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Good on Paper

Author: The Atlantic

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Have you ever heard a commonly held belief or a fast-developing worldview and asked: Is that idea right? Or just good on paper? Each week, host Jerusalem Demsas and a guest take a closer look at the facts and research that challenge the popular narratives of the day, to better understand why we believe what we believe.

8 Episodes
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School choice is usually about providing parents an option outside the traditional public school system. Between 2010 and 2021, public charter school enrollment in the U.S. more than doubled. But LAUSD did something different. It recognized the growing appetite for choice and wondered whether the normal public school system could help satisfy it. It set up a limited school choice program in 2012, the kind of experiment ripe for an economics paper, and thankfully economist Christopher Campos took notice. Host Jerusalem Demsas talks to Campos about his paper, revealing that when public high schools were forced to compete for enrollment, achievement gaps narrowed, and college enrollment took off. Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Does everyone really need therapy? The destigmatization of mental health problems—and the normalization that many people do struggle with severe mental illnesses—has been one of the great cultural transformations of the 21st century. But has this shift carried unintended consequences? After all, what if therapy is less like exercise—something everyone should do to be healthy—and more like prescription medication—something you should only really use if you need it? Host Jerusalem Demsas talks to Dr. Lucy Foulkes, a researcher at the University of Oxford who has become increasingly concerned that raising awareness is not unambiguously good. Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Does an aging workforce mean greater worker power? One of the takeaways from pro-worker advocates during the pandemic financial crisis was that employees saw fantastic gain. As demand for workers skyrocketed, employees got to be choosy. What bosses called “The Great Resignation” was actually workers having the power to demand better wages and working conditions, as well as the willingness to quit jobs that wouldn’t offer those things. But economist Adam Ozimek warns that people may be taking the wrong lesson about tight labor markets, and that the coming labor shortage isn’t cause for celebration—but concern. Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Are young men becoming radicalized? Could they be further to the right than even their fathers and grandfathers? These are big questions that have yet to be answered definitively, but in some countries, electoral results and polls suggest that a meaningful contingent of young men are frustrated and may be finding a home in radical spaces.  Host Jerusalem Demsas talks to Dr. Alice Evans, a researcher at Stanford University who has been traveling the world, diving into qualitative and quantitative research to uncover why some societies are more equal than others. Her insights help tease out why some young men may be turning against the tide of egalitarianism. Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In 2020, two major protest movements defined our political landscape: the racial justice protests after the murder of George Floyd and the anti-lockdown protests pushing against COVID-19 restrictions. At the time, these movements were seen by many as near polar opposites and were often defined by their extremes. But did the two actually have much in common? Host Jerusalem Demsas talks to Nick Papageorge, an economist at Johns Hopkins University, who co-authored a paper called, “Who Protests, What Do They Protest, and Why?” His research calls into question our assumptions about the participants of mass protest. Are they really dominated by fringe elements? How can we tell? And what does it mean to misunderstand the people that make up social movements? Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In recent years, there's been an overarching narrative that immigration is seen as an obvious political loser for the left and a clear political winner for the right. But does that theory make sense? Host Jerusalem Demsas talks to John Burn-Murdoch, columnist and chief data reporter for the Financial Times, about the factors that influence public opinion on immigration—and why it may not be as simple as political commentators would have you believe. Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Four years after the Great Remote-Work Experiment began, the public debate has boiled down to: Bosses hate it and workers love it. But is that all there is to it? Who really benefits from remote work—and who doesn’t? And why is it that women with more job experience suffer the most? Host Jerusalem Demsas talks to Natalia Emanuel, a labor economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who co-authored a paper looking at the effects of remote work. Do people understand the tradeoffs they’re making when they choose to work from home? What’s the impact on the team if even one person is remote? And does remote work benefit older workers at the expense of younger ones? Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Have you ever heard a commonly held belief or a fast-developing worldview and asked: Is that idea right? Or just good on paper? Each week, host Jerusalem Demsas and a guest take a closer look at the facts and research that challenge the popular narratives of the day, to better understand why we believe what we believe. Good on Paper launches Tuesday, June 4. Get more from your favorite Atlantic voices when you subscribe. You’ll enjoy unlimited access to Pulitzer-winning journalism, from clear-eyed analysis and insight on breaking news to fascinating explorations of our world. Subscribe today at TheAtlantic.com/podsub. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Comments (2)

Tatiana Hanley

really love the show, interesting topics

Jul 6th
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New Jawn

Ive listened to all four episodes. Ive tried to focus, learn, and enjoy but I just dont. The host talks too fast, sometimes a guest is simply irritating with condescention and snide remarks, and sometimes the topic seems interesting on the summary but isnt in the discussion. So Im out. I wish the host all the best. Shes very smart, very insightful, very involved. The podcast just isnt my cup of tea.

Jun 26th
Reply