Winamp Logo
Freakonomics Radio Cover
Freakonomics Radio Profile

Freakonomics Radio

English, Human interest, 1 season, 767 episodes, 12 hours, 42 minutes
About
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. The entire archive, going back to 2010, is available on the Stitcher podcast app and at freakonomics.com.
Episode Artwork

593. You Can Make a Killing, but Not a Living

Broadway operates on a winner-take-most business model. A runaway hit like Stereophonic — which just won five Tony Awards — will create a few big winners. But even the stars of the show will have to go elsewhere to make real money. (Part two of a two-part series.) SOURCES:David Adjmi, author and playwright.Sonia Friedman, theater producer and founder of Sonia Friedman Productions.John Johnson, theater producer and co-founder of Wagner Johnson Productions.Tom Pecinka, actor.Sarah Pidgeon, actor. RESOURCES:"Tony Award Winners 2024: The Full List," by Rachel Sherman (The New York Times, 2024)."Everything to Know About the Stranger Things: The First Shadow Play in London," by Tara Bitran (Tudum, 2024).Stereophonic, by David Adjmi, Will Butler, and Daniel Aukin (2023). EXTRAS:"How to Make the Coolest Show on Broadway," by Freakonomics Radio (2024).
6/20/202449 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

EXTRA: The Fascinatingly Mundane Secrets of the World’s Most Exclusive Nightclub

The Berlin dance mecca Berghain is known for its eight-hour line and inscrutable door policy. PJ Vogt, host of the podcast Search Engine, joins us to crack the code. It has to do with Cold War rivalries, German tax law, and one very talented bouncer. SOURCES:Lutz Leichsenring, executive board member of Clubcommission Berlin and co-founder of VibeLab.PJ Vogt, reporter, writer, and host of the podcast Search Engine. RESOURCES:"Berghain: 36 Hours Inside the World's Most Exclusive Nightclub," by Linux (Paper Magazine, 2022).Berlin Bouncer, documentary by David Dietl (2019)."High Culture Club: Berghain Secures Same Tax Status as Berlin Concert Venues," by Philip Oltermann (The Guardian, 2016)."One Eye on the Door, the Other on His Photography," by Nicholas Kulish (The New York Times, 2011).Lost and Sound: Berlin, Techno and the Easyjet Set, by Tobias Rapp (2009). EXTRA:Search Engine, podcast by PJ Vogt.
6/17/202444 minutes, 54 seconds
Episode Artwork

592. How to Make the Coolest Show on Broadway

Hit by Covid, runaway costs, and a zillion streams of competition, serious theater is in serious trouble. A new hit play called Stereophonic — the most Tony-nominated play in history — has something to say about that. We speak with the people who make it happen every night. (Part one of a two-part series.) SOURCES:David Adjmi, author and playwright.Sonia Friedman, theater producer and founder of Sonia Friedman Productions.John Johnson, theater producer and co-founder of Wagner Johnson Productions.Tom Pecinka, actor.Sarah Pidgeon, actor. RESOURCES:Stereophonic, by David Adjmi, Will Butler, and Daniel Aukin (2023).Lot Six: A Memoir, by David Adjmi (2020)."On the Performing Arts: The Anatomy of Their Economic Problems," by W. J. Baumol and W. G. Bowen (The American Economic Review, 1965).
6/13/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 8 seconds
Episode Artwork

591. Signs of Progress, One Year at a Time

Every December, a British man named Tom Whitwell publishes a list of 52 things he’s learned that year. These fascinating facts reveal the spectrum of human behavior, from fraud and hypocrisy to Whitwell’s steadfast belief in progress. Should we also believe? SOURCES:Tom Whitwell, managing consultant at Magnetic. RESOURCES:"Supercentenarian and Remarkable Age Records Exhibit Patterns Indicative of Clerical Errors and Pension Fraud," by Saul Justin Newman (Working Paper, 2024)."52 things I learned in 2023," by Tom Whitwell (Magnetic Notes, 2023)."Job Satisfaction 2023," by The Conference Board (2023)."What Fax Machines and Floppy Disks Reveal About Britain’s Productivity Problem," (The Economist, 2017).Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, by Peter D. Norton (2008)."Beyond Propaganda," by John Kenney (The New York Times, 2006).
6/6/202453 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

EXTRA: The Opioid Tragedy — How We Got Here

An update of our 2020 series, in which we spoke with physicians, researchers, and addicts about the root causes of the crisis — and the tension between abstinence and harm reduction. SOURCES:Gail D’Onofrio, professor and chair of emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and chief of emergency services at Yale-New Haven Health.Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.Stephen Loyd, chief medical officer of Cedar Recovery and chair of the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council.Nicole O’Donnell, certified recovery specialist at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Addiction Medicine and Policy.Jeanmarie Perrone, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.Eileen Richardson, restaurant manager. RESOURCES:“Toward Healthy Drug Policy in the United States — The Case of Safehouse,” by Evan D. Anderson, Leo Beletsky, Scott Burris, and Corey S. Davis (The New England Journal of Medicine, 2020).“Buprenorphine Deregulation and Mainstreaming Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder,” by Leo Beletsky, Kevin Fiscella, and Sarah E. Wakeman (JAMA Psychiatry, 2018).“Emergency Department–Initiated Buprenorphine/Naloxone Treatment for Opioid Dependence,” by Gail D’Onofrio, Patrick G. O’Connor, Michael V. Pantalon, Marek C. Chawarski, Susan H. Busch, Patricia H. Owens, Steven L. Bernstein, and David A. Fiellin (JAMA, 2015).“Buprenorphine-Naloxone Therapy In Pain Management,” by Lucy Chen, Kelly Yan Chen, and Jianren Mao (National Institutes of Health, 2014).“Prevalence and Correlates of Street-Obtained Buprenorphine Use Among Current and Former Injectors In Baltimore, Maryland,” by Jacquie Astemborski, Becky L. Genberg, Mirinda Gillespie, Chris-Ellyn Johanson, Gregory D. Kirk, Shruti H. Mehta, Charles R. Schuster, and David Vlahov (U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 2014).“The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin: Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy,” by Art Van Zee (U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 2009). EXTRAS:"Why Is the Opioid Epidemic Still Raging?" series by Freakonomics Radio (2024)."The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: 'We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation,'" by Freakonomics Radio (2020).“The Truth About the Vaping Crisis,” by Freakonomics Radio (2019).
6/3/202441 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

590. Can $55 Billion End the Opioid Epidemic?

Thanks to legal settlements with drug makers and distributors, states have plenty of money to boost prevention and treatment. Will it work? (Part two of a two-part series.) SOURCES:Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.Stephen Loyd, chief medical officer of Cedar Recovery and chair of the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council.Christine Minhee, founder of OpioidSettlementTracker.com. RESOURCES:"Court Conflicted Over Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Plan That Shields Sacklers From Liability," by Amy Howe (SCOTUSblog, 2023).NationalOpioidSettlement.com.OpioidSettlementTracker.com.The Helios Alliance. EXTRAS:"The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: 'It’s Not a Death Sentence,'" by Freakonomics Radio (2020).
5/30/202440 minutes, 56 seconds
Episode Artwork

589. Why Has the Opioid Crisis Lasted So Long?

Most epidemics flare up, do their damage, and fade away. This one has been raging for almost 30 years. To find out why, it’s time to ask some uncomfortable questions. (Part one of a two-part series.) SOURCES:David Cutler, professor of economics at Harvard University.Travis Donahoe, professor of health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh.Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.Stephen Loyd, chief medical officer of Cedar Recovery and chair of the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council. RESOURCES:"Thick Market Externalities and the Persistence of the Opioid Epidemic," by David Cutler and J. Travis Donahoe (NBER Working Paper, 2024)."Responding to the Opioid Crisis in North America and Beyond: Recommendations of the Stanford-Lancet Commission," by Keith Humphreys, Chelsea L. Shover, Christine Timko, et al. (The Lancet, 2022)."When Innovation Goes Wrong: Technological Regress and the Opioid Epidemic," by David Cutler and Edward Glaeser (Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2021). EXTRAS:"Nuclear Power Isn’t Perfect. Is It Good Enough?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022)."The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: 'It’s Not a Death Sentence,'" by Freakonomics Radio (2020)."The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: 'We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation,'" by Freakonomics Radio (2020).
5/23/202448 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Car Colors & Storage Units

Presenting two stories from The Economics of Everyday Things: Why does it seem like every car is black, white, or gray these days?  And: How self-storage took over America. SOURCES:Tom Crockett, classic car enthusiast.Zachary Dickens, executive vice president and chief investment officer of Extra Space Storage.Mark Gutjahr, global head of design at BASF.Kara Kolodziej, self-storage unit tenant.Anne Mari DeCoster, self-storage consultant.Nikkie Riedel, carline planning manager at Subaru of America. RESOURCES:“A Fifth Of Americans Rent Self Storage, With Millennials Overtaking Gen Xers In Generational Storage Wars,” by Francis Chantree (Storage Cafe, 2024).“Lessors of Mini Warehouses and Self-Storage Units Show Significant Financial Gains During COVID-19 Pandemic,” by Ben Chandler and Robin Enlow (United States Census Bureau, 2024).BASF Color Report 2023 for Automotive OEM Coatings, (2023).“The Fate of Oversupplied Self-Storage Markets and How to Pull Back From the Brink,” by Frank DeSalvo and David Perlleshi (Inside Self Storage, 2023).“A Pandemic Space Race: Self-Storage Roars Back,” by Ellen Rosen (The New York Times, 2021).“Beige on an S.U.V. Will Cost You, but for Pickups It’s Golden,” by Roy Furchgott (The New York Times, 2021).“A Brief History Of Car Colors — And Why Are We So Boring Now?” (Consumer Reports, 2018).“The Link Between the Colour of Cars and the Economy,” (The Economist, 2018).“Need to Store That? Booming Self-Storage Industry Says No Problem,” by Liam Pleven (The Wall Street Journal, 2015). EXTRAS:“Car Washes,” by The Economics of Everyday Things (2023).Storage Wars, TV series (2010-present).Auction Hunters, TV series (2010-2015).
5/20/202435 minutes, 15 seconds
Episode Artwork

588. Confessions of a Black Conservative

The economist and social critic Glenn Loury has led a remarkably turbulent life, both professionally and personally. In a new memoir, he has chosen to reveal just about everything. Why? SOURCE:Glenn Loury, professor of economics at Brown University and host of The Glenn Show. RESOURCES:Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative, by Glenn Loury (2024)."Amy Wax – The DEI Witch Hunt at Penn Law," by Glenn Loury (The Glenn Show, 2024)."The Conservative Line on Race," by Glenn Loury (The Atlantic, 1997)."Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?" by Stephen Coate and Glenn Loury (The American Economic Review, 1993). EXTRAS:"Roland Fryer Refuses to Lie to Black America," by Freakonomics Radio (2022)."How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy?" by Freakonomics Radio (2021)."The Pros and Cons of Reparations," by Freakonomics Radio (2020).
5/16/202456 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

587. Should Companies Be Owned by Their Workers?

The employee ownership movement is growing, and one of its biggest champions is also a private equity heavyweight. Is this meaningful change, or just window dressing? SOURCES:Marjorie Kelly, distinguished senior fellow at The Democracy Collaborative.Corey Rosen, founder and senior staff member of the National Center for Employee Ownership.Pete Stavros, co-head of Global Private Equity at KKR. RESOURCES:"Private Equity Is Starting to Share With Workers, Without Taking a Financial Hit," by Lydia DePillis (The New York Times, 2024)."Private Equity Heavyweight Pushing Employee Ownership," (60 Minutes, 2024)."Ownership Works: Scaling a Profitable Social Mission," by Ethan Rouen, Dennis Campbell, and Andrew Robinson (HBS Case Collection, 2023)."Research on Employee Ownership," by the National Center for Employee Ownership (2023).Wealth Supremacy: How the Extractive Economy and the Biased Rules of Capitalism Drive Today’s Crises, by Marjorie Kelly (2023)."Is Private Equity Joining — or Co-Opting—the Employee Ownership Movement?" by Marjorie Kelly and Karen Kahn (Fast Company, 2022)."How Well Is Employee Ownership Working?" by Corey Rosen and Michael Quarrey (Harvard Business Review, 1987). EXTRAS:"Are Private Equity Firms Plundering the U.S. Economy?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."Do You Know Who Owns Your Vet?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."Should You Trust Private Equity to Take Care of Your Dog?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023).
5/9/202446 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

From politics and economics to psychology and the arts, many of the modern ideas we take for granted emerged a century ago from a single European capital. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, the historian Richard Cockett explores all those ideas — and how the arrival of fascism can ruin in a few years what took generations to build. SOURCE:Richard Cockett, author and senior editor at The Economist. RESOURCES:Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World, by Richard Cockett (2023)."Birth, Death and Shopping," (The Economist, 2007).The Hidden Persuaders, by Vance Packard (1957)."An Economist's View of 'Planning,'" by Henry Hazlitt (The New York Times, 1944).The World of Yesterday: Memoires of a European, by Stefan Zweig (1942). EXTRA:"Arnold Schwarzenegger Has Some Advice for You," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2024).
5/2/202457 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Why Is 23andMe Going Under? (Update)

Five years ago, we published an episode about the boom in home DNA testing kits, focusing on the high-flying firm 23andMe and its C.E.O. Anne Wojcicki. Their flight has been extremely bumpy since then. This update includes an additional interview with the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been investigating the firm’s collapse. SOURCES:Rolfe Winkler, reporter at The Wall Street Journal.Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and C.E.O. of 23andMe. RESOURCES:"23andMe’s Fall From $6 Billion to Nearly $0," by Rolfe Winkler (The Wall Street Journal, 2024)."23andMe User Data Stolen in Targeted Attack on Ashkenazi Jews," by Lily Hay Newman (Wired, 2023).Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, by Dani Shapiro (2019).How To Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results, by Esther Wojcicki (2019).“Diet and exercise changes following direct-to-consumer personal genomic testing,” by Daiva Elena Nielsen, Deanna Alexis Carere, Catharine Wang, J. Scott Roberts, and Robert C. Green (BMC Medical Genomics, 2016).“The impact of communicating genetic risks of disease on risk-reducing health behaviour: systematic review with meta-analysis,” Gareth J Hollands, David P. French, Simon J. Griffin, A. Toby Prevost, Stephen Sutton, Sarah King, Theresa M. Marteau (The British Medical Journal, 2016). EXTRAS:"Does Your DNA Determine Your Weight?" by No Stupid Questions (2023)."What’s Stopping Us From Curing Rare Diseases?" by Freakonomics, M.D. (2023)."We Can Play God Now," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2022)."Susan Wojcicki: 'Hey, Let’s Go Buy YouTube!'" by People I (Mostly) Admire (2020).
4/29/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

585. A Social Activist in Prime Minister’s Clothing

Justin Trudeau, facing record-low approval numbers, is doubling down on his progressive agenda. But he is so upbeat (and Canada-polite) that it’s easy to miss just how radical his vision is. Can he make it work? SOURCE:Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. RESOURCES:2024 Canadian Federal Budget."Canada to Set First-Ever Cap on Temporary Residents," by Nadine Yousif (BBC News, 2023).Common Ground, by Justin Trudeau (2014). EXTRAS:"Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?" by Freakonomics Radio (2024).
4/25/202452 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

584. How to Pave the Road to Hell

So you want to help people? That’s great — but beware the law of unintended consequences. Three stories from the modern workplace.  SOURCES:Joshua Angrist, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Zoe Cullen, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.Marina Gertsberg, senior lecturer in finance at the University of Melbourne. RESOURCES:"Is Pay Transparency Good?" by Zoë Cullen (Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2024)."DP18969 Economics Coauthorships in the Aftermath of MeToo," by Noriko Amano-Patino, Elisa Faraglia, and Chryssi Giannitsarou (CEPR Discussion Paper, 2024)."The Underground Economy of Company Reviews," by Shikhar Sachdev (Career Fair, 2023)."Why Did Gender Wage Convergence in the United States Stall?" by Peter Q. Blair and Benjamin Posmanick (NBER Working Paper, 2023)."The Unintended Consequences of #MeToo: Evidence from Research Collaborations," by Marina Gertsberg (SSRN, 2022)."Outsourcing Tasks Online: Matching Supply and Demand on Peer-to-Peer Internet Platforms," by Zoë Cullen and Chiara Farronato (Management Science, 2021)."Equilibrium Effects of Pay Transparency," by Zoe B. Cullen and Bobak Pakzad-Hurson (NBER Working Paper, 2021)."How Much Does Your Boss Make? The Effects of Salary Comparisons," by Zoë Cullen and Ricardo Perez-Truglia (NBER Working Paper, 2018)."Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost," by Gillian Tan and Katia Porzecanski (Bloomberg, 2018)."A Comprehensive Analysis of the Effects of US Disability Discrimination Laws on the Employment of the Disabled Population," by Patrick Button, Philip Armour, and Simon Hollands (NBER Working Paper, 2016)."Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," by Daron Acemoglu and Joshua Angrist (Journal of Political Economy, 2001).
4/18/202443 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution (Update)

The psychologist Daniel Kahneman — a Nobel laureate and the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow — recently died at age 90. Along with his collaborator Amos Tversky, he changed how we all think about decision-making. The journalist Michael Lewis told the Kahneman-Tversky story in a 2016 book called The Undoing Project. In this episode, Lewis explains why they had such a profound influence. SOURCE:Michael Lewis, writer. RESOURCES:The Undoing Project, by Michael Lewis (2016).Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman (2011).The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis (2010).Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (2009).Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis (2004).“Who’s On First,” by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (New Republic, 2003).“The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice,” by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Science, 1981).“Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk,” by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Econometrica, 1979).“Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases,” by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Science, 1974).“Subjective Probability: A Judgment of Representativeness,” by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Cognitive Psychology, 1972). EXTRAS:"Remembering Daniel Kahneman," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2024)."Why Are People So Mad at Michael Lewis?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."Did Michael Lewis Just Get Lucky with 'Moneyball'?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022).
4/14/202434 minutes, 51 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Update)

People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers — and why that’s unlikely to change. SOURCES:Nick Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University.Katie Johnson, freelance data and analytics coach.Kelly Shue, professor of finance at the Yale University School of Management.Steve Tadelis, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business. RESOURCES:“People Management Skills, Employee Attrition, and Manager Rewards: An Empirical Analysis,” by Mitchell Hoffman and Steven Tadelis (Journal of Political Economy, 2021).“Promotions and the Peter Principle,” by Alan Benson, Danielle Li, and Kelly Shue (The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2019).“Bosses Matter: The Effects of Managers on Workers’ Performance,” by Kathryn L. Shaw (IZA World of Labor, 2019).“The Value of Bosses,” by Edward P. Lazear, Kathryn L. Shaw, and Christopher T. Stanton (Journal of Labor Economics, 2015).The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong, by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull (1969). EXTRAS:“The Secret Life of C.E.O.s” series by Freakonomics Radio.“What Does a C.E.O. Actually Do?” by Freakonomics Radio (2018).
4/11/202449 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

583. Are We Living Through the Most Revolutionary Period in History?

Fareed Zakaria says yes. But it’s not just political revolution — it’s economic, technological, even emotional. He doesn’t offer easy solutions but he does offer some hope. SOURCES:Fareed Zakaria, journalist and author. RESOURCES:Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present, by Fareed Zakaria (2024)."The Ultimate Election Year: All the Elections Around the World in 2024," by Koh Ewe (TIME, 2023)."The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism," by Vanessa Williamson, Theda Skocpol, and John Coggin (Perspectives on Politics, 2011).The Post-American World, by Fareed Zakaria (2008).The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, by Fareed Zakaria (2003). EXTRAS:"Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than China?" by Freakonomics Radio (2021).
4/4/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: How Much Do You Know About Immigration?

The political debates over immigration can generate a lot of fuzzy facts.  We wanted to test Americans’ knowledge — so, to wrap up our special series on immigration, we called some Freakonomics Radio listeners and quizzed them. SOURCES:Zeke Hernandez, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. RESOURCES:The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers, by Zeke Hernandez (2024, available for pre-order). EXTRA:“The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System,” series by Freakonomics Radio (2024).
4/1/202427 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

582. Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?

As the U.S. tries to fix its messy immigration system, our neighbor to the north is scooping up more talented newcomers every year. Are the Canadians stealing America’s bacon? (Part three of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Zeke Hernandez, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.William Kerr, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.David Leonhardt, senior writer at the New York Times.Sindhu Mahadevan, creator of This Immigrant Life newsletter.Marc Miller, Member of Parliament and Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship of Canada.Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia. RESOURCES:The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers, by Zeke Hernandez (2024, available for pre-order)."The Border Where Different Rules Apply," by Seth Freed Wessler (The New York Times Magazine, 2023)."Last Year, Canada Became My Home. Feeling Like a Canadian Will Take a Bit Longer," by Sindhu Mahadevan (CBC News, 2023)."Canadians Are Starting to Sour on Migration," (The Economist, 2023).The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society, by William Kerr (2018). EXTRAS:“The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System,” series by Freakonomics Radio (2024)."Is the American Dream Really Dead?" by Freakonomics Radio (2017).
3/28/202449 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

581. What Both Parties Get Wrong About Immigration

The U.S. immigration system is a massively complicated machine, with a lot of worn-out parts. How to fix it? Step one: Get hold of some actual facts and evidence. (We did this step for you.) (Part two of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Zeke Hernandez, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.David Leonhardt, senior writer at the New York Times.Sindhu Mahadevan, creator of This Immigrant Life newsletter. RESOURCES:The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers, by Zeke Hernandez (2024, available for pre-order)."Illegal Immigration Is a Bigger Problem Than Ever. These Five Charts Explain Why," by Andrew Mollica, Alicia A. Caldwell, Michelle Hackman, and Santiago Pérez (The Wall Street Journal, 2023).Ours Was the Shining Future: The Story of the American Dream, by David Leonhardt (2023).The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2017). EXTRAS:“The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System,” series by Freakonomics Radio (2024)."And the New Six-Word Motto for the U.S. Is …," by Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics blog, 2008).
3/21/202455 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Madeleine Albright’s Warning on Immigration

She arrived in the U.S. as an 11-year-old refugee, then rose to become Secretary of State. Her views on immigration, nationalism, and borders, from this 2015 interview, are almost strangely appropriate to the present moment.  SOURCE:Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. RESOURCES:"Madeleine Albright, First Woman to Serve as Secretary of State, Dies at 84," by Robert D. McFadden (The New York Times, 2022)."The Case for Getting Rid of Borders — Completely," by Alex Tabarrok (The Atlantic, 2015). EXTRAS:"The True Story of America's Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System," series by Freakonomics Radio (2024)."Is Migration a Basic Human Right?" by Freakonomics Radio (2015).
3/18/202429 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

How did a nation of immigrants come to hate immigration? We start at the beginning, sort through the evidence, and explain why your grandfather was lying about Ellis Island. (Part one of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Leah Boustan, professor of economics at Princeton University.Zeke Hernandez, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.Roger Nam, professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory University. RESOURCES:The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers, by Zeke Hernandez (2024, available for pre-order)."The Refugee Advantage: English-Language Attainment in the Early Twentieth Century," by Ran Abramitzky, Leah Platt Boustan, Peter Catron, Dylan Connor, and Rob Voigt (NBER Working Paper, 2023).Streets of Gold: America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success, by Leah Boustan and Ran Abramitzky (2022)."If Liberals Won't Enforce Borders, Fascists Will," by David Frum (The Atlantic, 2019). EXTRAS:"Is Migration a Basic Human Right?" by Freakonomics Radio (2015)."Who Are the Most Successful Immigrants in the World?" by Freakonomics Radio (2013).
3/14/202455 minutes, 5 seconds
Episode Artwork

579. Are You Caught in a Social Media Trap?

Economists have discovered an odd phenomenon: many people who use social media (even you, maybe?) wish it didn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean they can escape. SOURCES:Leonardo Bursztyn, professor of economics at the University of Chicago.Benjamin Handel, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. RESOURCES:"When Product Markets Become Collective Traps: The Case of Social Media," by Leonardo Bursztyn, Benjamin Handel, Rafael Jimenez, and Christopher Roth (NBER Working Paper, 2023)."Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from Russia," by Leonardo Bursztyn, Georgy Egorov, Ruben Enikolopov, and Maria Petrova (NBER Working Paper, 2019)."Status Goods: Experimental Evidence from Platinum Credit Cards," by Leonardo Bursztyn, Bruno Ferman, Stefano Fiorin, Martin Kanz, and Gautam Rao (NBER Working Paper, 2017)."'Acting Wife': Marriage Market Incentives and Labor Market Investments," by Leonardo Bursztyn, Thomas Fujiwara, and Amanda Pallais (American Economic Review, 2017)."Measuring Crack Cocaine and Its Impact," by Roland G. Fryer Jr., Paul S. Heaton, Steven D. Levitt, and Kevin M. Murphy (Economic Inquiry, 2013). EXTRAS:"Is Facebook Bad for Your Mental Health?" by Freakonomics, M.D. (2022)."Why Is U.S. Media So Negative?" by Freakonomics Radio (2021).
3/7/202442 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf league that’s challenging the P.G.A. Tour. Can a sporting event really repair a country’s reputation — or will it trigger the dreaded Streisand Effect? Also: why the major U.S. sports leagues are warming up to the idea of foreign investment. SOURCES:Jodi Balsam, professor of clinical law at Brooklyn Law School.Brandel Chamblee, Golf Channel analyst.Karen Crouse, sports journalist.Bomani Jones, sports journalist.Victor Matheson, professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross.Alan Shipnuck, sports journalist. RESOURCES:"The New N.F.L. Owners?" by Lauren Hirsch, Kevin Draper, Michael J. de la Merced and Sarah Kessler (The New York Times, 2024)."PGA Tour Raises $1.5 Billion From Group of U.S. Investors," by Lauren Hirsch (The New York Times, 2024)."PGA Tour, LIV Golf Agree to Merge," by Andrew Beaton and Louise Radnofsky (The Wall Street Journal, 2023).Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar, by Alan Shipnuck (2022)."Dustin Johnson Paid £100m to Perform Late U-Turn and Join Saudi-Backed Rebel Series," by By James Corrigan and Tom Morgan (The Telegraph, 2022)."Russia Was the Hottest Place in Sports. Now It’s Frozen Out," by Joshua Robinson, Ben Cohen, and Louise Radnofsky (The Wall Street Journal, 2022)."Could This Be the Year ‘Sportwashing’ Backfires?" by Andrés Martinez (The Los Angeles Times, 2022)."The Truth About Phil and Saudi Arabia," by Alan Shipnuck (The Fire Pit Collective, 2022).The New Yale Book of Quotations, by Fred Shapiro (2021)."The Surprising Reason That There Are So Many Thai Restaurants in America," by Myles Karp (Vice, 2018). EXTRAS:"Greg Norman Takes On the P.G.A. Tour," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2023).
3/4/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

578. Water, Water Everywhere — But You Have to Stop and Think

What surprises lurk in our sewage? How did racist city planners end up saving Black lives? Why does Arizona grow hay for cows in Saudi Arabia? Three strange stories about the most fundamental substance we all take for granted. SOURCES:Brian Beach, professor of economics at Vanderbilt University.Marc Johnson, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.Amy Kirby, program lead for the National Wastewater Surveillance System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Natalie Koch, professor of geography at Syracuse University. RESOURCES:Arid Empire: The Entangled Fates of Arizona and Arabia, by Natalie Koch (2023)."How a Saudi Firm Tapped a Gusher of Water in Drought-Stricken Arizona," by Isaac Stanley-Becker, Joshua Partlow, and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez (The Washington Post, 2023)."Arizona Is in a Race to the Bottom of Its Water Wells, With Saudi Arabia’s Help," by Natalie Koch (The New York Times, 2022)."Tracing the Origin of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron-Like Spike Sequences Detected in Wastewater," by Martin Shafer, Devon Gregory, Marc Johnson, et al. (medRxiv, 2022)."Water and Waste: A History of Reluctant Policymaking in U.S. Cities," by Brian Beach (Working Paper, 2022).Water, Race, and Disease, by Werner Troesken (2004).COVID Data Tracker: Wastewater Surveillance, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. EXTRAS:"What Is Sportswashing (and Does It Work)?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022)."Covid-19," series by Freakonomics Radio (2020-2021).
2/29/202452 minutes, 14 seconds
Episode Artwork

Is Google Getting Worse? (Update)

It used to feel like magic. Now it can feel like a set of cheap tricks. Is the problem with Google — or with us? And is Google Search finally facing a real rival, in the form of A.I.-powered “answer engines”?  SOURCES:Marissa Mayer, co-founder of Sunshine; former C.E.O. of Yahoo! and vice president at Google.Ryan McDevitt; professor of economics at Duke University.Tim Hwang, media researcher and author; former Google employee.Elizabeth Reid, vice president of Search at Google.Aravind Srinivas, C.E.O. and co-founder of Perplexity.Jeremy Stoppelman, C.E.O. and co-founder of Yelp. RESOURCES:“A Fraudster Who Just Can’t Seem to Stop … Selling Eyeglasses,” by David Segal (The New York Times, 2022).Subprime Attention Crisis: Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet, by Tim Hwang (2020).“Complaint: U.S. and Plaintiff States v. Google LLC,” by the U.S. Department of Justice (2020).“Fake Online Locksmiths May Be Out to Pick Your Pocket, Too,” by David Segal (The New York Times, 2016).“‘A’ Business by Any Other Name: Firm Name Choice as a Signal of Firm Quality,” by Ryan C. McDevitt (Journal of Political Economy, 2014).In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives, by Steven Levy (2011).“The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page (Computer Networks and ISDN Systems, 1998). EXTRAS:“Is Dialysis a Test Case of Medicare for All?” by Freakonomics Radio (2021).“How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google),” by Freakonomics Radio (2017).
2/22/202456 minutes, 53 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Mr. Feynman Takes a Trip — But Doesn’t Fall

A wide-open conversation with three women who guided Richard Feynman through some big adventures at the Esalen Institute. (Part of our Feynman series.) SOURCES: Barbara Berg, friend of Richard Feynman.Cheryl Haley, friend of Richard Feynman.Debby Harlow, friend of Richard FeynmaSam Stern, content creator at the Esalen Institute. EXTRAS: Richard Feynman Series, by Freakonomics Radio (2024)."The Future of Therapy Is Psychedelic," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2023).
2/19/202447 minutes, 31 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Vanishing Mr. Feynman

In his final years, Richard Feynman's curiosity took him to some surprising places. We hear from his companions on the trips he took — and one he wasn’t able to. (Part three of a three-part series.) SOURCES: Alan Alda, actor and screenwriter.Barbara Berg, friend of Richard Feynman.Helen Czerski, physicist and oceanographer at University College London.Michelle Feynman, photographer and daughter of Richard Feynman.Cheryl Haley, friend of Richard Feynman.Debby Harlow, friend of Richard Feynman.Ralph Leighton, biographer and film producer.Charles Mann, science journalist and author.John Preskill, professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.Lisa Randall, professor of theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University.Christopher Sykes, documentary filmmaker.Stephen Wolfram, founder and C.E.O. of Wolfram Research; creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha, and the Wolfram Language. RESOURCES: Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, by Lawrence M. Krauss (2011).Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From the Beaten Track: Selected Letters of Richard P. Feynman, edited by Michelle Feynman (2005).The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, by Richard Feynman (1999).The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (1995).Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, by James Gleick (1992).The Quest for Tannu Tuva, by Christopher Sykes (1988)“What Do You Care What Other People Think?” by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton (1988).The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-century Physics, by Robert Crease and Charles Mann (1986).Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton (1985).Fun to Imagine, BBC docuseries (1983). EXTRAS: “The Brilliant Mr. Feynman,” by Freakonomics Radio (2024).“The Curious Mr. Feynman,” by Freakonomics Radio (2024).
2/15/20241 hour, 1 minute, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Brilliant Mr. Feynman

What happens when an existentially depressed and recently widowed young physicist from Queens gets a fresh start in California? We follow Richard Feynman out west, to explore his long and extremely fruitful second act. (Part two of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Seamus Blackley, video game designer and creator of the Xbox.Carl Feynman, computer scientist and son of Richard Feynman.Michelle Feynman, photographer and daughter of Richard Feynman.Ralph Leighton, biographer and film producer.Charles Mann, science journalist and author.John Preskill, professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.Lisa Randall, professor of theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University.Christopher Sykes, documentary filmmaker.Stephen Wolfram, founder and C.E.O. of Wolfram Research; creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha, and the Wolfram Language.Alan Zorthian, architect. RESOURCES:"Love After Life: Nobel-Winning Physicist Richard Feynman’s Extraordinary Letter to His Departed Wife," by Maria Popova (The Marginalian, 2017).Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, by Lawrence M. Krauss (2011).The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, by Richard Feynman (1999).Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, by James Gleick (1992)."G. Feynman; Landscape Expert, Physicist’s Widow," (Los Angeles Times, 1990)."Nobel Physicist R. P. Feynman of Caltech Dies," by Lee Dye (Los Angeles Times, 1988).“What Do You Care What Other People Think?” by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton (1988).The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-century Physics, by Robert Crease and Charles Mann (1986).Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton (1985).Fun to Imagine, BBC docuseries (1983)."Richard P. Feynman: Nobel Prize Winner," by Tim Hendrickson, Stuart Galley, and Fred Lamb (Engineering and Science, 1965).F.B.I. files on Richard Feynman. EXTRAS:"The Curious Mr. Feynman," by Freakonomics Radio (2024).
2/8/202452 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

How the San Francisco 49ers Stopped Being Losers (Update)

They’re heading to the Super Bowl for the second time in five years. But back in 2018, they were coming off a long losing streak — and that’s the year we sat down with 49ers  players, coaches, and executives to hear their turnaround plans. It’s probably time to consider the turnaround a success.  SOURCES:Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders; former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.Al Guido, president of the San Francisco 49ers.Kyle Juszczyk, fullback for the San Francisco 49ers.Bob Lange, senior vice president of communications for the Philadelphia Eagles; former vice-president of communications for the San Francisco 49ers.John Lynch, general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.Paraag Marathe, president of 49ers Enterprises and executive vice-president of football operations for the San Francisco 49ers.Victor Matheson, economist at College of the Holy Cross.Kyle Shanahan, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.Malcolm Smith, former linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers.Joe Staley, former offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers.Solomon Thomas, defensive tackle for the New York Jets; former defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers.Jed York, C.E.O. of the San Francisco 49ers. RESOURCES:"49ers Overreactions: Have Shanahan, Lynch Built Team That Can Last?" by Matt Maiocco (NBC Sports, 2023).“Jimmy Garoppolo Leads a 49ers Resurgence,” Victor Mather, The New York Times (December 29, 2017).“Why American Sports Are Organized As Cartels,” Tim Worstall, Forbes (January 14, 2013).NFL History - Super Bowl Winners (ESPN). EXTRAS:"When Is a Superstar Just Another Employee?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."How Does Playing Football Affect Your Health?" by Freakonomics, M.D. (2023)."Why Does the Most Monotonous Job in the World Pay $1 Million?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022)."The Hidden Side of Sports," series by Freakonomics Radio (2018-2019)."An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl," by Freakonomics Radio (2017).
2/5/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 46 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Curious Mr. Feynman

From the Manhattan Project to the Challenger investigation, the physicist Richard Feynman loved to shoot down what he called “lousy ideas.” Today, the world is awash in lousy ideas — so maybe it’s time to get some more Feynman in our lives? (Part one of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Helen Czerski, physicist and oceanographer at University College London.Michelle Feynman, photographer and daughter of Richard Feynman.Ralph Leighton, biographer and film producer.Charles Mann, science journalist and author.John Preskill, professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.Stephen Wolfram, founder and C.E.O. of Wolfram Research; creator of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha, and the Wolfram Language. RESOURCES:"How Legendary Physicist Richard Feynman Helped Crack the Case on the Challenger Disaster," by Kevin Cook (Literary Hub, 2021).Challenger: The Final Flight, docuseries (2020).Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, by Allan J. McDonald and James R. Hansen (2009).Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From the Beaten Track: Selected Letters of Richard P. Feynman, edited by Michelle Feynman (2005).The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, by Richard Feynman (1999).Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, by James Gleick (1992).“What Do You Care What Other People Think?” by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton (1988)."Mr. Feynman Goes to Washington," by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton (Engineering & Science, 1987).The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-century Physics, by Robert Crease and Charles Mann (1986).Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton (1985)."The Pleasure of Finding Things Out," (Horizon S18.E9, 1981)."Los Alamos From Below," by Richard Feynman (UC Santa Barbara lecture, 1975)."The World from Another Point of View," (PBS Nova, 1973). EXTRAS:"Exploring Physics, from Eggshells to Oceans," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2023).
2/1/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

574. “A Low Moment in Higher Education”

Michael Roth of Wesleyan University doesn’t hang out with other university presidents. He also thinks some of them have failed a basic test of good sense and decency. It’s time for a conversation about college, and courage.   SOURCE:Michael S. Roth, president of Wesleyan University. RESOURCES:"Opinion: College Presidents Are Supposed to Be Moral Leaders, Not Evasive Bureaucrats," by Michael S. Roth (Los Angeles Times, 2023)."Transcript: What Harvard, MIT and Penn Presidents Said at Antisemitism Hearing," by CQ Roll Call Staff (Roll Call, 2023)."To Testify or Not to Testify in Congress? Your Job Could Hang in the Balance," by Annie Karni (The New York Times, 2023)."You Could Not Pay Me Enough to Be a College President," by Daniel W. Drezner (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2023)."The Case for College: Promising Solutions to Reverse College Enrollment Declines," by Katharine Meyer (Brookings, 2023)."Arab Funding of American Universities: Donors, Recipients, and Impact," by Mitchell G. Bard (American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2023)."Racist Attack Spotlights Stefanik’s Echo of Replacement Theory," by Annie Karni (The New York Times, 2022)."Why Is There So Much Saudi Money in American Universities?" by Michael Sokolove (The New York Times Magazine, 2019).Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness on College Campuses, by Michael S. Roth (2019)."The Opening of the Liberal Mind," by Michael S. Roth (The Wall Street Journal, 2017). EXTRAS:"Academic Fraud," series by Freakonomics Radio (2024)."Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School," series by Freakonomics Radio (2022).
1/25/202446 minutes, 51 seconds
Episode Artwork

5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing (Replay)

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. SOURCES:Sharon Begley, senior science writer for Stat at The Boston Globe.Jerome Kagan, emeritus professor of psychology at Harvard University.Bibb Latané, social psychologist and senior fellow at the Center for Human Science.Scott Lilienfeld, professor of psychology at Emory University.James Solomon, director and producer of The Witness. RESOURCES:“Tech Metaphors Are Holding Back Brain Research,” by Anna Vlasits (Wired, 2017).Can’t Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions, by Sharon Begley (2017).The Witness, film by James Solomon (2016).“Fifty Psychological and Psychiatric Terms to Avoid: a List of Inaccurate, Misleading, Misused, Ambiguous, and Logically Confused Words and Phrases,” by Scott Lilienfeld, Katheryn Sauvigne, Steven Jay Lynn, Robin Cautin, Robert Latzman, and Irwin Waldman (Frontiers in Psychology, 2015).SuperFreakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (2011).Fifty Great Myths of Popular Psychology, by Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, and Barry Beyerstein (2009).Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain, by Sharon Begley (2007).“Kitty, 40 Years Later,” by Jim Rasenberger (The New York Times, 2004).“37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police,” by Martin Gansberg (The New York Times, 1964). EXTRAS:"Academic Fraud," series by Freakonomics Radio (2024).“This Idea Must Die,”Freakonomics Radio (2015).
1/22/202449 minutes, 12 seconds
Episode Artwork

573. Can Academic Fraud Be Stopped?

Probably not — the incentives are too strong. Scholarly publishing is a $28 billion global industry, with misconduct at every level. But a few reformers are gaining ground.   (Part 2 of 2) SOURCES:Max Bazerman, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.Leif Nelson, professor of business administration at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business.Brian Nosek, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and executive director at the Center for Open Science.Ivan Oransky, distinguished journalist-in-residence at New York University, editor-in-chief of The Transmitter, and co-founder of Retraction Watch.Joseph Simmons, professor of applied statistics and operations, information, and decisions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.Uri Simonsohn, professor of behavioral science at Esade Business School.Simine Vazire, professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne and editor-in-chief of Psychological Science. RESOURCES:"The Harvard Professor and the Bloggers," by Noam Scheiber (The New York Times, 2023)."They Studied Dishonesty. Was Their Work a Lie?" by Gideon Lewis-Kraus (The New Yorker, 2023)."Evolving Patterns of Extremely Productive Publishing Behavior Across Science," by John P.A. Ioannidis, Thomas A. Collins, and Jeroen Baas (bioRxiv, 2023)."Hindawi Reveals Process for Retracting More Than 8,000 Paper Mill Articles," (Retraction Watch, 2023)."Exclusive: Russian Site Says It Has Brokered Authorships for More Than 10,000 Researchers," (Retraction Watch, 2019)."How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data," by Daniele Fanelli (PLOS One, 2009). EXTRAS:"Why Is There So Much Fraud in Academia?" by Freakonomics Radio (2024)."Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1," by Freakonomics Radio (2012).
1/18/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

572. Why Is There So Much Fraud in Academia?

Some of the biggest names in behavioral science stand accused of faking their results. Last year, an astonishing 10,000 research papers were retracted. We talk to whistleblowers, reformers, and a co-author who got caught up in the chaos. (Part 1 of 2) SOURCES:Max Bazerman, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.Leif Nelson, professor of business administration at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business.Brian Nosek, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and executive director at the Center for Open Science.Joseph Simmons, professor of applied statistics and operations, information, and decisions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.Uri Simonsohn, professor of behavioral science at Esade Business School.Simine Vazire, professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne and editor-in-chief of Psychological Science. RESOURCES:"More Than 10,000 Research Papers Were Retracted in 2023 — a New Record," by Richard Van Noorden (Nature, 2023)."Data Falsificada (Part 1): 'Clusterfake,'" by Joseph Simmons, Leif Nelson, and Uri Simonsohn (Data Colada, 2023)."Fabricated Data in Research About Honesty. You Can't Make This Stuff Up. Or, Can You?" by Nick Fountain, Jeff Guo, Keith Romer, and Emma Peaslee (Planet Money, 2023).Complicit: How We Enable the Unethical and How to Stop, by Max Bazerman (2022)."Evidence of Fraud in an Influential Field Experiment About Dishonesty," by Joseph Simmons, Leif Nelson, and Uri Simonsohn (Data Colada, 2021)."False-Positive Psychology: Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as Significant," by Joseph Simmons, Leif Nelson, and Uri Simonsohn (Psychological Science, 2011). EXTRAS:"Why Do We Cheat, and Why Shouldn’t We?" by No Stupid Questions (2023)."Is Everybody Cheating These Days?" by No Stupid Questions (2021).
1/11/20241 hour, 14 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

571. Greeting Cards, Pizza Boxes, and Personal Injury Lawyers

In a special episode of The Economics of Everyday Things, host Zachary Crockett explains what millennials do to show they care, how corrugated cardboard keeps your food warm, and why every city has a billboard for a guy who calls himself “The Hammer.” SOURCES:Jason Abraham, managing partner of Hupy & Abraham.Nora Engstrom, professor at Stanford Law School.Kyle Hebenstreit, C.E.O. of Practice Made Perfect.Patrick Kivits, president of corrugated packaging at WestRock.Mia Mercado, writer and former editor at Hallmark.Eric Nelson, green business program manager for Johnson County, Kansas.Scott Wiener, founder of Scott's Pizza Tours.George White, president of Up With Paper and former president of the American Greeting Card Association. RESOURCES:34th Louie Awards - Finalists & Winners, (2022-2023)."Personal Injury Settlement Amounts Examples (2024 Guide)," by Jeffrey Johnson (Forbes Advisor, 2022)."Who Is the Fastest Pizza Box Folder?! World Pizza Games 2021," video by The Laughing Lion (2021)."Season’s (and Other...) Greetings," by Maria Ricapito (Marie Claire, 2020)."Scott's Pizza Chronicles: A Brief History of the Pizza Box," by Scott Wiener (Serious Eats, 2018)."Apple Patented a Pizza Box, for Pizzas," by Jacob Kastrenakes (The Verge, 2017)."Hallmark Greeting Cards Have Adjusted to the Digital Revolution," by Trent Gillies (CNBC, 2017)."We Eat 100 Acres of Pizza a Day in the U.S.," by Lenny Bernstein (The Washington Post, 2015)."Low Ball: An Insider’s Look at How Some Insurers Can Manipulate Computerized Systems to Broadly Underpay Injury Claims," by Mark Romano and J. Robert Hunter (Consumer Federation of America, 2012)."A Century of Change in Personal Injury Law," by Stephen D. Sugarman (UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper, 2000).Pizza Tiger, by Thomas Monaghan (1986).Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, in the Supreme Court of Arizona (1977).
1/4/202449 minutes, 25 seconds
Episode Artwork

570. Is Gynecology the Best Innovation Ever?

In a special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt talks to Cat Bohannon about her new book Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution. SOURCE:Cat Bohannon, researcher and author. RESOURCES:Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution, by Cat Bohannon (2023)."Genomic Inference of a Severe Human Bottleneck During the Early to Middle Pleistocene Transition," by Wangjie Hu, Ziqian Hao, Pengyuan Du, Fabio Di Vincenzo, Giorgio Manzi, Jialong Cui, Yun-Xin Fu, Yi-Hsuan, and Haipeng Li (Science, 2023)."The Greatest Invention in the History of Humanity," by Cat Bohannon (The Atlantic, 2023)."A Newborn Infant Chimpanzee Snatched and Cannibalized Immediately After Birth: Implications for 'Maternity Leave' in Wild Chimpanzee," by Hitonaru Nishie and Michio Nakamura (American Journal of Biological Anthropology, 2018)."War in the Womb," by Suzanne Sadedin (Aeon, 2014)."Timing of Childbirth Evolved to Match Women’s Energy Limits," by Erin Wayman (Smithsonian Magazine, 2012)."Bonobo Sex and Society," by Frans B. M. de Waal (Scientific American, 2006). EXTRAS:"Yuval Noah Harari Thinks Life Is Meaningless and Amazing," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2022)."Jared Diamond on the Downfall of Civilizations — and His Optimism for Ours," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2021).
12/28/202346 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

569. Do You Need Closure?

In a special episode of No Stupid Questions, Angela Duckworth and Mike Maughan talk about unfinished tasks, recurring arguments, and Irish goodbyes. SOURCES:Roy Baumeister, social psychologist and visiting scholar at Harvard University.Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University.John Gottman, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Washington.Kurt Lewin, 20th-century German-American psychologist.E. J. Masicampo, professor of psychology at Wake Forest University.Timothy Wilson, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.Bluma Zeigarnik, 20th-century Soviet psychologist. RESOURCES:"Life and Work of the Psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik," by M. Marco (Neurosciences and History, 2018)."Why We Need Answers," by Maria Konnikova (The New Yorker, 2013)."Consider It Done! Plan Making Can Eliminate the Cognitive Effects of Unfulfilled Goals," by E. J. Masicampo and Roy Baumeister (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2011).The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples, by John Gottman (2011)."'Let Me Dream On!' Anticipatory Emotions and Preference for Timing in Lotteries," by Martin Kocher, Michal Krawczyk, and Frans van Winden (Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper, 2009)."Explaining Away: A Model of Affective Adaptation," by Timothy Wilson and Daniel Gilbert (Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2008)."On Finished and Unfinished Tasks," by Bluma Zeigarnik (A Source Book of Gestalt Psychology, 1938). EXTRAS:"What’s Wrong With Holding a Grudge?" by No Stupid Questions (2022).Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch,  by Eileen Spinelli (1991).
12/21/202339 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

568. Why Are People So Mad at Michael Lewis?

Lewis got incredible access to Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire behind the spectacular FTX fraud. His book is a bestseller, but some critics say he went too easy on S.B.F. Lewis tells us why the critics are wrong — and what it’s like to watch your book get turned into a courtroom drama. SOURCES:Michael Lewis, author. RESOURCES:Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon, by Michael Lewis (2023)."Column: In Michael Lewis, Sam Bankman-Fried Found His Last and Most Willing Victim," by Michael Hiltzik (Los Angeles Times, 2023)."Even Michael Lewis Can’t Make a Hero Out of Sam Bankman-Fried," by Jennifer Szalai (The New York Times, 2023)."Michael Lewis Goes Close on Sam Bankman-Fried — Maybe Too Close," by James Ledbetter (The Washington Post, 2023)."What You Won’t Learn From Michael Lewis’ Book on FTX Could Fill Another Book," by Julia M. Klein (Los Angeles Times, 2023)."Michael Lewis’s Big Contrarian Bet," by Gideon Lewis-Kraus (The New Yorker, 2023)."He-Said, They-Said," by John Lanchester (London Review of Books, 2023)."Downfall of the Crypto King," by Jesse Armstrong (The Times Literary Supplement, 2023)."FTX Debtors vs. Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried," in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (2023).Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses: Eighth Edition, by Richard C. Pilger (2017)."Pay Candidates to Drop Out? That Should Be Legal," by Stephen L. Carter (Bloomberg, 2016)."The History of the Term 'Effective Altruism,'" by William MacAskill (Effective Altruism Forum, 2014). EXTRAS:"Is This 'The Worst Job in Corporate America' — or Maybe the Best?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."A Million-Year View on Morality," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2022).“Did Michael Lewis Just Get Lucky with 'Moneyball'?” by Freakonomics Radio (2022).
12/14/20231 hour, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

567. Do the Police Have a Management Problem?

In policing, as in most vocations, the best employees are often promoted into leadership without much training. One economist thinks he can address this problem — and, with it, America’s gun violence. SOURCESKenneth Corey, director of outreach and engagement for the Policing Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago and retired chief of department for the New York Police Department.Stephanie Drescher, operations captain in the City of Madison Police Department.Max Kapustin, assistant professor of economics and public policy at Cornell University.Jens Ludwig, economist and director of the Crime Lab at the University of Chicago.Sandy Jo MacArthur, curriculum design director for the Policing Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago.Sean Malinowski, D.O.J. strategic site liaison for the Philadelphia Police Department and retired chief of detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department.Sindyanna Paul-Noel, lieutenant with the City of Miami Police Department.Michael Wolley, deputy chief of operations with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. RESOURCES:"Policing Leadership Academy (PLA) Graduation of Inaugural Cohort," by the University of Chicago Crime Lab (2023)."Policing and Management," by Max Kapustin, Terrence Neumann, and Jens Ludwig (NBER Working Paper, 2022)."Getting More Out of Policing in the U.S.," by Jens Ludwig, Terrence Neumann, and Max Kapustin (VoxEU, 2022)."University of Chicago Crime Lab Launches National Policing and Community Violence Intervention Leadership Academies," by the University of Chicago Crime Lab (2022)."What Drives Differences in Management?" by Nicholas Bloom, Erik Brynjolfsson, Lucia Foster, Ron S. Jarmin, Megha Patnaik, Itay Saporta-Eksten, and John Van Reenen (NBER Working Paper, 2017)."Management as a Technology?" by Nicholas Bloom, Raffaella Sadun, and John Van Reenen (NBER Working Paper, 2017)."Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," by Nick Bloom and John Van Reenen (NBER Working Paper, 2006)."Crime, Urban Flight, and the Consequences for Cities," by Julie Berry Cullen and Steven D. Levitt (SSRN, 1997). EXTRAS:"Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022)."What Are the Police for, Anyway?" by Freakonomics Radio (2021).
12/7/202347 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

513. Should Public Transit Be Free? (Update)

It boosts economic opportunity and social mobility. It’s good for the environment. So why do we charge people to use it? The short answer: it’s complicated. Also: We talk to the man who gets half the nation’s mass-transit riders where they want to go (most of the time).  SOURCES:Marcus Finbom, traffic planner in Stockholm, Sweden.Robbie Makinen, former president and C.E.O. of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.Janno Lieber, chair and C.E.O. of the M.T.A. in New York City.Brian Taylor, professor of urban planning and public policy and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at U.C.L.A.Shashi Verma, director of strategy and C.T.O. at Transport for London.Michelle Wu, mayor of Boston. RESOURCES:"Free Bus Service Starts Sunday on 5 Routes in New York City," by Ana Ley (The New York Times, 2023).“Vehicle Access and Falling Transit Ridership: Evidence From Southern California,” by Michael Manville, Brian D. Taylor, Evelyn Blumenberg, and Andrew Schouten (Transportation, 2023).“Route-28 Fare-Free Pilot Evaluation: Summary Findings,” by the City of Boston Transportation (2022).“Forget Fare Hikes — Make the T Free,” by Michelle Wu (The Boston Globe, 2019).Traffic Power Structure, by Planka.nu (2016)."The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility: Childhood Exposure Effects and County-Level Estimates," by Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren (NBER Working Paper, 2015)."Fare, Free, or Something in Between?" by Jennifer S. Perone and Joel M. Volinski (World Transit Research, 2003).Planka.Nu. EXTRAS:"Why Is the U.S. So Good at Killing Pedestrians?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."Should Public Transit Be Free?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022).“Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished?” by Freakonomics Radio (2021).“The Perfect Crime,” by Freakonomics Radio (2014).“Parking Is Hell,” by Freakonomics Radio (2013).
11/30/202356 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

566. Why Is It So Hard (and Expensive) to Build Anything in America?

Most industries have become more productive over time. But not construction! We identify the causes — and possible solutions. (Can you say ... “prefab”?) RESOURCES:"The Strange and Awful Path of Productivity in the US Construction Sector," by Austan Goolsbee and Chad Syverson (BFI Working Paper, 2023)."Infrastructure Costs," by Leah Brooks and Zachary D. Liscow (American Economic Journal: Applied, 2023)."The Silicon Valley Elite Who Want to Build a City From Scratch," by Conor Dougherty and Erin Griffith (The New York Times, 2023)."A Decent Home," report by the President's Committee on Urban Housing (1968).EXTRAS:"Edward Glaeser Explains Why Some Cities Thrive While Others Fade Away," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2021)."Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive?" by Freakonomics Radio (2020).
11/23/202354 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Jason Kelce Hates to Lose

Pro footballer and star podcaster Jason Kelce is ubiquitous right now (almost as ubiquitous as his brother and co-host Travis, who's been in the limelight for his relationship with Taylor Swift). After you hear this wide-ranging interview, you might want even more Kelce in your life.  RESOURCES:“N.F.L. Player Team Report Cards,” by the National Football League Players Association (2023).Kelce, documentary (2023).New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce, (produced by Wave Sports + Entertainment).EXTRAS:"When Is a Superstar Just Another Employee?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023).
11/19/202356 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

565. Are Private Equity Firms Plundering the U.S. Economy?

They say they make companies more efficient through savvy management. Critics say they bend the rules to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers and employees. Can they both be right? (Probably not.) RESOURCES:Plunder: Private Equity's Plan to Pillage America, by Brendan Ballou (2023).Two and Twenty: How the Masters of Private Equity Always Win, by Sachin Khajuria (2022).“The Economic Effects of Private Equity Buyouts,” by Steven J. Davis, John Haltiwanger, Kyle Handley, Ben Lipsius, Josh Lerner, and Javier Miranda (SSRN, 2019)."In Silicon Valley, Even Mobile Homes Are Getting Too Pricey for Longtime Residents," by Tracy Lien (Los Angeles Times, 2017).EXTRAS:"Should You Trust Private Equity to Take Care of Your Dog?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."Mobile Home Parks," by The Economics of Everyday Things (2023)."The Secret Life of a C.E.O.," series by Freakonomics Radio (2018)."Extra: David Rubenstein Full Interview," by Freakonomics Radio (2018).
11/16/202351 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

480. How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy? (Replay)

Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940’s America (and pretty much everywhere else) shows that discrimination is incredibly costly — to the victims, of course, but also the perpetrators. One modern solution is to invoke a diversity mandate. But new research shows that’s not necessarily the answer. RESOURCES:"Discrimination, Managers, and Firm Performance: Evidence from 'Aryanizations' in Nazi Germany," by Kilian Huber, Volker Lindenthal, and Fabian Waldinger (Journal of Political Economy, 2021)."Diversity and Performance in Entrepreneurial Teams," by Sophie Calder-Wang, Paul A. Gompers, and Kevin Huang (SSRN, 2021)."Systemic Discrimination Among Large U.S. Employers," by Patrick M. Kline, Evan K. Rose, and Christopher R. Walters (NBER Working Papers, 2021).City of Champions: A History of Triumph and Defeat in Detroit, by Silke-Maria Weineck and Stefan Szymanski (2020)."The Allocation of Talent and U.S. Economic Growth," by Chang-Tai Hsieh, Erik Hurst, Charles I. Jones, and Peter J. Klenow (Econometrica, 2019).Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947, by Norman Lebrecht (2019)."And the Children Shall Lead: Gender Diversity and Performance in Venture Capital," by Paul A. Gompers and Sophie Q. Wang (NBER Working Papers, 2017)."The Political Economy of Hatred," by Edward Glaeser (The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2005)."Statistical Theories of Discrimination in Labor Markets," by Dennis J. Aigner and Glen G. Cain (Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 1977).The Economics of Discrimination, by Gary S. Becker (1957).EXTRAS:"A New Nobel Laureate Explains the Gender Pay Gap (Replay)," by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."Edward Glaeser Explains Why Some Cities Thrive While Others Fade Away," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2021)."What Are the Secrets of the German Economy — and Should We Steal Them?" by Freakonomics Radio (2017).
11/9/202357 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

564. How to Succeed at Failing, Part 4: Extreme Resiliency

Everyone makes mistakes. How do you learn from them? Lessons from the classroom, the Air Force, and the world’s deadliest infectious disease. RESOURCES:Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well, by Amy Edmondson (2023)."You Think Failure Is Hard? So Is Learning From It," by Lauren Eskreis-Winkler and Ayelet Fishbach (Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2022)."The Market for R&D Failures," by Manuel Trajtenberg and Roy Shalem (SSRN, 2010)."Performing a Project Premortem," by Gary Klein (Harvard Business Review, 2007).EXTRAS:“How to Succeed at Failing,” series by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."Moncef Slaoui: 'It’s Unfortunate That It Takes a Crisis for This to Happen,'" by People I (Mostly) Admire (2020).
11/2/202351 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

563. How to Succeed at Failing, Part 3: Grit vs. Quit

Giving up can be painful. That's why we need to talk about it. Today: stories about glitchy apps, leaky paint cans, broken sculptures — and a quest for the perfect bowl of ramen.  RESOURCES"Data Snapshot: Tenure and Contingency in US Higher Education," by Glenn Colby (American Association of University Professors, 2023)."Entrepreneurship and the U.S. Economy," by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016)."A CV of Failures," by Melanie Stefan (Nature, 2010).EXTRAS“How to Succeed at Failing,” series by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."Annie Duke Thinks You Should Quit," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2022)."How Do You Know When It’s Time to Quit?" by No Stupid Questions (2020)."The Ramen Now - Rapid Desktop Cooking for Delicious Meals," Kickstarter campaign by Travis Thul.
10/26/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 15 seconds
Episode Artwork

562. How to Succeed at Failing, Part 2: Life and Death

In medicine, failure can be catastrophic. It can also produce discoveries that save millions of lives. Tales from the front line, the lab, and the I.T. department. RESOURCES:Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well, by Amy Edmondson (2023)."Reconsidering the Application of Systems Thinking in Healthcare: The RaDonda Vaught Case," by Connor Lusk, Elise DeForest, Gabriel Segarra, David M. Neyens, James H. Abernathy III, and Ken Catchpole (British Journal of Anaesthesia, 2022)."Dispelling the Myth That Organizations Learn From Failure," by Jeffrey Ray (SSRN, 2016)."A New, Evidence-Based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated With Hospital Care," by John T. James (Journal of Patient Safety, 2013).To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, by the National Academy of Sciences (1999)."Polymers for the Sustained Release of Proteins and Other Macromolecules," by Robert Langer and Judah Folkman (Nature, 1976).EXTRAS:"How to Succeed at Failing," series by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."Will a Covid-19 Vaccine Change the Future of Medical Research?" by Freakonomics Radio (2020)."Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis," by Freakonomics Radio (2016).
10/19/202353 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

561. How to Succeed at Failing, Part 1: The Chain of Events

We tend to think of tragedies as a single terrible moment, rather than the result of multiple bad decisions. Can this pattern be reversed? We try — with stories about wildfires, school shootings, and love. RESOURCESRight Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well, by Amy Edmondson (2023)."Michigan School Shooter Is Found Eligible for Life Sentence Without Parole," by Stephanie Saul and Dana Goldstein (The New York Times, 2023)."How Fire Turned Lahaina Into a Death Trap," by Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Serge F. Kovaleski, Shawn Hubler, and Riley Mellen (The New York Times, 2023).The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic, by Jillian Peterson and James Densley (2021)."I Was Almost A School Shooter," by Aaron Stark (TEDxBoulder, 2018).EXTRAS "Is Perfectionism Ruining Your Life?" by People I (Mostly) Admire (2023)."Why Did You Marry That Person?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022)."What Do We Really Learn From Failure?" by No Stupid Questions (2021)."How to Fail Like a Pro," by Freakonomics Radio (2019)."Failure Is Your Friend," by Freakonomics Radio (2014).
10/12/202354 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

232. A New Nobel Laureate Explains the Gender Pay Gap (Replay)

Claudia Goldin is the newest winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. We spoke with her in 2016 about why women earn so much less than men — and how it’s not all explained by discrimination. 
10/10/202344 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

560. Is This “the Worst Job in Corporate America” — or Maybe the Best?

John Ray is an emergency C.E.O., a bankruptcy expert who takes over companies that have succumbed to failure or fraud. He’s currently cleaning up the mess left by alleged crypto scammer Sam Bankman-Fried. And he loves it. RESOURCES:"United States of America v. Samuel Bankman-Fried, a/k/a 'SBF,'" by the United States District Court Southern District of New York (2023)."Does FTX’s New CEO Have the Worst Job in Corporate America?" by Ben Cohen (The Wall Street Journal, 2022)."John J. Ray III, a St. Joseph’s Grad From Pittsfield, Is Earning $1,300 an Hour to Sort Out the Remains of the FTX Cryptocurrency Collapse," by Larry Parnass (The Berkshire Eagle, 2022)."'Pit Bull' Fights to Pick Up Enron's Pieces," by Ameet Sachdev (Chicago Tribune, 2007).EXTRAS:“The Secret Life of a C.E.O.,” series by Freakonomics Radio (2018-2023)."Did Michael Lewis Just Get Lucky with Moneyball?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022)."Does the Crypto Crash Mean the Blockchain Is Over?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022)."What Can Blockchain Do for You?" series by Freakonomics Radio (2022).
10/5/202340 minutes, 7 seconds
Episode Artwork

559. Are Two C.E.O.s Better Than One?

If two parents can run a family, why shouldn’t two executives run a company? We dig into the research and hear firsthand stories of both triumph and disaster. Also: lessons from computer programmers, Simon and Garfunkel, and bears versus alligators.  RESOURCES:"How Allbirds Lost Its Way," by Suzanne Kapner (The Wall Street Journal, 2023)."Is It Time to Consider Co-C.E.O.s?" by Marc A. Feigen, Michael Jenkins, and Anton Warendh (Harvard Business Review, 2022)."The Costs and Benefits of Pair Programming," by Alistair Cockburn and Laurie Williams (2000)."Strengthening the Case for Pair Programming," by Laurie Williams, Robert R. Kessler, Ward Cunningham, and Ron Jeffries (IEEE Software, 2000).EXTRAS:"The Facts Are In: Two Parents Are Better Than One," by Freakonomics Radio (2023)."The Secret Life of a C.E.O.," series by Freakonomics Radio (2018-2023).
9/28/202350 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

558. When Did Marriage Become a Luxury Good?

U.S. marriage rates have plummeted. But the babies keep coming, and the U.S. now leads the world in single-parent households. In her new book The Two-Parent Privilege, the economist Melissa Kearney says this is a huge problem, and that it’s time for liberals to face the facts. Plus: our friends at Atlas Obscura explore just how many parents a kid can have. 
9/21/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

557. When Is a Superstar Just Another Employee?

The union that represents N.F.L. players conducted their first-ever survey of workplace conditions, and issued a report card to all 32 teams. What did the survey reveal? Clogged showers, rats in the locker room — and some helpful insights for those of us who don’t play pro football. For show notes, visit freakonomics.com/podcast/when-is-a-superstar-just-another-employee/
9/14/20231 hour, 53 seconds
Episode Artwork

556. A.I. Is Changing Everything. Does That Include You?

For all the speculation about the future, A.I. tools can be useful right now. Adam Davidson discovers what they can help us do, how we can get the most from them — and why the things that make them helpful also make them dangerous. (Part 3 of "How to Think About A.I.")
9/7/202348 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

555. New Technologies Always Scare Us. Is A.I. Any Different?

Guest host Adam Davidson looks at what might happen to your job in a world of human-level artificial intelligence, and asks when it might be time to worry that the machines have become too powerful. (Part 2 of "How to Think About A.I.")
8/31/202347 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

554. Can A.I. Take a Joke?

Artificial intelligence, we’ve been told, will destroy humankind. No, wait — it will usher in a new age of human flourishing! Guest host Adam Davidson (co-founder of Planet Money) sorts through the big claims about A.I.'s future by exploring its past and present — and whether it has a sense of humor. (Part 1 of "How to Think About A.I.")
8/24/202348 minutes, 5 seconds
Episode Artwork

553. The Suddenly Diplomatic Rahm Emanuel

The famously profane politician and operative is now U.S. ambassador to Japan, where he’s trying to rewrite the rules of diplomacy. But don’t worry: When it comes to China, he’s every bit as combative as you’d expect.
8/17/202356 minutes, 21 seconds
Episode Artwork

Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished? (Ep. 454 Replay)

Americans are so accustomed to the standard intersection that we rarely consider how dangerous it can be — as well as costly, time-wasting, and polluting. Is it time to embrace the lowly, lovely roundabout?
8/10/202346 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: A Modern Whaler Speaks Up

Bjorn Andersen killed 111 minke whales this season. He tells us how he does it, why he does it, and what he thinks would happen if whale-hunting ever stopped.
8/6/202326 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

552. Freakonomics Radio Presents: The Economics of Everyday Things

In three stories from our newest podcast, host Zachary Crockett digs into sports mascots, cashmere sweaters, and dinosaur skeletons. 
8/3/202347 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

551. What Can Whales Teach Us About Clean Energy, Workplace Harmony, and Living the Good Life?

In the final episode of our whale series, we learn about fecal plumes, shipping noise, and why "Moby-Dick" is still worth reading. (Part 3 of "Everything You Never Knew About Whaling.")
7/27/202347 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

550. Why Do People Still Hunt Whales?

For years, whale oil was used as lighting fuel, industrial lubricant, and the main ingredient in (yum!) margarine. Whale meat was also on a few menus. But today, demand for whale products is at a historic low. And yet some countries still have a whaling industry. We find out why. (Part 2 of “Everything You Never Knew About Whaling.”)
7/20/202337 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

549. The First Great American Industry

Whaling was, in the words of one scholar, “early capitalism unleashed on the high seas.” How did the U.S. come to dominate the whale market? Why did whale hunting die out here — and continue to grow elsewhere? And is that whale vomit in your perfume? (Part 1 of “Everything You Never Knew About Whaling.”)
7/13/202343 minutes, 51 seconds
Episode Artwork

548. Why Is the U.S. So Good at Killing Pedestrians?

Actually, the reasons are pretty clear. The harder question is: Will we ever care enough to stop?
7/6/202344 minutes, 57 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Did You Marry That Person? (Ep. 511 Replay)

Sure, you were “in love.” But economists — using evidence from Bridgerton to Tinder — point to what’s called “assortative mating.” And it has some unpleasant consequences for society.
6/29/202347 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

547. Satya Nadella’s Intelligence Is Not Artificial

But as C.E.O. of the resurgent Microsoft, he is firmly at the center of the A.I. revolution. We speak with him about the perils and blessings of A.I., Google vs. Bing, the Microsoft succession plan — and why his favorite use of ChatGPT is translating poetry.
6/22/202336 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

546. Are E.S.G. Investors Actually Helping the Environment?

Probably not. The economist Kelly Shue argues that E.S.G. investing just gives more money to firms that are already green while depriving polluting firms of the financing they need to get greener. But she has a solution.
6/15/202354 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

545. Enough with the Slippery Slopes!

Gun control, abortion rights, drug legalization — it seems like every argument these days claims that if X happens, then Y will follow, and we’ll all be doomed to Z. Is the slippery-slope argument a valid logical construction or just a game of feelingsball?
6/8/202344 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

544. Ari Emanuel Is Never Indifferent

He turned a small Hollywood talent agency into a massive sports-and-entertainment empire. In a freewheeling conversation, he explains how he did it and why it nearly killed him.
6/1/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

Make Me a Match (Ep. 209 Update)

Sure, markets work well in general. 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. Plus: We hear from a listener who, inspired by this episode, made a remarkable decision.
5/25/20231 hour, 8 minutes, 49 seconds
Episode Artwork

543. How to Return Stolen Art

Museums are purging their collections of looted treasures. Can they also get something in return? And what does it mean to be a museum in the 21st century? (Part 3 of “Stealing Art Is Easy. Giving It Back Is Hard.”)
5/18/202351 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

542. Is a Museum Just a Trophy Case?

The world’s great museums are full of art and artifacts that were plundered during an era when plunder was the norm. Now there’s a push to return these works to their rightful owners. Sounds simple, right? It's not. (Part 2 of “Stealing Art Is Easy. Giving It Back Is Hard.”)
5/11/202352 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

541. The Case of the $4 Million Gold Coffin

How did a freshly looted Egyptian antiquity end up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Why did it take Kim Kardashian to crack the case? And how much of what you see in any museum is stolen? (Part 1 of “Stealing Art Is Easy. Giving It Back Is Hard.”)
5/4/202353 minutes, 29 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It (Ep. 323 Replay)

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. 
4/27/202342 minutes, 58 seconds
Episode Artwork

540. Swearing Is More Important Than You Think

Every language has its taboo words (which many people use all the time). But the list of forbidden words is always changing — and those changes tell us some surprising things about ourselves.
4/20/202344 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

539. Why Does One Tiny State Set the Rules for Everyone?

Delaware is beloved by corporations, bankruptcy lawyers, tax avoiders, and money launderers. Critics say the Delaware “franchise” is undemocratic and corrupt. Insiders say it’s wildly efficient. We say: they’re both right.
4/13/202346 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

538. A Radically Simple Way to Boost a Neighborhood

Many companies say they want to create more opportunities for Black Americans. One company is doing something concrete about it. We visit the South Side of Chicago to see how it’s working out.
4/6/202347 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

How to Hate Taxes a Little Bit Less (Ep. 400 Replay)

Every year, Americans short the I.R.S. nearly half a trillion dollars. Most ideas to increase compliance are more stick than carrot — scary letters, audits, and penalties. But what if we gave taxpayers a chance to allocate how their money is spent, or even bribed them with a thank-you gift?
3/30/202343 minutes, 29 seconds
Episode Artwork

537. “Insurance Is Sexy.” Discuss.

In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, the economist Amy Finkelstein explains why insurance markets are broken and how to fix them. Also: why can’t you buy divorce insurance?
3/23/202352 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Ep. 495 Replay)

People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers — and why that’s unlikely to change.
3/16/202349 minutes, 53 seconds
Episode Artwork

536. Is Your Plane Ticket Too Expensive — or Too Cheap?

Most travelers want the cheapest flight they can find. Airlines, meanwhile, need to manage volatile fuel costs, a pricey workforce, and complex logistics. So how do they make money — and how did America’s grubbiest airport suddenly turn into a palace? (Part 3 of “Freakonomics Radio Takes to the Skies.”)
3/9/202358 minutes
Episode Artwork

535. Why Is Flying Safer Than Driving?

Thanks to decades of work by airlines and regulators, plane crashes are nearly a thing of the past. Can we do the same for cars? (Part 2 of “Freakonomics Radio Takes to the Skies.”)
3/2/202356 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

534. Air Travel Is a Miracle. Why Do We Hate It?

It’s an unnatural activity that has become normal. You’re stuck in a metal tube with hundreds of strangers (and strange smells), defying gravity and racing through the sky.  But oh, the places you’ll go! We visit the world’s busiest airport to see how it all comes together. (Part 1 of “Freakonomics Radio Takes to the Skies.”) 
2/23/202358 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Does the Most Monotonous Job in the World Pay $1 Million? (Ep. 493 Update)

Adam Smith famously argued that specialization is the key to prosperity. In the N.F.L., the long snapper is proof of that argument. Here’s everything there is to know about a job that didn’t used to exist.
2/16/202353 minutes
Episode Artwork

The Economics of Everyday Things: Used Hotel Soaps

Hotel guests adore those cute little soaps, but is it just a one-night stand? In our fourth episode of The Economics of Everyday Things, Zachary Crockett discovers what happens to those soaps when we love ’em and leave ’em.
2/13/202316 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

533. Will the Democrats “Make America Great Again”?

For decades, the U.S. let globalization run its course and hoped China would be an ally. Now the Biden administration is spending billions to bring high-tech manufacturing back home. Is this the beginning of a new industrial policy — or just another round of corporate welfare?
2/9/202350 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Economics of Everyday Things: “My Sharona”

Can a hit single from four decades ago still pay the bills? Zachary Crockett f-f-f-finds out in the third episode of our newest podcast, The Economics of Everyday Things. 
2/6/202318 minutes, 18 seconds
Episode Artwork

Is Economic Growth the Wrong Goal? (Ep. 429 Update)

The economist Kate Raworth says the aggressive pursuit of G.D.P. is trashing the planet and shortchanging too many people. She has proposed an alternative — and the city of Amsterdam is giving it a try. How's it going?
2/2/202341 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Economics of Everyday Things: Girl Scout Cookies

How does America's cutest sales force get billions of Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs into our hands every year? Zachary Crockett finds out in the second episode of our newest podcast, The Economics of Everyday Things.
1/30/202314 minutes, 14 seconds
Episode Artwork

532. Do You Know Who Owns Your Vet?

When small businesses get bought by big investors, the name may stay the same — but customers and employees can feel the difference. (Part 2 of 2.)
1/26/202346 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

Introducing “The Economics of Everyday Things”

A new podcast hosted by Zachary Crockett. In the first episode: Gas stations. When gas prices skyrocket, do station owners get a windfall? And where do their profits really come from? 
1/23/202315 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

531. Should You Trust Private Equity to Take Care of Your Dog?

Big investors are buying up local veterinary practices (and pretty much everything else). What does this mean for scruffy little Max* — and for the U.S. economy? (Part 1 of 2.) *The most popular dog name in the U.S. in 2022. 
1/19/202342 minutes, 5 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Samin Nosrat Always Wanted to Be Famous

And with her book "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat," she succeeded. Now she's not so sure how to feel about all the attention. 
1/16/202339 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

530. What's Wrong with Being a One-Hit Wonder?

We tend to look down on artists who can't match their breakthrough success. Should we be celebrating them instead? 
1/12/202349 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

529. Can Our Surroundings Make Us Smarter?

In a special episode of No Stupid Questions, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discuss classroom design, open offices, and cognitive drift. 
1/5/202346 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

528. Yuval Noah Harari Thinks Life is Meaningless and Amazing

In this special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt talks to the best-selling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus about finding the profound in the obvious.
12/29/202251 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

527. Can Adam Smith Fix Our Economy?

Labor exploitation! Corporate profiteering! Government corruption! The 21st century can look a lot like the 18th. In the final episode of a series, we turn to “the father of economics” for solutions. (Part 3 of “In Search of the Real Adam Smith.”)
12/22/202248 minutes, 49 seconds
Episode Artwork

526. Was Adam Smith Really a Right-Winger?

Economists and politicians have turned him into a mascot for free-market ideology. Some on the left say the right has badly misread him. Prepare for a very Smithy tug of war. (Part 2 of “In Search of the Real Adam Smith.”)
12/15/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

Freakonomics Radio Needs Your Help

A sneak peek at an upcoming series — and a call for would-be radio reporters.
12/12/20225 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

525. In Search of the Real Adam Smith

How did an affable 18th-century “moral philosopher” become the patron saint of cutthroat capitalism? Does “the invisible hand” mean what everyone thinks it does? We travel to Smith’s hometown in Scotland to uncover the man behind the myth. (Part 1 of a series.)
12/8/202246 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

524. How Important Is Breastfeeding, Really?

In this special episode of Freakonomics, M.D., host Bapu Jena looks at a clever new study that could help answer one of parenting’s most contentious questions.
12/1/202231 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

523. Did Michael Lewis Just Get Lucky with “Moneyball”?

No — but he does have a knack for stumbling into the perfect moment, including the recent FTX debacle. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, we revisit the book that launched the analytics revolution.
11/24/202252 minutes, 58 seconds
Episode Artwork

522. Is Google Getting Worse?

It used to feel like magic. Now it can feel like a set of cheap tricks. Is the problem with Google — or with us?
11/17/202253 minutes, 5 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Most Interesting Fruit in the World (Ep. 375 Update)

The banana, once a luxury good, rose to become America’s favorite fruit. Now a deadly fungus threatens to wipe it out. Can it be saved?
11/10/202239 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

521. I’m Your Biggest Fan!

It’s fun to obsess over pop stars and racecar drivers — but is fandom making our politics even more toxic?  
11/3/202244 minutes, 18 seconds
Episode Artwork

520. The Unintended Consequences of Working from Home

The last two years have radically changed the way we work — producing winners, losers, and a lot of surprises.
10/27/202240 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

519. Has Globalization Failed?

It was supposed to boost prosperity and democracy at the same time. What really happened? According to the legal scholar Anthea Roberts, it depends which story you believe.
10/20/202246 minutes, 3 seconds
Episode Artwork

518. Are Personal Finance Gurus Giving You Bad Advice?

One Yale economist certainly thinks so. But even if he’s right, are economists any better?
10/13/20221 hour, 1 minute, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

517. Are M.B.A.s to Blame for Wage Stagnation?

New research finds that bosses who went to business school pay their workers less. So what are M.B.A. programs teaching — and should they stop? 
10/6/202247 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

Please Get Your Noise Out of My Ears (Ep. 439 Update)

The pandemic provided city dwellers with a break from the din of the modern world. Now the noise is coming back. What does that mean for our productivity, health, and basic sanity?
9/29/202251 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

516. Nuclear Power Isn’t Perfect. Is It Good Enough?

Liberals endorse harm reduction when it comes to the opioid epidemic. Are they ready to take the same approach to climate change? 
9/22/202254 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Ken Burns | People I (Mostly) Admire

The documentary filmmaker, known for The Civil War, Jazz, and Baseball, turns his attention to the Holocaust, and asks what we can learn from the evils of the past.
9/19/202246 minutes, 8 seconds
Episode Artwork

515. When You Pray to God Online, Who Else Is Listening?

The pandemic moved a lot of religious activity onto the internet. With faith-based apps, Silicon Valley is turning virtual prayers into earthly rewards. Does this mean sharing user data? Dear God, let’s hope not …
9/15/202244 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

This Is Your Brain on Pollution (Ep. 472 Update)

As the Biden administration rushes to address climate change, Stephen Dubner looks at another, hidden cost of air pollution — one that’s affecting how we think.
9/8/202248 minutes, 18 seconds
Episode Artwork

514. Roland Fryer Refuses to Lie to Black America

The controversial Harvard economist, recently back from a suspension, “broke a lot of glass early in my career,” he says. His research on school incentives and police brutality won him acclaim — but also enemies. Now he’s taking a hard look at corporate diversity programs. The common thread in his work? “I refuse to not tell the truth.”
9/1/202259 minutes, 54 seconds
Episode Artwork

513. Should Public Transit Be Free?

It boosts economic opportunity and social mobility. It’s good for the environment. So why do we charge people to use it? The short answer: it’s complicated. 
8/25/202245 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Is U.S. Media So Negative? (Ep. 477 Replay)

Breaking news! Sources say American journalism exploits our negativity bias to maximize profits, and social media algorithms add fuel to the fire. Stephen Dubner investigates.
8/18/202247 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Pros and Cons of America’s (Extreme) Individualism (Ep. 470 Replay)

According to a decades-long research project, the U.S. is not only the most individualistic country on earth; we’re also high on indulgence, short-term thinking, and masculinity (but low on “uncertainty avoidance,” if that makes you feel better). We look at how these traits affect our daily lives and why we couldn’t change them even if we wanted to. 
8/11/202248 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not (Ep. 469 Replay)

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into a country as culturally unusual (and as supremely WEIRD) as America?
8/4/202251 minutes, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

512. Does Philosophy Still Matter?

It used to be at the center of our conversations about politics and society. Scott Hershovitz (author of Nasty, Brutish, and Short) argues that philosophy still has a lot to say about work, justice, and parenthood. Our latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.
7/28/202249 minutes, 52 seconds
Episode Artwork

511. Why Did You Marry That Person?

Sure, you were “in love.” But economists — using evidence from Bridgerton to Tinder — point to what’s called “assortative mating.” And it has some unpleasant consequences for society.
7/21/202246 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting: 10 Years Later (Ep. 479 Replay)

In one of the earliest Freakonomics Radio episodes, we asked a bunch of economists with young kids how they approached child-rearing. Now the kids are old enough to talk — and they have a lot to say. We hear about nature vs. nurture, capitalism vs. Marxism, and why you don’t tell your friends that your father is an economist.
7/14/202251 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

510. What Problems Does Crypto Solve, Anyway?

Boosters say blockchain technology will usher in a brave new era of decentralization. Are they right — and would it be a dream or a nightmare? (Part 3 of "What Can Blockchain Do for You?")
7/7/202252 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

509. Are N.F.T.s All Scams?

Some of them are. With others, it’s more complicated (and more promising). We try to get past the Bored Apes and the ripoffs to see if we can find art on the blockchain. (Part 2 of "What Can Blockchain Do for You?")
6/30/202248 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

508. Does the Crypto Crash Mean the Blockchain Is Over?

No. But now is a good time to sort out the potential from the hype. Whether you’re bullish, bearish, or just confused, we’re here to explain what the blockchain can do for you. (Part 1 of a series.) 
6/23/202249 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

507. 103 Pieces of Advice That May or May Not Work

Kevin Kelly calls himself “the most optimistic person in the world.” And he has a lot to say about parenting, travel, A.I., being luckier — and why we should spend way more time on YouTube.
6/16/202240 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

506. What Is Sportswashing (and Does It Work)?

In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf league that’s challenging the P.G.A. Tour. Can a sporting event really repair a country’s reputation — or will it trigger the dreaded Streisand Effect?
6/9/202250 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

505. Did Domestic Violence Really Spike During the Pandemic?

When the world went into lockdown, experts predicted a rise in intimate-partner assaults. What actually happened was more complicated.
6/2/202250 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

504. Introducing “Off Leash”

In this new podcast from the Freakonomics Radio Network, dog-cognition expert and bestselling author Alexandra Horowitz (Inside of a Dog) takes us inside the scruffy, curious, joyful world of dogs. This is the first episode of Off Leash; you can find more episodes in your podcast app now. 
5/26/202238 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

503. What Is the Future of College — and Does It Have Room for Men?

Educators and economists tell us all the reasons college enrollment has been dropping, especially for men, and how to stop the bleeding. (Part 4 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)
5/19/202248 minutes, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

Abortion and Crime, Revisited (Ep. 384 Update)

As the Supreme Court considers overturning Roe v. Wade, we look back at Steve Levitt’s controversial research on an unintended consequence of the 1973 ruling.
5/12/202258 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

502. “I Don’t Think the Country Is Turning Away From College.”

Enrollment is down for the first time in memory, and critics complain college is too expensive, too elitist, and too politicized. The economist Chris Paxson — who happens to be the president of Brown University — does not agree. (Part 3 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)
5/5/202244 minutes, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

501. The University of Impossible-to-Get-Into

America’s top colleges are facing record demand. So why don’t they increase supply? (Part 2 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)
4/28/202259 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

500. What Exactly Is College For?

We think of them as intellectual enclaves and the surest route to a better life. But U.S. colleges also operate like firms, trying to differentiate their products to win market share and prestige points. In the first episode of a special series, we ask what our chaotic system gets right — and wrong. (Part 1 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)
4/21/202245 minutes, 44 seconds
Episode Artwork

Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than China — and How About Russia? (Ep. 481 Update)

The political scientist Yuen Yuen Ang argues that different forms of government create different styles of corruption. The U.S. and China have more in common than we’d like to admit — but Russia is a different story, which could explain its willingness to invade Ukraine. 
4/14/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

499. Don't Worry, Be Tacky

The British art superstar Flora Yukhnovich, the Freakonomist Steve Levitt, and the upstart American Basketball Association were all unafraid to follow their joy — despite sneers from the Establishment. Should we all be more willing to embrace the déclassé?
4/7/202237 minutes, 37 seconds
Episode Artwork

498. In the 1890s, the Best-Selling Car Was … Electric

After a huge false start, electric cars are finally about to flourish. We speak with a technology historian about this all-too-common story, and what it means for innovation everywhere.
3/31/202243 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

497. Can the Big Bad Wolf Save Your Life?

Every year, there are more than a million collisions in the U.S. between drivers and deer. The result: hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and billions in damages. Enter the wolf …
3/24/202246 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

How to Change Your Mind (Ep. 379 Update)

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves?
3/17/202247 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

496. Do Unions Still Work?

Organized labor hasn’t had this much public support in 50 years, and yet the percentage of Americans in a union is near a record low. A.F.L-C.I.O. president Liz Shuler tries to explain this gap — and persuade Stephen Dubner that “the folks who brought you the weekend” still have the leverage to fix a broken economy.
3/10/202251 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

495. Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses?

People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers — and why that’s unlikely to change. 
3/3/202248 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

494. Why Do Most Ideas Fail to Scale?

In a new book called The Voltage Effect, the economist John List — who has already revolutionized how his profession does research — is trying to start a scaling revolution. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, List teaches us how to avoid false positives, how to know whether a given success is due to the chef or the ingredients, and how to practice “optimal quitting.”  
2/24/202248 minutes, 54 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Does the Richest Country in the World Have So Many Poor Kids? (Ep. 475 Update)

Among O.E.C.D. nations, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty. Until recently, it looked as if Washington was about to change that. But then … Washington happened.
2/17/202253 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

493. Why Does the Most Monotonous Job in the World Pay $1 Million?

Adam Smith famously argued that specialization is the key to prosperity. In the N.F.L., the long snapper is proof of that argument. Just in time for the Super Bowl, here’s everything there is to know about a job that didn’t used to exist.
2/10/202250 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

Are You Ready for a Fresh Start? (Ep. 455 Replay)

Behavioral scientists have been exploring if — and when — a psychological reset can lead to lasting change. We survey evidence from the London Underground, Major League Baseball, and New Year’s resolutions; we look at accidental fresh starts, forced fresh starts, and fresh starts that backfire. And we wonder: will the pandemic’s end provide the biggest fresh start ever? 
2/3/202244 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

492. How Did a Hayfield Become One of America’s Hottest Cities?

Frisco used to be just another sleepy bedroom community outside of Dallas. Now it’s got corporate headquarters, billions of investment dollars, and a bunch of Democrats in a place that used to be deep red. Is Frisco nothing more than a suburb on steroids — or is it the future of the American city?
1/27/202239 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

491. Why Is Everyone Moving to Dallas?

When Stephen Dubner learned that Dallas–Fort Worth will soon overtake Chicago as the third-biggest metro area in the U.S., he got on a plane to find out why. Despite getting stood up by the mayor, nearly drowning on a highway, and eating way too much barbecue, he came away impressed. (Part 1 of 2 — because even podcasts are bigger in Texas.)
1/20/202248 minutes, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

490. What Do Broken-Hearted Knitters, Urinating Goalkeepers, and the C.I.A. Have in Common?

Curses and other superstitions may have no basis in reality, but that doesn’t stop us from believing. 
1/13/202247 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

489. Is “Toxic Positivity” a Thing?

 In this special episode of No Stupid Questions, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discuss the consequences of seeing every glass as at least half-full. 
1/6/202236 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

488. Does Death Have to Be a Death Sentence?

In this special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt speaks with the palliative physician B.J. Miller about modern medicine’s goal of “protecting a pulse at all costs.” Is there a better, even beautiful way to think about death and dying?
12/30/202153 minutes, 58 seconds
Episode Artwork

487. Is It Okay to Have a Party Yet?

In this special episode of Freakonomics, M.D., host Bapu Jena looks at data from birthday parties, March Madness parties, and a Freakonomics Radio holiday party to help us all manage our risk of Covid-19 exposure.
12/23/202131 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

486. “The Art Market Is in Massive Disruption.”

Is art really meant to be an “asset class”? Will the digital revolution finally democratize a market that just keeps getting more elitist? And what will happen to the last painting Alice Neel ever made? (Part 3 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”)
12/16/202142 minutes, 21 seconds
Episode Artwork

485. “I’ve Been Working My Ass Off for You to Make that Profit?”

The more successful an artist is, the more likely their work will later be resold at auction for a huge markup — and they receive nothing. Should that change? Also: why doesn’t contemporary art impact society the way music and film do? (Part 2 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”)
12/9/202146 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

484. “A Fascinating, Sexy, Intellectually Compelling, Unregulated Global Market.”

The art market is so opaque and illiquid that it barely functions like a market at all. A handful of big names get all the headlines (and most of the dollars). Beneath the surface is a tangled web of dealers, curators, auction houses, speculators — and, of course, artists. In the first episode of a three-part series, we meet the key players and learn how an obscure, long-dead American painter suddenly became a superstar. (Part 1 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”)
12/2/202152 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

How Do You Cure a Compassion Crisis? (Ep. 444 Replay)

Patients in the U.S. healthcare system often feel they’re treated with a lack of empathy. Doctors and nurses have tragically high levels of burnout. Could fixing the first problem solve the second? And does the rest of society need more compassion too?
11/25/202151 minutes
Episode Artwork

483. What’s Wrong With Shortcuts?

You know the saying: “There are no shortcuts in life.” What if that saying is just wrong? In his new book Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut in Math and Life, the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy argues that shortcuts can be applied to practically anything: music, psychotherapy, even politics. Our latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.
11/18/202143 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

482. Is Venture Capital the Secret Sauce of the American Economy?

The U.S. is home to seven of the world’s 10 biggest companies. How did that happen? The answer may come down to two little letters: V.C. Is venture capital good for society, or does it just help the rich get richer? Stephen Dubner invests the time to find out.
11/11/202145 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

481. Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than China?

A new book by an unorthodox political scientist argues that the two rivals have more in common than we’d like to admit. It’s just that most American corruption is essentially legal.
11/4/202155 minutes, 44 seconds
Episode Artwork

480. How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy?

Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940’s America (and pretty much everywhere else) shows that discrimination is incredibly costly — to the victims, of course, but also the perpetrators. One modern solution is to invoke a diversity mandate. But new research shows that’s not necessarily the answer.
10/28/202153 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

479. The Economist’s Guide to Parenting: 10 Years Later

 In one of the earliest Freakonomics Radio episodes (No. 39!), we asked a bunch of economists with young kids how they approached child-rearing. Now the kids are old enough to talk — and they have a lot to say. We hear about nature vs. nurture, capitalism vs. Marxism, and why you sometimes don’t tell your friends that your father is an economist.
10/21/202151 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

478. How Can We Break Our Addiction to Contempt?

Arthur Brooks is an economist who for 10 years ran the American Enterprise Institute, one of the most influential conservative think tanks in the world. He has come to believe there is only one weapon that can defeat our extreme political polarization: love. Is Brooks a fool for thinking this — and are you perhaps his kind of fool?
10/14/202142 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

477. Why Is U.S. Media So Negative?

Breaking news! Sources say American journalism exploits our negativity bias to maximize profits, and social media algorithms add fuel to the fire. Stephen Dubner investigates.
10/7/202147 minutes, 13 seconds
Episode Artwork

That’s a Great Question! (Ep. 192 Rebroadcast)

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.  
9/30/202119 minutes, 28 seconds
Episode Artwork

“This Didn't End the Way It’s Supposed to End.” (Bonus)

The N.B.A. superstar Chris Bosh was still competing at the highest level when a blood clot abruptly ended his career. In his new book, Letters to a Young Athlete, Bosh covers the highlights and the struggles. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, he talks with guest host Angela Duckworth.
9/27/202132 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

476. What Are the Police for, Anyway?

The U.S. is an outlier when it comes to policing, as evidenced by more than 1,000 fatal shootings by police each year. But we’re an outlier in other ways too: a heavily-armed populace, a fragile mental-health system, and the fact that we spend so much time in our cars. Add in a history of racism and it’s no surprise that barely half of all Americans have a lot of confidence in the police. So what if we start to think about policing as … philanthropy?
9/23/202145 minutes, 58 seconds
Episode Artwork

475. Why Does the Richest Country in the World Have So Many Poor Kids?

Among O.E.C.D. nations, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty. How can that be? To find out, Stephen Dubner speaks with a Republican senator, a Democratic mayor, and a large cast of econo-nerds. Along the way, we hear some surprisingly good news: Washington is finally ready to attack the problem head-on.
9/16/202148 minutes, 51 seconds
Episode Artwork

474. All You Need Is Nudge

When Richard Thaler published Nudge in 2008 (with co-author Cass Sunstein), the world was just starting to believe in his brand of behavioral economics. How did nudge theory hold up in the face of a global financial meltdown, a pandemic, and other existential crises? With the publication of a new, radically updated edition, Thaler tries to persuade Stephen Dubner that nudging is more relevant today than ever.
9/9/202158 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

Is There Really a “Loneliness Epidemic”? (Ep. 407 Rebroadcast)

That’s what some health officials are saying, but the data aren’t so clear. We look into what’s known (and not known) about the prevalence and effects of loneliness — including the possible upsides.
9/2/202135 minutes, 54 seconds
Episode Artwork

473. These Jobs Were Not Posted on ZipRecruiter

In a conversation fresh from the Freakonomics Radio Network’s podcast laboratory, Michèle Flournoy (one of the highest-ranking women in Defense Department history) speaks with Cecil Haney (one of the U.S. Navy’s first Black four-star admirals) about nuclear deterrence, smart leadership, and how to do inclusion right.
8/26/202147 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

Reasons to Be Cheerful (Ep. 417 Rebroadcast)

Humans have a built-in “negativity bias,” which means we give bad news much more power than good. Would the Covid-19 crisis be an opportune time to reverse this tendency?
8/19/202152 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

472. This Is Your Brain on Pollution

Air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million deaths a year and cost the global economy nearly $3 trillion. But is the true cost even higher? Stephen Dubner explores the links between pollution and cognitive function, and enlists two fellow Freakonomics Radio Network hosts in a homegrown experiment.
8/12/202146 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

471. Mayor Pete and Elaine Chao Hit the Road

While other countries seem to build spectacular bridges, dams, and even entire cities with ease, the U.S. is stuck in pothole-fixing mode. We speak with an array of transportation nerds — including the secretary of transportation and his immediate predecessor — to see if a massive federal infrastructure package can put America back in the driver’s seat.
8/5/202149 minutes, 8 seconds
Episode Artwork

Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet (Ep. 346 Rebroadcast)

The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about any problem. A debate that’s been around for decades has become a shouting match. Is anyone right?
7/29/202153 minutes, 28 seconds
Episode Artwork

470. The Pros and Cons of America’s (Extreme) Individualism

According to a decades-long research project, the U.S. is not only the most individualistic country on earth; we’re also high on indulgence, short-term thinking, and masculinity (but low on “uncertainty avoidance,” if that makes you feel better). We look at how these traits affect our daily lives and why we couldn’t change them even if we wanted to.
7/22/202147 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

469. The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into a country as culturally unusual (and as supremely WEIRD) as America?
7/15/202150 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

468. Nap Time for Everyone!

The benefits of sleep are by now well established, and yet many people don’t get enough. A new study suggests we should channel our inner toddler and get 30 minutes of shut-eye in the afternoon. But are we ready for a napping revolution?
7/8/202136 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Ep. 289 Rebroadcast)

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?
7/1/202127 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

467. Is the Future of Farming in the Ocean?

Bren Smith, who grew up fishing and fighting, is now part of a movement that seeks to feed the planet while putting less environmental stress on it. He makes his argument in a book called Eat Like a Fish; his secret ingredient: kelp. But don’t worry, you won’t have to eat it (not much, at least). An installment of The Freakonomics Radio Book Club.
6/24/202142 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

466. She’s From the Government, and She’s Here to Help

Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, is as cold-blooded as any economist. But she admits that her profession would do well to focus on policy that actually helps people. Rouse explains why President Biden wants to spend trillions of dollars to reshape the economy, and why — as the first Black chair of the C.E.A. — she has a good idea of what needs fixing.
6/17/202145 minutes, 13 seconds
Episode Artwork

465. Introducing a New “Freakonomics of Medicine” Podcast

Bapu Jena was already a double threat: a doctor who’s also an economist. Now he’s a podcast host too. In this sneak preview of the Freakonomics Radio Network’s newest show, Bapu discovers that marathons can be deadly — but not for the reasons you may think.
6/10/202123 minutes, 9 seconds
Episode Artwork

464. Will Work-from-Home Work Forever?

The pandemic may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean we’ll return to full-time commuting and packed office buildings. The greatest accidental experiment in the history of labor has lessons to teach us about productivity, flexibility, and even reversing the brain drain. But don’t buy another dozen pairs of sweatpants just yet.
6/3/202148 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

463. How to Get Anyone to Do Anything

The social psychologist Robert Cialdini is a pioneer in the science of persuasion. His 1984 book Influence is a classic, and he has just published an expanded and revised edition. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, he gives a master class in the seven psychological levers that bewitch our rational minds and lead us to buy, behave, or believe without a second thought.
5/27/202158 minutes, 3 seconds
Episode Artwork

These Shoes Are Killing Me! (Ep. 296 Rebroadcast)

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?
5/20/202139 minutes, 51 seconds
Episode Artwork

462. The Future of New York City Is in Question. Could Andrew Yang Be the Answer?

The man who wants America to “think harder” has parlayed his quixotic presidential campaign into front-runner status in New York’s mayoral election. And he has some big plans.
5/13/202142 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

461. How to Stop Worrying and Love the Robot Apocalypse

It’s true that robots (and other smart technologies) will kill many jobs. It may also be true that newer collaborative robots (“cobots”) will totally reinvigorate how work gets done. That, at least, is what the economists are telling us. Should we believe them?
5/6/202148 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

460. The True Story of the Minimum-Wage Fight

Backers of a $15 federal wage say it’s a no-brainer if you want to fight poverty. Critics say it’s a blunt instrument that leads to job loss. Even the economists can’t agree! We talk to a bunch of them — and a U.S. Senator — to sort it out, and learn there’s a much bigger problem to worry about.
4/29/202144 minutes, 15 seconds
Episode Artwork

459. Let’s Be Blunt: Marijuana Is a Boon for Older Workers

The state-by-state rollout of legalized weed has given economists a perfect natural experiment to measure its effects. Here’s what we know so far — and don’t know — about the costs and benefits of legalization.
4/22/202135 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

458. How to Manage Your Goal Hierarchy

In this special crossover episode, People I (Mostly) Admire host Steve Levitt admits to No Stupid Questions co-host Angela Duckworth that he knows almost nothing about psychology. But once Angela gives Steve a quick tutorial on “goal conflict,” he is suddenly a fan. They also talk parenting, self-esteem, and how easy it is to learn econometrics if you feel like it.
4/15/202151 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

457. Is Dialysis a Test Case of Medicare for All?

Kidney failure is such a catastrophic (and expensive) disease that Medicare covers treatment for anyone, regardless of age. Since Medicare reimbursement rates are fairly low, the dialysis industry had to find a way to tweak the system if they wanted to make big profits. They succeeded.
4/8/202153 minutes, 28 seconds
Episode Artwork

456. How to Fix the Hot Mess of U.S. Healthcare

Medicine has evolved from a calling into an industry, adept at dispensing procedures and pills (and gigantic bills), but less good at actual health. Most reformers call for big, bold action. What happens if, instead, you think small?
4/1/202149 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet) (Ep. 405 Rebroadcast)

Why do so many promising solutions — in education, medicine, criminal justice, etc. — fail to scale up into great policy? And can a new breed of “implementation scientists” crack the code?
3/25/202146 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

How Does New York City Keep Reinventing Itself? (Bonus)

In a word: networks. Once it embraced information as its main currency, New York was able to climb out of a deep fiscal (and psychic) pit. Will that magic trick still work after Covid? In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, guest host Kurt Andersen interviews Thomas Dyja, author of New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess and Transformation.
3/21/202152 minutes, 28 seconds
Episode Artwork

455. Are You Ready for a Fresh Start?

Behavioral scientists have been exploring if — and when — a psychological reset can lead to lasting change. We survey evidence from the London Underground, Major League Baseball, and New Year’s resolutions; we look at accidental fresh starts, forced fresh starts, and fresh starts that backfire. And we wonder: will the pandemic’s end provide the biggest fresh start ever?
3/18/202142 minutes, 3 seconds
Episode Artwork

454. Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished?

Americans are so accustomed to the standard intersection that we rarely consider how dangerous it can be — as well as costly, time-wasting, and polluting. Is it time to embrace the lowly, lovely roundabout?
3/11/202144 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

453. A Rescue Plan for Black America

New York Times columnist Charles Blow argues that white supremacy in America will never fully recede, and that it’s time for Black people to do something radical about it. In The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto, he urges a “reverse migration” to the South to consolidate political power and create a region where it’s safe to be Black. (This is an episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.)
3/4/202156 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

Am I Boring You? (Ep. 225 Rebroadcast)

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?
2/25/202139 minutes, 12 seconds
Episode Artwork

452. Jeff Immelt Knows He Let You Down

Not so long ago, G.E. was the most valuable company in the world, a conglomerate that included everything from light bulbs and jet engines to financial services and The Apprentice. Now it’s selling off body parts to survive. What does the C.E.O. who presided over the decline have to say for himself?
2/18/202145 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

451. Can I Ask You a Ridiculously Personal Question?

Most of us are are afraid to ask sensitive questions about money, sex, politics, etc. New research shows this fear is largely unfounded. Time for some interesting conversations!
2/11/202142 minutes, 44 seconds
Episode Artwork

450. How to Be Better at Death

Caitlin Doughty is a mortician who would like to put herself out of business. Our corporate funeral industry, she argues, has made us forget how to offer our loved ones an authentic sendoff. Doughty is the author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, she is interviewed by guest host Maria Konnikova.
2/4/202157 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

449. How to Fix the Incentives in Cancer Research

For all the progress made in fighting cancer, it still kills 10 million people a year, and some types remain especially hard to detect and treat. Pancreatic cancer, for instance, is nearly always fatal. A new clinical-trial platform could change that by aligning institutions that typically compete against one another.
1/28/202144 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

448. The Downside of Disgust

It’s a powerful biological response that has preserved our species for millennia. But now it may be keeping us from pursuing strategies that would improve the environment, the economy, even our own health. So is it time to dial down our disgust reflex? You can help fix things — as Stephen Dubner does in this episode — by chowing down on some delicious insects.
1/21/202145 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

447. How Much Do We Really Care About Children?

They can’t vote or hire lobbyists. The policies we create to help them aren’t always so helpful. Consider the car seat: parents hate it, the safety data are unconvincing, and new evidence suggests an unintended consequence that is as anti-child as it gets.
1/14/202147 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

446. “We Get All Our Great Stuff from Europe — Including Witch Hunting.”

We’ve collected some of our favorite moments from People I (Mostly) Admire, the latest show from the Freakonomics Radio Network. Host Steve Levitt seeks advice from scientists and inventors, memory wizards and basketball champions — even his fellow economists. He also asks about quitting, witch trials, and whether we need a Manhattan Project for climate change.
1/7/202140 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

Trust Me (Ep. 266 Rebroadcast)

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?
12/31/202030 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

445. Why Do We Seek Comfort in the Familiar?

In this episode of No Stupid Questions — a Freakonomics Radio Network show launched earlier this year — Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth debate why we watch, read, and eat familiar things during a crisis, and if it might in fact be better to try new things instead. Also: is a little knowledge truly as dangerous as they say?
12/24/202036 minutes, 56 seconds
Episode Artwork

444. How Do You Cure a Compassion Crisis?

Patients in the U.S. healthcare system often feel they’re treated with a lack of empathy. Doctors and nurses have tragically high levels of burnout. Could fixing the first problem solve the second? And does the rest of society need more compassion too?
12/17/202048 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

443. A Sneak Peek at Biden’s Top Economist

The incoming president argues that the economy and the environment are deeply connected. This is reflected in his choice for National Economic Council director — Brian Deese, a climate-policy wonk and veteran of the no-drama-Obama era. But don’t mistake Deese’s lack of drama for a lack of intensity.
12/10/202043 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

PLAYBACK (2015): Could the Next Brooklyn Be ... Las Vegas?!

Tony Hsieh, the longtime C.E.O. of Zappos, was an iconoclast and a dreamer. Five years ago, we sat down with him around a desert campfire to talk about those dreams. Hsieh died recently from injuries sustained in a house fire; he was 46.
12/6/202057 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

442. Is it Too Late for General Motors to Go Electric?

G.M. produces more than 20 times as many cars as Tesla, but Tesla is worth nearly 10 times as much. Mary Barra, the C.E.O. of G.M., is trying to fix that. We speak with her about the race toward an electrified (and autonomous) future, China and Trump, and what it’s like to be the “fifth-most powerful woman in the world.”
12/3/202044 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

441. Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 2: Digital)

Google and Facebook are worth a combined $2 trillion, with the vast majority of their revenue coming from advertising. In our previous episode, we learned that TV advertising is much less effective than the industry says. Is digital any better? Some say yes, some say no — and some say we’re in a full-blown digital-ad bubble.
11/26/202048 minutes, 21 seconds
Episode Artwork

440. Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 1: TV)

Companies around the world spend more than half-a-trillion dollars each year on ads. The ad industry swears by its efficacy — but a massive new study tells a different story.
11/19/202037 minutes, 12 seconds
Episode Artwork

439. Please Get Your Noise Out of My Ears

The modern world overwhelms us with sounds we didn’t ask for, like car alarms and cell-phone “halfalogues.” What does all this noise cost us in terms of productivity, health, and basic sanity?
11/12/202049 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

438. How to Succeed by Being Authentic (Hint: Carefully)

John Mackey, the C.E.O. of Whole Foods, has learned the perils of speaking his mind. But he still says what he thinks about everything from “conscious leadership” to the behavioral roots of the obesity epidemic. He also argues for a style of capitalism and politics that at this moment seems like a fantasy. What does he know that we don’t?
11/5/202047 minutes, 31 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why the Left Had to Steal the Right’s Dark-Money Playbook

The sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh spent years studying crack dealers, sex workers, and the offspring of billionaires. Then he wandered into an even stranger world: social media. He spent the past five years at Facebook and Twitter. Now that he’s back in the real world, he’s here to tell us how the digital universe really works. In this pilot episode of a new podcast, Venkatesh interviews the progressive political operative Tara McGowan about her digital successes with the Obama campaign, her noisy failure with the Iowa caucus app, and why the best way for Democrats to win more elections was to copy the Republicans.
10/31/202045 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

437. Many Businesses Thought They Were Insured for a Pandemic. They Weren’t.

A fine reading of most policies for “business interruption” reveals that viral outbreaks aren’t covered. Some legislators are demanding that insurance firms pay up anyway. Is it time to rethink insurance entirely?
10/29/202040 minutes, 51 seconds
Episode Artwork

436. Forget Everything You Know About Your Dog

As beloved and familiar as they are, we rarely stop to consider life from the dog’s point of view. That stops now. In this latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, we discuss Inside of a Dog with the cognitive scientist (and dog devotee) Alexandra Horowitz.
10/22/202057 minutes, 37 seconds
Episode Artwork

435. Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive?

It isn’t just supply and demand. We look at the complicated history and skewed incentives that make “affordable housing” more punch line than reality in cities from New York and San Francisco to Flint, Michigan (!).
10/15/202044 minutes, 54 seconds
Episode Artwork

434. Is New York City Over?

The pandemic has hit America's biggest city particularly hard. Amidst a deep fiscal hole, rising homicides, and a flight to the suburbs, some people think the city is heading back to the bad old 1970s. We look at the history — and the data — to see why that’s probably not the case.
10/8/202049 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

“Don’t Neglect the Thing That Makes You Weird” | People I (Mostly) Admire: Ken Jennings

It was only in his late twenties that America’s favorite brainiac began to seriously embrace his love of trivia. Now he holds the “Greatest of All Time” title on Jeopardy! Steve Levitt digs into how he trained for the show, what it means to have a "geographic memory," and why we lie to our children.
10/3/202047 minutes, 8 seconds
Episode Artwork

433. How Are Psychedelics and Other Party Drugs Changing Psychiatry?

Three leading researchers from the Mount Sinai Health System discuss how ketamine, cannabis, and ecstasy are being used (or studied) to treat everything from severe depression to addiction to PTSD. We discuss the upsides, downsides, and regulatory puzzles.
10/1/202053 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

432. When Your Safety Becomes My Danger

The families of U.S. troops killed and wounded in Afghanistan are suing several companies that did reconstruction there. Why? These companies, they say, paid the Taliban protection money, which gave them the funding — and opportunity — to attack U.S. soldiers instead. A look at the messy, complicated, and heart-breaking tradeoffs of conflict-zone economies.
9/24/202047 minutes, 57 seconds
Episode Artwork

“One Does Not Know Where an Insight Will Come From” | People I (Mostly) Admire: Kerwin Charles

The dean of Yale’s School of Management grew up in a small village in Guyana. During his unlikely journey, he has researched video-gaming habits, communicable disease, and why so many African-Americans haven’t had the kind of success he’s had. Steve Levitt talks to Charles about his parents’ encouragement, his love of Sports Illustrated, and how he talks to his American-born kids about the complicated history of Blackness in America.
9/19/202039 minutes, 29 seconds
Episode Artwork

Does Anyone Really Know What Socialism Is? (Ep. 408 Rebroadcast)

Trump says it would destroy us. Biden needs the voters who support it (especially the Bernie voters). The majority of millennials would like it to replace capitalism. But what is “it”? We bring in the economists to sort things out and tell us what the U.S. can learn from the good (and bad) experiences of other (supposedly) socialist countries.
9/17/202044 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

What if Your Company Had No Rules?

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings came to believe that corporate rules can kill creativity and innovation. In this latest edition of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, guest host Maria Konnikova talks to Hastings about his new book, No Rules Rules, and why for some companies the greatest risk is taking no risks at all.
9/12/202055 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

431. Why Can’t Schools Get What the N.F.L. Has?

Thanks to daily Covid testing and regimented protocols, the new football season is underway. Meanwhile, most teachers, students, and parents are essentially waiting for the storm to pass. And school isn’t even a contact sport (usually).
9/10/202049 minutes, 37 seconds
Episode Artwork

"I Started Crying When I Realized How Beautiful the Universe Is” | People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 2: Mayim Bialik

She’s best known for playing neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory, but the award-winning actress has a rich life outside of her acting career, as a teacher, mother — and a real-life neuroscientist. Steve Levitt tries to learn more about this one-time academic and Hollywood non-conformist, who is both very similar to him and also quite his opposite.
9/5/202045 minutes, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

America’s Hidden Duopoly (Ep. 356 Rebroadcast)

We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?
9/3/202053 minutes
Episode Artwork

430. Will a Covid-19 Vaccine Change the Future of Medical Research?

We explore the science, scalability, and (of course) economics surrounding the global vaccine race. Guests include the chief medical officer of the first U.S. firm to go to Phase 3 trials with a vaccine candidate; a former F.D.A. commissioner who’s been warning of a pandemic for years; and an economist who thinks Covid-19 may finally change how diseases are cured.
8/27/202058 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

Introducing “People I (Mostly) Admire"

A new interview show with host Steve Levitt. Today he speaks with the Harvard psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker. By cataloging the steady march of human progress, the self-declared “polite Canadian” has managed to enrage people on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Levitt tries to understand why.
8/22/202042 minutes, 52 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Economics of Sports Gambling (Ep. 388 Rebroadcast)

What happens when tens of millions of fantasy-sports players are suddenly able to bet real money on real games? We’re about to find out. A recent Supreme Court decision has cleared the way to bring an estimated $300 billion in black-market sports betting into the light. We sort out the winners and losers.
8/20/202054 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

429. Is Economic Growth the Wrong Goal?

The endless pursuit of G.D.P., argues the economist Kate Raworth, shortchanges too many people and also trashes the planet. Economic theory, she says, “needs to be rewritten” — and Raworth has tried, in a book called Doughnut Economics. It has found an audience among reformers, and now the city of Amsterdam is going whole doughnut.
8/13/202041 minutes, 7 seconds
Episode Artwork

How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War (Ep. 386 Rebroadcast)

Aisle upon aisle of fresh produce, cheap meat, and sugary cereal — a delicious embodiment of free-market capitalism, right? Not quite. The supermarket was in fact the endpoint of the U.S. government’s battle for agricultural abundance against the U.S.S.R. Our farm policies were built to dominate, not necessarily to nourish — and we are still living with the consequences.
8/6/202043 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

428. The Simple Economics of Saving the Amazon Rain Forest

Everyone agrees that massive deforestation is an environmental disaster. But most of the standard solutions — scolding the Brazilians, invoking universal morality — ignore the one solution that might actually work
7/30/202032 minutes, 14 seconds
Episode Artwork

427. The Pros and Cons of Reparations

Most Americans agree that racial discrimination has been, and remains, a big problem. But that is where the agreement ends.
7/23/202040 minutes, 7 seconds
Episode Artwork

426. Should America (and FIFA) Pay Reparations?

The racial wealth gap in the U.S. is massive. We explore the causes, consequences, and potential solutions. Also: another story of discrimination and economic disparity, this one perpetrated by an international sporting authority. The first of a two-part series.
7/16/202044 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

425. Remembrance of Economic Crises Past

Christina Romer was a top White House economist during the Great Recession. As a researcher, she specializes in the Great Depression. She tells us what those disasters can (and can’t) teach us about the Covid crash.
7/9/202051 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

424. How to Make Your Own Luck

Before she decided to become a poker pro, Maria Konnikova didn’t know how many cards are in a deck. But she did have a Ph.D. in psychology, a brilliant coach, and a burning desire to know whether life is driven more by skill or chance. She found some answers in poker — and in her new book The Biggest Bluff, she’s willing to tell us everything she learned.
7/2/20201 hour, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

423. The Doctor Will Zoom You Now

Thanks to the pandemic, the telehealth revolution we’ve been promised for decades has finally arrived. Will it stick? Will it cut costs — and improve outcomes? We ring up two doctors and, of course, an economist to find out.
6/25/202052 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

422. Introducing "No Stupid Questions"

In this new addition to the Freakonomics Radio Network, co-hosts Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discuss the relationship between age and happiness. Also: does all creativity come from pain? New episodes of "No Stupid Questions" are released every Sunday evening — please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
6/18/202033 minutes, 56 seconds
Episode Artwork

421. How to Prevent Another Great Depression

Millions and millions are out of work, with some jobs never coming back. We speak with four economists — and one former presidential candidate — about the best policy options and the lessons (good and bad) from the past.
6/11/202037 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

420. Which Jobs Will Come Back, and When?

Covid-19 is the biggest job killer in a century. As the lockdown eases, what does re-employment look like? Who will be first and who last? Which sectors will surge and which will disappear? Welcome to the Great Labor Reallocation of 2020.
6/4/202042 minutes, 8 seconds
Episode Artwork

How to Make Meetings Less Terrible (Ep. 389 Rebroadcast)

In the U.S. alone, we hold 55 million meetings a day. Most of them are woefully unproductive, and tyrannize our offices. The revolution begins now — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of healthy conflict.
5/28/202042 minutes, 37 seconds
Episode Artwork

419. 68 Ways to Be Better at Life

The accidental futurist Kevin Kelly on why enthusiasm beats intelligence, how to really listen, and why the solution to bad technology is more technology.
5/21/202037 minutes, 29 seconds
Episode Artwork

418. What Will College Look Like in the Fall (and Beyond)?

Three university presidents try to answer our listeners’ questions. The result? Not much pomp and a whole lot of circumstance.
5/14/202055 minutes, 49 seconds
Episode Artwork

417. Reasons to Be Cheerful

Humans have a built-in “negativity bias,” which means we give bad news much more power than good. Would the Covid-19 crisis be an opportune time to reverse this tendency?
5/7/202049 minutes, 58 seconds
Episode Artwork

416. How Do You Reopen a Country?

We speak with a governor, a former C.D.C. director, a pandemic forecaster, a hard-charging pharmacist, and a pair of economists — who say it’s all about the incentives. (Pandemillions, anyone?)
4/30/202053 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

415. How Rahm Emanuel Would Run the World

As a former top adviser to presidents Clinton and Obama, he believes in the power of the federal government. But as former mayor of Chicago, he says that cities are where real problems get solved — especially in the era of Covid-19.
4/27/202046 minutes, 52 seconds
Episode Artwork

414. Will Covid-19 Spark a Cold War (or Worse) With China?

The U.S. spent the past few decades waiting for China to act like the global citizen it said it wanted to be. The waiting may be over.
4/23/202057 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

413. Who Gets the Ventilator?

Should a nurse or doctor who gets sick treating Covid-19 patients have priority access to a potentially life-saving healthcare device? Americans aren’t used to rationing in medicine, but it’s time to think about it. We consult a lung specialist, a bioethicist, and (of course) an economist.
4/16/202048 minutes, 5 seconds
Episode Artwork

412. What Happens When Everyone Stays Home to Eat?

Covid-19 has shocked our food-supply system like nothing in modern history. We examine the winners, the losers, the unintended consequences — and just how much toilet paper one household really needs.
4/9/202045 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

411. Is $2 Trillion the Right Medicine for a Sick Economy?

Congress just passed the biggest aid package in modern history. We ask six former White House economic advisors and one U.S. Senator: Will it actually work? What are its best and worst features? Where does $2 trillion come from, and what are the long-term effects of all that government spending?
4/2/202053 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

410. What Does Covid-19 Mean for Cities (and Marriages)?

There are a lot of upsides to urban density — but viral contagion is not one of them. Also: a nationwide lockdown will show if familiarity really breeds contempt. And: how to help your neighbor.
3/26/202040 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

409. The Side Effects of Social Distancing

In just a few weeks, the novel coronavirus has undone a century’s worth of our economic and social habits. What consequences will this have on our future — and is there a silver lining in this very black pandemic cloud?
3/19/202047 minutes, 57 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work (Ep. 373 Rebroadcast)

As cities become ever-more expensive, politicians and housing advocates keep calling for rent control. Economists think that’s a terrible idea. They say it helps a small (albeit noisy) group of renters, but keeps overall rents artificially high by disincentivizing new construction. So what happens next?
3/12/202047 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

408. Does Anyone Really Know What Socialism Is?

Trump says it would destroy us. Sanders says it will save us. The majority of millennials would like it to replace capitalism. But what is “it”? We bring in the economists to sort things out and tell us what the U.S. can learn from the good (and bad) experiences of other (supposedly) socialist countries.
3/5/202043 minutes, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

407. Is There Really a “Loneliness Epidemic”?

That’s what some health officials are saying, but the data aren’t so clear. We look into what’s known (and not known) about the prevalence and effects of loneliness — including the possible upsides.
2/27/202033 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

406. Can You Hear Me Now?

When he became chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announced that he was going to take a “weed whacker” to Obama-era regulations. So far, he’s kept his promise, and earned the internet’s ire for reversing the agency’s position on net neutrality. Pai defends his actions and explains how the U.S. can “win” everything from the 5G race to the war on robocalls.
2/20/202048 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

405. Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet)

Why do so many promising solutions — in education, medicine, criminal justice, etc. — fail to scale up into great policy? And can a new breed of “implementation scientists” crack the code?
2/13/202044 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

404. Does the President Matter as Much as You Think?

We asked this same question nearly a decade ago. The answer then: probably not. But a lot has changed since then, and we’re three years into one of the most anomalous presidencies in American history. So once again we try to sort out presidential signal from noise. What we hear from legal and policy experts may leave you surprised, befuddled — and maybe infuriated.
2/6/202052 minutes, 29 seconds
Episode Artwork

How the San Francisco 49ers Stopped Being Losers (Ep. 350 Update)

One of the most storied (and valuable) sports franchises in the world had fallen far. So they decided to do a full reboot — and it worked: this week, they are headed back to the Super Bowl. Before the 2018 season, we sat down with the team’s owner, head coach, general manager, and players as they were plotting their turnaround. Here’s an update of that episode.
1/30/20201 hour, 1 minute, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

403. The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: “It’s Not a Death Sentence”

One prescription drug is keeping some addicts from dying. So why isn’t it more widespread? A story of regulation, stigma, and the potentially fatal faith in abstinence.
1/23/202046 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

402. The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: “We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation”

How pharma greed, government subsidies, and a push to make pain the “fifth vital sign” kicked off a crisis that costs $80 billion a year and has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
1/16/202047 minutes, 31 seconds
Episode Artwork

5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing (Rebroadcast)

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.
1/9/202048 minutes, 5 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Zero-Minute Workout (Rebroadcast)

There is strong evidence that exercise is wildly beneficial. There is even stronger evidence that most people hate to exercise. So if a pill could mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it?
1/2/202038 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

401. How Many Prince Charleses Can There Be in One Room?

In a special holiday episode, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth take turns asking each other questions about charisma, wealth vs. intellect, and (of course) grit.
12/26/201933 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Is This Man Running for President? (Update)

A year ago, nobody was taking Andrew Yang very seriously. Now he is America’s favorite entrepre-nerd, with a candidacy that keeps gaining momentum. This episode includes our Jan. 2019 conversation with the leader of the Yang Gang and a fresh interview recorded from the campaign trail in Iowa.
12/19/201959 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

400. How to Hate Taxes a Little Bit Less

Every year, Americans short the I.R.S. nearly half a trillion dollars. Most ideas to increase compliance are more stick than carrot — scary letters, audits, and penalties. But what if we gave taxpayers a chance to allocate how their money is spent, or even bribed them with a thank-you gift?
12/12/201942 minutes, 37 seconds
Episode Artwork

399. Honey, I Grew the Economy

Innovation experts have long overlooked where a lot of innovation actually happens. The personal computer, the mountain bike, the artificial pancreas — none of these came from some big R&D lab, but from users tinkering in their homes. Acknowledging this reality — and encouraging it — would be good for the economy (and the soul too).
12/5/201943 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

How to Change Your Mind (Rebroadcast)

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves?
11/28/201945 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

398. The Truth About the Vaping Crisis

A recent outbreak of illness and death has gotten everyone’s attention — including late-to-the-game regulators. But would a ban on e-cigarettes do more harm than good? We smoke out the facts.
11/21/201944 minutes, 12 seconds
Episode Artwork

397. How to Save $32 Million in One Hour

For nearly a decade, governments have been using behavioral nudges to solve problems — and the strategy is catching on in healthcare, firefighting, and policing. But is that thinking too small? Could nudging be used to fight income inequality and achieve world peace? Recorded live in London, with commentary from Andy Zaltzman (The Bugle).
11/14/201945 minutes, 9 seconds
Episode Artwork

396. Why Does Tipping Still Exist?

It’s an acutely haphazard way of paying workers, and yet it keeps expanding. We dig into the data to find out why.
11/7/201947 minutes
Episode Artwork

395. Speak Softly and Carry Big Data

Do economic sanctions work? Are big democracies any good at spreading democracy? What is the root cause of terrorism? It turns out that data analysis can help answer all these questions — and make better foreign-policy decisions. Guests include former Department of Defense officials Chuck Hagel and Michèle Flournoy and Chicago Project on Security and Threats researchers Robert Pape and Paul Poast. Recorded live in Chicago; Steve Levitt is co-host.
10/31/20191 hour, 3 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

394. Does Hollywood Still Have a Princess Problem?

For decades, there’s been a huge gender disparity both on-screen and behind the scenes. But it seems like cold, hard data — with an assist from the actor Geena Davis — may finally be moving the needle.
10/24/201950 minutes, 3 seconds
Episode Artwork

393. Can Britain Get Its “Great” Back?

It used to be a global capital of innovation, invention, and exploration. Now it’s best known for its messy European divorce. We visit London to see if the British spirit of discovery is still alive. Guests include the mayor of London, undersea explorers, a time-use researcher, and a theoretical physicist who helped Liverpool win the Champions League. Dan Schreiber from No Such Thing as a Fish rides shotgun.
10/17/20191 hour, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

392. The Prime Minister Who Cried Brexit

In 2016, David Cameron held a referendum on whether the U.K. should stay in the European Union. A longtime Euroskeptic, he nevertheless led the Remain campaign. So what did Cameron really want? We ask him that and much more — including why he left office as soon as his side lost and what he’d do differently if given another chance. (Hint: not much.)
10/10/201952 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

391. America’s Math Curriculum Doesn’t Add Up

Most high-school math classes are still preparing students for the Sputnik era. Steve Levitt wants to get rid of the “geometry sandwich” and instead have kids learn what they really need in the modern era: data fluency.
10/3/201945 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

390. Fed Up

Mary Daly rose from high-school dropout to president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She thinks the central bank needs an upgrade too. It starts with recognizing that the economy is made up of actual humans.
9/26/201941 minutes, 46 seconds
Episode Artwork

389. How to Make Meetings Less Terrible

In the U.S. alone, we hold 55 million meetings a day. Most of them are woefully unproductive, and tyrannize our offices. The revolution begins now — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of healthy conflict.
9/19/201941 minutes, 42 seconds
Episode Artwork

Yes, the Open Office Is Terrible — But It Doesn’t Have to Be (Rebroadcast)

It began as a post-war dream for a more collaborative and egalitarian workplace. It has evolved into a nightmare of noise and discomfort. Can the open office be saved, or should we all just be working from home?
9/12/201941 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

388. The Economics of Sports Gambling

What happens when tens of millions of fantasy-sports players are suddenly able to bet real money on real games? We’re about to find out. A recent Supreme Court decision has cleared the way to bring an estimated $300 billion in black-market sports betting into the light. We sort out the winners and losers.
9/5/201954 minutes, 53 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Future of Meat (Rebroadcast)

Global demand for beef, chicken, and pork continues to rise. So do concerns about environmental and other costs. Will reconciling these two forces be possible — or, even better, Impossible™?
8/29/201953 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s? (Rebroadcast)

The quirky little grocery chain with California roots and German ownership has a lot to teach all of us about choice architecture, efficiency, frugality, collaboration, and team spirit.
8/22/201947 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

387. Hello, My Name Is Marijuana Pepsi!

Research shows that having a distinctively black name doesn’t affect your economic future. But what is the day-to-day reality of living with such a name? Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, a newly-minted Ph.D., is well-qualified to answer this question. Her verdict: the data don’t tell the whole story.
8/15/201938 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Rebroadcast )

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?
8/8/201951 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

386. How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War

Aisle upon aisle of fresh produce, cheap meat, and sugary cereal — a delicious embodiment of free-market capitalism, right? Not quite. The supermarket was in fact the endpoint of the U.S. government’s battle for agricultural abundance against the U.S.S.R. Our farm policies were built to dominate, not necessarily to nourish — and we are still living with the consequences.
8/1/201939 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

America’s Hidden Duopoly (Rebroadcast)

We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?
7/25/201952 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

385. What Do Nancy Pelosi, Taylor Swift, and Serena Williams Have in Common?

They — along with a great many other high-achieving women — were all once Girl Scouts. So was Sylvia Acevedo. Raised in a poor, immigrant family, she was told that “girls like her” didn’t go to college. But she did, and then became a rocket scientist and tech executive. Now she’s C.E.O. of the very organization she credits with shaping her life. Acevedo tells us how the Girl Scouts are trying to stay relevant, why they’re suing the Boy Scouts, and how they sell so many cookies.
7/18/201935 minutes, 31 seconds
Episode Artwork

384. Abortion and Crime, Revisited

The controversial theory linking Roe v. Wade to a massive crime drop is back in the spotlight as several states introduce abortion restrictions. Steve Levitt and John Donohue discuss their original research, the challenges to its legitimacy, and their updated analysis. Also: what this means for abortion policy, crime policy, and having intelligent conversations about contentious topics.
7/11/201955 minutes, 19 seconds
Episode Artwork

A Better Way to Eat (Rebroadcast )

Takeru Kobayashi revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us learn from his breakthrough?
7/4/201926 minutes, 56 seconds
Episode Artwork

383. The Zero-Minute Workout

There is strong evidence that exercise is wildly beneficial. There is even stronger evidence that most people hate to exercise. So if a pill could mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it?
6/27/201937 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

382. How Goes the Behavior-Change Revolution?

An all-star team of behavioral scientists discovers that humans are stubborn (and lazy, and sometimes dumber than dogs). We also hear about binge drinking, humblebragging, and regrets. Recorded live in Philadelphia with guests including Richard Thaler, Angela Duckworth, Katy Milkman, and Tom Gilovich.
6/20/201951 minutes, 3 seconds
Episode Artwork

381. Long-Term Thinking in a Start-Up Town

Recorded live in San Francisco. Guests include the keeper of a 10,000-year clock, the co-founder of Lyft, a pioneer in male birth control, a specialist in water security, and a psychology professor who is also a puppy. With co-host Angela Duckworth, fact-checker Mike Maughan, and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra.
6/13/201949 minutes, 56 seconds
Episode Artwork

380. Notes From an Imperfect Paradise

Recorded live in Los Angeles. Guests include Mayor Eric Garcetti, the “Earthquake Lady,” the head of the Port of L.A., and a scientist with NASA’s Planetary Protection team. With co-host Angela Duckworth, fact-checker Mike Maughan, and the worldwide debut of Luis Guerra and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra.
6/6/201950 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

379. How to Change Your Mind

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves?
5/30/201945 minutes, 51 seconds
Episode Artwork

Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It (Rebroadcast)

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.
5/23/201941 minutes, 46 seconds
Episode Artwork

378. 23andMe (and You, and Everyone Else)

The revolution in home DNA testing is giving consumers important, possibly life-changing information. It’s also building a gigantic database that could lead to medical breakthroughs. But how will you deal with upsetting news? What if your privacy is compromised? And are you prepared to have your DNA monetized? We speak with Anne Wojcicki, founder and C.E.O. of 23andMe.
5/16/201949 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

377. The $1.5 Trillion Question-How to fix student loan debt?

As the cost of college skyrocketed, it created a debt burden that’s putting a drag on the economy. One possible solution: shifting the risk of debt away from students and onto investors looking for a cut of the graduates’ earning power.
5/9/201948 minutes, 2 seconds
Episode Artwork

376. The Data-Driven Guide to Sane Parenting

Humans have been having kids forever, so why are modern parents so bewildered? The economist Emily Oster marshals the evidence on the most contentious topics — breastfeeding and sleep training, vaccines and screen time — and tells her fellow parents to calm the heck down.
5/2/201949 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

The Invisible Paw (Rebroadcast)

Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we've had it exactly backward?
4/25/201947 minutes
Episode Artwork

375. The Most Interesting Fruit in the World

The banana used to be a luxury good. Now it’s the most popular fruit in the U.S. and elsewhere. But the production efficiencies that made it so cheap have also made it vulnerable to a deadly fungus that may wipe out the one variety most of us eat. Scientists do have a way to save it — but will Big Banana let them?
4/18/201936 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

374. How Spotify Saved the Music Industry (But Not Necessarily Musicians)

Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail?
4/11/201957 minutes, 35 seconds
Episode Artwork

373. Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work

As cities become ever-more expensive, politicians and housing advocates keep calling for rent control. Economists think that’s a terrible idea. They say it helps a small (albeit noisy) group of renters, but keeps overall rents artificially high by disincentivizing new construction. So what happens next?
4/4/201948 minutes, 18 seconds
Episode Artwork

372. Freakonomics Radio Live: “Would You Eat a Piece of Chocolate Shaped Like Dog Poop?”

What your disgust level says about your politics, how Napoleon influenced opera, why New York City’s subways may finally run on time, and more. Five compelling guests tell Stephen Dubner, co-host Angela Duckworth, and fact-checker Jody Avirgan lots of things they didn’t know.
3/28/201953 minutes, 53 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why You Shouldn’t Open a Restaurant (Update)

Kenji Lopez-Alt became a rock star of the food world by bringing science into the kitchen in a way that everyday cooks can appreciate. Then he dared to start his own restaurant — and discovered problems that even science can’t solve.
3/21/201948 minutes, 57 seconds
Episode Artwork

371. A Free-Trade Democrat in the Trump White House

For years, Gary Cohn thought he’d be the next C.E.O. of Goldman Sachs. Instead, he became the “adult in the room” in a chaotic administration. Cohn talks about the fights he won, the fights he lost, and the fights he was no longer willing to have. Also: why he and Trump are still on speaking terms even after he reportedly called the president “a professional liar.”
3/14/201948 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

370. How to Fail Like a Pro

The road to success is paved with failure, so you might as well learn to do it right. (Ep. 5 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)
3/7/201940 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

369. A Good Idea Is Not Good Enough

Whether you’re building a business or a cathedral, execution is everything. We ask artists, scientists, and inventors how they turned ideas into reality. And we find out why it’s so hard for a group to get things done — and what you can do about it. (Ep. 4 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)
2/28/201954 minutes, 28 seconds
Episode Artwork

368. Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

Whether you’re mapping the universe, hosting a late-night talk show, or running a meeting, there are a lot of ways to up your idea game. Plus: the truth about brainstorming. (Ep. 3 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)
2/21/20191 hour, 1 minute, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

367. The Future of Meat

Global demand for beef, chicken, and pork continues to rise. So do concerns about environmental and other costs. Will reconciling these two forces be possible — or, even better, Impossible™?
2/14/201951 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

366. This Economist Predicted the Last Crisis. What’s the Next One?

In 2005, Raghuram Rajan said the financial system was at risk “of a catastrophic meltdown.” After stints at the I.M.F. and India’s central bank, he sees another potential crisis — and he offers a solution. Is it stronger governments? Freer markets? Rajan’s answer: neither.
2/7/201949 minutes, 8 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Domonique Foxworth Full Interview

Stephen Dubner’s conversation with the former N.F.L. player, union official, and all-around sports thinker, recorded for our “Hidden Side of Sports” series.
2/2/20191 hour, 29 minutes, 52 seconds
Episode Artwork

365. Not Just Another Labor Force

If you think talent and hard work give top athletes all the leverage to succeed, think again. As employees in the Sports-Industrial Complex, they’ve got a tight earnings window, a high injury rate, little choice in where they work — and a very early forced retirement. (Ep. 6 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)
1/31/20191 hour, 7 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Mark Cuban Full Interview

A conversation with the Shark Tank star, entrepreneur, and Dallas Mavericks owner recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”
1/26/201942 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

364. Inside the Sports-Industrial Complex

For most of us, the athletes are what make sports interesting. But if you own the team or run the league, your players are essentially very expensive migrant workers who eat into your profits. We talk to N.F.L., N.B.A., and U.F.C. executives about labor costs, viewership numbers, legalized gambling, and the rise of e-sports. (Ep. 5 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)
1/24/201952 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Mark Teixeira Full Interview

A conversation with former Major League Baseball player and current ESPN analyst Mark Teixeira, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”
1/19/201958 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

363. Think Like a Winner

Great athletes aren’t just great at the physical stuff. They’ve also learned how to handle pressure, overcome fear, and stay focused. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be an athlete to use what they know. (Ep. 4 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)
1/17/201955 minutes, 5 seconds
Episode Artwork

Hacking the World Bank (Update)

Jim Yong Kim has an unorthodox background for a World Bank president — and his reign has been just as unorthodox. He has just announced he’s stepping down, well before his term is over; we recorded this interview with him in 2015.
1/12/201935 minutes, 40 seconds
Episode Artwork

362. Why Is This Man Running for President?

In the American Dream sweepstakes, Andrew Yang was a pretty big winner. But for every winner, he came to realize, there are thousands upon thousands of losers — a “war on normal people,” he calls it. Here’s what he plans to do about it.
1/10/201952 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

How to Be Happy (Rebroadcast)

The U.N.’s World Happiness Report — created to curtail our unhealthy obsession with G.D.P. — is dominated every year by the Nordic countries. We head to Denmark to learn the secrets of this happiness epidemic (and to see if we should steal them).
1/3/201937 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

How to Win Games and Beat People (Rebroadcast)

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.
12/27/201852 minutes, 29 seconds
Episode Artwork

People Aren’t Dumb. The World Is Hard. (Rebroadcast)

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.
12/20/201857 minutes, 57 seconds
Episode Artwork

Freakonomics Radio Live: “Where Does Fear Live in the Brain?”

Our co-host is comedian Christian Finnegan, and we learn: the difference between danger and fear; the role of clouds in climate change; and why (and when) politicians are bad at math. Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri is our real-time fact-checker.
12/15/201855 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

Freakonomics Radio Live: “We Thought of a Way to Manipulate Your Perception of Time.”

We learn how to be less impatient, how to tell fake news from real, and the simple trick that nurses used to make better predictions than doctors. Journalist Manoush Zomorodi co-hosts; our real-time fact-checker is the author and humorist A.J. Jacobs.
12/15/201856 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

Freakonomics Radio Live: “The World’s a Mess. But Oysters, They Hold it Down.”

Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli joins us to co-host an evening of delicious fact-finding: where a trillion oysters went, whether a soda tax can work, and how beer helped build an empire. Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri is our real-time fact-checker.
12/15/201856 minutes, 55 seconds
Episode Artwork

361. Freakonomics Radio Live: “Jesus Could Have Been a Pigeon.”

Our co-host is Grit author Angela Duckworth, and we learn fascinating, Freakonomical facts from a parade of guests. For instance: what we all get wrong about Darwin; what an iPod has in common with the “hell ant”; and how a “memory athlete” memorizes a deck of cards. Mike Maughan is our real-time fact-checker.
12/13/20181 hour, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

360. Is the Protestant Work Ethic Real?

In the early 20th century, Max Weber argued that Protestantism created wealth. Finally, there are data to prove if he was right. All it took were some missionary experiments in the Philippines and a clever map-matching trick that goes back to 16th-century Germany.
12/6/201840 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

359. Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s?

The quirky little grocery chain with California roots and German ownership has a lot to teach all of us about choice architecture, efficiency, frugality, collaboration, and team spirit.
11/29/201847 minutes, 1 second
Episode Artwork

There’s a War on Sugar. Is It Justified? (Rebroadcast)

Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it’s addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former F.D.A. commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest.
11/22/201847 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

358. Yes, the Open Office Is Terrible — But It Doesn’t Have to Be

It began as a post-war dream for a more collaborative and egalitarian workplace. It has evolved into a nightmare of noise and discomfort. Can the open office be saved, or should we all just be working from home?
11/15/201840 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

357. Can an Industrial Giant Become a Tech Darling?

The Ford Motor Company is ditching its legacy sedans, doubling down on trucks, and trying to steer its stock price out of a long skid. But C.E.O. Jim Hackett has even bigger plans: to turn a century-old automaker into the nucleus of a “transportation operating system.” Is Hackett just whistling past the graveyard, or does he see what others can’t?
11/8/201854 minutes, 4 seconds
Episode Artwork

356. America’s Hidden Duopoly

We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?
11/1/201854 minutes, 15 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Elvis Costello Full Interview

A conversation with the iconic singer-songwriter, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “How to Be Creative.”
10/27/20181 hour, 19 minutes, 31 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

Family environments and “diversifying experiences” (including the early death of a parent); intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations; schools that value assessments, but don't assess the things we value. All these elements factor into the long, mysterious march towards a creative life. To learn more, we examine the early years of Ai Weiwei, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Maira Kalman, Wynton Marsalis, Jennifer Egan, and others. (Ep. 2 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)
10/25/20181 hour, 13 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Jeremy Lin Full Interview

A conversation with veteran NBA point guard Jeremy Lin, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”
10/20/201843 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

354. How to Be Creative

There are thousands of books on the subject, but what do we actually know about creativity? In this new series, we talk to the researchers who study it as well as artists, inventors, and pathbreakers who live it every day: Ai Weiwei, James Dyson, Elvis Costello, Jennifer Egan, Rosanne Cash, Wynton Marsalis, Maira Kalman, and more. (Ep. 1 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)
10/18/201852 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

353. How to Optimize Your Apology

You said, “I’m sorry,” but somehow you haven’t been forgiven. Why? Because you’re doing it wrong! A report from the front lines of apology science.
10/11/201849 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

352. Can This Man Stop a Trade War?

The World Trade Organization is the referee for 164 trading partners, each with their own political and economic agendas. Lately, those agendas have gotten more complicated — especially with President Trump’s tariff blitz. Roberto Azevêdo, head of the W.T.O., tells us why it’s so hard to balance protectionism and globalism; what’s really behind the loss of jobs; and what he’d say to Trump (if he ever gets the chance).
10/4/201842 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Shawn Johnson Full Interview

A conversation with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”
10/1/20181 hour, 7 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

351. Here’s Why You’re Not an Elite Athlete

There are a lot of factors that go into greatness, many of which are not obvious. A variety of Olympic and professional athletes tell us how they made it and what they sacrificed to get there. And if you can identify the sport most likely to get a kid into a top college — well then, touché! (Ep. 3 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)
9/27/20181 hour, 7 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

Extra: Full Interviews With Jimmy Garoppolo, Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey, and Kyle Juszczyk

Stephen Dubner’s conversations with members of the San Francisco 49ers offense, recorded for Freakonomics Radio episode No. 350, part of the “Hidden Side of Sports” series.
9/23/20181 hour, 20 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

350. How to Stop Being a Loser

The San Francisco 49ers, one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, also used to be one of the best. But they’ve been losing lately — a lot — and one of their players launched a controversy by taking a knee during the national anthem. So why is everyone there so optimistic? To find out, we speak with the team’s owner, head coach, general manager, and star players, including their new $137.5 million quarterback. (Ep. 2 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)
9/20/20181 hour, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

349. How Sports Became Us

Dollar-wise, the sports industry is surprisingly small, about the same size as the cardboard-box industry. So why does it make so much noise? Because it reflects — and often amplifies — just about every political, economic, and social issue of the day. Introducing a new series, “The Hidden Side of Sports.”
9/13/201852 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

348. Is the Government More Entrepreneurial Than You Think?

We all know the standard story: our economy would be more dynamic if only the government would get out of the way. The economist Mariana Mazzucato says we’ve got that story backward. She argues that the government, by funding so much early-stage research, is hugely responsible for big successes in tech, pharma, energy, and more. But the government also does a terrible job in claiming credit — and, more important, getting a return on its investment.
9/6/201834 minutes, 43 seconds
Episode Artwork

347. Why You Shouldn’t Open a Restaurant

Kenji Lopez-Alt became a rock star of the food world by bringing science into the kitchen in a way that everyday cooks can appreciate. Then he dared to start his own restaurant — and discovered problems that even science can’t solve.
8/30/201837 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

346. Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet

The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about any problem. A debate that’s been around for decades has become a shouting match. Is anyone right?
8/23/201851 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

345. How to Be Happy

The U.N.’s World Happiness Report — created to curtail our unhealthy obsession with G.D.P. — is dominated every year by the Nordic countries. We head to Denmark to learn the secrets of this happiness epidemic (and to see if we should steal them).
8/16/201837 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

344. Who Decides How Much a Life Is Worth?

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.
8/9/201838 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

A Conversation With PepsiCo C.E.O. Indra Nooyi (Ep. 316 Update)

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.
8/7/201845 minutes, 45 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

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.
8/2/201853 minutes, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

342. Has Lance Armstrong Finally Come Clean?

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?
7/26/201850 minutes, 37 seconds
Episode Artwork

341. Why We Choke Under Pressure (and How Not To)

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.
7/19/201844 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

340. People Aren’t Dumb. The World Is Hard.

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.
7/12/201857 minutes
Episode Artwork

339. The Future of Freakonomics Radio

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.
7/3/201835 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

In Praise of Incrementalism (Rebroadcast)

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.
6/28/201849 minutes, 21 seconds
Episode Artwork

In Praise of Maintenance (Rebroadcast)

Has our culture's obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?
6/21/201842 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

338. How to Catch World Cup Fever

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 evént; it's a microcosm of human foibles and (yep) economic theory brought to life.
6/14/201856 minutes, 44 seconds
Episode Artwork

337. How to Build a Smart City

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.
6/7/201839 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Rebroadcast)

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?
5/31/201828 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

336. The Most Vilified Industry in America Is Also the Most Charitable

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.
5/24/201833 minutes, 24 seconds
Episode Artwork

335. Does Doing Good Give You License to Be Bad?

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.
5/17/201836 minutes, 53 seconds
Episode Artwork

334. 5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing

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.
5/10/201849 minutes, 36 seconds
Episode Artwork

Evolution, Accelerated (Rebroadcast)

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?
5/3/201835 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

333. The Most Ambitious Thing Humans Have Ever Attempted

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.
4/26/201852 minutes
Episode Artwork

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

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."
4/19/201844 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

331. Why the Trump Tax Cuts are Awesome/Terrible (Part 1)

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.)
4/12/201845 minutes, 27 seconds
Episode Artwork

330. Extra: Ray Dalio Full Interview

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.”
4/9/20181 hour, 17 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

329. The Invisible Paw

Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we've had it exactly backward?
4/5/201848 minutes, 20 seconds
Episode Artwork

328. Extra: Mark Zuckerberg Full Interview

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.”
4/2/201845 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

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.
3/29/201844 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

327. Extra: Carol Bartz Full Interview

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.”
3/26/201850 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

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.
3/22/201846 minutes, 38 seconds
Episode Artwork

326. Extra: Jack Welch Full Interview

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.”
3/19/201855 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

325. How to Train Your Dragon Child

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.
3/15/201835 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

324. Extra: Satya Nadella Full Interview

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.”
3/12/201839 minutes, 39 seconds
Episode Artwork

323. Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It

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.
3/8/201841 minutes, 13 seconds
Episode Artwork

322. Extra: David Rubenstein Full Interview

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.”
3/5/20181 hour, 28 minutes, 59 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

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.
3/1/201846 minutes, 33 seconds
Episode Artwork

321. Extra: Richard Branson Full Interview

Stephen Dubner's conversation with the Virgin Group founder, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”
2/26/201853 minutes, 34 seconds
Episode Artwork

320. Letting Go

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?​
2/22/201845 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

319. After the Glass Ceiling, a Glass Cliff

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.")
2/15/201852 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

318. It’s Your Problem Now

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.")
2/8/201844 minutes, 6 seconds
Episode Artwork

317. What Can Uber Teach Us About the Gender Pay Gap?

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.
2/6/201842 minutes, 32 seconds
Episode Artwork

An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl (Rebroadcast)

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.
2/3/201827 minutes, 37 seconds
Episode Artwork

316. “I Wasn’t Stupid Enough to Say This Could Be Done Overnight”

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")
2/1/201848 minutes, 3 seconds
Episode Artwork

315. How to Become a C.E.O.

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.")
1/25/201844 minutes, 23 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

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.")
1/18/201838 minutes, 37 seconds
Episode Artwork

313. How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win

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?
1/11/201838 minutes, 7 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Is My Life So Hard? (Rebroadcast)

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?
1/4/201830 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

Trust Me (Rebroadcast)

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?
12/28/201730 minutes
Episode Artwork

Make Me a Match (Rebroadcast)

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.
12/21/201752 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

312. Not Your Grandmother’s I.M.F.

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.
12/14/201738 minutes, 22 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

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.
12/7/201747 minutes, 41 seconds
Episode Artwork

310. Are We Running Out of Ideas?

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?
11/30/201737 minutes
Episode Artwork

Is America Ready for a “No-Lose Lottery”? (Update)

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?
11/23/201745 minutes, 16 seconds
Episode Artwork

309. Nurses to the Rescue!

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.
11/16/201757 minutes, 47 seconds
Episode Artwork

308. How Can I Do the Most Social Good With $100? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

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.
11/9/201743 minutes, 28 seconds
Episode Artwork

Why Is There So Much Ground Beef in the World? (Special Feature)

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.
11/7/201743 minutes, 26 seconds
Episode Artwork

307. Thinking Is Expensive. Who’s Supposed to Pay for It?

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?
11/2/201738 minutes, 50 seconds
Episode Artwork

306. How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution

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.
10/26/201744 minutes, 44 seconds
Episode Artwork

305. The Demonization of Gluten

Celiac disease is thought to affect roughly one percent of the population. The good news: it can be treated by quitting gluten. The bad news: many celiac patients haven't been diagnosed. The weird news: millions of people without celiac disease have quit gluten – which may be a big mistake.
10/19/201743 minutes, 58 seconds
Episode Artwork

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

Smart government policies, good industrial relations, and high-end products have helped German manufacturing beat back the threats of globalization.
10/12/201757 minutes, 8 seconds
Episode Artwork

“Tell Me Something I Don't Know” on the topic of Behavior Change (Special Feature)

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.
10/1/201754 minutes, 11 seconds
Episode Artwork

303. Why Larry Summers Is the Economist Everyone Hates to Love

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.