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Episode No.
Date
Length
No. 589

Why Has the Opioid Crisis Lasted So Long?

Most epidemics flare up, do their damage, and fade away. This one has been raging for almost 30 years. To find out why, it’s time to ask some uncomfortable questions. (Part one of a two-part series.)

5/22/24
54:05
EXTRA

Car Colors & Storage Units

Presenting two stories from The Economics of Everyday Things: Why does it seem like every car is black, white, or gray these days? And: How self-storage took over America.

5/19/24
41:24
PLUS

What Does Glenn Loury Think About Reparations?

Stephen Dubner talked to the economist and social critic in 2020 about whether Black Americans should receive government payments for the lasting damages of slavery.

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5/17/24
42:52
No. 588

Confessions of a Black Conservative

The economist and social critic Glenn Loury has led a remarkably turbulent life, both professionally and personally. In a new memoir, he has chosen to reveal just about everything. Why?

5/15/24
62:23
PLUS

“The Ways in Which the Molecules Jiggle”

Stephen Dubner appears on Alan Alda’s podcast Clear + Vivid to discuss their mutual hero Richard Feynman.

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5/10/24
33:52
No. 587

Should Companies Be Owned by Their Workers?

The employee ownership movement is growing, and one of its biggest champions is also a private equity heavyweight. Is this meaningful change, or just window dressing?

5/8/24
52:49
PLUS

What Can We Learn from the German Economy?

How did Germany prevent globalization from destroying its manufacturing sector when so many other countries — including the U.S. — failed? We revisit an episode from the Freakonomics Radio archive to figure out what we might learn from an economic success story.

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5/3/24
57:18
No. 586

How Does the Lost World of Vienna Still Shape Our Lives?

From politics and economics to psychology and the arts, many of the modern ideas we take for granted emerged a century ago from a single European capital. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, the historian Richard Cockett explores all those ideas — and how the arrival of fascism can ruin in a few years what took generations to build.

5/1/24
62:39
EXTRA

Why Is 23andMe Going Under? (Update)

Five years ago, we published an episode about the boom in home DNA testing kits, focusing on the high-flying firm 23andMe and its C.E.O. Anne Wojcicki. Their flight has been extremely bumpy since then. This update includes an additional interview with the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been investigating the firm’s collapse.

4/28/24
68:58
PLUS

Canada’s Basic Income Experiment

Long before the world knew what a “universal basic income” was, Canada experimented with giving poor households extra money. We dig back into the Freakonomics Radio archive to see what happened — and what it means for the U.B.I. movement.

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4/26/24
37:02
No. 585

A Social Activist in Prime Minister’s Clothing

Justin Trudeau, facing record-low approval numbers, is doubling down on his progressive agenda. But he is so upbeat (and Canada-polite) that it’s easy to miss just how radical his vision is. Can he make it work?

4/24/24
58:46
PLUS

Making Connections, the Esalen Way

Stephen Dubner joins Voices of Esalen host Sam Stern to talk about Richard Feynman.

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4/19/24
32:53
No. 584

How to Pave the Road to Hell

So you want to help people? That’s great — but beware the law of unintended consequences. Three stories from the modern workplace.

4/17/24
50:13
EXTRA

The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution (Update)

The psychologist Daniel Kahneman — a Nobel laureate and the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow — recently died at age 90. Along with his collaborator Amos Tversky, he changed how we all think about decision-making. The journalist Michael Lewis told the Kahneman-Tversky story in a 2016 book called The Undoing Project. In this episode, Lewis explains why they had such a profound influence.

4/14/24
40:37
PLUS

What Makes a Good Boss?

Stephen Dubner speaks with the economist Nicholas Bloom about the qualities of successful C.E.O.s.

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4/12/24
41:07
No. 495

Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Update)

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.

4/10/24
54:16
PLUS

Francis Fukuyama Wants You to Change Your Mind

Stephen Dubner talks with the political scientist about liberal democracy, globalization, and the challenges of persuasion.

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4/5/24
53:26
No. 583

Are We Living Through the Most Revolutionary Period in History?

Fareed Zakaria says yes. But it’s not just political revolution — it’s economic, technological, even emotional. He doesn’t offer easy solutions but he does offer some hope.

4/3/24
67:47
EXTRA

How Much Do You Know About Immigration?

The political debates over immigration can generate a lot of fuzzy facts. We wanted to test Americans’ knowledge — so, to wrap up our special series on immigration, we called some Freakonomics Radio listeners and quizzed them.

3/31/24
30:30
PLUS

Why Is it So Hard to Talk About Immigration?

Stephen Dubner speaks with journalist David Leonhardt about the causes and consequences of the U.S. immigration mess.

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3/29/24
50:31
No. 582

Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?

As the U.S. tries to fix its messy immigration system, our neighbor to the north is scooping up more talented newcomers every year. Are the Canadians stealing America’s bacon? (Part three of a three-part series.)

3/27/24
55:19
PLUS

“Courage Is the Most Important Thing”

Stephen Dubner speaks with the University of Warwick’s Economics Society.

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3/22/24
48:22
No. 581

What Both Parties Get Wrong About Immigration

The U.S. immigration system is a massively complicated machine, with a lot of worn-out parts. How to fix it? Step one: Get hold of some actual facts and evidence. (We did this step for you.) (Part two of a three-part series.)

3/20/24
61:42
EXTRA

Madeleine Albright’s Warning on Immigration

She arrived in the U.S. as an 11-year-old refugee, then rose to become Secretary of State. Her views on immigration, nationalism, and borders, from this 2015 interview, are almost strangely appropriate to the present moment.

3/18/24
34:16
PLUS

What Can the Bible Teach Us About Immigration?

Stephen talks with Roger Nam, a professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory University, about how ancient migrations intersect with today.

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3/15/24
55:34
No. 580

The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System

How did a nation of immigrants come to hate immigration? We start at the beginning, sort through the evidence, and explain why your grandfather was lying about Ellis Island. (Part one of a three-part series.)

3/13/24
59:25
PLUS

The Suddenly Controversial World of Professional Golf

Sportswriter Karen Crouse talks about the battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.

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3/8/24
44:06
No. 579

Are You Caught in a Social Media Trap?

Economists have discovered an odd phenomenon: many people who use social media (even you, maybe?) wish it didn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean they can escape.

3/6/24
47:07
EXTRA

What Is Sportswashing — and Does It Work? (Update)

In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf league that’s challenging the PGA Tour. Can a sporting event really repair a country’s reputation — or will it trigger the dreaded Streisand Effect? Also: why the major U.S. sports leagues are warming up to the idea of foreign investment.

3/4/24
71:59
PLUS

Puzzle Me This

Stephen Dubner sits down with his friend A.J. Jacobs to play some games on his podcast, The Puzzler.

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3/1/24
25:43
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