Help me find podcast episode about jobs that can't be more efficient.
February 27, 2018 12:24 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a specific episode of a podcast which contained a comment about how certain industries - medicine and education - for example, can't always be made more efficient or productive. I believe that the episode was from Freakonomics or Planet Money, but I can't seem to find in my googling of their transcripts.

The examples were that in medicine having a doctor examine more patients doesn't increase the care that each individual patient gets, and that in education if you increase the number of students int he classroom the students aren't individually learning more. Another part of this idea was that if society embraced the idea that these aspects of life are going to get more expensive as time goes on then we can plan for those expenses and not be shocked by the cost down the road.
posted by achmorrison to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The concept is called Baumol's Cost Disease, if that helps with finding the episode.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:55 PM on February 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

Related, previously.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:22 PM on February 27, 2018

These may not be what you're looking for, but this New Yorker article appears to address the things you mention: What Ails Us | The New Yorker.

There's also this story from NPR I found: The Man Who Shed Light On Why College Keeps Getting More Expensive : NPR Ed : NPR.
posted by brocrastinator at 1:39 PM on February 27, 2018


This episode of Freakonomics was what I was looking for! I had not remembered Baumol's Cost Disease from that episode.

Thank you, Eyebrows McGee, especially.
posted by achmorrison at 7:10 PM on February 27, 2018

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