests include labour economics and the economics of culture, focussing on the economic history of France.  As part of his work on developing data infrastructures based on novel archival material, he is also the Scientific Advisor of the University Data Platform of Toulouse of the PROGEDO data infrastructure.Rory Cellan-Jones is a former technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism have seen him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has also written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021.
How might policy steer us towards better decision-making?
May 30 2022
How might policy steer us towards better decision-making?
This podcast looks at the psychological quirks of humankind, what effects our bad decisions have on the society we live in, and how policy might best steer us towards better outcomes.Rory Cellan-Jones talks to Dr Bence Bago - Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, and Professor Dame Theresa Marteau – the Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge and co-chair of The Lancet Chatham House Commission on improving health post Covid-19.They draw on their research to explore what defines a ‘bad decision’, what causes us to make them, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on governments’ and citizens’ decision-making, the role of social media in misinformation processing, what we can do to prevent ourselves from making bad decisions, and what governments can do to improve matters.Listen to this episode on your preferred podcast platform.Episode 9 transcript For more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk and www.iast.fr . Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse.  Audio production by Steve Hankey Podcast editing by Annabel ManleyMore about our guestsProfessor Dame Theresa Marteau is Director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions to change behaviour (principally food, tobacco and alcohol consumption) to improve population and planetary health and reduce health inequalities, with a particular focus on targeting non-conscious processes. She co-chairs the Lancet-Chatham House Commission on improving population health post-COVID-19, and participated in the UK government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), responding to Covid-19. She is also one of the members of the management board of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.Dr Bence Bago is a research fellow at the IAST, with an academic background in cognitive psychology. His research interests in the interplay between intuitive and analytical processes in human decision-making, including applications in truth discernment when exposed to misinformation.Rory Cellan-Jones was a technology correspondent for the BBC. His 40 years in journalism have seen him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has also written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021.
Can democratic political leaders ever meet our expectations?
May 2 2022
Can democratic political leaders ever meet our expectations?
This episode looks at what we expect from our leaders, how that's changed over time, and whether democratic leaders are particularly prone to disappointing us. This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones, and features experts Dr Roberto Foa, Assistant Professor in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, and Dr Zachary Garfield, Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse.Listen to this episode on your preferred podcast platform.Episode 8 transcriptFor more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk and www.iast.fr .Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse.Audio production by Steve Hankey.Podcast editing by Annabel ManleyMore about our guestsDr Roberto FoaRoberto Stefan Foa is Assistant Professor in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, Co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for the Future of Democracy, and Director of the YouGov-Cambridge Centre for Public Opinion Research. His research examines the quality of government, regimes, and comparative social indicators, and is frequently cited in academic and media debates.Dr Zachery GarfieldZachary Garfield is a Research Fellow at the IAST. He studied as an evolutionary anthropologist with research interests in the evolution of human leadership and the nature of social and political hierarchies across human societies.  He is also the co-director of the Omo Valley Research Project which is working to create a large scale dataset from the various ethnolinguistic groups within the Omo Valley region of Ethiopia.
Is it the government's job to make us happy?
Apr 3 2022
Is it the government's job to make us happy?
This podcast looks at why some people think we need policies for happiness and what those might mean. Leading experts discuss how to define and measure happiness, the drivers of happiness in different countries and societies, and what we know about what works and what doesn’t in terms of policy solutions and interventions.This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones, and features experts Anna Alexandrova, Professor in Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King’s College Cambridge, and Dr Jonathan Stieglitz, Associate Professor of Anthropology at IAST and the University of Toulouse 1 Capitole.Listen to this episode on your preferred podcast platform.Episode 7 transcriptFor more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk and www.iast.fr/.Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse.Audio production by Steve Hankey.Podcast editing by Annabel ManleyMore information about our guests:Professor Anna AlexandrovaAnna Alexandrova is a Professor in Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King’s College Cambridge. She researches how formal tools such as models and indicators enable scientists to navigate complex phenomena tinged with ethical and political dimensions. Her book A Philosophy for the Science of Wellbeing came out with Oxford University Press in 2017 and won the 2022 Gittler Book Prize of the American Philosophical Association. She previously taught at the University of Missouri St Louis and completed her PhD at the University of California San Diego. She was born and brought up in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.Dr Jonathan StieglitzDr Jonathan Stieglitz is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at IAST and the University of Toulouse 1 Capitole. His main research interest is studying the health and well-being of individuals in small-scale subsistence societies, in part to gain broader insights into how humans may have lived in the past. He is Co-Director of the Tsimane Health and Life History Project, a longitudinal study of the evolution of the human life course; the project began in 2002 and currently focuses on better understanding the development of certain non-communicable diseases among two native South American populations - the Tsimane and Moseten of Bolivia.
Ukraine invasion: context, consequences and the information war
Mar 8 2022
Ukraine invasion: context, consequences and the information war
This special edition of Crossing Channels was organised in response to the invasion of Ukraine that began in February 2022. It covers how the Ukrainian people, policymakers, and government have responded during the first ten days of the war, its geopolitical context and implications, and the scale of the information war taking place, within both Ukraine and Russia. This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones, and features expert guests Nataliia Shapoval from the Kyiv School of Economics, Horacio Larreguy from the IAST, and Ayse Zarakol from the University of Cambridge. Listen to this episode on your preferred podcast platform.Episode 6 transcriptFor more information about the conflict, the BBC is running a live webpage with up-to-date coverage of the war here: Kyiv School of Economics has on its website a summary of ways you can support it and Ukraine during the crisis: This includes their lecture marathon to enhance Ukrainian intellectual sovereignty, along with ways to donate and apply political pressure. For more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk and www.iast.fr/. Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse.Audio production by Steve Hankey.Podcast editing by Annabel ManleyMore information about our guests:Nataliia Shapoval is the Vice President for Policy Research and Director of the Center of Excellence in Procurement at the Kyiv School of Economics in Ukraine. She worked on policy research projects on public health’s cost and resource allocation, and on youth unemployment in Ukraine and Europe. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of Vox Ukraine, and a contributor to the Ukraine reform monitoring project of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Ayse Zarakol is a Professor of International Relations at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests are at the intersection of historical sociology and international relations, focussing on East-West relations. She is the author of two books, her first being After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West (2011) which covers the integration of defeated non-Western powers into the international system. Her second, Before the West: The Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders, which looks at an alternative global history for international relations focussed on (Eur)asia, was released in March 2022. This book is available for purchase here: Horacio Larreguy is an Associate Professor of Economics and Political Science at the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM), and is currently a visiting researcher at the Toulouse School of Economics and IAST. His research interests are in political accountability and voting behaviour, including the importance of information for political accountability. More recently, he has worked on projects on misinformation and the Covid-19 infodemic.
Will Levelling Up Work?
Feb 27 2022
Will Levelling Up Work?
The UK is currently one of the most regionally unequal countries in the developed world. The government's White Paper on Levelling Up sets out 12 “missions” to increase economic opportunities across all regions. The UK is far from the first country to try and “level up” regional areas. Countries including France, Germany and China are also making efforts to tackle similar regional inequalities.But just how easy is it to tackle regional economic imbalances for levelling up to work?  Rory Cellan-Jones talks to Sylvain Chabé-Ferret from the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, and Professor Michael Kenny and Dame Fiona Reynolds from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy about just how far public policies can really go to address regional inequalities.Listen to this episode on your preferred podcast platform including Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Episode 5 transcriptThe Crossing Channels podcast series is produced by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and IAST. Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse #CrossingChannelsAudio production by Steve Hankey.Podcast editing by Annabel ManleyMore about our guests:Professor Michael Kenny  is the inaugural director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, and leads its Policy and Engagement programme on ‘Place’. He is leading research projects on left-behind communities, social infrastructure and devolution, and is writing a book about the UK’s constitutional future.Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE is the Chair of the Management Board for the Bennett Institute, and chair of the National Audit Office and Chair of the Governing Council of the Royal Agricultural University.Dr Sylvain Chabé-Ferret is Assistant Professor at the Toulouse School of Economics, Research Fellow at Inrae and member of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Toulouse.  He specialises in the econometrics of causal inference with applications to the evaluation of Payments for Environmental Services and of Job Training Programs. Sylvain has also set The Social Science Knowledge Accumulation Initiative (SKY), which aims to summarise evidence in social science, mainly via meta-analyses.www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.ukwww.iast.fr
Broadband before bridges: can digital technologies leapfrog the obstacles to development?
Jan 28 2022
Broadband before bridges: can digital technologies leapfrog the obstacles to development?
This episode discusses the potential of digital technologies to change infrastructure priorities in developing countries. Experts from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST) consider what counts as infrastructure, whether ‘leapfrogging’ is a useful term, emerging digital divides, and the impact of foreign (particularly American and Chinese) tech giants in this space.This fourth episode in the Crossing Channels podcast series is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones, and features guest experts Dr Stephanie Diepeveen (Bennett Institute), Professor Stéphane Straub (IAST), and Dr Rehema Msulwa (Bennett Institute).Listen on your preferred podcast platform including Spotify and Apple podcasts.  Episode 4 transcriptThe Crossing Channels podcast series is produced by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and IAST. Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse #CrossingChannelsAudio production by Steve Hankey.Podcast editing by Annabel ManleyMore about our guests:Dr Stephanie Diepeveen is a research associate at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, as well as a research fellow at Overseas Development Institute. Her research focuses on digitalisation and politics. She recently published the book, "Searching for a New Kenya: Politics and Social Media on the Streets of Mombasa", which investigates the democratic value of street-based and online public debates.Dr Rehema Msulwa is a Research Associate at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. Her research is on the intersection of policy and the design and delivery of capital-intensive infrastructure projects. She has engaged and worked with government bodies, research institutes and consultancies in several countries, including the UK, India, Nigeria, and South Africa.Stéphane Straub is Professor of Economics at the Toulouse School of Economics, where he is the head of the Behaviour, Institutions and Development group. He works on issues of infrastructure, procurement, and more generally institutional development in the context of developing countries. He has held academic positions in the US, the UK and France, has been a lead Economist with the Sustainable Development Practice Group at the World Bank in Washington DC (2016-17), and is a consultant for several international institutions such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union, and the Asian Development Bank among others. He is currently president of the European Development Network (EUDN).
Can artificial intelligence be ethical?
Jan 2 2022
Can artificial intelligence be ethical?
Hope versus fear in artificial intelligenceIn this third episode of Crossing Channels, experts from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), discuss the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI), including why we need to care about it, who is responsible for it, and whether there’s a double standard for AI and humans.Host Rory Cellan-Jones talks to Dr Jean-Francois Bonnefon and Professor Daniel Chen from IAST, and Professor Diane Coyle from the Bennett Institute.Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts Episode 3 transcriptFor more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk and www.iast.fr/. Tweet us your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse.Audio production by Steve Hankey.Podcast editing by Annabel ManleyMore about our guestsDr Jean-Francois Bonnefon is the Scientific Director at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), and a Research Director for the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). He is also the President of the European Commission expert group on the ethics of driverless mobility, Head of the Artificial Intelligenve and Society programme of the Toulouse School of Economics Digital Center, and Chair of Moral AI at the Artificial and Natural Intelligence Toulouse Institute. His research interests are decision-making and moral preferences, and the applications of this in the ethics of self-driving cars and other intelligent machines.Professor Daniel Chen is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, a Professor at the Toulouse School of Economics, and a Director of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). His research interests include AI and the Rule of Law, with an overarching focus on normative commitments and the justice system. He is also Lead Principal Investigator for the World Bank DE JURE (Data and Evidence for Justice Reform) programme, which aims to update how legitimacy and equality in the justice system is measured and interpreted.Professor Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. She co-directs the Bennett Institute for Public Policy where she heads research under the themes of progress and productivity. Diane is also a Director of The Productivity Institute, a Fellow of the Office for National Statistics, an expert adviser to the National Infrastructure Commission, and Senior Independent Member of the ESRC Council. Her research interests cover economic statistics, the digital economy, competition policy and digital markets, and the economics of new technologies.Rory Cellan- Jones (host) is a former technology correspondent for the BBC. His  40 years in journalism saw him take a particular interest in the impact of the internet and digital technology on society and business. He has written multiple books, including his latest “Always On” which was published in 2021.
What is nature's role in the economy?
Nov 29 2021
What is nature's role in the economy?
Why have economists ignored nature for so long - and now they have discovered it, are they measuring it correctly?This episode tackles the issue of incorporating nature into economic measurements. These include whether there is still a trade-off between economic growth and the environment, what is still missing from economic measures, and how to get academics and policymakers to work together. This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones, and features expert guests Dr Matthew Agarwala and Dr Cristina Peñasco from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, and Nicolas Treich, from the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse.Episode 2 transcriptFor more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk and www.iast.fr/. Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse.Audio production by Steve Hankey.Podcast editing by Annabel ManleyMore about our guests:Dr Matthew Agawala is an economist at the Bennett Institute, and project lead for their Wealth Economy project. He is interested in wealth-based approaches to measuring and delivering sustainability, wellbeing, and productivity. This is motivated by the belief that 21st century progress cannot be described by 20th century statistics. Dr Cristina Peñasco is a University Lecturer in Public Policy at POLIS, a Centre Fellow at Centre for the Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG) hosted at the Department of Land Economy, and an associate researcher of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. Her research brings together work in environmental economics, innovation policy and energy economics in green and energy efficiency technologies, with a focus on the policy instruments enabling the transition to low-carbon economy.Nicolas Treich is a research associate at Toulouse School of Economics and INRAE (French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment). His work focuses on decision theory, environmental economics, and, more recently, on animal welfare.
Why has it become so hard to run government? The role of civil servants and decision-making in society today.
Oct 31 2021
Why has it become so hard to run government? The role of civil servants and decision-making in society today.
This episode tackles the issue of running government in the modern age. These include how the public perceptions of the government have changed, why there are so many civil service reforms, and what governments learn during crises. This episode is hosted by Rory Cellan-Jones, and features expert guests Dennis Grube, Mohamed Saleh, and Catherine Haddon. For more information about the podcast and the work of the institutes, visit our websites at www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk, and www.iast.fr/. Tweet us with your thoughts at @BennettInst and @IASToulouse.Audio production by Steve Hankey Podcast editing by Annabel ManleyMore information about our guests:Dennis Grube has been a researcher on Politics and Public Policy at the University since 2016, and was previously an Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of Tasmania. His research interests are around political decision-making, the role of civil servants in that and how that then passes through to institutional memory.Mohamed Saleh is a Professor of Economics at the Toulouse School of Economics, and a member of the IAST. His research interests are in economic history, and the economic history of the Middle East and North Africa in particular. Catherine Haddon is the resident historian at the Institute for Government. Catherine also leads the Institute's work on changes of government, ministers and the workings of the constitution, and heads the Institute's professional development programme of ministers and opposition parties.