Season 11, Episode 4

Among O.E.C.D. nations, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty. How can that be? To find out, Stephen Dubner speaks with a Republican senator, a Democratic mayor, and a large cast of econo-nerds. Along the way, we hear some surprisingly good news: Washington is finally ready to attack the problem head-on. […]

Season 11, Episode 3

When Richard Thaler published Nudge in 2008 (with co-author Cass Sunstein), the world was just starting to believe in his brand of behavioral economics. How did nudge theory hold up in the face of a global financial meltdown, a pandemic, and other existential crises? With the publication of a new, radically updated edition, Thaler tries to persuade […]

Season 11, Episode 2

Behavioral scientists have been exploring if — and when — a psychological reset can lead to lasting change. We survey evidence from the London Underground, Major League Baseball, and New Year’s resolutions; we look at accidental fresh starts, forced fresh starts, and fresh starts that backfire. And we wonder: will the pandemic’s end provide the biggest […]

Season 11, Episode 1

For all the progress made in fighting cancer, it still kills 10 million people a year, and some types remain especially hard to detect and treat. Pancreatic cancer, for instance, is nearly always fatal. A new clinical-trial platform could change that by aligning institutions that typically compete against one another. To find out more, check […]

Season 10, Episode 52

Air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million deaths a year and cost the global economy nearly $3 trillion. But is the true cost even higher? Stephen Dubner explores the links between pollution and cognitive function, and enlists two fellow Freakonomics Radio Network hosts in a homegrown experiment. To find out more, check out the […]

Season 10, Episode 51

Americans are so accustomed to the standard intersection that we rarely consider how dangerous it can be — as well as costly, time-wasting, and polluting. Is it time to embrace the lowly, lovely roundabout? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished?”

Season 10, Episode 50

While other countries seem to build spectacular bridges, dams, and even entire cities with ease, the U.S. is stuck in pothole-fixing mode. We speak with an array of transportation nerds — including the secretary of transportation and his immediate predecessor — to see if a massive federal infrastructure package can put America back in the driver’s seat. […]

Season 10, Episode 49

According to a decades-long research project, the U.S. is not only the most individualistic country on earth; we’re also high on indulgence, short-term thinking, and masculinity (but low on “uncertainty avoidance,” if that makes you feel better). We look at how these traits affect our daily lives and why we couldn’t change them even if […]

Season 10, Episode 48

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into a country as culturally unusual (and as supremely WEIRD) as America? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The U.S. Is Just Different — So […]

Season 10, Episode 47

They can’t vote or hire lobbyists. The policies we create to help them aren’t always so helpful. Consider the car seat: parents hate it, the safety data are unconvincing, and new evidence suggests an unintended consequence that is as anti-child as it gets. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour […]