Freakonomics Radio

By ​Dubner Productions and Stitcher

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A Podcast Republic user
 Aug 7, 2018

Anne
 Aug 2, 2018
the Freakonomics podcast got me hooked on podcasts in general thank you!! Continues to offeor fantastic slices of information

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 Jul 28, 2018

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 Jul 27, 2018

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 Jul 20, 2018

Description

Discover the hidden side of everything with Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books. Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers. Special features include series like “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.” as well as a live game show, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.” 


Episode Date
Who Decides How Much a Life Is Worth? (Ep. 344)
00:38:10

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? We speak 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 figure to each victim; the hard part is acknowledging that dollars can’t heal the pain.

Aug 09, 2018
A Conversation With PepsiCo C.E.O. Indra Nooyi (Ep. 316 Update)
00:45:45

One of the world’s biggest and best-known companies just announced that its C.E.O. would be stepping down in the fall. We interviewed her as part of our series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.," and we thought you might like to hear that episode again, or for the first time if you missed it back then.

Aug 07, 2018
An Astronaut, a Catalan, and Two Linguists Walk Into a Bar…
00:53:36

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.

Aug 02, 2018
Has Lance Armstrong Finally Come Clean?
00:50:37

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, he says he is. Do you believe him?

Jul 26, 2018
Why We Choke Under Pressure (and How Not To)
00:44:38

It happens to just about everyone, whether you’re going for Olympic gold or giving a wedding toast. We hear from psychologists, economists, and the golfer who some say committed the greatest choke of all time.

Jul 19, 2018
People Aren’t Dumb. The World Is Hard.
00:57:00

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.

Jul 12, 2018
The Future of Freakonomics Radio
00:35:58

After 8 years and more than 300 episodes, it was time to either 1) quit, or 2) make the show bigger and better. We voted for number 2. Here’s a peek behind the curtain and a preview of what you’ll be hearing next.

Jul 03, 2018
In Praise of Incrementalism (Rebroadcast)
00:49:20

What do Renaissance painting, civil-rights movements, and Olympic cycling have in common? In each case, huge breakthroughs came from taking tiny steps. In a world where everyone is looking for the next moonshot, we shouldn’t ignore the power of incrementalism.

Jun 28, 2018
In Praise of Maintenance (Rebroadcast)
00:42:16
Has our culture's obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?
Jun 21, 2018
How to Catch World Cup Fever
00:56:44
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 to life.
Jun 14, 2018
How to Build a Smart City
00:39:06
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 scratch, the city of the future.
Jun 07, 2018
How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Rebroadcast)
00:28:26
Nearly two 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?
May 31, 2018
The Most Vilified Industry in America Is Also the Most Charitable
00:33:24
Pharmaceutical firms donate an enormous amount of their products (and some cash too). But it doesn't seem to be helping their reputation. We ask Pfizer's generosity chief why the company gives so much, who it really helps, and whether all this philanthropy is just corporate whitewashing.
May 24, 2018
Does Doing Good Give You License to Be Bad?
00:36:53
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.
May 17, 2018
5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing
00:49:36
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.
May 10, 2018
Evolution, Accelerated (Rebroadcast)
00:35:32
A breakthrough in genetic technology has given humans more power than ever to change nature. It could help eliminate hunger and disease; it could also lead to the sort of dystopia we used to only read about in sci-fi novels. So what happens next?
May 03, 2018
The Most Ambitious Thing Humans Have Ever Attempted
00:52:00
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.
Apr 26, 2018
Why the Trump Tax Cuts Are Terrible/Awesome (Part 2)
00:44:59
Three former White House economists weigh in on the new tax bill. A sample: "The overwhelming evidence is that the trickle-down, magic-beanstalk beans argument — that's just nonsense."
Apr 19, 2018
Why the Trump Tax Cuts are Awesome/Terrible (Part 1)
00:45:27
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. (Next week, we'll hear from the critics.)
Apr 12, 2018
Extra: Ray Dalio Full Interview
01:18:09
Stephen Dubner's conversation with the founder and longtime C.E.O. of Bridgewater Associates, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”
Apr 09, 2018
The Invisible Paw
00:48:20
Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we've had it exactly backward?
Apr 05, 2018
Extra: Mark Zuckerberg Full Interview
00:46:26
Stephen Dubner's conversation with the Facebook founder and C.E.O., recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”
Apr 02, 2018
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask) (Rebroadcast)
00:44:47
The bad news: roughly 70 percent of Americans are financially illiterate. The good news: all the important stuff can fit on one index card. Here's how to become your own financial superhero.
Mar 29, 2018
Extra: Carol Bartz Full Interview
00:51:23
Stephen Dubner's conversation with the former C.E.O. of Yahoo, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”
Mar 26, 2018
The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money (Rebroadcast)
00:46:38
It's hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. 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.
Mar 22, 2018
Extra: Jack Welch Full Interview
00:56:44
Stephen Dubner's conversation with the former longtime C.E.O. of General Electric, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”
Mar 19, 2018
How to Train Your Dragon Child
00:35:30
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 they grow up, and why timing your kid's birth based on the zodiac isn't as ridiculous it sounds.
Mar 15, 2018
Extra: Satya Nadella Full Interview
00:40:31
Stephen Dubner's conversation with the C.E.O. of Microsoft, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”
Mar 12, 2018
Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It
00:41:13
Whether it's a giant infrastructure plan or a humble kitchen renovation, it'll inevitably take way too long and cost way too much. That's because you suffer from “the planning fallacy.” (You also have an “optimism bias” and a bad case of overconfidence.) But don't worry: we've got the solution.
Mar 08, 2018
Extra: David Rubenstein Full Interview
01:30:44
Stephen Dubner's conversation with the co-founder and longtime co-C.E.O. of the Carlyle Group, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”
Mar 05, 2018
Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late? (Rebroadcast)
00:46:33
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.
Mar 01, 2018
Extra: Richard Branson Full Interview
00:55:18
Stephen Dubner's conversation with the Virgin Group founder, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”
Feb 26, 2018
​Letting Go
00:45:06
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 office to go to — and how will you spend all that money?​
Feb 22, 2018
After the Glass Ceiling, a Glass Cliff
00:52:26
Only 5 percent 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? (Part 5 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")
Feb 15, 2018
It’s Your Problem Now
00:44:06
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, Ellen Pao, Richard Branson, and more. (Part 4 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")
Feb 08, 2018
What Can Uber Teach Us About the Gender Pay Gap?
00:42:32
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.
Feb 06, 2018
An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl (Rebroadcast)
00:27:37
We assembled a panel of smart dudes -- a two-time Super Bowl champ; a couple of N.F.L. 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 a football fanatic or a total newbie.
Feb 03, 2018
“I Wasn’t Stupid Enough to Say This Could Be Done Overnight”
00:48:03
Indra Nooyi became C.E.O. of PepsiCo just in time for a global financial meltdown. She also had a portfolio full of junk food just as the world decided that junk food is borderline toxic. Here's the story of how she overhauled that portfolio, stared down activist investors, and learned to "leave the crown in the garage." (Part 3 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s")
Feb 01, 2018
How to Become a C.E.O.
00:44:23
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 Group, Reddit, and Bridgewater Associates made it to the top. (Part 2 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")
Jan 25, 2018
What Does a C.E.O. Actually Do?
00:38:37
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 Pao. (Part 1 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")
Jan 18, 2018
How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win
00:38:07
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?
Jan 11, 2018
Why Is My Life So Hard? (Rebroadcast)
00:30:10
Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?
Jan 04, 2018
Trust Me (Rebroadcast)
00:30:00
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?
Dec 28, 2017
Make Me a Match (Rebroadcast)
00:52:47
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.
Dec 21, 2017
Not Your Grandmother’s I.M.F.
00:38:21
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.
Dec 14, 2017
Why Is the Live-Event Ticket Market So Screwed Up?
00:47:40
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.
Dec 07, 2017
Are We Running Out of Ideas?
00:37:00
Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. One theory: true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next?
Nov 30, 2017
Is America Ready for a “No-Lose Lottery”? (Update)
00:45:16
Most people don't enjoy the simple, boring act of putting money in a savings account. But we do love to play the lottery. So what if you combine the two, creating a new kind of savings account with a lottery payout?
Nov 23, 2017
Nurses to the Rescue!
00:57:47
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.
Nov 16, 2017
How Can I Do the Most Social Good With $100? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions
00:43:28
Dubner and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answer your questions about crime, traffic, real-estate agents, the Ph.D. glut, and how to not get eaten by a bear.
Nov 09, 2017
Why Is There So Much Ground Beef in the World? (Special Feature)
00:43:26
In this live episode of "Tell Me Something I Don't Know," you'll learn about carcass balancing, teen sleeping, and brand naming. Joining Stephen J. Dubner as co-host is Alex Wagner (CBS This Morning Saturday); author A.J. Jacobs (It's All Relative) is the live fact-checker.
Nov 07, 2017
Thinking Is Expensive. Who’s Supposed to Pay for It?
00:38:50
Corporations and rich people donate billions to their favorite think tanks and foundations. Should we be grateful for their generosity — or suspicious of their motives?
Nov 02, 2017
How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution
00:44:44
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.
Oct 26, 2017
The Demonization of Gluten
00:43:58
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.
Oct 19, 2017
What Are the Secrets of the German Economy — and Should We Steal Them?
00:57:08
Smart government policies, good industrial relations, and high-end products have helped German manufacturing beat back the threats of globalization.
Oct 12, 2017
Time to Take Back the Toilet (Rebroadcast)
00:31:48
Public bathrooms are noisy, poorly designed, and often nonexistent. What to do?
Oct 05, 2017
“Tell Me Something I Don't Know” on the topic of Behavior Change (Special Feature)
00:54:11
Stephen J. Dubner hosts an episode full of the world's most renowned behavior change experts, including Colin Camerer, Ayelet Fishbach, David Laibson, Max Bazerman, Katy Milkman, and Kevin Volpp. Angela Duckworth (psychologist and author of Grit) is our special guest co-host, with Mike Maughan (head of global insights at Qualtrics) as real-time fact-checker.
Oct 01, 2017
Why Larry Summers Is the Economist Everyone Hates to Love
00:50:25
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.
Sep 28, 2017
Why Learn Esperanto? (Special Feature)
00:30:59
A language invented in the 19th century, and meant to be universal, it never really caught on. So why does a group of Esperantists from around the world gather once a year to celebrate their bond?
Sep 26, 2017
What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)
00:41:07
We explore 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?
Sep 21, 2017
Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)
00:43:06
There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?
Sep 14, 2017
"How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?"
00:47:07
John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. simultaneously getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain damage, he abruptly retired. Here's the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions in the face of risk versus uncertainty.
Sep 07, 2017
Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis (Rebroadcast)
00:48:40
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? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.
Aug 31, 2017
Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations (Rebroadcast)
00:45:39
How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on "dream patients" who aren't representative of a larger population. On the other hand, sometimes the only thing worse than being excluded from a drug trial is being included.
Aug 24, 2017
Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6 (Rebroadcast)
00:44:05
We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.
Aug 17, 2017
What Are You Waiting For? (Rebroadcast)
00:36:21
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?
Aug 10, 2017
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask)
00:44:04
The bad news: roughly 70 percent of Americans are financially illiterate. The good news: all the important stuff can fit on one index card. Here's how to become your own financial superhero.
Aug 03, 2017
The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money
00:48:04
It's hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. 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.
Jul 27, 2017
These Shoes Are Killing Me!
00:39:16
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?
Jul 20, 2017
When Helping Hurts
00:51:29
Good intentions are nice, but with so many resources poured into social programs, wouldn't it be even nicer to know what actually works?
Jul 13, 2017
The Fracking Boom, a Baby Boom, and the Retreat From Marriage
00:43:58
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?
Jul 06, 2017
The Harvard President Will See You Now (Rebroadcast)
00:39:21
How a pain-in-the-neck girl from rural Virginia came to run the most powerful university in the world.
Jun 29, 2017
Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2)
00:37:15
Charles Koch, the mega-billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and half of the infamous political machine, sees himself as a classical liberal. So why do most Democrats hate him so much? In a rare series of interviews, he explains his political awakening, his management philosophy, and why he supports legislation that goes against his self-interest.
Jun 23, 2017
Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 1)
00:44:31
Charles Koch, the mega-billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and half of the infamous political machine, sees himself as a classical liberal. So why do most Democrats hate him so much? In a rare series of interviews, he explains his political awakening, his management philosophy and why he supports legislation that goes against his self-interest.
Jun 22, 2017
"Tell Me Something I Don't Know" on the topic of Rivalry
00:57:16
Steve Levitt, Scott Turow and Bridget Gainer are panelists. For the "Freakonomics" co-author, the attorney and novelist, and the Cook County commissioner it's "game on!" as they tackle competition of all kinds: athletic, sexual, geopolitical, and the little-known battle between butter and margarine that landed in the Supreme Court. WBEZ's Tricia Bobeda, co-host of the "Nerdette" podcast, is fact-checker.
Jun 20, 2017
Evolution, Accelerated
00:35:42
A breakthrough in genetic technology has given humans more power than ever to change nature. It could help eliminate hunger and disease; it could also lead to the sort of dystopia we used to only read about in sci-fi novels. So what happens next? Help us meet the Freakonomics Radio listener challenge. If 500 of you become sustaining members at just $7/month before June 30th we'll unlock an additional $25,000 from the Tow Foundation. Become a member now!
Jun 15, 2017
He’s One of the Most Famous Political Operatives in America. America Just Doesn’t Know It Yet.
00:42:16
Steve Hilton was the man behind David Cameron's push to remake British politics. Things didn't work out so well there. Now he's trying to launch a new political revolution – from sunny California.
Jun 08, 2017
How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?
00:28:01
Nearly two 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?
Jun 01, 2017
Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?
00:43:58
A series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It's an easy narrative to swallow — but is it true? A trio of economists set out to test the theory. All it took was a Dutch postal worker's uniform, some envelopes stuffed with cash, and a slight sense of the absurd.
May 25, 2017
Hoopers! Hoopers! Hoopers!
00:39:23
As CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer was famous for over-the-top enthusiasm. Now he's brought that same passion to the N.B.A. -- and to a pet project called USAFacts, which performs a sort of fiscal colonoscopy on the American government.
May 18, 2017
How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google)
00:34:02
On the Internet, people say all kinds of things they'd never say aloud -- about sex and race, about their true wants and fears. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has spent years parsing the data. His conclusion: our online searches are the reflection of our true selves. In the real world, everybody lies.
May 11, 2017
Food + Science = Victory! (Rebroadcast)
00:36:45
A kitchen wizard and a nutrition detective talk about the perfect hamburger, getting the most out of garlic, and why you should use vodka in just about everything.
May 04, 2017
There’s a War on Sugar. Is It Justified?
00:45:40
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 FDA commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest.
Apr 27, 2017
Is Income Inequality Inevitable? (Earth 2.0 Series)
00:40:57
In pursuit of a more perfect economy, we discuss the future of work; the toxic remnants of colonization; and whether giving everyone a basic income would be genius -- or maybe the worst idea ever.
Apr 20, 2017
What Would Our Economy Look Like? (Earth 2.0 Series)
00:42:53
If we could reboot the planet and create new systems and institutions from scratch, would they be any better than what we've blundered our way into through trial and error? This is the first of a series of episodes that we'll release over several months. Today we start with — what else? — economics. You'll hear from Nobel laureate Angus Deaton, the poverty-fighting superhero Jeff Sachs; and many others.
Apr 13, 2017
Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others?
00:35:23
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. An all-star team of academic researchers thinks it has the solution: perfecting the science of behavior change. Will it work?
Apr 06, 2017
Big Returns from Thinking Small
00:30:46
By day, two leaders of Britain's famous Nudge Unit use behavioral tricks to make better government policy. By night, they repurpose those tricks to improve their personal lives. They want to help you do the same.
Mar 30, 2017
“Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” on the topic of Collections.
00:51:22
Hear live journalism wrapped in a game show package and hosted by Stephen J. Dubner. In this episode, Tim Ferriss, Eugene Mirman and Anne Pasternak are panelists. The self-help guru, the comedian and the Brooklyn Museum director talk about brainwaves, sugar, stars and — thanks to fact-checker AJ Jacobs — barf bags.
Mar 28, 2017
How Safe Is Your Job? (Rebroadcast)
00:33:20
Economists preach the gospel of "creative destruction," whereby new industries -- and jobs -- replace the old ones. But has creative destruction become too destructive?
Mar 23, 2017
Why Is My Life So Hard?
00:30:32
Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?
Mar 16, 2017
Chuck E. Cheese’s: Where a Kid Can Learn Price Theory
00:31:22
The pizza-and-gaming emporium prides itself on affordability, which means its arcade games are really cheap to play. Does that lead to kids hogging the best games — and parents starting those infamous YouTube brawls?
Mar 09, 2017
The Taboo Trifecta
00:32:09
The serial entrepreneur Miki Agrawal loves to talk about the bodily functions that make most people flinch. That's why she's building a business around the three P's: periods, pee, and poop.
Mar 02, 2017
No Hollywood Ending for the Visual-Effects Industry
00:55:46
In their chase for a global audience, American movie studios spend billions to make their films look amazing. But almost none of those dollars stay in America. What would it take to bring those jobs back -- and would it be worth it?
Feb 23, 2017
Professor Hendryx vs. Big Coal
00:37:04
What happens when a public-health researcher deep in coal country argues that mountaintop mining endangers the entire community? Hint: it doesn't go very well.
Feb 16, 2017
How to Get More Grit in Your Life (Rebroadcast)
00:42:09
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. Here's how.
Feb 09, 2017
An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl
00:28:27
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 a football fanatic or a total newbie.
Feb 02, 2017
Did China Eat America’s Jobs?
00:38:24
For years, economists promised that global free trade would be mostly win-win. Now they admit the pace of change has been "traumatic." This has already led to a political insurrection -- so what's next?
Jan 26, 2017
Is the American Dream Really Dead?
00:39:29
Just a few decades ago, more than 90 percent of 30-year-olds earned more than their parents had earned at the same age. Now it's only about 50 percent. What happened -- and what can be done about it?
Jan 19, 2017
Trevor Noah Has a Lot to Say
00:35:21
The Daily Show host grew up as a poor, mixed-race South African kid going to three churches every Sunday. So he has a sui generis view of America -- especially on race, politics, and religion -- and he's not afraid to speak his mind.
Jan 12, 2017
The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution
00:35:09
Starting in the late 1960s, the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman began to redefine how the human mind actually works. Michael Lewis's new book The Undoing Project explains how the movement they started -- now known as behavioral economics -- has had such a profound effect on academia, governments, and society at large.
Jan 05, 2017
How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Rebroadcast)
00:50:11
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. He tells us everything he's learned.
Dec 29, 2016
How to Be More Productive (Rebroadcast)
00:39:23
In this busy time of year, we could all use some tips on how to get more done in less time. First, however, a warning: there's a big difference between being busy and being productive.
Dec 22, 2016
Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis
00:48:34
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? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.
Dec 15, 2016
Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations
00:45:21
How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on "dream patients" who aren't representative of a larger population. On the other hand, sometimes the only thing worse than being excluded from a drug trial is being included.
Dec 08, 2016
Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6
00:44:54
We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.
Dec 01, 2016
The No-Tipping Point (Rebroadcast)
00:44:25
The restaurant business model is warped: 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.
Nov 24, 2016
How to Make a Bad Decision
00:35:44
Some of our most important decisions are shaped by something as random as the order in which we make them. The gambler's fallacy, as it's known, affects loan officers, federal judges -- and probably you too. How to avoid it? The first step is to admit just how fallible we all are.
Nov 17, 2016
Introducing Stephen J. Dubner's new podcast, "Tell Me Something I Don't Know"
00:53:21
"Tell Me Something I Don't Know" is a live game show hosted by Stephen J. Dubner of "Freakonomics Radio." He has always had a mission: to tell you the things you thought you knew but didn't, and things you never thought you wanted to know, but do. Now, with "TMSIDK," he has a new way of doing just that. This new show is still journalism, still factual -- but disguised in the most entertaining, unexpected, and occasionally ridiculous conversation you're likely to hear. Audience contestants come on stage and try to wow a panel of experts with a fascinating fact, a historical wrinkle, a new line of research -- anything, really, as long as it's interesting, useful and true (or at least true-ish). The panel -- an ever-changing mix of comedians, brainiacs, and other high achievers -- poke and prod the contestants, and ultimately choose a winner. And there's a real-time, human fact-checker on hand to filter out the bull. This debut episode features Barnard College president Debora Spar, New York Public Library president Tony Marx, and comedian Andy Zaltzman; Jody Avirgan from FiveThirtyEight handles the fact-checking. You can subscribe now on iTunes. And don't worry, Freakonomics Radio isn't going anywhere -- this is just a special bonus episode of Dubner's new side gig.
Nov 15, 2016
Trust Me
00:27:42
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?
Nov 10, 2016
How Much Does the President Really Matter? (Rebroadcast)
00:33:26
The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won't say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership, and its impact on the economy and the country.
Nov 09, 2016
The White House Gets Into the Nudge Business
00:42:18
A tiny behavioral-sciences startup is trying to improve the way federal agencies do their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, this isn't so simple. But after a series of early victories -- and a helpful executive order from President Obama -- they are well on their way.
Nov 03, 2016
In Praise of Incrementalism
00:48:33
What do Renaissance painting, civil-rights movements, and Olympic cycling have in common? In each case, huge breakthroughs came from taking tiny steps. In a world where everyone is looking for the next moonshot, we shouldn't ignore the power of incrementalism.
Oct 27, 2016
In Praise of Maintenance
00:41:44
Has our culture's obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?
Oct 20, 2016
This Is Your Brain on Podcasts
00:45:22
Neuroscientists still have a great deal to learn about the human brain. One recent MRI study sheds some light, finding that a certain kind of storytelling stimulates enormous activity across broad swaths of the brain. The takeaway is obvious: you should be listening to even more podcasts.
Oct 13, 2016
How To Win A Nobel Prize (Rebroadcast)
00:44:31
The process is famously secretive (and conducted in Swedish!) but we pry the lid off at least a little bit.
Oct 06, 2016
Why Are We Still Using Cash?
00:42:58
It 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. And if Star Trek is right, we won't have money of any sort in the 24th century.
Sep 29, 2016
Has the U.S. Presidency Become a Dictatorship?
00:47:47
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.
Sep 22, 2016
Ten Signs You Might Be a Libertarian
00:50:42
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?
Sep 15, 2016
Why Uber Is an Economist’s Dream
00:38:28
To you, it's just a ride-sharing app that gets you where you're going. But to an economist, Uber is a massive repository of moment-by-moment data that is helping answer some of the field's most elusive questions.
Sep 08, 2016
The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary as You Think
00:35:01
Internet pioneer Kevin Kelly tries to predict the future by identifying what's truly inevitable. How worried should we be? Yes, robots will probably take your job -- but the future will still be pretty great.
Sep 01, 2016
Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset? (Rebroadcast)
00:37:49
The gist: we spend billions on end-of-life healthcare that doesn’t do much good. So what if a patient could forego the standard treatment and get a cash rebate instead?
Aug 25, 2016
Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush (Rebroadcast)
00:31:28
The comedian, actor -- and now, author -- answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions.
Aug 18, 2016
What Are You Waiting For?
00:34:56
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?
Aug 11, 2016
Is It Okay for Restaurants to Racially Profile Their Employees? (Rebroadcast)
00:51:59
We seem to have decided that ethnic food tastes better when it's served by people of that ethnicity (or at least something close). Does this make sense -- and is it legal?
Aug 04, 2016
Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten
00:44:52
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?
Jul 28, 2016
What Are Gender Barriers Made Of?
00:36:32
Overt discrimination in the labor markets may be on the wane, but women are still subtly penalized by all sorts of societal conventions. How can those penalties be removed without burning down the house?
Jul 21, 2016
Is the Internet Being Ruined?
00:47:58
It's a remarkable ecosystem that allows each of us to exercise control over our lives. But how much control do we truly have? How many of our decisions are really being made by Google and Facebook and Apple? And, perhaps most importantly: is the Internet's true potential being squandered?
Jul 14, 2016
Confessions of a Pothole Politician
00:43:47
Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, has big ambitions but knows he must first master the small stuff. He's also a polymath who relies heavily on data and new technologies. Could this be what modern politics is supposed to look like?
Jul 07, 2016
The Suicide Paradox (Rebroadcast)
00:57:26
There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.
Jun 30, 2016
How Much Does the President Really Matter? (Rebroadcast)
00:33:28
The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won't say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership, and its impact on the economy and the country.
Jun 23, 2016
Why Do We Really Follow the News? (Rebroadcast)
00:35:49
There are all kinds of civics-class answers to that question. But how true are they? Could it be that we like to read about war, politics, and miscellaneous heartbreak simply because it's (gasp) entertaining?
Jun 16, 2016
Are We in a Mattress-Store Bubble?
00:36:45
You've seen them -- everywhere! -- and often clustered together, as if central planners across America decided that what every city really needs is a Mattress District. There are now dozens of online rivals too. Why are there so many stores selling something we buy so rarely?
Jun 09, 2016
Why Does Everyone Hate Flying? And Other Questions Only a Pilot Can Answer
00:43:45
Patrick Smith, the author of Cockpit Confidential, answers every question we can throw at him about what really happens up in the air. Just don't get him started on pilotless planes -- or whether the autopilot is actually doing the flying.
Jun 02, 2016
The Longest Long Shot
00:43:03
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.
May 26, 2016
How to Be Tim Ferriss
00:41:31
Our Self-Improvement Month concludes with a man whose entire life and career are one big pile of self-improvement. Nutrition? Check. Bizarre physical activities? Check. Working less and earning more? Check. Tim Ferriss, creator of the Four-Hour universe, may at first glance look like a charlatan, but it seems more likely that he's a wizard -- and the kind of self-improvement ally we all want on our side.
May 19, 2016
How to Win Games and Beat People
00:52:30
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.
May 12, 2016
How to Get More Grit in Your Life
00:44:28
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. Here's how.
May 05, 2016
Being Malcolm Gladwell
00:28:20
"Books are a pain in the ass," says Gladwell, who has written some of the most popular, influential, and beloved non-fiction books in recent history. In this wide-ranging and candid conversation, he describes other pains in the ass -- as well as his passions, his limits, and why he'll never take up golf.
May 02, 2016
How to Become Great at Just About Anything
00:51:55
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. He tells us everything he's learned.
Apr 28, 2016
How to Be More Productive
00:38:37
It's Self-Improvement Month at Freakonomics Radio. We begin with a topic that seems to be on everyone's mind: how to get more done in less time. First, however, a warning: there's a big difference between being busy and being productive.
Apr 21, 2016
Is the World Ready for a Guaranteed Basic Income?
00:36:42
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.
Apr 14, 2016
Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?
00:49:40
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 financial instrument for people who need them. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau promotes new regulation, we ask: who's right?
Apr 07, 2016
The Economics of Sleep, Part 2 (Rebroadcast)
00:42:50
People who sleep better earn more money. Now all we have to do is teach everyone to sleep better.
Mar 31, 2016
The Economics of Sleep, Part 1 (Rebroadcast)
00:45:41
Could a lack of sleep help explain why some people get much sicker than others?
Mar 24, 2016
Yes, the American Economy Is in a Funk -- But Not for the Reasons You Think
00:33:32
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. So what happens next?
Mar 17, 2016
The No-Tipping Point
00:43:17
The restaurant business model is warped: 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.
Mar 11, 2016
The United States of Cory Booker
00:39:21
The junior U.S. Senator from New Jersey 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?
Mar 03, 2016
Ask Not What Your Podcast Can Do for You
00:41:42
Now and again, Freakonomics Radio puts hat in hand and asks listeners to donate to the public-radio station that produces the show. Why on earth should anyone pay good money for something that can be had for free? Here are a few reasons.
Feb 25, 2016
How Can This Possibly Be True?
00:40:52
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 bragging? In any case, what can the pencil teach us about our global interdependence -- and the proper role of government in the economy?
Feb 18, 2016
Who Needs Handwriting?
00:39:36
The digital age is making pen and paper seem obsolete. But what are we giving up if we give up on handwriting?
Feb 11, 2016
How to Fix a Broken High Schooler, in Four Easy Steps (Rebroadcast)
00:29:15
Okay, maybe the steps aren't so easy. But a program run out of a Toronto housing project has had great success in turning around kids who were headed for trouble.
Feb 04, 2016
Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem? (Rebroadcast)
00:36:39
If U.S. schoolteachers are indeed "just a little bit below average," it's not really their fault. So what should be done about it?
Jan 28, 2016
Do Boycotts Work?
00:37:26
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?
Jan 21, 2016
How to Be Less Terrible at Predicting the Future
00:46:56
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.
Jan 14, 2016
The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap
00:43:27
Discrimination can't explain why women earn so much less than men. If only it were that easy.
Jan 07, 2016
When Willpower Isn’t Enough (Rebroadcast)
00:31:02
Sure, we all want to make good personal decisions, but it doesn't always work out. That's where "temptation bundling" comes in.
Dec 31, 2015
Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition (Rebroadcast)
00:41:59
A team of economists has been running the numbers on the U.N.'s development goals. They have a different view of how those billions of dollars should be spent.
Dec 24, 2015
Is Migration a Basic Human Right?
01:00:58
The argument for open borders is compelling -- and deeply problematic.
Dec 17, 2015
The Cheeseburger Diet
00:32:07
One woman's quest to find the best burger in town can teach all of us to eat smarter.
Dec 10, 2015
Ben Bernanke Gives Himself a Grade
00:47:04
He was handed the keys to the global economy just as it started heading off a cliff. Fortunately, he'd seen this movie before.
Dec 03, 2015
Why Do People Keep Having Children? (Rebroadcast)
00:40:03
Even a brutal natural disaster doesn't diminish our appetite for procreating. This surely means we're heading toward massive overpopulation, right? Probably not.
Nov 26, 2015
Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late?
00:45:56
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.
Nov 19, 2015
Should Everyone Be in a Rock Band?
00:45:31
Lessons from Tom Petty's rise and another rocker's fall.
Nov 12, 2015
Food + Science = Victory
00:38:23
A kitchen wizard and a nutrition detective talk about the perfect hamburger, getting the most out of garlic, and why you should use vodka in just about everything.
Nov 05, 2015
Am I Boring You?
00:39:32
Researchers are trying to figure out who gets bored - and why - and what it means for ourselves and the economy. But maybe there's an upside to boredom?
Oct 29, 2015
How to Save $1 Billion Without Even Trying (Rebroadcast)
00:36:26
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?
Oct 22, 2015
How To Win A Nobel Prize
00:45:27
The process is famously secretive (and conducted in Swedish!) but we pry the lid off at least a little bit.
Oct 15, 2015
Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents for Raising Them?
00:47:22
When one athlete turned pro, his mom asked him for $1 million. Our modern sensibilities tell us she doesn't have a case. But should she?
Oct 08, 2015
Meet the Woman Who Said Women Can’t Have It All
00:42:10
Anne-Marie Slaughter was best known for her adamant views on Syria when she accidentally became a poster girl for modern feminism. As it turns out, she can be pretty adamant in that realm as well.
Oct 01, 2015
How Did the Belt Win?
00:30:56
Suspenders may work better, but the dork factor is too high. How did an organ-squeezing belly tourniquet become part of our everyday wardrobe -- and what other suboptimal solutions do we routinely put up with?
Sep 24, 2015
“I Don't Know What You've Done With My Husband, But He's a Changed Man.”
00:46:53
From domestic abusers to former child soldiers, there is increasing evidence that behavioral therapy can turn them around.
Sep 17, 2015
Preventing Crime for Pennies on the Dollar
00:41:33
Conventional programs tend to be expensive, onerous, and ineffective. Could something as simple (and cheap) as cognitive behavioral therapy do the trick?
Sep 10, 2015
The Harvard President Will See You Now
00:38:52
How a pain-in-the-neck girl from rural Virginia came to run the most powerful university in the world.
Sep 03, 2015
Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset?
00:36:55
We spend billions on end-of-life healthcare that doesn't do much good. So what if a patient could forego the standard treatment and get a cash rebate instead?
Aug 27, 2015
How to Make a Smart TV Ad
00:30:34
Step 1: Hire a Harvard psych professor as the pitchman. Step 2: Have him help write the script ...
Aug 20, 2015
The Dangers of Safety (Rebroadcast)
00:30:57
What do NASCAR drivers, Glenn Beck and the hit men of the NFL have in common?
Aug 13, 2015
Why Do We Really Follow the News?
00:35:51
There are all kinds of civics-class answers to that question. But how true are they? Could it be that we like to read about war, politics, and miscellaneous heartbreak simply because it's (gasp) entertaining?
Aug 06, 2015
How to Create Suspense
00:39:21
Why is soccer the best sport? How has Harlan Coben sold 70 million books? And why does "Apollo 13" keep you enthralled even when you know the ending?
Jul 30, 2015
Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush
00:32:02
The comedian, actor -- and now, author -- answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions
Jul 23, 2015
The Economics of Sleep, Part 2
00:43:28
People who sleep better earn more money. Now all we have to do is teach everyone to sleep better.
Jul 16, 2015
The Economics of Sleep, Part 1
00:45:00
Could a lack of sleep help explain why some people get much sicker than others?
Jul 09, 2015
A Better Way to Eat (Rebroadcast)
00:28:06
Takeru Kobayashi revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us learn from his breakthrough?
Jul 02, 2015
Is It Okay for Restaurants to Racially Profile Their Employees?
00:53:55
We seem to have decided that ethnic food tastes better when it's served by people of that ethnicity (or at least something close). Does this make sense -- and is it legal?
Jun 25, 2015
Make Me a Match
00:50:22
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.
Jun 18, 2015
Making Sex Offenders Pay -- and Pay and Pay and Pay
00:35:28
Sure, sex crimes are horrific, and the perpetrators deserve to be punished harshly. But society keeps exacting costs -- out-of-pocket and otherwise -- long after the prison sentence has been served.
Jun 11, 2015
Should We Really Behave Like Economists Say We Do?
00:54:47
One man's attempt to remake his life in the mold of homo economicus.
Jun 04, 2015
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Rebroadcast)
01:02:56
The debut of a live game show from Freakonomics Radio, with judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson.
May 28, 2015
Failure Is Your Friend (Rebroadcast)
00:31:47
In which we argue that failure should not only be tolerated but celebrated.
May 21, 2015
Ten Years of Freakonomics
00:46:02
Dubner and Levitt are live onstage at the 92nd Street Y in New York to celebrate their new book "When to Rob a Bank" -- and a decade of working together.
May 14, 2015
Could the Next Brooklyn Be ... Las Vegas?!
00:55:16
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has a wild vision and the dollars to try to make it real. But it still might be the biggest gamble in town.
May 07, 2015
Think Like a Child (Rebroadcast)
00:29:43
When it comes to generating ideas and asking questions it can be really fruitful to have the mentality of an eight year old.
Apr 30, 2015
Nate Silver Says: “Everyone Is Kind of Weird”
00:39:08
America's favorite statistical guru answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions, and more.
Apr 23, 2015
Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend
00:40:28
It may seem like winning a valuable diamond is an unalloyed victory. It's not. It's not even clear that a diamond is so valuable.
Apr 16, 2015
How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?
00:53:55
The practice of medicine has been subsumed by the business of medicine. This is great news for healthcare shareholders -- and bad news for pretty much everyone else.
Apr 09, 2015
How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?
00:41:52
A lot of the conventional wisdom in medicine is nothing more than hunch or wishful thinking. A new breed of data detectives is hoping to change that.
Apr 02, 2015
The Perfect Crime (Rebroadcast)
00:29:35
If you are driving and kill a pedestrian, there's a good chance you'll barely be punished. Why?
Mar 26, 2015
What You Don’t Know About Online Dating (Rebroadcast)
00:40:11
Thick markets, thin markets, and the triumph of attributes over compatibility.
Mar 19, 2015
When Willpower Isn’t Enough
00:33:03
Sure, we all want to make good personal decisions, but it doesn't always work out. That's where "temptation bundling" comes in.
Mar 12, 2015
This Idea Must Die
00:54:33
Every year, Edge.org asks its salon of big thinkers to answer one big question. This year's question borders on heresy: what scientific idea is ready for retirement?
Mar 05, 2015
The Maddest Men of All
00:32:55
Advertisers have always been adept at manipulating our emotions. Now they're using behavioral economics to get even better.
Feb 26, 2015
Hacking the World Bank
00:36:00
Jim Yong Kim has an unorthodox background for a World Bank president -- and his reign thus far is just as unorthodox.
Feb 19, 2015
Is There a Better Way to Fight Terrorism?
00:42:48
The White House is hosting an anti-terror summit next week. Summits being what they are, we try to offer some useful advice.
Feb 12, 2015
How Efficient Is Energy Efficiency?
00:32:35
It's a centerpiece of U.S. climate policy and a sacred cow among environmentalists. Does it work?
Feb 05, 2015
How Safe Is Your Job?
00:33:38
Economists preach the gospel of "creative destruction," whereby new industries -- and jobs -- replace the old ones. But has creative destruction become too destructive?
Jan 29, 2015
Someone Else’s Acid Trip
00:29:15
As Kevin Kelly tells it, the hippie revolution and the computer revolution are nearly one and the same.
Jan 22, 2015
That’s a Great Question!
00:25:23
Verbal tic or strategic rejoinder? Whatever the case: it’s rare to come across an interview these days where at least one question isn’t a “great” one.
Jan 15, 2015
Why Doesn’t Everyone Get the Flu Vaccine?
00:36:16
Influenza kills, but you’d never know it by how few of us get the vaccine.
Jan 08, 2015
What’s the “Best” Exercise? (Rebroadcast)
00:15:20
Most people blame lack of time for being out of shape. So maybe the solution is to exercise more efficiently.
Jan 01, 2015
What’s More Dangerous: Marijuana or Alcohol? (Rebroadcast)
00:25:22
Imagine that both substances were undiscovered until today. How would we think about their relative risks?
Dec 25, 2014
Time to Take Back the Toilet
00:34:45
Public bathrooms are noisy, poorly designed, and often nonexistent. What to do?
Dec 18, 2014
The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat (Rebroadcast)
00:44:38
We spend billions on our pets, and one of the fastest-growing costs is pet "aftercare." But are those cremated remains you got back really from your pet?
Dec 11, 2014
How to Fix a Broken High Schooler, in Four Easy Steps
00:29:18
Okay, maybe the steps aren’t so easy. But a program run out of a Toronto housing project has had great success in turning around kids who were headed for trouble.
Dec 04, 2014
Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem?
00:34:24
If U.S. schoolteachers are indeed “just a little bit below average,” it’s not really their fault. So what should be done about it?
Nov 27, 2014
The Man Who Would Be Everything
00:27:44
Boris Johnson -- mayor of London, biographer of Churchill, cheese-box painter and tennis-racket collector -- answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions.
Nov 20, 2014
Why Do People Keep Having Children?
00:38:32
Even a brutal natural disaster doesn’t diminish our appetite for procreating. This surely means we’re heading toward massive overpopulation, right? Probably not.
Nov 13, 2014
Should the U.S. Merge With Mexico?
00:55:59
Corporations around the world are consolidating like never before. If it’s good enough for companies, why not countries? Welcome to Amexico!
Nov 06, 2014
What Can Vampires Teach Us About Economics?
00:24:50
A lot! “The Economics of the Undead” is a book about dating strategy, job creation, and whether there should be a legal market for blood.
Oct 30, 2014
“Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”
01:02:28
The debut of a live game show from Freakonomics Radio, with judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson.
Oct 23, 2014
How Can Tiny Norway Afford to Buy So Many Teslas?
00:36:11
The Norwegian government parleys massive oil wealth into huge subsidies for electric cars. Is that carbon laundering or just pragmatic environmentalism?
Oct 16, 2014
How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten (Rebroadcast)
00:33:15
The science of what works -- and doesn't work -- in fund-raising
Oct 09, 2014
Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition
00:41:59
A team of economists has been running the numbers on the U.N.'s development goals. They have a different view of how those billions of dollars should be spent.
Oct 02, 2014
Fitness Apartheid
00:30:42
Markets are hardly perfect, but the results can be ugly when you try to subvert them.
Sep 25, 2014
Outsiders by Design
00:40:25
What does it mean to pursue something that everyone else thinks is nuts? And what does it take to succeed?
Sep 18, 2014
How to Save $1 Billion Without Even Trying
00:33:41
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?
Sep 11, 2014
Regulate This!
00:56:12
Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, EatWith, and other companies in the “sharing economy” are practically daring government regulators to shut them down. The regulators are happy to comply.
Sep 04, 2014
Who Runs the Internet? (Rebroadcast)
00:32:15
The online universe doesn't have nearly as many rules, or rulemakers, as the real world. Discuss.
Aug 28, 2014
Parking Is Hell (Rebroadcast)
00:35:07
There ain't no such thing as a free parking spot. Somebody has to pay for it -- and that somebody is everybody.
Aug 21, 2014
What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common? (Rebroadcast)
00:39:06
A look at whether spite pays -- and if it even exists.
Aug 14, 2014
Should Tipping be Banned? (Rebroadcast)
00:40:31
It's awkward, random, confusing -- and probably discriminatory too.
Aug 07, 2014
How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Rebroadcast)
00:52:00
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?
Jul 31, 2014
Does Religion Make You Happy?
00:28:35
It’s a hard question to answer, but we do our best.
Jul 24, 2014
Why You Should Bribe Your Kids
00:27:33
Educational messaging looks good on paper but kids don’t respond to it -- and adults aren’t much better.
Jul 17, 2014
What Do King Solomon and David Lee Roth Have in Common?
00:33:04
It isn’t easy to separate the guilty from the innocent, but a clever bit of game theory can help.
Jul 10, 2014
A Better Way to Eat
00:26:04
Takeru Kobayashi revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us learn from his breakthrough?
Jul 03, 2014
How to Screen Job Applicants, Act Your Age, and Get Your Brain Off Autopilot
00:25:51
Dubner and Levitt answer reader questions in this first installment of the “Think Like a Freak” Book Club.
Jun 26, 2014
There’s No Such Thing as a Free Appetizer
00:36:23
Is it really in a restaurant’s best interest to give customers free bread or chips before they even order?
Jun 19, 2014
Why America Doesn’t Love Soccer (Yet)
00:37:13
Every four years, the U.S. takes a look at the World Cup and develops a slight crush. What would it take to really fall in love?
Jun 12, 2014
Failure Is Your Friend
00:31:03
In which we argue that failure should not only be tolerated but celebrated.
Jun 05, 2014
The Upside of Quitting (Rebroadcast)
00:57:59
You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says ... Are you sure?
May 29, 2014
Think Like a Child
00:28:14
When it comes to generating ideas and asking questions it can be really fruitful to have the mentality of an eight year old.
May 22, 2014
The Three Hardest Words in the English Language
00:28:55
Why learning to say “I don’t know” is one of the best things you can do.
May 15, 2014
How to Think Like a Freak -- and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions
00:27:28
Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt talk about their new book and field questions about prestige, university life, and (yum yum) bacon.
May 08, 2014
The Perfect Crime
00:28:28
If you are driving and kill a pedestrian, there's a good chance you'll barely be punished. Why?
May 01, 2014
Which Came First, the Chicken or the Avocado?
00:29:29
When it comes to exercising outrage, people tend to be very selective. Could it be that humans are our least favorite animal?
Apr 24, 2014
What’s More Dangerous: Marijuana or Alcohol?
00:24:53
Imagine that both substances were undiscovered until today. How would we think about their relative risks?
Apr 17, 2014
“If Mayors Ruled the World”
00:31:05
Unlike certain elected officials in Washington, mayors all over the country actually get stuff done. So maybe we should ask them to do more?
Apr 10, 2014
How to Make People Quit Smoking
00:32:37
The war on cigarettes has been fairly successful in some places. But 1 billion humans still smoke -- so what comes next?
Apr 03, 2014
Why Everybody Who Doesn’t Hate Bitcoin Loves It
00:35:17
Thinking of Bitcoin as just a digital currency is like thinking about the Internet as just e-mail. Its potential is much more exciting than that.
Mar 27, 2014
Women Are Not Men (Rebroadcast)
00:37:28
In many ways, the gender gap is closing. In others, not so much. And that's not always a bad thing.
Mar 20, 2014
“It’s Fun to Smoke Marijuana”
00:22:50
A psychology professor argues that the brain's greatest attribute is knowing what other people are thinking. And that a Queen song, played backwards, can improve your mind-reading skills.
Mar 13, 2014
Is Learning a Foreign Language Really Worth It?
00:21:12
Yes, it expands the mind but we usually don't retain much -- and then there's the opportunity cost.
Mar 06, 2014
Why Are Japanese Homes Disposable?
00:23:16
In most countries, houses get more valuable over time. In Japan, a new buyer will often bulldoze the home. We'll tell you why.
Feb 27, 2014
Why Marry? (Part 2)
00:23:26
The consequences of our low marriage rate -- and if the old model is less attractive, how about a new one?
Feb 20, 2014
Why Marry? (Part 1)
00:19:31
The myths of modern marriage.
Feb 13, 2014
What You Don’t Know About Online Dating
00:35:49
Thick markets, thin markets, and the triumph of attributes over compatibility. This episode is included in the Freakonomics #smartbinge podcast playlist at wnyc.org/smartbinge
Feb 06, 2014
Reasons to Not Be Ugly
00:25:18
The "beauty premium" is real, for everyone from babies to NFL quarterbacks.
Jan 30, 2014
Everybody Gossips (and That’s a Good Thing)
00:35:23
The benefits of rumor-mongering
Jan 23, 2014
Fear Thy Nature (Rebroadcast)
00:37:13
What "Sleep No More" and the Stanford Prison Experiment tell us about who we really are.
Jan 16, 2014
Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-Quently Asked Questions
00:28:14
Dubner and Levitt talk about fixing the post office, putting cameras in the classroom, and wearing hats.
Jan 09, 2014
What’s the “Best” Exercise?
00:15:01
Most people blame lack of time for being out of shape. So maybe the solution is to exercise more efficiently.
Jan 02, 2014
Save Me From Myself (Rebroadcast)
00:35:58
A commitment device forces you to be the person you really want to be. What could possibly go wrong?
Dec 26, 2013
Pontiff-icating on the Free-Market System
00:38:58
The Pope just gave it to the global economy with both barrels. Was he right to do so?
Dec 19, 2013
Are Gay Men Really Rich?
00:19:44
It’s easy to get that idea. But is the stereotype true?
Dec 12, 2013
The Most Dangerous Machine
00:31:37
More than 1 million people die worldwide each year from traffic accidents. But there's never been a safer time to drive.
Dec 05, 2013
Fighting Poverty With Actual Evidence
00:36:50
It's time to do away with feel-good stories, gut hunches, and magical thinking.
Nov 27, 2013
What Do Skating Rinks, Ultimate Frisbee, and the World Have in Common?
00:46:10
Spontaneous order is everywhere if you know where to look for it.
Nov 21, 2013
Who Runs the Internet?
00:32:18
The online universe doesn't have nearly as many rules, or rulemakers, as the real world. Discuss.
Nov 14, 2013
Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 2 (Rebroadcast)
00:33:08
College tends to make people happier, healthier, and wealthier. But how?
Nov 07, 2013
Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1 (Rebroadcast)
00:30:08
What's a college degree really worth these days?
Oct 31, 2013
Why Bad Environmentalism Is Such an Easy Sell
00:24:27
Being green is rarely a black-and-white issue -- but that doesn't stop marketers and politicians from pretending it is.
Oct 24, 2013
The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat
00:46:00
We spend billions on our pets, and one of the fastest-growing costs is pet "aftercare." But are those cremated remains you got back really from your pet?
Oct 14, 2013
How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten
00:32:53
The science of what works -- and doesn't work -- in fund-raising
Oct 10, 2013
How to Think About Money, Choose Your Hometown, and Buy an Electric Toothbrush
00:25:23
Dubner and Levitt field your queries in this latest installment of our FREAK-quently Asked Questions.
Oct 03, 2013
Would a Big Bucket of Cash Really Change Your Life?
00:27:51
A 19th-century Georgia land lottery may have something to teach us about today's income inequality.
Sep 26, 2013
The Economist’s Guide to Parenting (Rebroadcast)
00:56:33
Think you know how much parents matter? Think again. Economists crunch the numbers to learn the ROI on child-rearing.
Sep 19, 2013
Whatever Happened to the Carpal Tunnel Epidemic?
00:16:46
Once upon a time, office workers across America lived in fear of a dreaded infirmity. Was the computer keyboard really the villain -- and did carpal tunnel syndrome really go away?
Sep 12, 2013
The Suicide Paradox (Rebroadcast)
00:56:57
There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.
Sep 05, 2013
Who Are the Most Successful Immigrants in the World?
00:25:39
It's impossible to say for sure, but the Lebanese do remarkably well. Why?
Aug 29, 2013
The Folly of Prediction (Rebroadcast)
00:57:16
Human beings love to predict the future, but we're quite terrible at it. So how about punishing all those bad predictions?
Aug 22, 2013
The Middle of Everywhere
00:29:46
Chicago has given the world more than sausage, crooked politics, and Da Bears.
Aug 15, 2013
The Church of "Scionology" (Rebroadcast)
00:56:35
We worship the tradition of handing off a family business to the next generation. But is that really such a good idea?
Aug 08, 2013
Do Baby Girls Cause Divorce?
00:18:42
Even American parents have a strong "son preference" -- which means that a newborn daughter can be bad news for a marriage.
Aug 01, 2013
REBROADCAST: The Upside of Quitting
00:58:04
You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says ... Are you sure?
Jul 22, 2013
Government Employees Gone Wild
00:18:40
The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failures catalogs the fiscal, sexual, and mental lapses of federal workers -- all with an eye toward preventing the next big mistake.
Jul 18, 2013
A Burger a Day
00:06:30
Is junk food an abomination or a modern miracle?
Jul 11, 2013
Jane Austen, Game Theorist
00:27:12
What does "Pride and Prejudice" have to do with nuclear deterrence?
Jul 03, 2013
REBROADCAST: Legacy of a Jerk
00:43:13
What happens to your reputation when you're no longer around to defend it?
Jun 27, 2013
Do You Really Want to Know Your Future?
00:31:01
You might think that someone with a 50-50 chance of getting a fatal disease would want to know for sure -- but you would be wrong. What does this say about our supposed thirst for certainty?
Jun 20, 2013
Why Family and Business Don’t Mix
00:06:15
Yet another reason to blame your parents for pretty much everything.
Jun 12, 2013
Should Tipping be Banned?
00:37:03
It's awkward, random, confusing -- and probably discriminatory too.
Jun 03, 2013
Baby, You Can Program My Car
00:05:36
A glimpse into our driverless future.
May 29, 2013
Can You Be Too Smart for Your Own Good? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions
00:26:20
Dubner and Levitt talk about circadian rhythms, gay marriage, autism, and whether "pay what you want" is everything it's cracked up to be.
May 23, 2013
REBROADCAST: The Hidden Cost of False Alarms
00:06:11
If any other product failed 94 percent of the time, you'd probably stop using it. So why do we put up with burglar alarms?
May 15, 2013
What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common?
00:37:54
A look at whether spite pays -- and if it even exists.
May 09, 2013
It’s Crowded at the Top
00:06:13
Why is unemployment still so high? It may be because of something that happened well before the Great Recession.
May 01, 2013
Running to Do Evil
00:25:02
An interview with Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, whose younger brother turned him in -- and what it says about the Boston bombers.
Apr 25, 2013
Help Wanted. No Smokers Need Apply
00:05:58
In many states, it is perfectly legal to not hire someone who smokes. Should employers also be able to weed out junk-food lovers or motorcyclists -- or anyone who wants to have a baby?
Apr 17, 2013
How Much Does Your Name Matter?
00:49:51
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?
Apr 08, 2013
The Tax Man Nudgeth
00:10:10
Real tax reform may or may not ever happen. In the meantime, how about making the current system work a bit better?
Apr 03, 2013
100 Ways to Fight Obesity
00:35:44
Freakonomics asks a dozen smart people for their best ideas. Get ready for a fat tax, a sugar ban, and a calorie-chomping tapeworm.
Mar 27, 2013
How Money Is March Madness?
00:06:12
The NCAA basketball tournament grabs a lot of eyeballs, but turning them into dollars hasn't always been easy -- even when the "talent" is playing for free.
Mar 21, 2013
Parking Is Hell
00:35:12
There ain't no such thing as a free parking spot. Somebody has to pay for it -- and that somebody is everybody.
Mar 13, 2013
When Is a Negative a Positive?
00:07:32
Sure, we all like to hear compliments. But if you're truly looking to get better at something, it's the negative feedback that will get you there.
Mar 06, 2013
Women Are Not Men
00:36:30
In many ways, the gender gap is closing. In others, not so much. And that's not always a bad thing.
Feb 24, 2013
The Downside of More Miles Per Gallon
00:06:05
The gas tax doesn't work well, and it's only going to get worse. What's next?
Feb 20, 2013
How to Think About Guns
00:29:16
No one wants mass shootings. Unfortunately, no one has a workable plan to stop them either.
Feb 13, 2013
Sure, I Remember That
00:06:24
It is startlingly easy to create false memories, especially in politics.
Feb 06, 2013
Would You Let a Coin Toss Decide Your Future?
00:25:46
Levitt and Dubner go deep on "Freakonomics Experiments," a new research project that lets you take a chance on life.
Jan 30, 2013
Introducing “Freakonomics Experiments”
00:05:01
Steve Levitt has a novel idea for helping people make tough decisions
Jan 23, 2013
Who Owns the Words That Come Out of Your Mouth?
00:30:58
The very long reach of Winston Churchill -- and how the British government is remaking copyright law.
Jan 16, 2013
How to Live Longer
00:06:07
Why do Hall of Fame inductees, Oscar winners, and Nobel laureates outlive their peers?
Jan 09, 2013
How Did “Freakonomics” Get Its Name? … and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions
00:26:49
Levitt and Dubner answer your questions about driving, sneezing, and ladies’ nights. Plus a remembrance of Levitt’s sister Linda.
Jan 02, 2013
How Much Does a Good Boss Really Matter?
00:14:10
It's harder than you'd think to measure the value of a boss. But some enterprising economists have done just that -- and the news is good.
Dec 26, 2012
The House of Dreams
00:21:34
Dubner's childhood home goes from sacred to profane -- and then back again.
Dec 19, 2012
Have a Very Homo Economicus Christmas
00:15:10
Who better than an economist to help with your shopping list?
Dec 12, 2012
The Things They Taught Me
00:23:21
College, at its best, is about learning to think. Stephen Dubner chats up three of his former professors who made the magic happen.
Dec 05, 2012
Free-conomics
00:06:18
Economists are a notoriously self-interested bunch. But a British outfit called Pro Bono Economics is giving away its services to selected charities.
Nov 28, 2012
I Consult, Therefore I Am
00:35:40
There are enough management consultants these days to form a small nation. But what do they actually do? And does it work?
Nov 21, 2012
Mass Transit Hysteria
00:06:33
Adding more train and bus lines looks like an environmental slam dunk. Until you start to do the math.
Nov 14, 2012
Our 100th Episode!
00:14:32
Turkey sex and chicken wings, selling souls and swapping organs, the power of the president and the price of wine: these are a few of our favorite things.
Nov 05, 2012
How to Maximize Your Halloween Candy Haul
00:05:58
Is it as simple as going to the richest neighborhood you can find? Of course not ...
Oct 31, 2012
We the Sheeple
00:23:24
Politicians tell voters exactly what they want to hear, even when it makes no sense. Which is pretty much all the time.
Oct 24, 2012
Lying to Ourselves
00:05:45
We rely on polls and surveys to tell us how people will behave in the future. Too bad they're completely unreliable.
Oct 17, 2012
The Cobra Effect
00:34:10
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.
Oct 10, 2012
Why America’s Economic Growth May Be (Shh!) Over
00:05:45
Sure, we love our computers and all the rest of our digital toys. But when it comes to real economic gains, can we ever match old-school innovations like the automobile and electricity?
Oct 03, 2012
The Tale of the $15 Tomato
00:09:24
Trying to go rustic by baking, brewing, and knitting at home can be terribly inefficient. And that's a wonderful thing.
Sep 23, 2012
Why Online Poker Should Be Legal
00:05:25
The data show that poker is indeed a game of skill, not chance, and a Federal judge agrees. So why are players still being treated like criminals?
Sep 19, 2012
Fear Thy Nature
00:37:15
What "Sleep No More" and the Stanford Prison Experiment tell us about who we really are.
Sep 12, 2012
Can Selling Beer Cut Down on Public Drunkenness?
00:05:45
Binge drinking is a big problem at college football games. Oliver Luck -- father of No. 1 NFL pick Andrew, and the athletic director at West Virginia University -- had an unusual idea to help solve it.
Sep 05, 2012
How Deep Is the Shadow Economy?
00:19:21
What we know -- and don't know -- about the gazillions of dollars that never show up on anyone's books.
Aug 29, 2012
There’s Cake in the Breakroom!
00:06:09
If you think working from home offers too many distractions, just think about what happens at the office.
Aug 22, 2012
Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 2
00:33:31
College tends to make people happier, healthier, and wealthier. But how?
Aug 15, 2012
The Season of Death
00:06:16
We know that summertime brings far too many fatal accidents. But you may be surprised if you dig into the numbers.
Aug 08, 2012
Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1
00:29:01
What's a college degree really worth these days?
Jul 29, 2012
Olympian Economics
00:06:41
Do host cities really get the benefits their boosters promise, or are they just engaging in some fiscal gymnastics?
Jul 25, 2012
Legacy of a Jerk
00:43:10
What happens to your reputation when you're no longer around to defend it?
Jul 18, 2012
What's Wrong With Cash for Grades?
00:06:14
If we want our kids to thrive in school, maybe we should just pay them.
Jul 10, 2012
Please Steal My Car
00:22:46
Levitt and Dubner answer your FREAK-quently Asked Questions about junk food, insurance, and how to make an economist happy.
Jul 04, 2012
Star-Spangled Banter?
00:07:12
Once a week, the British Prime Minister goes before the House of Commons for a lightning round of hard questions. Should the U.S. give it a try?
Jun 26, 2012
Riding the Herd Mentality
00:35:47
How using peer pressure -- and good, old-fashioned shame -- can push people to do the right thing.
Jun 20, 2012
A Cheap Employee Is … a Cheap Employee
00:06:03
Paying workers as little as possible seems smart -- unless you can make more money by paying them more.
Jun 13, 2012
You Eat What You Are, Part 2
00:28:49
To feed 7 billion people while protecting the environment, it would seem that going local is a no-brainer -- until you start looking at the numbers.
Jun 06, 2012
Playing the Nerd Card
00:05:29
The NBA’s superstars are suddenly sporting Urkel glasses -- but is it more than a fashion statement?
May 30, 2012
You Eat What You Are, Part 1
00:29:42
How American food so got bad -- and why it's getting so much better.
May 23, 2012
Retirement Kills
00:05:36
Sure, we all dream of leaving the office forever. But what if it's bad for your health?
May 16, 2012
Soul Possession
00:28:07
In a world where nearly everything is for sale, is it always okay to buy what isn’t yours?
May 07, 2012
A Rose By Any Other Distance
00:05:39
At a time when people worry about every mile their food must travel, why is it okay to import most of our cut flowers from thousands of miles away?
May 02, 2012
Lottery Loopholes and Deadly Doctors
00:56:47
What do you do when smart people keep making stupid mistakes? And: are we a nation of financial illiterates?
Apr 25, 2012
Is Good Corporate Citizenship Also Good for the Bottom Line?
00:06:20
A new study says that yes, it is -- but try telling that to the United Nations officials who are preaching sustainability practices.
Apr 18, 2012
Eating and Tweeting
00:57:00
Does the future of food lie in its past – or inside a tank of liquid nitrogen? Also: how anti-social can you be on a social network?
Apr 11, 2012
The Hidden Cost of False Alarms
00:05:41
If any other product failed 94 percent of the time, you’d probably stop using it. So why do we put up with burglar alarms?
Apr 03, 2012
The Power of the President -- and the Thumb
00:57:02
How much does the President of the United States really matter? And: where did all the hitchhikers go? A pair of "attribution errors."
Mar 28, 2012
The Patent Gap
00:04:46
Women hold fewer than one in 10 patents. Why? And what are we missing out on?
Mar 22, 2012
Show and Yell
00:57:31
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”?
Mar 14, 2012
It’s Not the President, Stupid
00:05:24
Isn’t it time to admit that the U.S. economy doesn’t have a commander in chief?
Mar 07, 2012
The Days of Wine and Mouses
00:56:21
Do more expensive wines taste better? And: what does one little rodent in a salad say about a restaurant’s future?
Feb 27, 2012
The Dilbert Index?
00:05:13
Measuring workplace morale -- and how to game the sick-day system.
Feb 22, 2012
How Biased Is Your Media?
00:35:36
The left and the right blame each other for pretty much everything, including slanted media coverage. Can they both be right?
Feb 15, 2012
Does This Recession Make Me Look Fat?
00:05:02
A look at some non-obvious ways to lose weight.
Feb 08, 2012
Save Me From Myself
00:33:58
A commitment device forces you to be the person you really want to be. What could possibly go wrong?
Feb 01, 2012
The Hidden Side of the Super Bowl
00:05:02
A football cheat sheet to help you sound like the smartest person at the party.
Jan 25, 2012
What Do Hand-Washing and Financial Illiteracy Have in Common?
00:34:21
Education is the surest solution to a lot of problems. Except when it’s not.
Jan 19, 2012
Does Money Really Buy Elections?
00:05:31
We all know the answer is yes. But the data -- and Rudy Giuliani -- say no.
Jan 11, 2012
Why Is “I Don’t Know” So Hard to Say?
00:15:37
Levitt and Dubner answer your FREAK-quently Asked Questions about certifying politicians, irrational fears, and the toughest three words in the English language.
Jan 04, 2012
The Perils of Drunk Walking
00:05:21
We know it's terribly dangerous to drive drunk. But heading home on foot isn't the solution.
Dec 27, 2011
How Is a Bad Radio Station Like Our Public-School System? (Encore)
00:29:31
The thrill of customization, via Pandora and a radical new teaching method
Dec 21, 2011
How American Food Got So Bad
00:04:37
Tyler Cowen points fingers. There's plenty of blame to go around.
Dec 13, 2011
Weird Recycling
00:24:05
Clever ways to not waste our waste.
Dec 02, 2011
What Makes a Donor Donate?
00:05:01
The science of charity, with economist John List.
Nov 29, 2011
The Truth Is Out There…Isn’t It?
00:30:04
There’s a nasty secret about hot-button topics like global warming: knowledge is not always power.
Nov 22, 2011
Unnatural Turkeys
00:04:38
Our appetite for breast meat renders our holiday birds unable to reproduce.
Nov 16, 2011
Boo…Who?
00:29:42
Is booing an act of verbal vandalism—or the last true expression of democracy?
Nov 08, 2011
Wildfires, Cops, and Keggers
00:04:37
On Election Day, most people focus on the obvious winners and losers -- that is, the candidates. But we went looking for some of the strange side effects that elections produce.
Nov 02, 2011
Misadventures in Baby-Making
00:26:59
We are constantly wowed by new technologies and policies meant to make childbirth better. But beware the unintended consequences.
Oct 25, 2011
Those Cheating Teachers!
00:04:43
High-stakes testing has produced some rotten apples. But they can be caught.
Oct 18, 2011
Where Have All the Hitchhikers Gone?
00:28:15
Did we needlessly scare ourselves into ditching a good thing? And, with millions of cars driving around with no passengers, should we be rooting for a renaissance?
Oct 10, 2011
The Decline and Fall of Violence
00:05:54
The world is a more peaceful place today that at any time in history -- by a long, long shot.
Oct 05, 2011
The Upside of Quitting
00:56:57
You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says … Are you sure?
Sep 28, 2011
The Folly of Prediction
00:56:37
Human beings love to predict the future, but we're quite terrible at it. So how about punishing all those bad predictions?
Sep 14, 2011
The Suicide Paradox
00:56:57
There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.
Aug 31, 2011
The Economist’s Guide to Parenting
00:56:34
Think you know how much parents matter? Think again. Economists crunch the numbers to learn the ROI on child-rearing.
Aug 16, 2011
The Church of "Scionology"
00:56:35
We worship the tradition of handing off a family business to the next generation. But is that really such a good idea?
Aug 03, 2011
Mouse in the Salad
00:27:08
In restaurants and in life, bad things happen. But what happens next is just as important.
Jul 20, 2011
Hey Baby, Is That a Prius You're Driving?
00:26:30
"Conspicuous conservation" is about showing off your environmental bona fides. In other words, if you lean green, there's extra value in being seen leaning green.
Jul 06, 2011
Live From St. Paul!
00:28:11
Freakonomics Radio hits the road, and plays some Quiz Bowl
Jun 22, 2011
Things Our Fathers Gave Us
00:14:01
What did Levitt and Dubner learn as kids from their dads?
Jun 08, 2011
To Catch a Fugitive
00:18:46
Who is likelier to get to the fugitive first? When a fugitive is on the run, it’s not only the police he has to worry about. A bounty hunter could be coming after him, too.
May 25, 2011
Growing Up Buffett
00:14:38
What’s it like to wake up one day and realize Dad is a multi-billionaire? That's what happened to Warren Buffett’s son Peter -- who then started to think about whether or not to join the family business.
May 11, 2011
Gambling With Your Life
00:18:44
Does Las Vegas increase your risk of suicide? A researcher embeds himself in the city where Americans are most likely to kill themselves.
Apr 27, 2011
Does College Still Matter? And Other Freaky Questions Answered ...
00:16:29
In our second round of FREAK-quently Asked Questions, Steve Levitt answers some queries from listeners and readers.
Apr 13, 2011
Smarter Kids at 10 Bucks a Pop
00:20:06
It won’t work for everyone, but there’s a cheap, quick, and simple way to lift some students’ grades.
Apr 06, 2011
Why Can’t We Predict Earthquakes?
00:21:02
We talk to a U.S. Geological Survey physicist about the science -- and folly -- of predicting earthquakes. There are lots of known knowns; and, fortunately, not too many unknown unknowns. But it's the known unknowns -- the timing of the next Big One -- that are the most dangerous.
Mar 30, 2011
Death by Fire? Probably Not
00:19:45
Fire deaths in the U.S. have fallen 90 percent over the past 100 years, a great and greatly underappreciated gain. How did it happen -- and could we ever get to zero?
Mar 23, 2011
The Health of Nations
00:22:38
For decades, GDP has been the yardstick for measuring living standards around the world. Martha Nussbaum would rather use something that actually works.
Mar 16, 2011
Is Twitter a Two-Way Street?
00:26:06
To get a lot of followers on Twitter, do you need to follow a lot of other Tweeps? And if not, why not?
Mar 09, 2011
The Power of Poop
00:19:25
Since the beginning of civilization, we’ve thought that human waste was worthless and dangerous. What if we were wrong?
Mar 02, 2011
Millionaires vs. Billionaires
00:28:16
Five things you don’t know about the NFL labor standoff
Feb 24, 2011
Why Cities Rock
00:16:42
Could it be that cities are "our greatest invention" -- that, despite a reputation as black-soot-spewing engines of doom, they in fact make us richer, smarter, happier and (believe it!) greener?
Feb 17, 2011
Bring on the Pain!
00:25:15
It's not about how much something hurts -- it's how you remember the pain. This week, lessons on pain from the New York City subway, the professional hockey rink, and a landmark study of colonoscopy patients. So have a listen; we promise, it won't hurt a bit.
Feb 09, 2011
Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup! (Part 2)
00:26:54
What do a computer hacker, an Indiana farm boy, and Napoleon Bonaparte have in common? The past, present, and future of food science.
Feb 02, 2011
Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup! (Part 1)
00:24:47
The "molecular gastronomy" movement -- which gets a bump in visibility next month with the publication of the mammoth cookbook "Modernist Cuisine" -- is all about bringing more science into the kitchen. In many ways, it's the opposite of the "slow food" movement. In this episode, you'll hear chieftains from the two camps square off: Alice Waters for the slow foodies and Nathan Myhrvold for the mad scientists. Bon appetit!
Jan 26, 2011
Freakonomics FAQ, No. 1
00:16:19
Levitt and Dubner field questions from the public and hold forth on everything from dating strategies and rock-and-roll accordion music to whether different nations have different economic identities. Oh, and also: is it worthwhile to vote?
Jan 19, 2011
Trashed
00:21:27
How economics -- and emotion -- have turned our garbage into such a mess
Jan 13, 2011
Exit Interview: Schools Chancellor, NYC
00:14:53
Having already amassed an eventful resume -- the Clinton White House, the Department of Justice, and Bertelsmann -- Joel I. Klein spent the past eight years at chancellor of the biggest school system in the country. So what'd he learn?
Jan 05, 2011
You Say Repugnant, I Say … Let's Do It!
00:26:07
What happens when the most disturbing ideas are also the best?
Dec 29, 2010
Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?
00:24:56
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?
Dec 15, 2010
The "No-Lose Lottery," Part 2
00:21:17
It’s the banking tool that got millions of people around the world to stop wasting money on the lottery. So why won't state and federal officials in the U.S. give it a chance?
Dec 01, 2010
Is America Ready for a "No-Lose Lottery"?
00:25:16
For the most part, Americans don't like the simple, boring act of putting money in a savings account. We do, however, love to play the lottery. So what if you combined the two, creating a new kind of savings account with a lottery payout?
Nov 17, 2010
How Much Does the President of the U.S. Really Matter?
00:32:28
The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won't say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership, and its impact on the economy and the country.
Nov 03, 2010
The NFL's Best Real Estate Isn't For Sale. Yet.
00:21:38
The NFL is very good at making money. So why on earth doesn't it sell ad space on the one piece of real estate that football fans can’t help but see: the players themselves? The explanation is trickier than you might think. It has to do with Peyton Manning, with Eli Manning, and with ... wait for it ... Tevye.
Oct 28, 2010
Reading, Rockets, and 'Rithmetic
00:19:45
Government and the private sector often feel far apart. One is filled with compliance-driven bureaucracy. The other, with market-fueled innovation. But something is changing in a multi-billion dollar corner of the Department of Education. It's an experiment, which takes cues from the likes of Google and millionaires who hope to go to the moon.
Oct 21, 2010
Who Stole All the Runs in Major League Baseball?
00:14:14
It was a pretty good baseball season -- especially if you're a fan of the Yankees, Rays, Twins, Rangers, Reds, Braves, Phillies, or Giants, all of whom made the playoffs. But the post-season just opened with a telling event, a no-hitter pitched by the Phillies' Roy Halladay, which shows what's been missing all season: runs.
Oct 07, 2010
Two Book Authors and a Microphone
00:11:31
The next chapter in the adventures of Dubner and Levitt has begun. Listen to a preview of what's to come for the fall season of Freakonomics Radio.
Sep 30, 2010
Why the World Cup Is an Economist's Dream
00:08:30
Steve Levitt talks about why the center cannot hold in penalty kicks, why a running track hurts home-field advantage, and why the World Cup is an economist's dream.
Jun 10, 2010
How Is a Bad Radio Station Like Our Public-School System?
00:28:40
In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, we explore a way to make 1.1 million schoolkids feel like they have 1.1 million teachers.
May 13, 2010
Faking It
00:19:20
Do you "fake it"? If so, you're hardly alone. In this episode, you'll hear how everyone from the President of the United States to a kosher-keeping bacon lover lives in a state of fallen grace. All the time. And gets by.
Apr 13, 2010
What Would the World Look Like if Economists Were in Charge?
00:19:39
In this episode we speculate what would happen if economists got to run the world. Hear from a high-end call girl; an Estonian who ran his country according to the gospel of Milton Friedman; and a guy who wants to start building new nations in the middle of the ocean.
Mar 24, 2010
Is America's Obesity Epidemic For Real?
00:21:04
Americans keep putting on pounds. So is it time for a cheeseburger tax? Or would a chill pill be the best medicine? In this episode, we explore the underbelly of fat through the eyes of a 280-pound woman, a top White House doctor, and a couple of overweight academics.
Feb 26, 2010
The Dangers of Safety
00:26:27
What do NASCAR drivers, Glenn Beck and the hit men of the NFL have in common?
Feb 06, 2010