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Episode No.

Date
Length
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 38

Enrollment is down for the first time in memory, and critics complain college is too expensive, too elitist, and too politicized. The economist Chris Paxson — who happens to be the president of Brown University — does not agree. (Part 3 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

5/19/22
50:30
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 37

America’s top colleges are facing record demand. So why don’t they increase supply? (Part 2 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

5/12/22
50:30
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 36

We think of them as intellectual enclaves and the surest route to a better life. But U.S. colleges also operate like firms, trying to differentiate their products to win market share and prestige points. In the first episode of a special series, we ask what our chaotic system gets right — and wrong. (Part 1 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

5/5/22
50:30
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 35

The political scientist Yuen Yuen Ang argues that different forms of government create different styles of corruption. The U.S. and China have more in common than we’d like to admit — but Russia is a different story, which could explain its willingness to invade Ukraine.

4/28/22
50:30
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 34

Nearly 2 percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, environmental and otherwise — worth the benefits?

4/21/22
50:30
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 33

The British art superstar Flora Yukhnovich, the Freakonomist Steve Levitt, and the upstart American Basketball Association were all unafraid to follow their joy — despite sneers from the Establishment. Should we all be more willing to embrace the déclassé?

4/14/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 32

After a huge false start, electric cars are finally about to flourish. We speak with a technology historian about this all-too-common story, and what it means for innovation everywhere.

4/7/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 31

Every year, there are more than a million collisions in the U.S. between drivers and deer. The result: hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and billions in damages. Enter the wolf …

3/31/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 30

Organized labor hasn’t had this much public support in 50 years, and yet the percentage of Americans in a union is near a record low. A.F.L-C.I.O. president Liz Shuler tries to explain this gap — and persuade Stephen Dubner that “the folks who brought you the weekend” still have the leverage to fix a broken economy.

3/24/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 29

People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers — and why that’s unlikely to change.

3/17/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 28

In a new book called The Voltage Effect, the economist John List — who has already revolutionized how his profession does research — is trying to start a scaling revolution. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, List teaches us how to avoid false positives, how to know whether a given success is due to the chef or the ingredients, and how to practice “optimal quitting.”

3/10/22
50:30
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 27

Among O.E.C.D. nations, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty. Until recently, it looked as if Washington was about to change that. But then … Washington happened.

3/3/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 26

Frisco used to be just another sleepy bedroom community outside of Dallas. Now it’s got corporate headquarters, billions of investment dollars, and a bunch of Democrats in a place that used to be deep red. Is Frisco nothing more than a suburb on steroids — or is it the future of the American city?

2/24/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 25

When Stephen Dubner learned that Dallas–Fort Worth will soon overtake Chicago as the third-biggest metro area in the U.S., he got on a plane to find out why. Despite getting stood up by the mayor, nearly drowning on a highway, and eating way too much barbecue, he came away impressed. (Part 1 of 2 — because even podcasts are bigger in Texas.)

2/17/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 24

Adam Smith famously argued that specialization is the key to prosperity. In the N.F.L., the long snapper is proof of that argument. Just in time for the Super Bowl, here’s everything there is to know about a job that didn’t used to exist. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why Does the . . .

2/10/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 23

Curses and other superstitions may have no basis in reality, but that doesn’t stop us from believing.

2/3/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 22

Is art really meant to be an “asset class”? Will the digital revolution finally democratize a market that just keeps getting more elitist? And what will happen to the last painting Alice Neel ever made? (Part 3 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”) To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “‘The . . .

1/27/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 21

The more successful an artist is, the more likely their work will later be resold at auction for a huge markup — and they receive nothing. Should that change? Also: why doesn’t contemporary art impact society the way music and film do? (Part 2 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”)

1/20/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 20

The art market is so opaque and illiquid that it barely functions like a market at all. A  handful of big names get all the headlines (and most of the dollars). Beneath the surface is a tangled web of dealers, curators, auction houses, speculators — and, of course, artists. In this episode, we meet the key players and learn how an obscure, long-dead American painter suddenly became a superstar.

1/13/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 19

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 Stephen Dubner that nudging is more relevant today than ever.

1/6/22
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 18

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 we wanted to.

12/30/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 17

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?

12/23/21
50:30
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 16

You know the saying: “There are no shortcuts in life.” What if that saying is just wrong? In his new book Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut in Math and Life, the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy argues that shortcuts can be applied to practically anything: music, psychotherapy, even politics. Our latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.

12/16/21
50:30
50:30

Season 11, Episode 15

Smart government policies, good industrial relations, and high-end products have helped German manufacturing beat back the threats of globalization.

12/9/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 14

The U.S. is home to seven of the world’s 10 biggest companies. How did that happen? The answer may come down to two little letters: V.C. Is venture capital good for society, or does it just help the rich get richer? Stephen Dubner invests the time to find out. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this . . .

12/2/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 13

The pandemic may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean we’ll return to full-time commuting and packed office buildings. The greatest accidental experiment in the history of labor has lessons to teach us about productivity, flexibility, and even reversing the brain drain. But don’t buy another dozen pairs of sweatpants just yet. To find out more, check out the podcast . . .

11/25/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 12

Is the U.S. really less corrupt than China? A new book by an unorthodox political scientist argues that the two rivals have more in common than we’d like to admit. It’s just that most American corruption is essentially legal. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than . . .

11/18/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 11

Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940’s America (and pretty much everywhere else) shows that discrimination is incredibly costly — to the victims, of course, but also the perpetrators. One modern solution is to invoke a diversity mandate. But new research shows that’s not necessarily the answer. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: . . .

11/11/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 10

In one of the earliest Freakonomics Radio episodes (No. 39!), we asked a bunch of economists with young kids how they approached child-rearing. Now the kids are old enough to talk — and they have a lot to say. We hear about nature vs. nurture, capitalism vs. Marxism, and why you sometimes don’t tell your friends that your father is an economist. . . .

11/4/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 9

Should America be run by … Trader Joe’s? The quirky little grocery chain with California roots and German ownership has a lot to teach all of us about choice architecture, efficiency, frugality, collaboration, and team spirit. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s?” and No . . .

10/28/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 8

Arthur Brooks is an economist who for 10 years ran the American Enterprise Institute, one of the most influential conservative think tanks in the world. He has come to believe there is only one weapon that can defeat our extreme political polarization: love. Is Brooks a fool for thinking this — and are you perhaps his kind of fool? And: . . .

10/21/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 7

Breaking news! Sources say American journalism exploits our negativity bias to maximize profits, and social media algorithms add fuel to the fire. Stephen Dubner investigates. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why Is U.S. Media So Negative?” and “Reasons to Be Cheerful.”

10/14/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 6

Do more expensive wines taste better? They should! It’s a cardinal rule: more expensive items are supposed to be qualitatively better than their cheaper versions. But is that true for wine? And: The state-by-state rollout of legalized weed has given economists a perfect natural experiment to measure its effects. Here’s what we know so far — and don’t know — about . . .

10/7/21
No. 0

Season 11, Episode 5

The U.S. is an outlier when it comes to policing, as evidenced by more than 1,000 fatal shootings by police each year. But we’re an outlier in other ways too: a heavily-armed populace, a fragile mental-health system, and the fact that we spend so much time in our cars. Add in a history of racism and it’s no surprise that . . .

9/30/21
No. 0

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. To find out more, check . . .

9/23/21
No. 0

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 Stephen Dubner that nudging is . . .

9/16/21
No. 0

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 fresh start ever? To find . . .

9/9/21
No. 0

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 out the podcasts from which . . .

9/2/21
No. 0

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 podcasts from which this hour . . .

8/26/21
No. 0

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?”

8/19/21
No. 0

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. To find out more, check . . .

8/12/21
No. 0

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 we wanted to. To find . . .

8/5/21
No. 0

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 Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not.” 

7/29/21
No. 0

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 was drawn: “How Much Do . . .

7/22/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 46

The benefits of sleep are by now well established, and yet many people don’t get enough. A new study suggests we should channel our inner toddler and get 30 minutes of shut-eye in the afternoon. But are we ready for a napping revolution? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Nap Time for . . .

7/15/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 45

It’s a powerful biological response that has preserved our species for millennia. But now it may be keeping us from pursuing strategies that would improve the environment, the economy, even our own health. So is it time to dial down our disgust reflex? You can help fix things — as Stephen Dubner does in this episode — by chowing down . . .

7/8/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 44

Bren Smith, who grew up fishing and fighting, is now part of a movement that seeks to feed the planet while putting less environmental stress on it. He makes his argument in a book called Eat Like a Fish; his secret ingredient: kelp. But don’t worry, you won’t have to eat it (not much, at least). An installment of The Freakonomics Radio Book . . .

7/1/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 43

Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, is as cold-blooded as any economist. But she admits that her profession would do well to focus on policy that actually helps people. Rouse explains why President Biden wants to spend trillions of dollars to reshape the economy, and why — as the first Black chair of the . . .

6/24/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 42

The pandemic may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean we’ll return to full-time commuting and packed office buildings. The greatest accidental experiment in the history of labor has lessons to teach us about productivity, flexibility, and even reversing the brain drain. But don’t buy another dozen pairs of sweatpants just yet. To find out more, check out the podcast . . .

6/18/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 41

The social psychologist Robert Cialdini is a pioneer in the science of persuasion. His 1984 book Influence is a classic, and he has just published an expanded and revised edition. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, he gives a master class in the seven psychological levers that bewitch our rational minds and lead us to buy, behave, or believe without a . . .

6/10/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 40

In the early 20th century, Max Weber argued that Protestantism created wealth. Finally, there are data to prove if he was right. All it took were some missionary experiments in the Philippines and a clever map-matching trick that goes back to 16th-century Germany. And: the human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece, far more functional than we give it credit for. . . .

6/3/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 39

The man who wants America to “think harder” has parlayed his quixotic presidential campaign into front-runner status in New York’s mayoral election. And he has some big plans. Also: in the early 20th century, Max Weber argued that Protestantism created wealth. Finally, there are data to prove if he was right. All it took were some missionary experiments in the . . .

5/27/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 38

It’s true that robots (and other smart technologies) will kill many jobs. It may also be true that newer collaborative robots (“cobots”) will totally reinvigorate how work gets done. That, at least, is what the economists are telling us. Should we believe them? And: the man who wants America to “think harder” has parlayed his quixotic presidential campaign into front-runner . . .

5/20/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 37

Backers of a $15 federal wage say it’s a no-brainer if you want to fight poverty. Critics say it’s a blunt instrument that leads to job loss. Even the economists can’t agree! We talk to a bunch of them — and a U.S. Senator — to sort it out, and learn there’s a much bigger problem to worry about. To . . .

5/13/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 36

The state-by-state rollout of legalized weed has given economists a perfect natural experiment to measure its effects. Here’s what we know so far — and don’t know — about the costs and benefits of legalization. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Let’s Be Blunt: Marijuana Is a Boon for Older Workers” and No . . .

5/6/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 35

The endless pursuit of G.D.P., argues the economist Kate Raworth, shortchanges too many people and also trashes the planet. Economic theory, she says, “needs to be rewritten” — and Raworth has tried, in a book called Doughnut Economics. It has found an audience among reformers, and now the city of Amsterdam is going whole doughnut. To find out more, check out . . .

4/29/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 34

Patients in the U.S. healthcare system often feel they’re treated with a lack of empathy. Doctors and nurses have tragically high levels of burnout. Could fixing the first problem solve the second? And does the rest of society need more compassion too? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How Do You Cure . . .

4/22/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 33

Kidney failure is such a catastrophic (and expensive) disease that Medicare covers treatment for anyone, regardless of age. Since Medicare reimbursement rates are fairly low, the dialysis industry had to find a way to tweak the system if they wanted to make big profits. They succeeded. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: . . .

4/15/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 32

Medicine has evolved from a calling into an industry, adept at dispensing procedures and pills (and gigantic bills), but less good at actual health. Most reformers call for big, bold action. What happens if, instead, you think small? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How to Fix the Hot Mess of U.S. . . .

4/8/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 31

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 fresh start ever? To find . . .

4/1/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 30

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?” 

3/25/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 29

New York Times columnist Charles Blow argues that white supremacy in America will never fully recede, and that it’s time for Black people to do something radical about it. In The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto, he urges a “reverse migration” to the South to consolidate political power and create a region where it’s safe to be Black. (This is . . .

3/18/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 28

A small percentage of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Why? Research shows that female executives are more likely to be put in charge of firms that are already in crisis. Are they being set up to fail? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “After the Glass Ceiling, a Glass Cliff” . . .

3/11/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 27

Not so long ago, G.E. was the most valuable company in the world, a conglomerate that included everything from light bulbs and jet engines to financial services and The Apprentice. Now it’s selling off body parts to survive. What does the C.E.O. who presided over the decline have to say for himself? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which . . .

3/4/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 26

Most of us are are afraid to ask sensitive questions about money, sex, politics, etc. New research shows this fear is largely unfounded. Time for some interesting conversations! To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Can I Ask You a Ridiculously Personal Question?” and “That’s a Great Question!”

2/25/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 25

The U.N.’s World Happiness Report — created to curtail our unhealthy obsession with G.D.P. — is dominated every year by the Nordic countries. We head to Denmark to learn the secrets of this happiness epidemic (and to see if we should steal them). To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How to Be . . .

2/18/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 24

Is there really a “loneliness epidemic”? That’s what some health officials are saying, but the data aren’t so clear. We look into what’s known (and not known) about the prevalence and effects of loneliness — including the possible upsides. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Is There Really a ‘Loneliness Epidemic’?” and . . .

2/11/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 23

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 out the podcasts from which . . .

2/4/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 22

It’s a powerful biological response that has preserved our species for millennia. But now it may be keeping us from pursuing strategies that would improve the environment, the economy, even our own health. So is it time to dial down our disgust reflex? You can help fix things — as Stephen Dubner does in this episode — by chowing down . . .

1/28/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 21

As beloved and familiar as they are, we rarely stop to consider life from the dog’s point of view. That stops now. In this latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, we discuss Inside of a Dog with the cognitive scientist (and dog devotee) Alexandra Horowitz. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Forget . . .

1/21/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 20

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 podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How Much Do . . .

1/14/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 19

Why do so many promising solutions — in education, medicine, criminal justice, etc. — fail to scale up into great policy? And can a new breed of “implementation scientists” crack the code? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet)” and No Stupid Question’s “How Should You Ask . . .

1/7/21
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 18

Before she decided to become a poker pro, Maria Konnikova didn’t know how many cards are in a deck. But she did have a Ph.D. in psychology, a brilliant coach, and a burning desire to know whether life is driven more by skill or chance. She found some answers in poker — and in her new book The Biggest Bluff, she’s . . .

12/31/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 17

Patients in the U.S. healthcare system often feel they’re treated with a lack of empathy. Doctors and nurses have tragically high levels of burnout. Could fixing the first problem solve the second? And does the rest of society need more compassion too? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How Do You Cure . . .

12/24/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 16

G.M. produces more than 20 times as many cars as Tesla, but Tesla is worth nearly 10 times as much. Mary Barra, the C.E.O. of G.M., is trying to fix that. We speak with her about the race toward an electrified (and autonomous) future, China and Trump, and what it’s like to be the “fifth-most powerful woman in the world.” . . .

12/17/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 15

Google and Facebook are worth a combined $2 trillion, with the vast majority of their revenue coming from advertising. In our previous episode, we learned that TV advertising is much less effective than the industry says. Is digital any better? Some say yes, some say no — and some say we’re in a full-blown digital-ad bubble. And: the endless pursuit . . .

12/10/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 14

Companies around the world spend more than half-a-trillion dollars each year on ads. The ad industry swears by its efficacy — but a massive new study tells a different story. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 1: TV)” and “Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 2: Digital).”

12/3/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 13

Thanks to the pandemic, the telehealth revolution we’ve been promised for decades has finally arrived. Will it stick? Will it cut costs — and improve outcomes? We ring up two doctors and, of course, an economist to find out. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Doctor Will Zoom You Now.” 

11/26/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 12

The modern world overwhelms us with sounds we didn’t ask for, like car alarms and cell-phone “halfalogues.” What does all this noise cost us in terms of productivity, health, and basic sanity? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Please Get Your Noise Out of My Ears.” 

11/19/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 11

John Mackey, the C.E.O. of Whole Foods, has learned the perils of speaking his mind. But he still says what he thinks about everything from “conscious leadership” to the behavioral roots of the obesity epidemic. He also argues for a style of capitalism and politics that at this moment seems like a fantasy. What does he know that we don’t? . . .

11/12/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 10

A fine reading of most policies for “business interruption” reveals that viral outbreaks aren’t covered. Some legislators are demanding that insurance firms pay up anyway. Is it time to rethink insurance entirely? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Many Businesses Thought They Were Insured for a Pandemic. They Weren’t.” and “Why Are . . .

11/5/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 9

As beloved and familiar as they are, we rarely stop to consider life from the dog’s point of view. That stops now. In this latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, we discuss Inside of a Dog with the cognitive scientist (and dog devotee) Alexandra Horowitz. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Forget . . .

10/29/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 8

It isn’t just supply and demand. We look at the complicated history and skewed incentives that make “affordable housing” more punch line than reality in cities from New York and San Francisco to Flint, Michigan (!). To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive?” and “How to Build . . .

10/22/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 7

The pandemic has hit America’s biggest city particularly hard. Amidst a deep fiscal hole, rising homicides, and a flight to the suburbs, some people think the city is heading back to the bad old 1970s. We look at the history — and the data — to see why that’s probably not the case. To find out more, check out the . . .

10/15/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 6

Three leading researchers from the Mount Sinai Health System discuss how ketamine, cannabis, and ecstasy are being used (or studied) to treat everything from severe depression to addiction to PTSD. We discuss the upsides, downsides, and regulatory puzzles. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How Are Psychedelics and Other Party Drugs Changing . . .

10/8/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 5

Games are as old as civilization itself, and some people think they have huge social value regardless of whether you win or lose. Tom Whipple is not one of those people. That’s why he consulted an army of preposterously overqualified experts to find the secret to winning any game. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this . . .

10/1/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 4

The families of U.S. troops killed and wounded in Afghanistan are suing several companies that did reconstruction there. Why? These companies, they say, paid the Taliban protection money, which gave them the funding — and opportunity — to attack U.S. soldiers instead. A look at the messy, complicated, and heart-breaking tradeoffs of conflict-zone economies. To find out more, check out . . .

9/24/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 3

We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this . . .

9/17/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 2

Thanks to daily Covid testing and regimented protocols, the new football season is underway. Meanwhile, most teachers, students, and parents are essentially waiting for the storm to pass. And school isn’t even a contact sport (usually). To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Why Can’t Schools Get What the N.F.L. Has?”

9/10/20
No. 0

Season 10, Episode 1

In the U.S. alone, we hold 55 million meetings a day. Most of them are woefully unproductive, and tyrannize our offices. The revolution begins now — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of healthy conflict. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How to Make Meetings Less Terrible” and “How . . .

9/3/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 52

We explore the science, scalability, and (of course) economics surrounding the global vaccine race. Guests include the chief medical officer of the first U.S. firm to go to Phase 3 trials with a vaccine candidate; a former F.D.A. commissioner who’s been warning of a pandemic for years; and an economist who thinks Covid-19 may finally change how diseases are cured. . . .

8/27/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 51

The endless pursuit of G.D.P., argues the economist Kate Raworth, shortchanges too many people and also trashes the planet. Economic theory, she says, “needs to be rewritten” — and Raworth has tried, in a book called Doughnut Economics. It has found an audience among reformers, and now the city of Amsterdam is going whole doughnut. To find out more, check . . .

8/20/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 50

Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we’ve had it exactly backward? Plus: the accidental futurist Kevin Kelly on why enthusiasm beats intelligence and why the solution to bad technology is more technology. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “The Invisible Paw” . . .

8/13/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 49

Everyone agrees that massive deforestation is an environmental disaster. But most of the standard solutions — scolding the Brazilians, invoking universal morality — ignore the one solution that might actually work. And: humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we’ve had it exactly backward? To find out more, check out the podcasts . . .

8/6/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 48

Most Americans agree that racial discrimination has been, and remains, a big problem. But that is where the agreement ends. And: research shows that having a distinctively Black name doesn’t affect your economic future. But what is the day-to-day reality of living with such a name? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: . . .

7/30/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 47

The racial wealth gap in the U.S. is massive. We explore the causes, consequences, and potential solutions. Also: another story of discrimination and economic disparity, this one perpetrated by an international sporting authority. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Should America (and FIFA) Pay Reparations?” and “The Pros and Cons of Reparations.”

7/23/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 46

Before she decided to become a poker pro, Maria Konnikova didn’t know how many cards are in a deck. But she did have a Ph.D. in psychology, a brilliant coach, and a burning desire to know whether life is driven more by skill or chance. She found some answers in poker — and in her new book The Biggest Bluff, . . .

7/16/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 45

Christina Romer was a top White House economist during the Great Recession. As a researcher, she specializes in the Great Depression. She tells us what those disasters can (and can’t) teach us about the Covid crash. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Remembrance of Economic Crises Past.”

7/9/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 44

Whether you’re building a business or a cathedral, execution is everything. We ask artists, scientists, and inventors how they turned ideas into reality. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “A Good Idea Is Not Good Enough.”

7/2/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 43

Thanks to the pandemic, the telehealth revolution we’ve been promised for decades has finally arrived. Will it stick? Will it cut costs — and improve outcomes? We ring up two doctors and, of course, an economist to find out. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Doctor Will Zoom You Now.”

6/25/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 42

Corporate Social Responsibility programs can attract better job applicants who’ll work for less money. But they also encourage employees to misbehave. And: how stupid is our obsession with lawns? Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, environmental and otherwise — worth the benefits? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which . . .

6/18/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 41

Covid-19 is the biggest job killer in a century. As the lockdown eases, what does re-employment look like? Who will be first and who last? Which sectors will surge and which will disappear? We speak with three economists — and one former presidential candidate — about the best policy options and the lessons (good and bad) from the past. To . . .

6/11/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 40

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves? Also: a psychology professor argues that the brain’s greatest attribute is knowing what other . . .

6/4/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 39

There are thousands of books on the subject, but what do we actually know about creativity? We talk to the researchers who study it as well as the artists and pathbreakers who live it every day: Elvis Costello, Jennifer Egan, Margaret Geller, and more. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How to . . .

5/28/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 38

Is there really a “loneliness epidemic”? That’s what some health officials are saying, but the data aren’t so clear. We look into what’s known (and not known) about the prevalence and effects of loneliness — including the possible upsides. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Is There Really a ‘Loneliness Epidemic’?” and . . .

5/21/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 37

Three university presidents try to answer our listeners’ questions about college in the age of Covid-19. The result? Not much pomp and a whole lot of circumstance. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “What Will College Look Like in the Fall (and Beyond)?”

5/14/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 36

Humans have a built-in “negativity bias,” which means we give bad news much more power than good. Would the Covid-19 crisis be an opportune time to reverse this tendency? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Reasons to Be Cheerful.”

5/7/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 35

We speak with a governor, a former C.D.C. director, a pandemic forecaster, a hard-charging pharmacist, and a pair of economists — who say it’s all about the incentives. (Pandemillions, anyone?) To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How Do You Reopen a Country?”

4/30/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 34

The U.S. spent the past few decades waiting for China to act like the global citizen it said it wanted to be. The waiting may be over. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Will Covid-19 Spark a Cold War (or Worse) With China?”

4/23/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 33

Should a nurse or doctor who gets sick treating Covid-19 patients have priority access to a potentially life-saving healthcare device? Americans aren’t used to rationing in medicine, but it’s time to think about it. We consult a lung specialist, a bioethicist, and (of course) an economist. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: . . .

4/16/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 32

Covid-19 has shocked our food-supply system like nothing in modern history. We examine the winners, the losers, the unintended consequences — and just how much toilet paper one household really needs. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “What Happens When Everyone Stays Home to Eat?”

4/9/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 31

Congress just passed the biggest aid package in modern history. We ask six former White House economic advisors and one U.S. Senator: Will it actually work? What are its best and worst features? Where does $2 trillion come from, and what are the long-term effects of all that government spending? To find out more, check out the podcast from which . . .

4/2/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 30

There are a lot of upsides to urban density — but viral contagion is not one of them. Also: past experiments with a universal basic income. And: a nationwide lockdown will show if familiarity really breeds contempt. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Side Effects of Social Distancing” and “Is the . . .

3/26/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 29

In just a few weeks, the novel coronavirus has undone a century’s worth of our economic and social habits. What consequences will this have on our future — and is there a silver lining in this very black pandemic cloud? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Side Effects of Social Distancing.”

3/19/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 28

Every year, Americans short the I.R.S. nearly half a trillion dollars. Most ideas to increase compliance are more stick than carrot — scary letters, audits, and penalties. But what if we gave taxpayers a chance to allocate how their money is spent, or even bribed them with a thank-you gift? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which . . .

3/12/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 27

Innovation experts have long overlooked where a lot of innovation actually happens. The personal computer, the mountain bike, the artificial pancreas — none of these came from some big R&D lab, but from users tinkering in their homes. Acknowledging this reality — and encouraging it — would be good for the economy (and the soul too). To find out more, . . .

3/5/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 26

When he became chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announced that he was going to take a “weed whacker” to Obama-era regulations. So far, he’s kept his promise, and earned the internet’s ire for reversing the agency’s position on net neutrality. Pai defends his actions and explains how the U.S. can “win” everything from the 5G race to . . .

2/27/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 25

Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail? To find out . . .

2/20/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 24

Does the president matter as much as you think? We asked this same question nearly a decade ago. The answer then: probably not. But a lot has changed since then, and we’re three years into one of the most anomalous presidencies in American history. So once again we try to sort out presidential signal from noise. What we hear from . . .

2/13/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 23

Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it’s addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former F.D.A. commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “There’s . . .

2/6/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 22

One prescription drug is keeping some addicts from dying. So why isn’t it more widespread? A story of regulation, stigma, and the potentially fatal faith in abstinence. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: ‘It’s Not a Death Sentence.’”

1/30/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 21

How pharma greed, government subsidies, and a push to make pain the “fifth vital sign” kicked off a crisis that costs $80 billion a year and has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: ‘We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation.’”

1/23/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 20

In the U.S. alone, we hold 55 million meetings a day. Most of them are woefully unproductive, and tyrannize our offices. The revolution begins now — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of healthy conflict. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How to Make Meetings Less Terrible” and “How . . .

1/16/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 19

Humans have been having kids forever, so why are modern parents so bewildered? The economist Emily Oster marshals the evidence on the most contentious topics — breastfeeding and sleep training, vaccines and screen time — and tells her fellow parents to calm the heck down. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The . . .

1/9/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 18

Global demand for beef, chicken, and pork continues to rise. So do concerns about environmental and other costs. Will reconciling these two forces be possible — or, even better, Impossible™? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Future of Meat.”

1/2/20
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 17

Research shows that having a distinctively black name doesn’t affect your economic future. But what is the day-to-day reality of living with such a name? Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, a newly-minted Ph.D., is well-qualified to answer this question. Her verdict: the data don’t tell the whole story. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: . . .

12/26/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 16

A kid’s name can tell us something about his parents — their race, social standing, even their politics. But is your name really your destiny? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How Much Does Your Name Matter?”

12/19/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 15

Tipping is an acutely haphazard way of paying workers, and yet it keeps expanding. We dig into the data to find out why. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why Does Tipping Still Exist?” and “Why You Shouldn’t Open a Restaurant.”

12/12/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 14

For decades, there’s been a huge gender disparity both on-screen and behind the scenes. But it seems like cold, hard data — with an assist from the actor Geena Davis — may finally be moving the needle. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Does Hollywood Still Have a Princess Problem?” and “Why . . .

12/5/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 13

A recent outbreak of illness and death has gotten everyone’s attention — including late-to-the-game regulators. But would a ban on e-cigarettes do more harm than good? We smoke out the facts. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “The Truth About the Vaping Crisis” and “Does Hollywood Still Have a Princess Problem?”

11/28/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 12

Most high-school math classes are still preparing students for the Sputnik era. Steve Levitt wants to get rid of the “geometry sandwich” and instead have kids learn what they really need in the modern era: data fluency. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “America’s Math Curriculum Doesn’t Add Up.”

11/21/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 11

Do economic sanctions work? Are big democracies any good at spreading democracy? What is the root cause of terrorism? It turns out that data analysis can help answer all these questions — and make better foreign-policy decisions. Guests include former Department of Defense officials Chuck Hagel and Michèle Flournoy and Chicago Project on Security and Threats researchers Robert Pape and . . .

11/14/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 10

Continuing our conversation with Girl Scouts C.E.O. Sylvia Acevedo. Then: There is strong evidence that exercise is wildly beneficial. There is even stronger evidence that most people hate to exercise. So if a pill could mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .

11/7/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 9

Aisle upon aisle of fresh produce, cheap meat, and sugary cereal — a delicious embodiment of free-market capitalism, right? Not quite. The supermarket was in fact the endpoint of the U.S. government’s battle for agricultural abundance against the U.S.S.R. Our farm policies were built to dominate, not necessarily to nourish — and we are still living with the consequences. Plus: Sylvia . . .

10/31/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 8

It used to be a global capital of innovation, invention, and exploration. Now it’s best known for its messy European divorce. We visit London to see if the British spirit of discovery is still alive. Guests include the mayor of London, undersea explorers, a time-use researcher, and a theoretical physicist who helped Liverpool win the Champions League. Dan Schreiber from . . .

10/24/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 7

In 2016, David Cameron held a referendum on whether the U.K. should stay in the European Union. A longtime Euroskeptic, he nevertheless led the Remain campaign. So what did Cameron really want? We ask him that and much more — including why he left office as soon as his side lost and what he’d do differently if given another chance. . . .

10/17/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 6

Every year, Edge.org asks its salon of big thinkers to answer one big question. One recent question bordered on heresy: what scientific idea is ready for retirement? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “This Idea Must Die.”

10/10/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 5

Mary Daly rose from high-school dropout to president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She thinks the central bank needs an upgrade too. It starts with recognizing that the economy is made up of actual humans. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Fed Up.”

10/3/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 4

The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about any problem. A debate that’s been around for decades has become a shouting match. Is anyone right? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet.”

9/26/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 3

What happens when tens of millions of fantasy-sports players are suddenly able to bet real money on real games? We’re about to find out. A recent Supreme Court decision has cleared the way to bring an estimated $300 billion in black-market sports betting into the light. We sort out the winners and losers. To find out more, check out the . . .

9/19/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 2

You wouldn’t think you could win a Nobel Prize for showing that humans tend to make irrational decisions. But that’s what Richard Thaler has done. The founder of behavioral economics describes his unlikely route to success; his reputation for being lazy; and his efforts to fix the world — one nudge at a time. To find out more, check out . . .

9/12/19
No. 0

Season 9, Episode 1

Recorded live in Los Angeles. Guests include Mayor Eric Garcetti, the “Earthquake Lady,” the head of the Port of L.A., and a scientist with NASA’s Planetary Protection team. With co-host Angela Duckworth, fact-checker Mike Maughan, and the worldwide debut of Luis Guerra and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was . . .

9/5/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 52

An all-star team of behavioral scientists discovers that humans are stubborn (and lazy, and sometimes dumber than dogs). We also hear about binge drinking, humblebragging, and regrets. Recorded live in Philadelphia with guests including Richard Thaler, Angela Duckworth, Katy Milkman, and Tom Gilovich. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How Goes the . . .

8/29/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 51

The International Monetary Fund has long been the “lender of last resort” for economies in crisis. Christine Lagarde, who has led the institution since 2011 and will step down to head the European Central Bank later this year, has tried to prevent those crises from ever happening. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: . . .

8/22/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 50

The gig economy offers the ultimate flexibility to set your own hours. That’s why economists thought it would help eliminate the gender pay gap. A new study, using data from over a million Uber drivers, finds the story isn’t so simple. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “What Can Uber Teach Us About . . .

8/15/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 48

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves? Also: a psychology professor argues that the brain’s greatest attribute is knowing what other . . .

8/1/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 47

The controversial theory linking Roe v. Wade to a massive crime drop is back in the spotlight as several states introduce abortion restrictions. Steve Levitt and John Donohue discuss their original research, the challenges to its legitimacy, and their updated analysis. Also: what this means for abortion policy, crime policy, and having intelligent conversations about contentious topics. To find out . . .

7/25/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 46

The revolution in home DNA testing is giving consumers important, possibly life-changing information. It’s also building a gigantic database that could lead to medical breakthroughs. But how will you deal with upsetting news? What if your privacy is compromised? And are you prepared to have your DNA monetized? We speak with Anne Wojcicki, founder and C.E.O. of 23andMe. To find . . .

7/18/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 45

As cities become ever-more expensive, politicians and housing advocates keep calling for rent control. Economists think that’s a terrible idea. They say it helps a small (albeit noisy) group of renters, but keeps overall rents artificially high by disincentivizing new construction. So what happens next? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Why . . .

7/11/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 44

Games are as old as civilization itself, and some people think they have huge social value regardless of whether you win or lose. Tom Whipple is not one of those people. That’s why he consulted an army of preposterously overqualified experts to find the secret to winning any game. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this . . .

7/4/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 43

The banana used to be a luxury good. Now it’s the most popular fruit in the U.S. and elsewhere. But the production efficiencies that made it so cheap have also made it vulnerable to a deadly fungus that may wipe out the one variety most of us eat. Scientists do have a way to save it — but will Big . . .

6/27/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 42

We all like to throw around terms that describe human behavior — “bystander apathy” and “steep learning curve” and “hard-wired.” Most of the time, they don’t actually mean what we think they mean. But don’t worry — the experts are getting it wrong, too. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “5 Psychology . . .

6/20/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 41

Humans have been having kids forever, so why are modern parents so bewildered? The economist Emily Oster marshals the evidence on the most contentious topics — breastfeeding and sleep training, vaccines and screen time — and tells her fellow parents to calm the heck down. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The . . .

6/13/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 40

As the cost of college skyrocketed, it created a debt burden that’s putting a drag on the economy. One possible solution: shifting the risk of debt away from students and onto investors looking for a cut of the graduates’ earning power. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “The $1.5 Trillion Question: How . . .

6/6/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 39

Sure, markets generally work well. But for some transactions — like school admissions and organ transplants — money alone can’t solve the problem. That’s when you need a market-design wizard like Al Roth. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Make Me a Match.”

5/30/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 38

The road to success is paved with failure, so you might as well learn to do it right. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How to Fail Like a Pro.”

5/23/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 37

Whether you’re building a business or a cathedral, execution is everything. We ask artists, scientists, and inventors how they turned ideas into reality. And we find out why it’s so hard for a group to get things done — and what you can do about it. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: . . .

5/16/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 36

Whether you’re mapping the universe, hosting a late-night talk show, or running a meeting, there are a lot of ways to up your idea game. Plus: the truth about brainstorming. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Where Do Good Ideas Come From?”

5/9/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 35

Cory Booker thinks bipartisanship is right around the corner. Is he just an idealistic newbie or does he see a way forward that everyone else has missed? Plus a special sneak peek from Freakonomics Radio Live, including fun-facts about the politics of disgust and a new way to fight global warming. To find out more, check out the podcasts from . . .

5/2/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 34

Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail? To find out . . .

4/25/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 33

In 2005, Raghuram Rajan said the financial system was at risk “of a catastrophic meltdown.” After stints at the I.M.F. and India’s central bank, he sees another potential crisis — and he offers a solution. Is it stronger governments? Freer markets? Rajan’s answer: neither. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “This Economist . . .

4/18/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 32

Global demand for beef, chicken, and pork continues to rise. So do concerns about environmental and other costs. Will reconciling these two forces be possible — or, even better, Impossible™? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Future of Meat.”

4/11/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 31

Good intentions are nice, but with so many resources poured into social programs, wouldn’t it be even nicer to know what actually works? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “When Helping Hurts.”

4/4/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 30

For years, Gary Cohn thought he’d be the next C.E.O. of Goldman Sachs. Instead, he became the “adult in the room” in a chaotic administration. Cohn talks about the fights he won, the fights he lost, and the fights he was no longer willing to have. Also: why he and Trump are still on speaking terms even after he reportedly . . .

3/28/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 29

If you think talent and hard work give top athletes all the leverage to succeed, think again. As employees in the Sports-Industrial Complex, they’ve got a tight earnings window, a high injury rate, little choice in where they work — and a very early forced retirement. (Part of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.) To find out more, check out . . .

3/21/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 28

For most of us, the athletes are what make sports interesting. But if you own the team or run the league, your players are essentially very expensive migrant workers who eat into your profits. We talk to N.F.L., N.B.A., and U.F.C. executives about labor costs, viewership numbers, legalized gambling, and the rise of e-sports. (Part of “The Hidden Side of . . .

3/14/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 26

Sure, medical progress has been astounding. But today the U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country, with so-so outcomes. Atul Gawande — cancer surgeon, public-health researcher, and best-selling author — has some simple ideas for treating a painfully complex system. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Most Ambitious Thing . . .

2/28/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 25

In the early 20th century, Max Weber argued that Protestantism created wealth. Finally, there are data to prove if he was right. All it took were some missionary experiments in the Philippines and a clever map-matching trick that goes back to 16th-century Germany. Also: It began as a post-war dream for a more collaborative and egalitarian workplace. It has evolved . . .

2/21/19
No. 0

Season 8, Episode 24

A quirky little grocery chain with California roots and German ownership has a lot to teach all of us about choice architecture, efficiency, frugality, collaboration, and team spirit. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s?” and “Is the Protestant Work Ethic Real?”

2/14/19
No. 0

Why Is This Man Running for President?

Season 8, Episode 23 In the American Dream sweepstakes, Andrew Yang was a pretty big winner. But for every winner, he came to realize, there are thousands upon thousands of losers — a “war on normal people,” he calls it. Here’s what he plans to do about it. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour . . .

2/7/19
No. 0

How Sports Became Us (Replay)

Season 8, Episode 22 Dollar-wise, the sports industry is surprisingly small, about the same size as the cardboard-box industry. So why does it make so much noise? Because it reflects — and often amplifies — just about every political, economic, and social issue of the day. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: . . .

1/31/19
No. 0

How Does Creativity Happen?

Season 8, Episode 21 How does creativity happen? What if we don’t “get” ideas? What if we have to “make” them? Also: more of our conversation with Elvis Costello, who’s had one of the most extraordinary careers in modern music and has recently put out a new record, called Look Now. To learn more, check out the podcasts from which . . .

1/24/19
No. 0

Where Does Creativity Come From (and Why Do Schools Kill It Off)?

Season 8, Episode 20 Family environments and “diversifying experiences” (including the early death of a parent); intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations; schools that value assessments, but don’t assess the things we value. All these elements factor into the long, mysterious march towards a creative life. To learn more, we examine the early years of Ai Weiwei, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Maira . . .

1/17/19
No. 0

How to Be Creative

Season 8, Episode 19 There are thousands of books on the subject, but what do we actually know about creativity? In this new series, we talk to the researchers who study it as well as artists, inventors, and pathbreakers who live it every day: Ai Weiwei, James Dyson, Elvis Costello, Jennifer Egan, Rosanne Cash, Wynton Marsalis, Maira Kalman, and more. . . .

1/10/19
No. 0

Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet

Season 8, Episode 18 This week on Freakonomics Radio: The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about any problem. A debate that’s been around for decades has become a shouting match. Is anyone right? To learn more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: . . .

1/3/19
No. 0

Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late? (Replay)

Season 8, Episode 17 This week on Freakonomics Radio, in our collective zeal to reform schools and close the achievement gap, we may have lost sight of where most learning really happens — at home. Dana Suskind of the Thirty Million Words Initiative works with parents in their homes to teach them the best ways of helping their babies learn language. . . .

12/27/18
No. 0

Everybody Gossips (and That’s a Good Thing) (Replay)

Season 8, Episode 16 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner talks about what gossip is and isn’t; about the characteristics of the people who produce and consume gossip; and about the functions of gossip, good and bad. Plus: what do our online searches say about our true selves? In the real world, everybody lies. To find out more, check . . .

12/20/18
No. 0

What Are You Waiting For? (Replay)

Season 8, Episode 15 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Standing in line represents a particularly sloppy — and frustrating — way for supply and demand to meet. Why haven’t we found a better way to get what we want? Is it possible that we secretly enjoy waiting in line? And might it even be (gulp) good for us? Plus: the . . .

12/13/18
No. 0

Who Decides How Much a Life Is Worth?

Season 8, Episode 14 After every mass shooting or terrorist attack, victims and survivors receive a huge outpouring of support — including a massive pool of compensation money. How should that money be allocated? Stephen J. Dubner speaks with the man who’s done that job after many tragedies, including 9/11. The hard part, it turns out, isn’t attaching a dollar . . .

12/6/18
No. 0

How to Be Happy

Season 8, Episode 13 The U.N.’s World Happiness Report — created to curtail our unhealthy obsession with G.D.P. — is dominated every year by the Nordic countries. We head to Denmark to learn the secrets of this happiness epidemic (and to see if we should steal them). Also, Kenji Lopez-Alt became a rock star of the food world by bringing . . .

11/29/18
No. 0

Are We Running Out of Ideas? (Replay)

Season 8, Episode 12 Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. This week on Freakonomics Radio, Stephen J. Dubner examines one theory: that true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next? Also, Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answers your questions about highway-merging, crime, real-estate agents, and being . . .

11/22/18
No. 0

Can an Industrial Giant Become a Tech Darling?

Season 8, Episode 11 The Ford Motor Company is ditching its legacy sedans, doubling down on trucks, and trying to steer its stock price out of a long skid. But C.E.O. Jim Hackett has even bigger plans: to turn a century-old automaker into the nucleus of a “transportation operating system.” Is Hackett just whistling past the graveyard, or does he . . .

11/15/18
No. 0

America’s Hidden Duopoly

Season 8, Episode 10 We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it? To find out more, check out the . . .

11/8/18
No. 0

How to Optimize Your Apology

Season 8, Episode 9 You said, “I’m sorry,” but somehow you haven’t been forgiven. Why? Because you’re doing it wrong! A report from the front lines of apology science. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Is the Government More Entrepreneurial Than You Think?” and “How to Optimize Your Apology.”

11/1/18
No. 0

Can This Man Stop a Trade War?

Season 8, Episode 8 The World Trade Organization is the referee for 164 trading partners, each with their own political and economic agendas. Lately, those agendas have gotten more complicated — especially with President Trump’s tariff blitz. Roberto Azevêdo, head of the W.T.O., tells Stephen J. Dubner why it’s so hard to balance protectionism and globalism; what’s really behind the . . .

10/25/18
No. 0

Why We Choke Under Pressure (and How Not To)

Season 8, Episode 7 It happens to just about everyone, whether you’re going for Olympic gold or giving a wedding toast. Stephen J. Dubner talks to psychologists, economists, and the golfer who some say committed the greatest choke of all time. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Why We Choke Under Pressure (and . . .

10/18/18
No. 0

How to Build a Smart City

Season 8, Episode 6 We are in the midst of a historic (and wholly unpredicted) rise in urbanization. But it’s hard to retrofit old cities for the 21st century. Enter Dan Doctoroff. The man who helped modernize New York City — and tried to bring the Olympics there — is now C.E.O. of a Google-funded startup that is building, from . . .

10/11/18
No. 0

Here’s Why You’re Not an Elite Athlete

Season 8, Episode 5 There are a lot of factors that go into greatness, many of which are not obvious. A variety of Olympic and professional athletes tell us how they made it and what they sacrificed to get there. And if you can identify the sport most likely to get a kid into a top college — well then, . . .

10/4/18
No. 0

How Sports Became Us

Season 8, Episode 3 Dollar-wise, the sports industry is surprisingly small, about the same size as the cardboard-box industry. So why does it make so much noise? Because it reflects — and often amplifies — just about every political, economic, and social issue of the day. Introducing a new series, “The Hidden Side of Sports.” To find out more, check . . .

9/20/18
No. 0

An Astronaut, a Catalan, and Two Linguists Walk Into a Bar…

Season 8, Episode 2 In this live episode of “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know,” we learn why New York has skinny skyscrapers, how to weaponize water, and what astronauts talk about in space. Joining Stephen J. Dubner as co-host is the linguist John McWhorter; Bari Weiss (The New York Times) is the real-time fact-checker. To find out more, check . . .

9/13/18
No. 0

People Aren’t Dumb. The World Is Hard.

Season 8, Episode 1 You wouldn’t think you could win a Nobel Prize for showing that humans tend to make irrational decisions. But that’s what Richard Thaler has done. The founder of behavioral economics describes his unlikely route to success; his reputation for being lazy; and his efforts to fix the world — one nudge at a time. To find . . .

9/6/18
No. 0

The Cobra Effect (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 52 When you want to get rid of a nasty pest, one obvious solution comes to mind: just offer a cash reward. But be careful — because nothing backfires quite like a bounty. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “The Cobra Effect” and “Who Owns the Words That Come . . .

8/30/18
No. 0

Spite Happens (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 51 This week, we look at whether spite pays — if it even exists — and how peer pressure (or good, old-fashioned shame) can push people to do the right thing. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common?” and “Riding . . .

8/23/18
No. 0

Legacy of a Jerk (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 50 What happens to your reputation when you’re no longer around to defend it? And since the beginning of civilization, we’ve thought that human waste was worthless and dangerous. What if we were wrong? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Legacy of a Jerk” and “The Power of Poop.”

8/16/18
No. 0

The Truth Is Out There…Isn’t It? (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 49 Clever ways to not waste our waste, and there’s a nasty secret about hot-button topics like global warming: knowledge is not always power. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Weird Recycling” and “The Truth Is Out There…Isn’t It?”

8/9/18
No. 0

Has Lance Armstrong Finally Come Clean?

Season 7, Episode 48 He was once the most lionized athlete on the planet, with seven straight Tour de France wins and a victory over cancer too. Then the doping charges caught up with him. When he finally confessed to Oprah, he admits, “it didn’t go well at all.” That’s because he wasn’t actually contrite yet. Now, five years later, . . .

8/2/18
No. 0

Save Me From Myself (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 47 A commitment device forces you to be the person you really want to be. What could possibly go wrong? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Save Me From Myself.”

7/26/18
No. 0

Show and Yell (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 46 Is booing an act of verbal vandalism or the last true expression of democracy? And: when you drive a Prius, are you guilty of “conspicuous conservation”? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Hey, Baby, Is That a Prius You’re Driving?” and “Boo … Who?”

7/19/18
No. 0

The Suicide Paradox (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 45 There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Stephen J. Dubner digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Suicide Paradox.”

7/12/18
No. 0

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 44 Think you know how much parents matter? Think again. Economists crunch the numbers to learn the R.O.I. on child-rearing. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Economist’s Guide to Parenting.” You can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or elsewhere, or get the RSS feed.

7/5/18
No. 0

5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing

Season 7, Episode 43 We all like to throw around terms that describe human behavior — “bystander apathy” and “steep learning curve” and “hard-wired.” Most of the time, they don’t actually mean what we think they mean. But don’t worry — the experts are getting it wrong, too. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .

6/28/18
No. 0

Does Doing Good Give You License to Be Bad?

Season 7, Episode 42 Corporate Social Responsibility programs can attract better job applicants who’ll work for less money. But they also encourage employees to misbehave. Don’t laugh — you too probably engage in “moral licensing,” even if you don’t know it. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Does Doing Good Give You . . .

6/21/18
No. 0

How to Catch World Cup Fever

Season 7, Episode 41 For soccer fans, it’s easy. For the rest of us? Not so much, especially since the U.S. team didn’t qualify. So here’s what to watch for even if you have no team to root for. Because the World Cup isn’t just a gargantuan sporting event; it’s a microcosm of human foibles and (yep) economic theory brought . . .

6/14/18
No. 0

The Invisible Paw

Season 7, Episode 40 Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we’ve had it exactly backward? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “The Invisible Paw” and “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Appetizer.” You can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio . . .

6/7/18
No. 0

The Most Ambitious Thing Humans Have Ever Attempted

Season 7, Episode 38 Sure, medical progress has been astounding. But today the U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country, with so-so outcomes. Atul Gawande — cancer surgeon, public-health researcher, and best-selling author — has some simple ideas for treating a painfully complex system. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: . . .

5/24/18
No. 0

How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 37 When Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney Googled her name one day, she noticed something strange: an ad for a background check website came up in the results, with the heading: “Latanya Sweeney, Arrested?” But she had never been arrested, and neither had the only other Latanya Sweeney in the U.S. So why did the ad suggest so? . . .

5/17/18
No. 0

Nurses to the Rescue!

Season 7, Episode 36 They are the most-trusted profession in America (and with good reason). They are critical to patient outcomes (especially in primary care). Could the growing army of nurse practitioners be an answer to the doctor shortage? The data say yes but — big surprise — doctors’ associations say no. To find out more, check out the podcast . . .

5/10/18
No. 0

Why the Trump Tax Cuts Are Terrible/Awesome (Part 2)

Season 7, Episode 35 Three former White House economists weigh in on the new tax bill. Also, every 12 years, there’s a spike in births among certain communities across the globe, including the U.S. Why? Because the Year of the Dragon, according to Chinese folk belief, confers power, fortune, and more. We look at what happens to Dragon babies when . . .

5/3/18
No. 0

Why the Trump Tax Cuts Are Awesome/Terrible (Part 1)

Season 7, Episode 34 Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, explains the thinking behind the controversial new Republican tax package — and why its critics are wrong. We’ll also hear from the critics. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why the Trump Tax Cuts Are Awesome/Terrible (Part 1)” and . . .

4/26/18
No. 0

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask) (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 33 The bad news: roughly 70 percent of Americans are financially illiterate. The good news: all the important stuff can fit on one index card. This week on Freakonomics Radio: how to become your own financial superhero. Plus: Stephen J. Dubner brings you the tale of the $15 tomato. To find out more, check out the podcasts from . . .

4/19/18
No. 0

The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 32 This week on Freakonomics Radio: it’s hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns?” Enter the low-cost index fund. The revolution will not be monetized. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was . . .

4/12/18
No. 0

Letting Go

Season 7, Episode 31 ​If you’re a C.E.O., there are a lot of ways to leave your job, from abrupt firing to carefully planned succession (which may still go spectacularly wrong). In this final episode of our “Secret Life of a C.E.O.” series, we hear those stories and many more. Also: what happens when you no longer have a corner . . .

4/5/18
No. 0

It’s Your Problem Now

Season 7, Episode 29 No, it’s not your fault the economy crashed. Or that consumer preferences changed. Or that new technologies have blown apart your business model. But if you’re the C.E.O., it is your problem. So what are you going to do about it? First-hand stories of disaster (and triumph) from Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer, Satya Nadella, Jack Welch, . . .

3/22/18
No. 0

How to Become a C.E.O.

Season 7, Episode 28 Mark Zuckerberg’s dentist dad was an early adopter of digital x-rays. Jack Welch blew the roof off a factory. Carol Bartz was a Wisconsin farm girl who got into computers. No two C.E.O.’s have the same origin story — so we tell them all! How the leaders of Facebook, G.E., Yahoo!, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Virgin, the Carlyle . . .

3/15/18
No. 0

What Does a C.E.O. Actually Do?

Season 7, Episode 27 They’re paid a fortune — but for what, exactly? What makes a good C.E.O. — and how can you even tell? Is “leadership science” a real thing — or just airport-bookstore mumbo jumbo? We put these questions to Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Indra Nooyi, Satya Nadella, Jack Welch, Ray Dalio, Carol Bartz, David Rubenstein, and Ellen . . .

3/8/18
No. 0

There’s A War On Sugar. Is It Justified?

Season 7, Episode 26 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it’s addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former F.D.A. commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest. To find out more, check out . . .

3/1/18
No. 0

How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win

Season 7, Episode 25 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Gina Raimondo, the governor of tiny Rhode Island, has taken on unions, boosted big business, and made friends with Republicans. She is also one of just 15 Democratic governors in the country. Would there be more of them if there were more like her? To find out more, check out the . . .

2/22/18
No. 0

Not Your Grandmother’s I.M.F.

Season 7, Episode 24 This week on Freakonomics Radio: The International Monetary Fund has long been the “lender of last resort” for economies in crisis. Christine Lagarde, who runs the institution, would like to prevent those crises from ever happening. She tells us her plans. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Not . . .

2/15/18
No. 0

What Can Uber Teach Us About the Gender Pay Gap?

Season 7, Episode 23 This week on Freakonomics Radio: The gig economy offers the ultimate flexibility to set your own hours. That’s why economists thought it would help eliminate the gender pay gap. A new study, using data from over a million Uber drivers, finds the story isn’t so simple. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this . . .

2/8/18
No. 0

An Egghead’s Guide to the Superbowl (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 22 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner celebrates the Super Bowl, America’s favorite secular holiday. We assembled a panel of smart dudes — a two-time Super Bowl champ; a couple of N.F.L. linemen, including one who’s now getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T.; and our resident economist — to tell you what to watch for, whether . . .

2/1/18
No. 0

Are We Running Out of Ideas?

Season 7, Episode 21 Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. This week on Freakonomics Radio, Stephen J. Dubner examines one theory: that true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next? Also, Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answers your questions about highway-merging, crime, real-estate agents, and being . . .

1/25/18
No. 0

Evolution, Accelerated (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 20 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner explores a breakthrough in genetic technology that has given humans more power than ever to change nature. So what happens next? Plus: some of the hoops we jump through to get ahead are poorly designed for girls and women. Behavioral economics could help change that. To find out more, . . .

1/18/18
No. 0

Why Is the Live-Event Ticket Market So Screwed Up?

Season 7, Episode 19 This week on Freakonomics Radio: The public has almost no chance to buy good tickets to the best events. Ticket brokers, meanwhile, make huge profits on the secondary markets. Here’s the story of how this market got so dysfunctional, how it can be fixed – and why it probably won’t be. To find out more, check out . . .

1/11/18
No. 0

How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution

Season 7, Episode 18 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Academic studies are nice, and so are Nobel Prizes. But to truly prove the value of a new idea, you have to unleash it to the masses. That’s what a dream team of social scientists is doing — and we sat in as they drew up their game plan. Also, Steve Levitt . . .

1/4/18
No. 0

Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others? (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 17 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the biggest problem with humanity is humans themselves. Too often, we make choices — what we eat, how we spend our money and time — that undermine our well-being. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “How can we stop?” And this radio hour has two answers: think small, and make behavior change stick. To find out . . .

12/28/17
No. 0

Why Are We Still Using Cash? (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 16 This week on Freakonomics Radio: cash facilitates crime, bribery and tax evasion – and yet some governments (including ours) are printing more cash than ever. Other countries, meanwhile, are ditching cash entirely. Plus: why thinking of Bitcoin as just a digital currency is like thinking about the Internet as just email. To find out more, check out the . . .

12/21/17
No. 0

Why Is My Life So Hard? (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 15 This week on Freakonomics Radio: most of us feel we face more obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “How can we avoid this trap?” To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .

12/14/17
No. 0

The Demonization of Gluten

Celiac disease is thought to affect roughly one percent of the population. The good news: it can be treated by quitting gluten. The bad news: many celiac patients haven’t been diagnosed. The weird news: millions of people without celiac disease have quit gluten – which may be a big mistake.

12/7/17
No. 13

What Are You Waiting For?

Standing in line represents a particularly sloppy — and frustrating — way for supply and demand to meet. Why haven’t we found a better way to get what we want? Is it possible that we secretly enjoy waiting in line? And might it even be (gulp) good for us?

11/30/17
No. 0

Should We Really Behave Like Economists Say We Do? (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 12  You have perhaps come across the phrase homo economicus, which describes a model for human behavior as seen through the lens of economics. In this hour, you’ll hear Freakonomics Radio producer Greg Rosalsky embark on a long and tortuous process to live his life like this strange creature. Is this even possible? If so, is it . . .

11/23/17
No. 0

Why Doesn’t Everyone Get the Flu Vaccine?

Season 7, Episode 11 This week on Freakonomics Radio: what if there were a small step you could take that would prevent you from getting sick, stop you from missing work, and help ensure you won’t play a part in killing babies, the sick, and the elderly? That actually exists: it’s called the flu shot. But a lot of people don’t . . .

11/16/17
No. 0

What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

Season 7, Episode 10 This week on Freakonomics Radio: What would be the best universal language? Stephen J. Dubner explores votes for English, Indonesian, and … Esperanto! The search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in translation. Will technology finally solve that? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .

11/9/17
No. 0

Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

Season 7, Episode 9 This week on Freakonomics Radio: there are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel? Plus: the search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in translation. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “Will technology finally solve that?” To find out more, . . .

11/2/17
No. 0

What Are the Secrets of the German Economy — and Should We Steal Them?

Season 7, Episode 8 This week on Freakonomics Radio: smart government policies, good industrial relations, and high-end products have helped German manufacturing beat back the threats of globalization. But how did “the sick man of Europe” turn into the economic stud we see today? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “What Are the . . .

10/26/17
No. 0

Why Larry Summers Is the Economist Everyone Hates to Love

Season 7, Episode 7 This week on Freakonomics Radio: he’s been U.S. Treasury Secretary, a chief economist for the Obama White House and the World Bank, and president of Harvard. He’s one of the most brilliant economists of his generation (and perhaps the most irascible). And he thinks the Trump Administration is wrong on just about everything. To find out . . .

10/19/17
No. 0

When the White House Got Into the Nudge Business

Season 7, Episode 6 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a tiny behavioral-sciences startup in the Obama White House tried to improve the way federal agencies did their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, it wasn’t so simple. Plus: a terrorism summit. Stephen Dubner reviews what we do and don’t know about terrorism; what’s working to prevent it and . . .

10/12/17
No. 0

The Fracking Boom, a Baby Boom, and the Retreat From Marriage

Season 7, Episode 5 This week on Freakonomics Radio: over 40 percent of U.S. births are to unmarried mothers, and the numbers are especially high among the less-educated. Why? One argument is that the decline in good manufacturing jobs led to a decline in “marriageable” men. Surely the fracking boom reversed that trend, right? Stephen J. Dubner investigates. To find out more, check . . .

10/5/17
No. 0

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Season 7, Episode 4 The bad news: roughly 70 percent of Americans are financially illiterate. The good news: all the important stuff can fit on one index card. This week on Freakonomics Radio: how to become your own financial superhero. Plus: Stephen J. Dubner brings you the tale of the $15 tomato. To find out more, check out the podcasts from . . .

9/28/17
No. 0

The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money

Season 7, Episode 3 This week on Freakonomics Radio: it’s hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns?” Enter the low-cost index fund. The revolution will not be monetized. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was . . .

9/21/17
No. 0

“How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?”

Season 7, Episode 2 This week on Freakonomics Radio: John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. also getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain damage, he abruptly retired. Stephen J. Dubner brings you the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions in the face of risk . . .

9/14/17
No. 0

These Shoes Are Killing Me!

Season 7, Episode 1 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece, far more functional than we give it credit for. So why do we encase it in “a coffin” (as one foot scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability — and may create more problems than it solves? Plus: the economics of the . . .

9/7/17
No. 0

Do Boycotts Work? (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 52 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the South African divestment campaign, Chick-fil-A! Almost anyone can launch a boycott, and the media loves to cover them. But do boycotts actually produce the change they’re fighting for? Also, we speak with the editors of an unusual book called The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure, which catalogs the fiscal, sexual, and . . .

8/31/17
No. 0

How to Get More Grit in Your Life (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 51 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of success is directly related to their level of stick-to-itiveness. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned. Plus: Tim Ferriss, a man whose entire life and career constitute one big quest for self-improvement.  To . . .

8/24/17
No. 0

How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 50 This week on Freakonomics Radio: what if the thing we call “talent” is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades. For example, you may have heard of the 10,000-hour rule? The . . .

8/18/17
No. 0

Who Needs Handwriting? (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 49 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the digital age is making pen and paper seem obsolete. But what are we giving up if we give up on handwriting? A famous economics essay features a pencil (yes, a pencil) arguing that “not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.” Is the pencil just . . .

8/10/17
No. 0

Trust Me (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 48 This week on Freakonomics Radio: societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades — in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it? Plus: some of our most important decisions are shaped by something . . .

8/3/17
No. 0

When Helping Hurts

Season 6, Episode 47 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner investigates one of the most fascinating and troubling research findings in the history of social science. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “When Helping Hurts.” You can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast at Apple Podcasts or elsewhere, or get . . .

7/27/17
No. 0

Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?

Season 6, Episode 46 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It’s an easy narrative to swallow. But, Stephen J. Dubner asks, is it true? Plus: a lot of ideas about how to successfully raise money — using good old-fashioned guilt, for instance. To find out more, check . . .

7/20/17
No. 0

Evolution, Accelerated

Season 6, Episode 45 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner explores a breakthrough in genetic technology that has given humans more power than ever to change nature. So what happens next? Plus: some of the hoops we jump through to get ahead are poorly designed for girls and women. Behavioral economics could help change that. To find out more, check . . .

7/13/17
No. 0

How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?

Season 6, Episode 44 This week on Freakonomics Radio: why are we so obsessed with lawns? Plus: Stephen J. Dubner talks to the British political operative trying to launch the United States’s next political revolution. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?” and “He’s One of the Most . . .

7/6/17
No. 0

Food + Science = Victory!

Season 6, Episode 43 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a full menu of goodies. First up: a nutrition detective. And then, Stephen J. Dubner explores the war on sugar. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Food + Science = Victory!” and “There’s A War On Sugar. Is It Justified?” You can subscribe to the . . .

6/29/17
No. 0

How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google)

Season 6, Episode 41 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner talks about what gossip is and isn’t; about the characteristics of the people who produce and consume gossip; and about the functions of gossip, good and bad. Plus: what do our online searches say about our true selves? In the real world, everybody lies. To find out more, check . . .

6/22/17
No. 0

The Health of Nations

Season 6, Episode 41 This week on Freakonomics Radio: for decades, G.D.P. has been a standard way of measuring living standards around the world. Martha Nussbaum tells Stephen J. Dubner that she’d rather use some better data. Plus: Steve Ballmer wants to know how the U.S. government is actually using its G.D.P. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was . . .

6/15/17
No. 0

Why Is My Life So Hard?

Season 6, Episode 40 This week on Freakonomics Radio: most of us feel we face more obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “How can we avoid this trap?” To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .

6/8/17
No. 0

Why Cities Rock

Season 6, Episode 39 This week on Freakonomics Radio: could it be that cities are humanity’s greatest invention? Is it possible that, despite their reputation as soot-spewing engines of doom, they make us richer, smarter, happier and (gulp) greener? Plus: Stephen Dubner speaks with Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which . . .

6/1/17
No. 0

Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others?

Season 6, Episode 38 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the biggest problem with humanity is humans themselves. Too often, we make choices — what we eat, how we spend our money and time — that undermine our well-being. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “How can we stop?” And this radio hour has two answers: think small, and make behavior change stick. To find out . . .

5/25/17
No. 0

Earth 2.0: What Would Our Economy Look Like?

Season 6, Episode 37 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner asks, “If we could reboot the planet and create new systems and institutions from scratch, what would that look like?” This first installment of our Earth 2.0 series is about economics, of course! You’ll hear from Nobel laureate Angus Deaton, the poverty-fighting superhero Jeff Sachs; and many others. To find out more, check out . . .

5/19/17
No. 0

The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary as You Think

Season 6, Episode 36 This week on Freakonomics Radio: what is truly inevitable? Stephen J. Dubner speaks with Internet pioneer Kevin Kelly about why we shouldn’t be afraid of the future and the folly of prediction. Plus: why can’t we predict earthquakes? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary . . .

5/11/17
No. 0

The Most Dangerous Machine

Season 6, Episode 35 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Uber is disrupting profitable sectors by using one of the world’s most dangerous machines. Plus, Stephen J. Dubner learns that data from Uber’s users is helping answer one of the most elusive questions in economics. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why Uber Is an Economist’s Dream” . . .

5/5/17
No. 0

How to be More Productive

Season 6, Episode 34 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner returns to his alma mater to ask his three favorite professors if colleges make people more productive and happier. Among the discoveries in this episode, here’s a big one: there’s a significant difference between being busy and being productive. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .

4/27/17
No. 0

Why is Bad Environmentalism Such an Easy Sell?

Season 6, Episode 33 We already know it’s not easy being green. But Stephen J. Dubner wants to know, “What about selling green?” It turns out that’s pretty easy. Plus: researchers are trying to figure out why we get bored and what it means for the economy. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Am I Boring You?” . . .

4/20/17
No. 0

Why Does Everyone Hate Flying? And Other Questions Only a Pilot Can Answer

Season 6, Episode 32 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner talks to an airline pilot about what really happens up in the air. Just don’t get him started on pilot-less planes — or whether the autopilot is actually doing the flying. Plus: why parking is hell. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: . . .

4/13/17
No. 0

The Upside of Quitting

Season 6, Hour 31 This week on Freakonomics Radio: do you know this bromide? “A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.” To which Stephen J. Dubner says, “Are you sure?” Sometimes quitting is strategic, and sometimes it can be your best possible plan. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Upside of . . .

4/6/17
No. 0

Outsiders by Design

Season 6, Episode 30 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: What does it mean to pursue something that everyone else thinks is nuts? And what does it take to succeed? Plus, Stephen J. Dubner asks, “What do medieval nuns and Bo Jackson have in common?” To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Outsiders by . . .

3/30/17
No. 0

The Men Who Started A Thinking Revolution

Season 6, Episode 29 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner interviews Michael Lewis about the two men who created behavioral economics, redefining how humans think and changing our world. Among the discoveries discussed on this episode, this one comes from psychology: human behavior is influenced, not only by our inner bearings, but by our outer circumstances. How do we . . .

3/23/17
No. 0

Why Are We Still Using Cash?

Season 6, Episode 28 This week on Freakonomics Radio: cash facilitates crime, bribery and tax evasion – and yet some governments (including ours) are printing more cash than ever. Other countries, meanwhile, are ditching cash entirely. Plus: why thinking of Bitcoin as just a digital currency is like thinking about the Internet as just email. To find out more, check out the . . .

3/16/17
No. 0

Bad Medicine, Part 2: Death By Diagnosis

Season 6, Episode 27 This week on Freakonomics Radio: by some estimates, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. How can that be? And what’s to be done? Plus: Stephen J. Dubner investigates how so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to the market. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this . . .

3/9/17
No. 0

Bad Medicine, Part 1: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations

Season 6, Episode 26 This week on Freakonomics Radio: We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. Stephen J. Dubner looks at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and asks whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution. Plus: sometimes the only thing worse than . . .

3/2/17
No. 0

No Hollywood Ending for the Visual-Effects Industry

Season 6, Episode 25 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: In a world where Hollywood movies are visually extravagant…why has the visual effects industry in Hollywood vanished? Stephen J. Dubner looks at where America’s CGI jobs have gone and who’s to blame. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “No Hollywood Ending for the . . .

2/23/17
No. 0

Is the American Dream Really Dead?

Season 6, Episode 24 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner asks, “Is the American Dream Really Dead?” For years, the U.S. government has been trying to make the American Dream a reality. So how successful have these efforts been? Plus: has China eaten all of America’s jobs? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was . . .

2/16/17
No. 0

What You Don’t Know About Online Dating

Season 6, Episode 23 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: an economist’s guide to dating online. PJ Vogt bravely lets us evaluate his OkCupid account, and we teach him how to game the algorithms. Plus: Stephen J. Dubner on the state of the marriage union. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush,””Why Marry? . . .

2/9/17
No. 0

An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl

Season 6, Episode 22 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner celebrates the Super Bowl, America’s favorite secular holiday. We assembled a panel of smart dudes — a two-time Super Bowl champ; a couple of NFL linemen, including one who’s getting a math Ph.D at MIT, and our resident economist — to tell you what to watch for, whether you’re . . .

2/2/17
No. 0

Trevor Noah Has a Lot to Say

Season 6, Episode 21 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner sits down with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah to discuss being born a crime in apartheid South Africa, the subject of Noah’s new memoir. The comedian has a sui generis view of American politics, customs, and obsessions. Plus: who are the most successful immigrants in the world, and . . .

1/26/17
No. 0

In Praise of Incrementalism

Season 6, Episode 20  On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: what do the Italian Renaissance, Olympic cycling, and civil rights movements have in common? In each case, huge breakthroughs came from taking tiny steps. In a world where everyone is looking for the next moonshot, Stephen J. Dubner argues that we shouldn’t ignore the power of incrementalism. To find out more, check . . .

1/19/17
No. 0

In Praise of Maintenance

Season 6, Episode 19 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Our society is obsessed with innovation, which has a pretty high cost. Stephen J. Dubner got obsessed with the notion of maintenance, and talks about why it isn’t the enemy of innovation, but rather the saving grace of American infrastructure. Speaking of things that need taking care of, have you ever considered how . . .

1/12/17
No. 0

The Church of ‘Scionology’

Season 6, Episode 18 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: if you’ve built a successful business — be it a bakery, a carmaker or a newspaper — who continues the legacy when you retire? For many Fortune 500 companies, the answer is obvious: one (or more) of your children take the helm. But let’s get beyond the nepotism and silver spoons, real and imagined. Do the . . .

1/5/17
No. 0

The Economics of Sleep, Part 2 (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 17 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: we continue last week’s conversation about the economics of sleep. We look at some research suggesting, for instance, that early birds really do get the worm. And then we look into the tactics — physical, mental, and strategic — of  six-time hot dog-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, who revolutionized the sport of . . .

12/30/16
No. 0

The Economics of Sleep, Part 1 (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 16 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: poor sleep can impair our cognitive function; sleep loss has been linked to adverse physical outcomes like weight gain and, increasingly, more serious maladies; and the Centers for Disease Control recently declared insufficient sleep a “public-health epidemic.” So are we treating the problem as seriously as we ought to . . .

12/23/16
No. 0

Trust Me

Season 6, Episode 15 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades — in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it? Plus: Some of our most important decisions are shaped by . . .

12/16/16
No. 0

Who Needs Handwriting?

Season 6, Episode 14 This week on Freakonomics Radio: The digital age is making pen and paper seem obsolete. But what are we giving up if we give up on handwriting? A famous economics essay features a pencil (yes, a pencil) arguing that “not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.” Is the pencil . . .

12/9/16
No. 0

How to Get More Grit in Your Life

Season 6, Episode 13 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned.  Plus, a man whose entire life and career are one big pile of self-improvement. . . .

12/2/16
No. 0

Time to Take Back the Toilet (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 12 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, first: we’re not asking that using a public restroom be a pleasant experience, but are there ways to make it less miserable? And then: how did the belt, an organ-squeezing belly tourniquet, become part of our everyday wardrobe — and what other sub-optimal solutions do we routinely put up with? The . . .

11/25/16
No. 0

How to Become Great at Just About Anything

Season 6, Episode 11 This week on Freakonomics Radio: What if the thing we call “talent” is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades. One idea you may have heard of that came from Ericsson’s . . .

11/18/16
No. 0

Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?

Season 6, Episode 10 When you take a sip of Cabernet, what are you tasting? The grape? The tannins? The oak barrel? Or the price? Believe it or not, the most dominant flavor may be the dollars. Thanks to the work of some intrepid and wine-obsessed economists (yes, there is an American Association of Wine Economists), we are starting to . . .

11/11/16
No. 0

Should We Really Behave Like Economists Say We Do?

Season 6, Episode 9  You have perhaps come across the phrase homo economicus, which describes a model for human behavior as seen through the lens of economics. In this hour, you’ll hear Freakonomics Radio producer Greg Rosalsky embark on a long and tortuous process to live his life like homo economicus. Is this even possible? If so, is it desirable? . . .

11/4/16
No. 0

Has the U.S. Presidency Become a Dictatorship?

Season 6, Episode 8  Sure, we all pay lip service to the Madisonian system of checks and balances. But as one legal scholar argues, presidents have been running roughshod over the system for decades. The result? An accumulation of power that’s turned the presidency into a position the founders wouldn’t have recognized. At the same time, how powerful is the . . .

10/28/16
No. 0

Think Like A Child (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 7 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Why would anyone want to think like a child? Aren’t kids just sloppy, inchoate versions of us? Hardly. As Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt describe in their book Think Like a Freak, it can be very fruitful to think like a child. And then, how can we get kids to eat healthier . . .

10/21/16
No. 0

Why Do People Keep Having Children? (Replay)

Season 6, Episode 6 First up: what are the factors that make a given person more or less likely to have children? And is the global population really going to double by the next century? Probably not. And then: “That’s a great question!” You hear this phrase in all kinds of media interviews, during the Q&A portion of tech and . . .

10/14/16
No. 0

The Harvard President Will See You Now

Season 6, Episode 4 This week on Freakonomics Radio: an in-depth interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, who was installed as the president of Harvard University in 2007. Stephen Dubner explores how a (self-described) “pain-in-the-neck” little girl from rural Virginia came to run the most powerful university in the world. Plus, what is the true value these days of a college education? We hear . . .

9/30/16
No. 0

Ten Signs You Might Be a Libertarian

Season 6, Episode 3 Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, likes to say that most Americans are libertarians but don’t know it yet. So why can’t Libertarians (and other third parties) gain more political traction? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Ten Signs You Might Be a Libertarian.”   You can . . .

9/23/16
No. 0

Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents for Raising Them?

Season 6, Episode 2 This week on Freakonomics Radio: When one athlete turned pro, his mom asked him for $1 million. Our modern sensibilities tell us she doesn’t have a case. But does she? Plus, Steve Levitt talks about what he learned from his dad, good and bad. Next, Stephen Dubner shares one of the best lessons he ever learned, over a diner meal with . . .

9/16/16
No. 0

Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten

Season 6, Episode 1 We Americans may love our democracy — at least in theory — but at the moment our feelings toward the Federal government lie somewhere between disdain and hatred. Which electoral and political ideas should be killed off to make way for a saner system? This episode features ideas from Olympia Snowe, Howard Dean, Joaquin Castro, Eric Posner, Bruce Ackerman, Kathleen . . .

9/9/16
No. 0

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Replay)

Season 5, Episode 46 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, a live game show with host Stephen Dubner, and judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson. Audience members are invited onstage to tell us something we didn’t know. We learn a bit, laugh a lot, and as a bonus, each of the judges tell us something about themselves we didn’t . . .

9/2/16
No. 0

Is Migration a Basic Human Right? (Replay)

Season 5, Episode 45 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: The argument for open borders is compelling — and deeply problematic. We hear from economists for and against the argument, as well as immigrants, including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. To learn more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Is Migration a Basic . . .

8/26/16
No. 0

How To Win A Nobel Prize

Season 5, Episode 44 This week on Freakonomics Radio, how to win a Nobel Prize. Host Stephen Dubner talks with Per Stromberg, one of the people who choose the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. And we learn as many of his secrets as we can pry out of him. Then, what happens after you win the coveted Nobel Prize? First, . . .

8/19/16
No. 0

Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late?

Season 5, Episode 42 This week on Freakonomics Radio, in our collective zeal to reform schools and close the achievement gap, we may have lost sight of where most learning really happens — at home. Dana Suskind of the Thirty Million Words Initiative works with parents in their homes to teach them the best ways of helping their babies learn language. . . .

8/5/16
No. 0

How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution? (Replay)

Season 5, Episode 41 In part one (“How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?”), we continue conversations from last week’s episode, (“How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?”). Anupam Jena, a physician, economist, and professor at Harvard Medical School, told us about his study that shows mortality rates improve when cardiologists are away at medical conferences. One . . .

7/29/16
No. 0

How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare? (Replay)

 Season 5, Episode 40 This week we look at healthcare. First, Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt discusses the randomized control trial, or RCT, which he calls “the very best way to learn about the world around us.” Then Amy Finkelstein, a professor of economics at MIT, talks about using RCTs to explore healthcare delivery — and the “accidental” RCT she discovered when . . .

7/22/16
No. 0

How to Be Less Terrible at Predicting the Future

This week on Freakonomics Radio, experts and pundits are notoriously bad at forecasting, in part because they aren’t punished for bad predictions. Also, they tend to be deeply unscientific. The psychologist Philip Tetlock is finally turning prediction into a science — and now even you could become a superforecaster.

7/15/16
No. 0

Do Boycotts Work?

This week on Freakonomics Radio: The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the South African divestment campaign, Chick-fil-A! Almost anyone can launch a boycott, and the media loves to cover them. But do boycotts actually produce the change they’re aimed at?

7/8/16
No. 0

This Idea Must Die (Replay)

This week on Freakonomics Radio, we draw from the fascinating book This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress, put together by the group Edge.org, that asks its salon of big thinkers to answer one big question. And the question this time: what scientific idea is ready for retirement?

7/1/16
No. 0

How Safe Is Your Job?

This week on Freakonomics Radio, economists preach the gospel of “creative destruction,” whereby new industries — and jobs — replace the old ones. But in this era of technological wonder, has creative destruction become too destructive?

6/23/16
No. 0

Does Religion Make You Happy?

This week, Freakonomics Radio asks two questions, related but separate. One is whether giving away money – in this case, to a religious institution – makes you happier. The other is whether religion itself makes you happier. Neither question is easy to answer.

6/17/16
No. 0

Why Do We Really Follow the News?

On Freakonomics Radio this week, we dare to ask whether civics class answers for why we pay attention to the news are really true. Could it be that we read about war, politics, etc. simply because it’s (gasp) entertaining?

6/10/16
No. 0

The Longest Long Shot

On this week’s Freakonomics Radio: When the uncelebrated Leicester City Football Club won the English Premier League, it wasn’t just the biggest underdog story in recent history. It was a sign of changing economics — and that other impossible, wonderful events might be lurking just around the corner.

6/3/16
No. 0

Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend (Replay)

On this week’s Freakonomics Radio, we meet a young Michigan couple who win a diamond at a charity event and then can’t decide what to do with it. Sell? Set it in a ring? Or stash it in the laundry room and just keep fighting about it? We also hear from Edward Jay Epstein, who wrote a book about trying to resell a diamond, and we learn the strange, shady history of how diamonds have come to be as “valuable” as they are.

5/25/16
No. 0

How to Create Suspense

This week on Freakonomics Radio, we were inspired by a fascinating research paper called “Suspense and Surprise” by the economists Jeffrey Ely, Alexander Frankel, and Emir Kamenica. We speak with all three of them about what makes a particular sport suspenseful (or boring), what makes a movie thrilling (or, as in the case of M. Night Shyamalan, increasingly not), and why these things are worth discussing within the realm of economics. We’ll also hear from practitioners of the art of suspense, including novelist Harlan Coben.

5/20/16
No. 0

“If Mayors Ruled the World”

Season 5, Episode 30 This week, Freakonomics Radio expands on an idea from political theorist Benjamin Barber, who wrote If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. Barber argues that cities are paragons of good governance — compared, at least, to nation-states — and that is largely due to their mayors. Mayors, Barber argues, are can-do people who inevitably cut through the . . .

5/13/16
No. 0

The Three Hardest Words in the English Language

Season 5, Episode 29

This week on Freakonomics Radio we ask: what are the three hardest words to say? Conventional wisdom suggests “I love you.” But c’mon, people say that all the time. What about “I don’t know?” We’ll argue that our inability to say these words more often can have huge consequences.

Then, Stephen Dubner talks with Kevin Kelly, a self-described old hippie and onetime editor of hippiedom’s do-it-yourself bible, The Whole Earth Catalog, who went on to co-found Wired magazine, a beacon of the digital age.

5/6/16
No. 0

Is the World Ready for a Guaranteed Basic Income?

Season 5, Episode 27

On this week’s Freakonomics Radio: a lot of full-time jobs in the modern economy simply don’t pay a living wage. And even those jobs may be obliterated by new technologies. What’s to be done so that financially vulnerable people aren’t just crushed? It may finally be time for an idea that economists have promoted for decades: a guaranteed basic income.

Also, what is the long-term impact of suddenly acquiring a valuable asset? An 1832 land lottery in Georgia randomly rewarded roughly 20 percent of its participants with a large tract of land. Two researchers used U.S. Census data to track how this new wealth changed the lives of these families.

4/22/16
No. 0

Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?

Season 5, Episode 26

This week on Freakonomics Radio: critics — including President Obama — say short-term, high-interest loans are predatory, trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. But some economists see them as a useful, if expensive, financial instrument for people who might otherwise not have access to cash. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau promotes new regulation, we ask: who’s right?

To learn more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?

4/15/16
No. 0

The Perfect Crime

Season 5, Episode 25

This week on Freakonomics Radio, what’s “the perfect crime?” It turns out that if you are driving your car and run over a pedestrian, there’s a good chance — especially if you live in New York — that you’ll barely be punished. Why?

Also, where have all the hitchhikers gone? Thumbing a ride used to be commonplace. Now you’re more likely to see it happen in the opening scene of a slasher movie. Maybe that explains it.

4/7/16
No. 0

Should Tipping Be Banned?

Season 5, Episode 24

This hour of Freakonomics Radio is all about tipping. As we all know, the practice of tipping can be awkward, random, and confusing. What you might not know is that it is discriminatory, and according to at least one academic’s research, correlates with corruption. We talk with a professor who has written over 50 papers on the subject.

Then, we explore the warped restaurant business model: kitchen wages are too low to hire cooks, while diners are put in charge of paying the waitstaff. So what happens if you eliminate tipping, raise menu prices, and redistribute the wealth? New York restaurant maverick Danny Meyer is about to find out.

4/1/16
No. 0

The United States of Cory Booker

Season 5, Episode 23

This week on Freakonomics Radio: Junior U.S. Senator from New Jersey Cory Booker thinks bipartisanship is right around the corner. Is he just an idealistic newbie or does he see a way forward that everyone else has missed?

Then, as sexy as the digital revolution may be, it can’t compare to the Second Industrial  Revolution (electricity! the gas engine! antibiotics!), which created the biggest standard-of-living boost in U.S. history.  The only problem, argues the economist Robert Gordon, is that the Second Industrial Revolution was a one-time event.

3/24/16
No. 0

“I Don’t Know What You’ve Done With My Husband But He’s A Changed Man”

Season 5, Episode 22 As we learned in last week’s episode, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been effective in reducing criminal behavior among teenagers in Chicago and former child soldiers in Liberia. This week we go to England, where behavioral-therapy workshops for low-level domestic violence offenders have achieved a 40 percent reduction in repeat incidents of abuse. We also talk . . .

3/18/16
No. 0

Preventing Crime for Pennies on the Dollar

Season 5, Episode 21

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: conventional crime-prevention programs tend to be expensive, onerous, and ineffective. Could something as simple (and cheap) as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) do the trick? First we go to Chicago, where at-risk teenagers who learn to be less impulsive have lower dropout and arrest rates.

Then, we take a look at Liberia, where a former child soldier and a team of researchers pair CBT with a cash incentive to help other former soldiers become productive citizens in peacetime.

3/11/16
No. 0

How to Save $1 Billion Without Even Trying

Season 5, Episode 20 

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Doctors, chefs, and other experts are much more likely than the rest of us to buy store-brand products. What do they know that we don’t? And if we all did like they do, how much fatter might our wallets be?

Then, imagine a fantasy world that’s exactly as the world is today except that two things are missing: alcohol and marijuana. And then imagine that tomorrow, both of them are discovered. What happens now? How are each of them used – and, perhaps more importantly, regulated? How would we weigh the relative benefits and costs of alcohol versus marijuana?

3/4/16
No. 0

Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset?

Season 5, Episode 19

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: We spend billions of dollars on end-of-life healthcare that often doesn’t do much good. So what if a patient could forego the standard treatment and get a cash rebate instead?

Also, the war on cigarettes has been fairly successful in some places. In the U.S., the smoking rate has fallen by more than half. But a billion humans still smoke, so what comes next?

2/25/16
No. 18

The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap

Season 5, Episode 18

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: The first woman to get tenure in the Harvard economics department has tried to uncover the reasons for the pay gap between men and women. Turns out discrimination doesn’t explain why women earn so much less. It’s much more complicated than that.

Also, what’s behind the surprising fact that a marriage that produces a girl is more likely to end in divorce than one that produces a boy? In this episode we delve into the research — and the broader economic implications of so many girls living without their dads.

2/20/16
55:30

Failure Is Your Friend

Season 5, Episode 17

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: there’s a huge stigma attached to failure. But should there be? Perhaps we’re not thinking clearly about failure. Maybe failure can be your friend.

Also on this week’s episode: in most countries, houses get more valuable over time. But in Japan, a new buyer often bulldozes the home. Why?

2/13/16
No. 0

Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem?

Season 5, Episode 16

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: a look at the supply side of the education equation — the teachers — as well the demand side, the students. 

Teacher quality has a huge impact. So how can we best identify, educate, and reward the good ones? And what can be done to take failing students and put them on a track to graduation?

2/5/16
No. 0

Make Me a Match

Season 5, Episode 15

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: sure, markets generally work well. But for some transactions — like school admissions and organ transplants — money alone can’t solve the problem. That’s when you need a market-design wizard like Nobel Prize winner Al Roth. You’ll hear how Roth and others have revolutionized the organ-donor market. Plus, the amazing story of how one particularly selfless woman became the first link in a donor chain that gave life to many others.

1/29/16

Think Like a Child

Season 5, Episode 14

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Why would anyone want to think like a child? Aren’t kids just sloppy, inchoate versions of us? Hardly. As Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt describe in their book Think Like a Freak, it can be very fruitful like a child.

And then: How can we get kids to eat healthier food? Educational messaging sounds like a good idea, but kids don’t respond to it. So why not bribe them?

1/22/16

How Can Tiny Norway Afford So Many Teslas?

Season 5, Episode 13

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio:

In 2014, Tesla’s Model S became the best-selling car in Norway ever for a one-month period. Not bad for a luxury electric vehicle whose base price in Norway is over $100,000. What’s behind this Tesla boom?

And then, hear our interview with the physician/anthropologist Jim Yong Kim. He used to advocate dismantling the World Bank; now he’s running it — and is eager to apply the insights of behavioral economics to development policy.

1/15/16
No. 0

Is Migration a Basic Human Right?

Season 5, Episode 12

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: The argument for open borders is compelling — and deeply problematic. We hear from economists for and against the argument as well as immigrants, including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

1/8/16

The Economics of Sleep, Part 2

Season 5, Episode 11

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, we continue last week’s conversation about the economics of sleep. We look at some research suggesting, for instance, that early birds really do get the worm.

And then we look into the tactics — physical, mental, and strategic — of  six-time hot dog-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, who revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us can learn from his breakthroughs?

1/1/16
No. 0

The Economics of Sleep, Part 1

Season 5, Episode 10

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: poor sleep can impair our cognitive function; sleep loss has been linked to adverse physical outcomes like weight gain and, increasingly, more serious maladies; and the Centers for Disease Control recently declared insufficient sleep a “public-health epidemic.” So are we treating the problem as seriously as we ought to be? And is it possible that lack of sleep can even explain the income gap? We speak with sleep researchers, economists, a psychologist and an epidemiologist to answer these questions.

12/24/15

Why Do People Keep Having Children?

Season 5, Episode 9

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: first up: what are the factors that make a given person more or less likely to have children? And is the global population really going to double by the next century? Probably not.

And then: “That’s a great question!” You hear this phrase in all kinds of media interviews, during the Q&A portion of tech and academic conferences, and in ordinary meetings. Where did this ubiquitous reply come from? Is it a verbal tic, a strategic rejoinder, or something more? We talk to a linguist, a media consultant and master interviewer Charlie Rose about why it’s rare to come across an interview these days where at least one question isn’t a “great” one.   

12/18/15
No. 0

Ben Bernanke Gives Himself a Grade

Season 5, Episode 8

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, two interviews: first, former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, who was handed the keys to the global economy just as it started heading off a cliff. And then Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former State Department adviser, who was best known for her adamant views on Syria when she accidentally became a poster girl for modern feminism.

Bernanke tells us what he knew and didn’t know about the state of the economy as the financial crisis began to unfold, and he explains what FDR got right and wrong during the Great Depression. Slaughter continues the heated national conversation sparked by her 2012 Atlantic essay “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” and we talk about her early warnings on Syria and what she’d suggest if she had the White House’s ear today.

12/11/15

Time to Take Back the Toilet

Season 5, Episode 7

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, first: we’re not asking that using a public restroom be a pleasant experience, but are there ways to make it less miserable? And then: how did the belt, an organ-squeezing belly tourniquet, become part of our everyday wardrobe and what other suboptimal solutions do we routinely put up with?

The gist: public bathrooms — when you can find one — are often noisy and poorly designed. In this episode, we explore the history of the public restroom, the taboos that accompany it, and the public-health risks of paying too little attention to the lowly toilet.

12/3/15

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Season 5, Episode 6

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, a live game show with host Stephen Dubner, and judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson.

Audience members are invited onstage to tell us something we didn’t know. We learn a bit, laugh a lot, and as a bonus, each of the judges tell us something about themselves we didn’t know. You’ll learn how Malcolm Gladwell got fired from an internship with a prominent judge; how Ana Gasteyer watched Star Wars with a prominent family; and why Governor Paterson was desperate for O.J. Simpson’s famous Bronco chase to be cut short.

11/26/15

This Idea Must Die

Season 5, Episode 5

In this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, we first explore whether some of the scientific ideas we cling to should be killed off; and then Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt answer some listener questions.

The gist: Every year, Edge.org asks its salon of big thinkers to answer one big question. In 2014, the question bordered on heresy: what scientific idea is ready for retirement? Experts weigh in. And then Dubner and Levitt talk about fixing the post office, putting cameras in the classroom, and wearing hats.

11/20/15

Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend

Season 5, Episode 4

In part one (“Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend“), we meet Jason and Kristen Sarata, a couple who win a diamond at a charity event. But the two can’t agree on whether to sell the diamond or keep it. Luckily, investigative reporter Edward Jay Epstein has written an entire book about selling a diamond, and tells us it’s unclear whether diamonds are as valuable as Marilyn Monroe taught us to think they are.

11/12/15

How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?

Season 5, Episode 3

In part one (“How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?”), we continue conversations from last week’s episode (“How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?”). Anupam Jena, a physician, economist, and professor at Harvard Medical School, told us last week about his study that shows mortality rates improve when cardiologists are away at medical conferences. One possible explanation for his results, Jena says, is that many procedures, although highly effective, aren’t better than doing nothing in certain cases.

11/5/15
No. 0

How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?

Season 5, Episode 2

In part one (“How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?“), Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt discussed the randomized control trial, or RCT, which he calls “the very best way to learn about the world around us.” Then Amy Finkelstein, a professor of economics at MIT, talks about using RCTs to explore healthcare delivery — and the “accidental” RCT she discovered when Oregon expanded Medicaid.

10/29/15

When Willpower Isn’t Enough

Season 5, Episode 1

In part one (When Willpower Isn’t Enough), the Penn professor Katherine Milkman tells us about “temptation bundling,” which means pairing something you don’t want to do (but need to do) with something you love to do (but perhaps shouldn’t do). For instance: allowing yourself to watch your favorite TV show only while working out at the gym. Or eating a cheeseburger only when you go to visit your least-favorite relative. In part two (The Maddest Men of All), the iconoclastic vice chairman of Ogilvy & Mather in the U.K., Rory Sutherland, tells us how marketers use behavioral economics to get us all to buy now and think later.

10/21/15
No. 0

Should Tipping Be Banned?

Season 4, Episode 5

The practice of tipping is one of the most irrational, un-economic behaviors we engage in. It’s not in our economic best-interest to tip; essentially we do it because it’s a social norm — a nicety. In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, Stephen Dubner looks at why we tip, what kinds of things can nudge tips upward, and what’s wrong with tipping overall. In the end, we wonder whether or not the practice of tipping should be eliminated altogether. Research shows that African American waiters make less in tips than people of other races, so tipping is a discriminatory practice. Later in the hour: if your parent has the gene for Huntington’s disease you have a 50% chance of getting it yourself. Huntington’s is a debilitating fatal disorder. People can do genetic testing to see if they will fall ill, yet only 5% of people choose to do so. Stephen Dubner talks to University of Chicago economist Emily Oster about her research on Huntington’s genetic testing, and the value of not knowing your fate.

10/24/13
No. 0

The Cobra Effect

Season 4, Episode 4

If you want to get rid of a nasty invasive pest, it might seem sensible to offer a bounty as a reward. But the problem is: nothing backfires quite like a bounty. In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, we look at bounties on snakes in Delhi, India; rats in Hanoi, Vietnam; and feral pigs in Fort Benning, Georgia. In each case, bounty seekers came up with creative ways to maximize their payoff – and pest populations grew. Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt talk about how incentives don’t always work out the way we expect them to. Later in the hour, if you want to write a book about Winston Churchill, you are going to have to pay. The Churchill estate is intensely protective of Sir Winston’s copyright, so much so that if you write a book about him, you are likely to go into the red. Stephen Dubner talks about who owns words, and what it will cost you to write a book about Churchill.

10/24/13
No. 0

Spite Happens

Season 4, Episode 3

This episode of Freakonomics Radio explores our surprising propensity for spite. We discover the gruesome etymology of the phrase “cut off your nose to spite your face” (it involves Medieval nuns cutting off their noses to preserve their chastity). Stephen Dubner and economist Benedikt Herrmann talk about so-called “money-burning” lab experiments, in which people often choose to take money away from other participants – even when it means giving up some of their own cash. Also: why do we take pleasure in harming others? So much so that we’re willing to harm ourselves in the process? The answer may lie in our biology: Freakonomics Radio producer Katherine Wells talks with biologist E. O. Wilson about whether spite exists in nature. Later in the hour, we head to Bogota, Colombia, where the mayor used unconventional methods to bring order to the city: he hired mimes to mimic and embarrass people who were violating traffic laws — and it worked. Then, Stephen Dubner talks to Robert Cialdini, best known for his research on the psychology of persuasion, about how peer pressure, and good old fashioned shame, can greatly affect the way people behave.  

10/24/13

How Much Does Your Name Matter?

Season 4, Episode 2

When Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney Googled her name one day, she noticed something strange: an ad for a background check website came up in the results, with the heading: “Latanya Sweeney, Arrested?” But she had never been arrested, and neither had the only other Latanya Sweeney in the U.S. So why did the ad suggest so? Thousands of Google searches later, Sweeney discovered that Googling traditionally black names is more likely to produce an ad suggestive of a criminal background. Why? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, Stephen Dubner investigates the latest research on names. Steve Levitt talks about his groundbreaking research on names, economic status, and race. And University of Chicago economist Eric Oliver explains why a baby named “Cody” is more likely to belong to conservative parents, and why another named “Esme” was probably born to a pair of liberals.

10/24/13
No. 0

Women Are Not Men

Season 4, Episode 1

Women are different from men, by a lot, in some key areas. For example, data show that women don’t: drown, compete as hard, get struck by lightning, use the Internet, edit Wikipedia, engage in delinquent behavior, or file patents as much as men do – and these are just some of the examples. Another way women are different from men? They have made significant economic gains and yet they are less happy now than they were 30 years ago. So, how do we explain this paradox? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, Stephen Dubner looks at some of the ways that women are not men. Later in the hour, Dubner talks to Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker about his research on the history of violence. Pinker has a surprising and counterintuitive thesis: violence has declined and the world is a much more peaceful place than it has ever been.

10/24/13

Legacy of a Jerk

Season 3, Episode 5

Since the beginning of civilization, human waste has been considered worthless at best and quite often dangerous. What if it turns out we were wrong? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner explores the power of poop, focusing on an experimental procedure called a fecal transplant (some call it a “transpoosion”), which may offer promising results not only for intestinal problems but also obesity and neurological disorders.  We’ll talk to two doctors at the vanguard of this procedure and a patient who says it changed his life.

10/11/12

Freakonomics Goes to College

Season 3, Episode 4

Is a college diploma really worth the paper it’s printed on? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner breaks down the costs and benefits of going to college, especially during an economy that’s leaving a lot of people un- and underemployed. The data say that college graduates make a lot more money in the long run and enjoy a host of other benefits as well.  But does that justify the time and money? We’ll hear from economists David Card, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers, as well as former Bush adviser Karl Rove, who made it to the White House without a college degree. Amherst College president Biddy Martin describes what an education provides beyond facts and figures, while Steve Levitt wonders if the students he teaches at the University of Chicago are actually learning anything.  Finally, a former FBI agent tells us about the very robust market for fake diplomas.

10/11/12
No. 0

The Truth Is Out There…Isn’t It?

Season 3, Episode 3

Until not so long ago, chicken feet were essentially waste material.  Now they provide enough money to keep U.S. chicken producers in the black — by exporting 300,000 metric tons of chicken “paws” to China and Hong Kong each year. In the first part of this hour-long episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner explores this and other examples of weird recycling. We hear the story of a Cleveland non-profit called MedWish, which ships unused or outdated hospital equipment to hospitals in poor countries around the world. We also hear Intellectual Ventures founder Nathan Myhrvold describe a new nuclear-power reactor that runs on radioactive waste.

10/11/12

You Eat What You Are

Season 3, Episode 2

Americans are in the midst of a food paradox: we have access to more and better and cheaper food than ever before but at the same time, we are surrounded by junk food and a rise in obesity and heart disease.  In this hour-long episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner talks about our massive but balky food network with economist Tyler Cowen, who argues that agribusiness and commercialization are not nearly the villains that your foodie friends might have you think. We also hear from food author/philosopher Michael Pollan, who weighs in on a number of food topics and urges, along with chef Alice Waters, a renewed appreciation for the American farmer.  

10/11/12

Save Me From Myself

Season 3, Episode 1

Sometimes we have a hard time committing ourselves – whether it’s quitting a bad habit or following through on a worthy goal. In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, we share stories about “commitment devices.” They’re a clever way to force yourself to do something that you know will be hard. Host Stephen Dubner talks to a struggling gambler who signs himself up for a program that bans him from state casinos – only to return, win a jackpot, and have it confiscated. We’ll also hear from a new father trying to shed bad habits. So he makes a list of things he wants to change and vows to pay a penalty if he can’t shape up in 30 days. The penalty? He’d write a $750 check to someone he really dislikes: Oprah Winfrey. Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt offers a few of his own off-the-wall commitment devices, and the Brown economist Anna Aizer talks about using commitment devices to fight domestic violence.

10/11/12
No. 0

Lottery Loopholes and Deadly Doctors (Ep. 72)

Season 2, Episode 5

Our latest podcast is called “Lottery Loopholes and Deadly Doctors.” (Download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below.)  This is the final episode of five one-hour Freakonomics Radio specials that have been airing on public radio stations across the country. (Check here to find your local station.) 

These hour-long programs are “mashupdates” — that is, mashups of earlier podcasts which we’ve also updated with new interviews, etc.

In two weeks, we’ll start releasing a series of brand new podcasts. Among the topics to listen for: the selling of souls, the value of college, and the strategic use of jerkitude (that is, acting like a jerk). 

4/26/12
No. 0

Eating and Tweeting (Ep. 70)

Season 2, Episode 4

We have just released our second series of five one-hour Freakonomics Radio specials to public-radio stations across the country. (Check here to find your local station.) Now these episodes are hitting our podcast stream as well. These shows are what might best be called “mashupdates” — that is, mashups of earlier podcasts with new interviews.

This week: “Eating and Tweeting.” (You download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below).

4/11/12
No. 0

The Power of the President — and the Thumb (Ep. 68)

Season 2, Episode 3

We have just released our second series of five one-hour Freakonomics Radio specials to public-radio stations across the country. (Check here to find your local station.) Now these episodes are hitting our podcast stream as well. These shows are what might best be called “mashupdates” — that is, mashups of earlier podcasts which we’ve also updated with new interviews, etc.

This episode is called “The Power of the President — and the Thumb” (download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below). The first half is an overhaul of our 2010 podcast “How Much Does the President Really Matter?” We’ve mashed it up with our 2011 episode “Where Have All the Hitchhikers Gone?” to create an hour of radio that shows, among other things, how “attribution errors” work.

3/29/12
No. 0

Show and Yell (Ep. 66)

Season 2, Episode 2

We have just released a series of five one-hour Freakonomics Radio specials to public-radio stations across the country (check here to find your local station), and now they’re hitting our podcast stream as well. If you are a dedicated podcast subscriber, then some of this material will be familiar to you. These new shows are what might best be called “mashupdates” — that is, mashups of earlier podcasts that have also been updated with new interviews, etc.

Today’s episode is called “Show and Yell” (download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below).

3/15/12
61:01
No. 0

The Days of Wine and Mouses (Ep. 64)

Season 2, Episode 1

We have just released a new series of five one-hour Freakonomics Radio specials to public-radio stations across the country. (Check here for your local station.) These new shows are what might best be called “mashupdates” — that is, mashups of earlier podcasts that have also been updated with new interviews, etc.

If you are a charter subscriber to our podcast (remember this one on the dangers of safety, or this one on the obesity epidemic?), then some of this material will be familiar to you. If you are one of the people who have heard these new shows on the radio and wondered when they’d hit the podcast stream — well, that time is now. We’ll be releasing all five hours over the next ten weeks.

This first episode is called “The Days of Wine and Mouses.” (Download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below.) Here’s what you’ll be hearing:

When you take a sip of Cabernet, what are you tasting? The grape? The tannins? The oak barrel? Or is it the price? Believe it or not, the most dominant flavor may be the dollars.

2/27/12
No. 0

Find Freakonomics Radio on a Station Near You

Freakonomics Radio is a weekly podcast that also airs on public-radio stations across the country. Below is a sort-of-complete list of those stations (it changes periodically and we try to keep up); click on yours to find the day and time our show airs. And if your station isn’t on this list, call them immediately! Freakonomics Radio also airs on . . .

1/18/12
No. 0

The Upside of Quitting (Ep. 42)

Season 1, Episode 5

You know the bromide: “a winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.”

To which Freakonomics Radio says … Are you sure? Sometimes quitting is strategic, and sometimes it can be your best possible plan.

That is the gist of our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast, “The Upside of Quitting.” This is the last of five hour-long podcasts we’ve been putting out lately. Some of you may have heard them on public-radio stations around the country, but now all the hours are being fed into our podcast stream. (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen live via the media player above, or read the transcript here.)

To help us understand quitting, we look at a couple of key economic concepts in this episode: sunk cost and opportunity cost. Sunk cost is about the past – it’s the time or money or sweat equity you’ve put into a job or relationship or a project, and which makes quitting hard. Opportunity cost is about the future. It means that for every hour or dollar you spend on one thing, you’re giving up the opportunity to spend that hour or dollar on something else – something that might make your life better. If only you weren’t so worried about the sunk cost. If only you could …. quit.

9/30/11

The Folly of Prediction

Season 1, Episode 4

Fact: Human beings love to predict the future.

Fact: Human beings are not very good at predicting the future.

Fact: Because the incentives to predict are quit imperfect — bad predictions are rarely punished — this situation is unlikely to change.

But wouldn’t it be nice if it did?

That is the gist of our latest hour-long special of Freakonomics Radio, called “The Folly of Prediction.” You can listen or download via the media player embedded inside the post, or read a transcript here. This program and four more hours are being broadcast on public-radio stations across the country this summer, and they’ll all wind up in our podcast stream in short course. See this map of where to find a public radio station near you that plays the show. And you can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast on iTunes or via RSS.

6/30/11
No. 0

The Suicide Paradox

Season 1, Episode 3

If I were to ask you what’s more common in the U.S., homicide or suicide, what would you say?
Homicide is certainly a lot more prominent; it’s constantly in the headlines and in our public consciousness. But the fact is that suicide is more than twice as common as homicide. The preliminary numbers for 2009, the most recent year for which we have data, show there were roughly 36,500 suicides in the U.S. and roughly 16,500 homicides.

So why don’t we hear more about suicide? In part because it is a very different type of tragedy. Murder represents a fractured promise within our social contract, and it’s got an obvious villain. Suicide represents –- well, what does it represent? It’s hard to say. It carries such a strong taboo that most of us just don’t discuss it much. The result is that there are far more questions about suicide than answers. Like: do we do enough to prevent it? How do you prevent it? And the biggest question of all: why do people commit suicide?

6/22/11

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting

Season 1, Episode 2

Our second hour-long episode of Freakonomics Radio is called “The Economist’s Guide to Parenting.” (You can listen or download via the link above, or read a transcript here. This episode and four more hours will be airing on public-radio stations across the country this summer at various times, so check out your local station’s website. And you can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast on iTunes or via RSS.)

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking what the **** — economists? What can economists possibly have to say about something as emotional, as nuanced, as humane, as parenting? Well, let me say this: because economists aren’t necessarily emotional (or, for that matter, all that nuanced or humane), maybe they’re exactly the people we need to sort this through. Maybe.

6/16/11

The Church of Scionology

Season 1, Episode 1

About one-third of the companies in the Fortune 500 are family-controlled firms. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that fantastic?

You know the story. Some incredibly hard-working person starts a business – maybe a bakery or a brewery, a carmaker or a newspaper – and, against all odds, the business doesn’t just succeed; it flourishes. But someday, it’s inevitable that the founder will retire (or die). So who takes over then?

That’s easy: the founder’s son or daughter. The scion of the family. Who better to protect and grow the family brand?

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Who could possibly work harder than someone whose name is on the building?

The family firm is a way of life. And it’s a nice story. But we’ve got a big, hungry economy here, people. “Nice” doesn’t necessarily generate jobs; “nice” doesn’t increase productivity or spur innovation. So when it comes to putting the family scion in charge of a company, here’s what we wanted to know: what do the numbers say?

6/2/11

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