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Freakonomics Radio

648 EpisodesProduced by Freakonomics Radio + StitcherWebsite

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… read more

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

August 4th, 2022

51:36

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into …

512. Does Philosophy Still Matter?

July 28th, 2022

49:52

It used to be at the center of our conversations about politics and society. Scott Hershovitz (author of Nasty, Brutish, and Short) argues that …

511. Why Did You Marry That Person?

July 21st, 2022

46:06

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.

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

July 14th, 2022

51:23

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 …

510. What Problems Does Crypto Solve, Anyway?

July 7th, 2022

52:11

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 …

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

June 30th, 2022

48:04

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?")

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

June 23rd, 2022

49:30

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 …

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

June 16th, 2022

40:23

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 …

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

June 9th, 2022

50:16

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. …

505. Did Domestic Violence Really Spike During the Pandemic?

June 2nd, 2022

50:59

When the world went into lockdown, experts predicted a rise in intimate-partner assaults. What actually happened was more complicated.

504. Introducing “Off Leash”

May 26th, 2022

38:50

In this new podcast from the Freakonomics Radio Network, dog-cognition expert and bestselling author Alexandra Horowitz (Inside of a Dog) takes us …

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

May 19th, 2022

48:27

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 “

Abortion and Crime, Revisited (Ep. 384 Update)

May 12th, 2022

58:01

As the Supreme Court considers overturning Roe v. Wade, we look back at Steve Levitt’s controversial research on an unintended consequence of the …

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

May 5th, 2022

44:27

Enrollment is down for the first time in memory, and critics complain college is too expensive, too elitist, and too politicized. The economist Chris …

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

April 28th, 2022

59:06

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

500. What Exactly Is College For?

April 21st, 2022

45:44

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 …

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

April 14th, 2022

1:07:34

The political scientist Yuen Yuen Ang argues that different forms of government create different styles of corruption. The U.S. and China have more …

499. Don't Worry, Be Tacky

April 7th, 2022

37:37

The British art superstar Flora Yukhnovich, the Freakonomist Steve Levitt, and the upstart American Basketball Association were all unafraid to …

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

March 31st, 2022

43:17

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 …

497. Can the Big Bad Wolf Save Your Life?

March 24th, 2022

46:41

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 …

How to Change Your Mind (Ep. 379 Update)

March 17th, 2022

47:59

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends …

496. Do Unions Still Work?

March 10th, 2022

51:32

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. …

495. Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses?

March 3rd, 2022

48:34

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.

 

494. Why Do Most Ideas Fail to Scale?

February 24th, 2022

48:54

In a new book called The Voltage Effect, the economist John List — who has already revolutionized how his profession does research — is trying to …

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

February 17th, 2022

53:40

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.

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

February 10th, 2022

50:48

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 …

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

February 3rd, 2022

44:43

Behavioral scientists have been exploring if — and when — a psychological reset can lead to lasting change. We survey evidence from the London …

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

January 27th, 2022

39:19

Frisco used to be just another sleepy bedroom community outside of Dallas. Now it’s got corporate headquarters, billions of investment dollars, and a …

491. Why Is Everyone Moving to Dallas?

January 20th, 2022

48:27

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 …

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

January 13th, 2022

47:01

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

489. Is “Toxic Positivity” a Thing?

January 6th, 2022

36:19

 In this special episode of No Stupid Questions, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discuss the consequences of seeing every glass as at least …

488. Does Death Have to Be a Death Sentence?

December 30th, 2021

53:58

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 …

487. Is It Okay to Have a Party Yet?

December 23rd, 2021

31:11

In this special episode of Freakonomics, M.D., host Bapu Jena looks at data from birthday parties, March Madness parties, and a Freakonomics Radio

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

December 16th, 2021

42:21

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 …

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

December 9th, 2021

46:24

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 …

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

December 2nd, 2021

52:42

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 …

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

November 25th, 2021

51:00

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. …

483. What’s Wrong With Shortcuts?

November 18th, 2021

43:20

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 …

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

November 11th, 2021

45:35

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? …

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

November 4th, 2021

55:44

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 …

480. How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy?

October 28th, 2021

53:19

Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940’s America (and pretty much everywhere else) shows that discrimination is incredibly costly — to the victims, of …

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

October 21st, 2021

51:02

 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 …

478. How Can We Break Our Addiction to Contempt?

October 14th, 2021

42:20

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 …

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

October 7th, 2021

47:13

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.

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

September 30th, 2021

19:28

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.  

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

September 27th, 2021

32:40

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 …

476. What Are the Police for, Anyway?

September 23rd, 2021

45:59

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 …

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

September 16th, 2021

48:51

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 …

474. All You Need Is Nudge

September 9th, 2021

58:48

When Richard Thaler published Nudge in 2008 (with co-author Cass Sunstein), the world was just starting to believe in his brand of behavioral …

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

September 2nd, 2021

35:55

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.

473. These Jobs Were Not Posted on ZipRecruiter

August 26th, 2021

47:02

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 …

Reasons to Be Cheerful (Ep. 417 Rebroadcast)

August 19th, 2021

52:35

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 …

472. This Is Your Brain on Pollution

August 12th, 2021

46:02

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 …

471. Mayor Pete and Elaine Chao Hit the Road

August 5th, 2021

49:08

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 …

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

July 29th, 2021

53:28

The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about …

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

July 22nd, 2021

47:31

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, …

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

July 15th, 2021

50:19

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into …

468. Nap Time for Everyone!

July 8th, 2021

36:51

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 …

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

July 1st, 2021

27:23

Nearly two percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, …

467. Is the Future of Farming in the Ocean?

June 24th, 2021

42:55

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 …

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

June 17th, 2021

45:14

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 …

465. Introducing a New “Freakonomics of Medicine” Podcast

June 10th, 2021

23:10

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 — …

464. Will Work-from-Home Work Forever?

June 3rd, 2021

48:04

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 …

463. How to Get Anyone to Do Anything

May 27th, 2021

58:04

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 …

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

May 20th, 2021

39:51

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 …

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

May 13th, 2021

42:38

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.

461. How to Stop Worrying and Love the Robot Apocalypse

May 6th, 2021

48:22

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 …

460. The True Story of the Minimum-Wage Fight

April 29th, 2021

44:16

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. …

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

April 22nd, 2021

35:24

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 — …

458. How to Manage Your Goal Hierarchy

April 15th, 2021

51:26

In this special crossover episode, People I (Mostly) Admire host Steve Levitt admits to No Stupid Questions co-host Angela Duckworth that he knows …

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

April 8th, 2021

53:28

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 …

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

April 1st, 2021

49:51

Medicine has evolved from a calling into an industry, adept at dispensing procedures and pills (and gigantic bills), but less good at actual health. …

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

March 25th, 2021

46:02

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 …

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

March 21st, 2021

52:28

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 …

455. Are You Ready for a Fresh Start?

March 18th, 2021

42:04

Behavioral scientists have been exploring if — and when — a psychological reset can lead to lasting change. We survey evidence from the London …

454. Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished?

March 11th, 2021

44:49

Americans are so accustomed to the standard intersection that we rarely consider how dangerous it can be — as well as costly, time-wasting, and …

453. A Rescue Plan for Black America

March 4th, 2021

56:47

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 …

Am I Boring You? (Ep. 225 Rebroadcast)

February 25th, 2021

39:13

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?

452. Jeff Immelt Knows He Let You Down

February 18th, 2021

45:49

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 …

451. Can I Ask You a Ridiculously Personal Question?

February 11th, 2021

42:44

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 …

450. How to Be Better at Death

February 4th, 2021

57:39

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 …

449. How to Fix the Incentives in Cancer Research

January 28th, 2021

44:17

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 …

448. The Downside of Disgust

January 21st, 2021

45:40

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 …

447. How Much Do We Really Care About Children?

January 14th, 2021

47:46

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 …

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

January 7th, 2021

40:21

We’ve collected some of our favorite moments from People I (Mostly) Admire, the latest show from the Freakonomics Radio Network. Host Steve Levitt …

Trust Me (Ep. 266 Rebroadcast)

December 31st, 2020

30:56

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 …

445. Why Do We Seek Comfort in the Familiar?

December 24th, 2020

36:56

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 …

444. How Do You Cure a Compassion Crisis?

December 17th, 2020

48:51

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. …

443. A Sneak Peek at Biden’s Top Economist

December 10th, 2020

43:16

The incoming president argues that the economy and the environment are deeply connected. This is reflected in his choice for National Economic …

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

December 6th, 2020

57:02

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 …

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

December 3rd, 2020

44:42

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 …

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

November 26th, 2020

48:22

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 …

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

November 19th, 2020

37:13

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 …

439. Please Get Your Noise Out of My Ears

November 12th, 2020

49:41

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?

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

November 5th, 2020

47:32

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 …

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

October 31st, 2020

45:20

The sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh spent years studying crack dealers, sex workers, and the offspring of billionaires. Then he wandered into an even …

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

October 29th, 2020

40:51

A fine reading of most policies for “business interruption” reveals that viral outbreaks aren’t covered. Some legislators are demanding that …

436. Forget Everything You Know About Your Dog

October 22nd, 2020

57:37

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 …

435. Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive?

October 15th, 2020

44:55

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 (!).

434. Is New York City Over?

October 8th, 2020

49:05

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 …

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

October 3rd, 2020

47:08

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 …

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

October 1st, 2020

53:34

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 …

432. When Your Safety Becomes My Danger

September 24th, 2020

47:57

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 — …

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

September 19th, 2020

39:29

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, …

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

September 17th, 2020

44:24

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 …

What if Your Company Had No Rules?

September 12th, 2020

55:07

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings came to believe that corporate rules can kill creativity and innovation. In this latest edition of the Freakonomics …

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

September 10th, 2020

49:37

Thanks to daily Covid testing and regimented protocols, the new football season is underway. Meanwhile, most teachers, students, and parents are …

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

September 5th, 2020

45:28

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 …

America’s Hidden Duopoly (Ep. 356 Rebroadcast)

September 3rd, 2020

53:00

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 …

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

August 27th, 2020

58:25

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 …

Introducing “People I (Mostly) Admire"

August 22nd, 2020

42:53

A new interview show with host Steve Levitt. Today he speaks with the Harvard psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker. By cataloging the steady march …

The Economics of Sports Gambling (Ep. 388 Rebroadcast)

August 20th, 2020

54:43

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 …

429. Is Economic Growth the Wrong Goal?

August 13th, 2020

41:08

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

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

August 6th, 2020

43:49

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 …

428. The Simple Economics of Saving the Amazon Rain Forest

July 30th, 2020

32:15

Everyone agrees that massive deforestation is an environmental disaster. But most of the standard solutions — scolding the Brazilians, invoking …

427. The Pros and Cons of Reparations

July 23rd, 2020

40:08

Most Americans agree that racial discrimination has been, and remains, a big problem. But that is where the agreement ends.

426. Should America (and FIFA) Pay Reparations?

July 16th, 2020

44:03

The racial wealth gap in the U.S. is massive. We explore the causes, consequences, and potential solutions. Also: another story of discrimination and …

425. Remembrance of Economic Crises Past

July 9th, 2020

51:41

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.

424. How to Make Your Own Luck

July 2nd, 2020

1:00:05

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 …

423. The Doctor Will Zoom You Now

June 25th, 2020

52:35

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 …

422. Introducing "No Stupid Questions"

June 18th, 2020

33:57

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 …

421. How to Prevent Another Great Depression

June 11th, 2020

37:39

Millions and millions are out of work, with some jobs never coming back. We speak with four economists — and one former presidential candidate — …

420. Which Jobs Will Come Back, and When?

June 4th, 2020

42:09

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 …

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

May 28th, 2020

42:37

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 — …

419. 68 Ways to Be Better at Life

May 21st, 2020

37:30

The accidental futurist Kevin Kelly on why enthusiasm beats intelligence, how to really listen, and why the solution to bad technology is more …

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

May 14th, 2020

55:50

Three university presidents try to answer our listeners’ questions. The result? Not much pomp and a whole lot of circumstance.

417. Reasons to Be Cheerful

May 7th, 2020

49:58

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 …

416. How Do You Reopen a Country?

April 30th, 2020

53:50

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?)

415. How Rahm Emanuel Would Run the World

April 27th, 2020

46:53

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 …

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

April 23rd, 2020

57:44

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.

413. Who Gets the Ventilator?

April 16th, 2020

48:05

Should a nurse or doctor who gets sick treating Covid-19 patients have priority access to a potentially life-saving healthcare device? Americans …

412. What Happens When Everyone Stays Home to Eat?

April 9th, 2020

46:00

Covid-19 has shocked our food-supply system like nothing in modern history. We examine the winners, the losers, the unintended consequences — and …

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

April 2nd, 2020

53:10

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 …

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

March 26th, 2020

40:01

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.

409. The Side Effects of Social Distancing

March 19th, 2020

47:57

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?

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

March 12th, 2020

47:03

As cities become ever-more expensive, politicians and housing advocates keep calling for rent control. Economists think that’s a terrible idea. They …

408. Does Anyone Really Know What Socialism Is?

March 5th, 2020

43:27

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 …

407. Is There Really a “Loneliness Epidemic”?

February 27th, 2020

33:26

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.

406. Can You Hear Me Now?

February 20th, 2020

48:03

When he became chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announced that he was going to take a “weed whacker” to Obama-era …

405. Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet)

February 13th, 2020

44:31

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 …

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

February 6th, 2020

52:29

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 …

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

January 30th, 2020

1:01:11

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, …

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

January 23rd, 2020

46:24

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 …

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

January 16th, 2020

47:32

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.

5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing (Rebroadcast)

January 9th, 2020

48:06

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 …

The Zero-Minute Workout (Rebroadcast)

January 2nd, 2020

38:43

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 …

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

December 26th, 2019

33:51

In a special holiday episode, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth take turns asking each other questions about charisma, wealth vs. intellect, and …

Why Is This Man Running for President? (Update)

December 19th, 2019

59:03

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 …

400. How to Hate Taxes a Little Bit Less

December 12th, 2019

42:37

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, …

399. Honey, I Grew the Economy

December 5th, 2019

43:20

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 …

How to Change Your Mind (Rebroadcast)

November 28th, 2019

45:05

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends …

398. The Truth About the Vaping Crisis

November 21st, 2019

44:13

A recent outbreak of illness and death has gotten everyone’s attention — including late-to-the-game regulators. But would a ban on e-cigarettes do …

397. How to Save $32 Million in One Hour

November 14th, 2019

45:10

For nearly a decade, governments have been using behavioral nudges to solve problems — and the strategy is catching on in healthcare, firefighting, …

396. Why Does Tipping Still Exist?

November 7th, 2019

47:00

It’s an acutely haphazard way of paying workers, and yet it keeps expanding. We dig into the data to find out why.

395. Speak Softly and Carry Big Data

October 31st, 2019

1:03:23

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 …

394. Does Hollywood Still Have a Princess Problem?

October 24th, 2019

50:03

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 …

393. Can Britain Get Its “Great” Back?

October 17th, 2019

1:00:06

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 …

392. The Prime Minister Who Cried Brexit

October 10th, 2019

52:10

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 …

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

October 3rd, 2019

45:48

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 …

390. Fed Up

September 26th, 2019

41:46

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. …

389. How to Make Meetings Less Terrible

September 19th, 2019

41:42

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 — …

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

September 12th, 2019

41:40

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 …

388. The Economics of Sports Gambling

September 5th, 2019

54:53

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 …

The Future of Meat (Rebroadcast)

August 29th, 2019

53:16

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™?

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

August 22nd, 2019

47:40

The quirky little grocery chain with California roots and German ownership has a lot to teach all of us about choice architecture, efficiency, …

387. Hello, My Name Is Marijuana Pepsi!

August 15th, 2019

38:47

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 …

How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Rebroadcast )

August 8th, 2019

51:24

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?

386. How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War

August 1st, 2019

39:30

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 …

America’s Hidden Duopoly (Rebroadcast)

July 25th, 2019

52:55

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 …

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

July 18th, 2019

35:31

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 …

384. Abortion and Crime, Revisited

July 11th, 2019

55:19

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 …

A Better Way to Eat (Rebroadcast )

July 4th, 2019

26:56

Takeru Kobayashi revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us learn from his breakthrough?

383. The Zero-Minute Workout

June 27th, 2019

37:23

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 …

382. How Goes the Behavior-Change Revolution?

June 20th, 2019

51:03

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 …

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

June 13th, 2019

49:56

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 …

380. Notes From an Imperfect Paradise

June 6th, 2019

50:22

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 …

379. How to Change Your Mind

May 30th, 2019

45:51

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends …

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

May 23rd, 2019

41:46

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” …

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

May 16th, 2019

49:26

The revolution in home DNA testing is giving consumers important, possibly life-changing information. It’s also building a gigantic database that …

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

May 9th, 2019

48:02

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 …

376. The Data-Driven Guide to Sane Parenting

May 2nd, 2019

49:59

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 …

The Invisible Paw (Rebroadcast)

April 25th, 2019

47:01

Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we've had it exactly backward?

375. The Most Interesting Fruit in the World

April 18th, 2019

36:40

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 …

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

April 11th, 2019

57:35

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 …

373. Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work

April 4th, 2019

48:18

As cities become ever-more expensive, politicians and housing advocates keep calling for rent control. Economists think that’s a terrible idea. They …

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

March 28th, 2019

53:54

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 …

Why You Shouldn’t Open a Restaurant (Update)

March 21st, 2019

48:57

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 …

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

March 14th, 2019

48:23

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 …

370. How to Fail Like a Pro

March 7th, 2019

40:39

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.)

369. A Good Idea Is Not Good Enough

February 28th, 2019

54:28

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 — …

368. Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

February 21st, 2019

1:01:34

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.)

367. The Future of Meat

February 14th, 2019

51:47

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™?

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

February 7th, 2019

49:08

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 …

Extra: Domonique Foxworth Full Interview

February 2nd, 2019

1:29:53

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.

365. Not Just Another Labor Force

January 31st, 2019

1:00:07

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 …

Extra: Mark Cuban Full Interview

January 26th, 2019

42:04

A conversation with the Shark Tank star, entrepreneur, and Dallas Mavericks owner recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

364. Inside the Sports-Industrial Complex

January 24th, 2019

52:50

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., …

Extra: Mark Teixeira Full Interview

January 19th, 2019

58:39

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.”

363. Think Like a Winner

January 17th, 2019

55:05

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 …

Hacking the World Bank (Update)

January 12th, 2019

35:40

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 …

362. Why Is This Man Running for President?

January 10th, 2019

52:10

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 …

How to Be Happy (Rebroadcast)

January 3rd, 2019

37:41

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 …

How to Win Games and Beat People (Rebroadcast)

December 27th, 2018

52:29

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 …

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

December 20th, 2018

57:57

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. …

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

December 15th, 2018

56:39

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 …

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

December 15th, 2018

56:55

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 …

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

December 15th, 2018

55:20

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 …

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

December 13th, 2018

1:00:27

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 …

360. Is the Protestant Work Ethic Real?

December 6th, 2018

40:30

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 …

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

November 29th, 2018

47:01

The quirky little grocery chain with California roots and German ownership has a lot to teach all of us about choice architecture, efficiency, …

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

November 22nd, 2018

47:06

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 …

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

November 15th, 2018

40:32

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 …

357. Can an Industrial Giant Become a Tech Darling?

November 8th, 2018

54:04

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 …

356. America’s Hidden Duopoly

November 1st, 2018

54:15

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 …

Extra: Elvis Costello Full Interview

October 27th, 2018

1:19:31

A conversation with the iconic singer-songwriter, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “How to Be Creative.”

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

October 25th, 2018

1:13:43

Family environments and “diversifying experiences” (including the early death of a parent); intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations; schools that …

Extra: Jeremy Lin Full Interview

October 20th, 2018

43:18

A conversation with veteran NBA point guard Jeremy Lin, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

354. How to Be Creative

October 18th, 2018

52:32

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 …

353. How to Optimize Your Apology

October 11th, 2018

49:16

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.

352. Can This Man Stop a Trade War?

October 4th, 2018

42:43

The World Trade Organization is the referee for 164 trading partners, each with their own political and economic agendas. Lately, those agendas have …

Extra: Shawn Johnson Full Interview

October 1st, 2018

1:07:17

A conversation with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

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

September 27th, 2018

1:07:43

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 …

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

September 23rd, 2018

1:20:12

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.

350. How to Stop Being a Loser

September 20th, 2018

1:00:48

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 …

349. How Sports Became Us

September 13th, 2018

52:06

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 …

348. Is the Government More Entrepreneurial Than You Think?

September 6th, 2018

34:43

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 …

347. Why You Shouldn’t Open a Restaurant

August 30th, 2018

37:17

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 …

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

August 23rd, 2018

51:22

The environmentalists say we’re doomed if we don’t drastically reduce consumption. The technologists say that human ingenuity can solve just about …

345. How to Be Happy

August 16th, 2018

37:30

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 …

344. Who Decides How Much a Life Is Worth?

August 9th, 2018

38:10

After every mass shooting or terrorist attack, victims and survivors receive a huge outpouring of support — including a massive pool of compensation …

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

August 7th, 2018

45:45

One of the world’s biggest and best-known companies just announced that its C.E.O. would be stepping down in the fall. We interviewed her as part of …

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

August 2nd, 2018

53:36

In this live episode of “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know,” we learn why New York has skinny skyscrapers, how to weaponize water, and what astronauts talk about in space. Joining Stephen J. Dubner as co-host is the …

342. Has Lance Armstrong Finally Come Clean?

July 26th, 2018

50:37

He was once the most lionized athlete on the planet, with seven straight Tour de France wins and a victory over cancer too. Then the doping charges caught up with him. When he finally confessed to Oprah, he admits, “it …

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

July 19th, 2018

44:38

It happens to just about everyone, whether you’re going for Olympic gold or giving a wedding toast. We hear from psychologists, economists, and the …

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

July 12th, 2018

57:00

You wouldn’t think you could win a Nobel Prize for showing that humans tend to make irrational decisions. But that’s what Richard Thaler has done. …

339. The Future of Freakonomics Radio

July 3rd, 2018

35:59

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.

In Praise of Incrementalism (Rebroadcast)

June 28th, 2018

49:21

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 …

In Praise of Maintenance (Rebroadcast)

June 21st, 2018

42:17

Has our culture's obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?

338. How to Catch World Cup Fever

June 14th, 2018

56:45

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 …

337. How to Build a Smart City

June 7th, 2018

39:07

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 …

How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Rebroadcast)

May 31st, 2018

28:26

Nearly two percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, …

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

May 24th, 2018

33:25

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 …

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

May 17th, 2018

36:54

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 …

334. 5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing

May 10th, 2018

49:36

We all like to throw around terms that describe human behavior — “bystander apathy” and “steep learning curve” and “hard-wired.” Most of the time, they don't actually mean what we think they mean. But don't worry — the …

Evolution, Accelerated (Rebroadcast)

May 3rd, 2018

35:32

A breakthrough in genetic technology has given humans more power than ever to change nature. It could help eliminate hunger and disease; it could …

333. The Most Ambitious Thing Humans Have Ever Attempted

April 26th, 2018

52:00

Sure, medical progress has been astounding. But today the U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country, with so-so outcomes. Atul Gawande — …

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

April 19th, 2018

44:59

Three former White House economists weigh in on the new tax bill. A sample: "The overwhelming evidence is that the trickle-down, magic-beanstalk beans argument — that's just nonsense."

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

April 12th, 2018

45:28

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.)

330. Extra: Ray Dalio Full Interview

April 9th, 2018

1:17:12

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.”

329. The Invisible Paw

April 5th, 2018

48:21

Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we've had it exactly backward?

328. Extra: Mark Zuckerberg Full Interview

April 2nd, 2018

45:34

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.”

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

March 29th, 2018

44:48

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.

327. Extra: Carol Bartz Full Interview

March 26th, 2018

50:39

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.”

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

March 22nd, 2018

46:38

It's hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns? Enter the low-cost …

326. Extra: Jack Welch Full Interview

March 19th, 2018

55:48

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.”

325. How to Train Your Dragon Child

March 15th, 2018

35:31

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, …

324. Extra: Satya Nadella Full Interview

March 12th, 2018

39:39

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.”

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

March 8th, 2018

41:13

Whether it's a giant infrastructure plan or a humble kitchen renovation, it'll inevitably take way too long and cost way too much. That's because you suffer from “the planning fallacy.” (You also have an “optimism bias” …

322. Extra: David Rubenstein Full Interview

March 5th, 2018

1:29:00

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.”

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

March 1st, 2018

46:34

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.

321. Extra: Richard Branson Full Interview

February 26th, 2018

53:35

Stephen Dubner's conversation with the Virgin Group founder, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”

320. Letting Go

February 22nd, 2018

45:07

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 …

319. After the Glass Ceiling, a Glass Cliff

February 15th, 2018

52:26

Only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Why? Research shows that female executives are more likely to be put in charge of firms that are already in crisis. Are they being set up to fail? (Part 5 of a …

318. It’s Your Problem Now

February 8th, 2018

44:07

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 …

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

February 6th, 2018

42:32

The gig economy offers the ultimate flexibility to set your own hours. That's why economists thought it would help eliminate the gender pay gap. A …

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

February 3rd, 2018

27:38

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 …

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

February 1st, 2018

48:04

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 …

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

January 25th, 2018

44:23

Mark Zuckerberg's dentist dad was an early adopter of digital x-rays. Jack Welch blew the roof off a factory. Carol Bartz was a Wisconsin farm girl …

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

January 18th, 2018

38:37

They're paid a fortune — but for what, exactly? What makes a good C.E.O. — and how can you even tell? Is "leadership science" a real thing — or just airport-bookstore mumbo jumbo? We put these questions to Mark …

313. How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win

January 11th, 2018

38:07

Gina Raimondo, the governor of tiny Rhode Island, has taken on unions, boosted big business, and made friends with Republicans. She is also one of …

Why Is My Life So Hard? (Rebroadcast)

January 4th, 2018

30:11

Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — …

Trust Me (Rebroadcast)

December 28th, 2017

30:00

Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for …

Make Me a Match (Rebroadcast)

December 21st, 2017

52:47

Sure, markets generally work well. But for some transactions — like school admissions and organ transplants — money alone can't solve the problem. …

312. Not Your Grandmother’s I.M.F.

December 14th, 2017

38:23

The International Monetary Fund has long been the "lender of last resort" for economies in crisis. Christine Lagarde, who runs the institution, would …

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

December 7th, 2017

47:42

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 …

310. Are We Running Out of Ideas?

November 30th, 2017

37:01

Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. One theory: true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more …

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

November 23rd, 2017

45:17

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?

309. Nurses to the Rescue!

November 16th, 2017

57:48

They are the most-trusted profession in America (and with good reason). They are critical to patient outcomes (especially in primary care). Could the …

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

November 9th, 2017

43:28

Dubner and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answer your questions about crime, traffic, real-estate agents, the Ph.D. glut, and how to not get eaten by a bear.

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

November 7th, 2017

43:26

In this live episode of "Tell Me Something I Don't Know," you'll learn about carcass balancing, teen sleeping, and brand naming. Joining Stephen J. Dubner as co-host is Alex Wagner (CBS This Morning Saturday); author …

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

November 2nd, 2017

38:50

Corporations and rich people donate billions to their favorite think tanks and foundations. Should we be grateful for their generosity — or …

306. How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution

October 26th, 2017

44:45

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 …

305. The Demonization of Gluten

October 19th, 2017

43:59

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 …

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

October 12th, 2017

57:08

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

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

October 1st, 2017

54:12

Stephen J. Dubner hosts an episode full of the world's most renowned behavior change experts, including Colin Camerer, Ayelet Fishbach, David …

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

September 28th, 2017

50:26

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). …

302. Why Learn Esperanto?

September 26th, 2017

31:00

A language invented in the 19th century, and meant to be universal, it never really caught on. So why does a group of Esperantists from around the world gather once a year to celebrate their bond?

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

September 21st, 2017

41:07

We explore votes for English, Indonesian, and … Esperanto! The search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in …

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

September 14th, 2017

43:06

There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?

299. "How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?"

September 7th, 2017

47:08

John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. simultaneously getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain …

Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis (Rebroadcast)

August 31st, 2017

48:40

By some estimates, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. How can that be? And what's to be done? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.

Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations (Rebroadcast)

August 24th, 2017

45:39

How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on "dream patients" who …

Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6 (Rebroadcast)

August 17th, 2017

44:06

We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of …

What Are You Waiting For? (Rebroadcast)

August 10th, 2017

36:22

Standing in line represents a particularly sloppy — and frustrating — way for supply and demand to meet. Why haven't we found a better way to get …

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

August 3rd, 2017

44:05

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.

297. The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money

July 27th, 2017

48:04

It's hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns? Enter the low-cost …

296. These Shoes Are Killing Me!

July 20th, 2017

39:17

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 …

295. When Helping Hurts

July 13th, 2017

51:30

Good intentions are nice, but with so many resources poured into social programs, wouldn't it be even nicer to know what actually works?

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

July 6th, 2017

43:58

Over 40 percent of U.S. births are to unmarried mothers, and the numbers are especially high among the less-educated. Why? One argument is that the decline in good manufacturing jobs led to a decline in "marriageable" …

The Harvard President Will See You Now (Rebroadcast)

June 29th, 2017

39:22

How a pain-in-the-neck girl from rural Virginia came to run the most powerful university in the world.

293. Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2)

June 23rd, 2017

37:16

Charles Koch, the mega-billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and half of the infamous political machine, sees himself as a classical liberal. So why do …

292. Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 1)

June 22nd, 2017

44:32

Charles Koch, the mega-billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and half of the infamous political machine, sees himself as a classical liberal. So why do …

"Tell Me Something I Don't Know" on the topic of Rivalry

June 20th, 2017

57:17

Steve Levitt, Scott Turow and Bridget Gainer are panelists. For the "Freakonomics" co-author, the attorney and novelist, and the Cook County commissioner it's "game on!" as they tackle competition of all kinds: …

291. Evolution, Accelerated

June 15th, 2017

35:44

A breakthrough in genetic technology has given humans more power than ever to change nature. It could help eliminate hunger and disease; it could …

290. He’s One of the Most Famous Political Operatives in America. America Just Doesn’t Know It Yet.

June 8th, 2017

42:16

Steve Hilton was the man behind David Cameron's push to remake British politics. Things didn't work out so well there. Now he's trying to launch a …

289. How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?

June 1st, 2017

28:01

Nearly two percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, …

288. Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?

May 25th, 2017

42:24

A series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It's an easy narrative to swallow — but is it true? A trio of economists set out to test the theory. All it took was a Dutch …

287. Hoopers! Hoopers! Hoopers!

May 18th, 2017

39:24

As CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer was famous for over-the-top enthusiasm. Now he's brought that same passion to the N.B.A. -- and to a pet project …

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

May 11th, 2017

34:02

On the Internet, people say all kinds of things they'd never say aloud -- about sex and race, about their true wants and fears. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has spent years parsing the data. His conclusion: our online …

Food + Science = Victory! (Rebroadcast)

May 4th, 2017

36:46

A kitchen wizard and a nutrition detective talk about the perfect hamburger, getting the most out of garlic, and why you should use vodka in just …

285. There’s a War on Sugar. Is It Justified?

April 27th, 2017

45:40

Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it's addictive and toxic. How much sense does that …

284. Is Income Inequality Inevitable? (Earth 2.0 Series)

April 20th, 2017

40:58

In pursuit of a more perfect economy, we discuss the future of work; the toxic remnants of colonization; and whether giving everyone a basic income …

283. What Would Our Economy Look Like? (Earth 2.0 Series)

April 13th, 2017

42:54

If we could reboot the planet and create new systems and institutions from scratch, would they be any better than what we've blundered our way into …

282. Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others?

April 6th, 2017

35:24

The biggest problem with humanity is humans themselves. Too often, we make choices — what we eat, how we spend our money and time — that undermine our well-being. An all-star team of academic researchers thinks it has …

281. Big Returns from Thinking Small

March 30th, 2017

30:47

By day, two leaders of Britain's famous Nudge Unit use behavioral tricks to make better government policy. By night, they repurpose those tricks to …

280. “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” on the topic of Collections.

March 28th, 2017

51:22

Hear live journalism wrapped in a game show package and hosted by Stephen J. Dubner. In this episode, Tim Ferriss, Eugene Mirman and Anne Pasternak are panelists. The self-help guru, the comedian and the Brooklyn Museum …

How Safe Is Your Job? (Rebroadcast)

March 23rd, 2017

33:20

Economists preach the gospel of "creative destruction," whereby new industries -- and jobs -- replace the old ones. But has creative destruction …

279. Why Is My Life So Hard?

March 16th, 2017

30:32

Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — …

278. Chuck E. Cheese’s: Where a Kid Can Learn Price Theory

March 9th, 2017

31:23

The pizza-and-gaming emporium prides itself on affordability, which means its arcade games are really cheap to play. Does that lead to kids hogging the best games — and parents starting those infamous YouTube brawls?

277. The Taboo Trifecta

March 2nd, 2017

32:09

The serial entrepreneur Miki Agrawal loves to talk about the bodily functions that make most people flinch. That's why she's building a business around the three P's: periods, pee, and poop.

276. No Hollywood Ending for the Visual-Effects Industry

February 23rd, 2017

55:46

In their chase for a global audience, American movie studios spend billions to make their films look amazing. But almost none of those dollars stay …

275. Professor Hendryx vs. Big Coal

February 16th, 2017

37:05

What happens when a public-health researcher deep in coal country argues that mountaintop mining endangers the entire community? Hint: it doesn't go very well.

How to Get More Grit in Your Life

February 9th, 2017

42:11

The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person's level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise …

274. An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl

February 2nd, 2017

28:28

We assembled a panel of smart dudes -- a two-time Super Bowl champ; a couple of NFL linemen, including one who's getting a math Ph.D. at MIT; and our resident economist -- to tell you what to watch for, whether you're a …

273. Did China Eat America’s Jobs?

January 26th, 2017

38:24

For years, economists promised that global free trade would be mostly win-win. Now they admit the pace of change has been "traumatic." This has …

Is the American Dream Really Dead?

January 19th, 2017

39:30

Just a few decades ago, more than 90 percent of 30-year-olds earned more than their parents had earned at the same age. Now it's only about 50 …

272. Trevor Noah Has a Lot to Say

January 12th, 2017

35:22

The Daily Show host grew up as a poor, mixed-race South African kid going to three churches every Sunday. So he has a sui generis view of America — …

271. The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution

January 5th, 2017

35:10

Starting in the late 1960s, the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman began to redefine how the human mind actually works. Michael …

How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Rebroadcast)

December 29th, 2016

50:11

What if the thing we call "talent" is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the …

How to Be More Productive (Rebroadcast)

December 22nd, 2016

39:23

In this busy time of year, we could all use some tips on how to get more done in less time. First, however, a warning: there's a big difference …

270. Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis

December 15th, 2016

48:35

By some estimates, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. How can that be? And what's to be done? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.

269. Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations

December 8th, 2016

45:22

How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on "dream patients" who …

268. Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6

December 1st, 2016

44:55

We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of …

The No-Tipping Point (Rebroadcast)

November 24th, 2016

44:26

The restaurant business model is warped: kitchen wages are too low to hire cooks, while diners are put in charge of paying the waitstaff. So what happens if you eliminate tipping, raise menu prices, and redistribute the …

267. How to Make a Bad Decision

November 17th, 2016

35:44

Some of our most important decisions are shaped by something as random as the order in which we make them. The gambler's fallacy, as it's known, affects loan officers, federal judges -- and probably you too. How to …

Introducing Stephen J. Dubner's new podcast, "Tell Me Something I Don't Know"

November 15th, 2016

53:22

"Tell Me Something I Don't Know" is a live game show hosted by Stephen J. Dubner of "Freakonomics Radio." He has always had a mission: to tell you the things you thought you knew but didn't, and things you never thought …

266. Trust Me

November 10th, 2016

27:42

Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for …

How Much Does the President Really Matter? (Rebroadcast )

November 9th, 2016

33:26

The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the …

265. The White House Gets Into the Nudge Business

November 3rd, 2016

42:18

A tiny behavioral-sciences startup is trying to improve the way federal agencies do their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, this isn't so simple. But after a series of early victories -- …

264. In Praise of Incrementalism

October 27th, 2016

48:34

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 …

263. In Praise of Maintenance

October 20th, 2016

41:44

Has our culture's obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?

262. This Is Your Brain on Podcasts

October 13th, 2016

45:23

Neuroscientists still have a great deal to learn about the human brain. One recent MRI study sheds some light, finding that a certain kind of …

How To Win A Nobel Prize (Rebroadcast)

October 6th, 2016

44:32

The process is famously secretive (and conducted in Swedish!) but we pry the lid off at least a little bit.

261. Why Are We Still Using Cash?

September 29th, 2016

42:59

It facilitates crime, bribery, and tax evasion -- and yet some governments (including ours) are printing more cash than ever. Other countries, meanwhile, are ditching cash entirely. And if Star Trek is right, we won't …

260. Has the U.S. Presidency Become a Dictatorship?

September 22nd, 2016

47:48

Sure, we all pay lip service to the Madisonian system of checks and balances. But as one legal scholar argues, presidents have been running roughshod …

259. Ten Signs You Might Be a Libertarian

September 15th, 2016

50:42

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate, likes to say that most Americans are libertarians but don't know it yet. So why can't …

258. Why Uber Is an Economist’s Dream

September 8th, 2016

38:28

To you, it's just a ride-sharing app that gets you where you're going. But to an economist, Uber is a massive repository of moment-by-moment data that is helping answer some of the field's most elusive questions.

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

September 1st, 2016

35:01

Internet pioneer Kevin Kelly tries to predict the future by identifying what's truly inevitable. How worried should we be? Yes, robots will probably …

Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset? (Rebroadcast)

August 25th, 2016

37:49

The gist: we spend billions on end-of-life healthcare that doesn’t do much good. So what if a patient could forego the standard treatment and get a …

Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush (Rebroadcast)

August 18th, 2016

31:28

The comedian, actor -- and now, author -- answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions.

256. What Are You Waiting For?

August 11th, 2016

34:56

Standing in line represents a particularly sloppy - and frustrating - way for supply and demand to meet. Why haven't we found a better way to get …

Is It Okay for Restaurants to Racially Profile Their Employees? (Rebroadcast)

August 4th, 2016

52:00

We seem to have decided that ethnic food tastes better when it's served by people of that ethnicity (or at least something close). Does this make sense -- and is it legal?

255. Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten

July 28th, 2016

43:03

We Americans may love our democracy -- at least in theory -- but at the moment our feelings toward the federal government lie somewhere between …

254. What Are Gender Barriers Made Of?

July 21st, 2016

36:33

Overt discrimination in the labor markets may be on the wane, but women are still subtly penalized by all sorts of societal conventions. How can those penalties be removed without burning down the house?

253. Is the Internet Being Ruined?

July 14th, 2016

47:58

It's a remarkable ecosystem that allows each of us to exercise control over our lives. But how much control do we truly have? How many of our …

252. Confessions of a Pothole Politician

July 7th, 2016

43:48

Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, has big ambitions but knows he must first master the small stuff. He's also a polymath who relies heavily on …

The Suicide Paradox (Rebroadcast )

June 30th, 2016

57:27

There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.

How Much Does the President Really Matter? (Rebroadcast)

June 23rd, 2016

33:28

The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the …

Why Do We Really Follow the News? (Rebroadcast)

June 16th, 2016

35:50

There are all kinds of civics-class answers to that question. But how true are they? Could it be that we like to read about war, politics, and …

251. Are We in a Mattress-Store Bubble?

June 9th, 2016

36:46

You've seen them — everywhere! — and often clustered together, as if central planners across America decided that what every city really needs is a Mattress District. There are now dozens of online rivals too. Why are …

Time to Take Back the Toilet

June 9th, 2016

31:49

Public bathrooms are noisy, poorly designed, and often nonexistent. What to do?

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

June 2nd, 2016

43:46

Patrick Smith, the author of Cockpit Confidential, answers every question we can throw at him about what really happens up in the air. Just don't get him started on pilotless planes -- or whether the autopilot is …

249. The Longest Long Shot

May 26th, 2016

43:03

When the uncelebrated Leicester City Football Club won the English Premier League, it wasn't just the biggest underdog story in recent history. It …

248. How to Be Tim Ferriss

May 19th, 2016

41:32

Our Self-Improvement Month concludes with a man whose entire life and career are one big pile of self-improvement. Nutrition? Check. Bizarre physical activities? Check. Working less and earning more? Check. Tim Ferriss, …

247. How to Win Games and Beat People

May 12th, 2016

52:31

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 …

246. How to Get More Grit in Your Life

May 5th, 2016

44:29

The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person's level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise …

245. Being Malcolm Gladwell

May 2nd, 2016

28:20

"Books are a pain in the ass," says Gladwell, who has written some of the most popular, influential, and beloved non-fiction books in recent history. …

244. How to Become Great at Just About Anything

April 28th, 2016

48:04

What if the thing we call "talent" is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the …

243. How to Be More Productive

April 21st, 2016

38:38

It's Self-Improvement Month at Freakonomics Radio. We begin with a topic that seems to be on everyone's mind: how to get more done in less time. First, however, a warning: there's a big difference between being busy and …

242. Is the World Ready for a Guaranteed Basic Income?

April 14th, 2016

36:43

A lot of full-time jobs in the modern economy simply don't pay a living wage. And even those jobs may be obliterated by new technologies. What's to …

241. Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?

April 7th, 2016

49:41

Critics -- including President Obama -- say short-term, high-interest loans are predatory, trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. But some economists …

The Economics of Sleep, Part 2 (Rebroadcast)

March 31st, 2016

42:51

People who sleep better earn more money. Now all we have to do is teach everyone to sleep better.

The Economics of Sleep, Part 1 (Rebroadcast)

March 24th, 2016

45:42

Could a lack of sleep help explain why some people get much sicker than others?

240. Yes, the American Economy Is in a Funk -- But Not for the Reasons You Think

March 17th, 2016

33:32

As sexy as the digital revolution may be, it can't compare to the Second Industrial Revolution (electricity! the gas engine! antibiotics!), which …

239. The No-Tipping Point

March 11th, 2016

43:18

The restaurant business model is warped: kitchen wages are too low to hire cooks, while diners are put in charge of paying the waitstaff. So what happens if you eliminate tipping, raise menu prices, and redistribute the …

238. The United States of Cory Booker

March 3rd, 2016

39:22

The junior U.S. Senator from New Jersey thinks bipartisanship is right around the corner. Is he just an idealistic newbie or does he see a way forward that everyone else has missed?

237. Ask Not What Your Podcast Can Do for You

February 25th, 2016

41:43

Now and again, Freakonomics Radio puts hat in hand and asks listeners to donate to the public-radio station that produces the show. Why on earth …

236. How Can This Possibly Be True?

February 18th, 2016

40:53

A famous economics essay features a pencil (yes, a pencil) arguing that “not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.” Is the pencil just bragging? In any case, what can the pencil teach us about …

235. Who Needs Handwriting?

February 11th, 2016

39:37

The digital age is making pen and paper seem obsolete. But what are we giving up if we give up on handwriting?

How to Fix a Broken High Schooler, in Four Easy Steps (Rebroadcast)

February 4th, 2016

29:15

Okay, maybe the steps aren't so easy. But a program run out of a Toronto housing project has had great success in turning around kids who were headed for trouble.

Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem? (Rebroadcast)

January 28th, 2016

36:40

If U.S. schoolteachers are indeed "just a little bit below average," it's not really their fault. So what should be done about it?

234. Do Boycotts Work?

January 21st, 2016

37:26

The Montgomery Bus Boycott, the South African divestment campaign, Chick-fil-A! Almost anyone can launch a boycott, and the media loves to cover them. But do boycotts actually produce the change they're fighting for?

233. How to Be Less Terrible at Predicting the Future

January 14th, 2016

46:57

Experts and pundits are notoriously bad at forecasting, in part because they aren't punished for bad predictions. Also, they tend to be deeply …

232. The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap

January 7th, 2016

43:27

Discrimination can't explain why women earn so much less than men. If only it were that easy.

When Willpower Isn’t Enough (Rebroadcast)

December 31st, 2015

31:02

Sure, we all want to make good personal decisions, but it doesn't always work out. That's where "temptation bundling" comes in.

Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition (Rebroadcast)

December 24th, 2015

42:00

A team of economists has been running the numbers on the U.N.'s development goals. They have a different view of how those billions of dollars should …

231. Is Migration a Basic Human Right?

December 17th, 2015

1:00:58

The argument for open borders is compelling -- and deeply problematic.

230. The Cheeseburger Diet

December 10th, 2015

32:07

One woman's quest to find the best burger in town can teach all of us to eat smarter.

229. Ben Bernanke Gives Himself a Grade

December 3rd, 2015

47:05

He was handed the keys to the global economy just as it started heading off a cliff. Fortunately, he'd seen this movie before.

Why Do People Keep Having Children? (Rebroadcast)

November 26th, 2015

40:04

Even a brutal natural disaster doesn't diminish our appetite for procreating. This surely means we're heading toward massive overpopulation, right? …

228. Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late?

November 19th, 2015

45:57

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.

227. Should Everyone Be in a Rock Band?

November 12th, 2015

45:32

Lessons from Tom Petty's rise and another rocker's fall.

226. Food + Science = Victory!

November 5th, 2015

38:24

A kitchen wizard and a nutrition detective talk about the perfect hamburger, getting the most out of garlic, and why you should use vodka in just …

225. Am I Boring You?

October 29th, 2015

39:32

Researchers are trying to figure out who gets bored - and why - and what it means for ourselves and the economy. But maybe there's an upside to boredom?

How to Save $1 Billion Without Even Trying (Rebroadcast)

October 22nd, 2015

36:28

Doctors, chefs, and other experts are much more likely than the rest of us to buy store-brand products. What do they know that we don't?

224. How To Win A Nobel Prize

October 15th, 2015

45:27

The process is famously secretive (and conducted in Swedish!) but we pry the lid off at least a little bit.

223. Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents for Raising Them?

October 8th, 2015

47:22

When one athlete turned pro, his mom asked him for $1 million. Our modern sensibilities tell us she doesn't have a case. But should she?

222. Meet the Woman Who Said Women Can’t Have It All

October 1st, 2015

42:11

Anne-Marie Slaughter was best known for her adamant views on Syria when she accidentally became a poster girl for modern feminism. As it turns out, she can be pretty adamant in that realm as well.

221. How Did the Belt Win?

September 24th, 2015

30:56

Suspenders may work better, but the dork factor is too high. How did an organ-squeezing belly tourniquet become part of our everyday wardrobe -- and …

220. “I Don't Know What You've Done With My Husband, But He's a Changed Man.”

September 17th, 2015

46:53

From domestic abusers to former child soldiers, there is increasing evidence that behavioral therapy can turn them around.

219. Preventing Crime for Pennies on the Dollar

September 10th, 2015

41:33

Conventional programs tend to be expensive, onerous, and ineffective. Could something as simple (and cheap) as cognitive behavioral therapy do the …

218. The Harvard President Will See You Now

September 3rd, 2015

38:53

How a pain-in-the-neck girl from rural Virginia came to run the most powerful university in the world.

217. Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset?

August 27th, 2015

36:55

We spend billions on end-of-life healthcare that doesn't do much good. So what if a patient could forego the standard treatment and get a cash rebate …

216. How to Make a Smart TV Ad

August 20th, 2015

30:35

Step 1: Hire a Harvard psych professor as the pitchman. Step 2: Have him help write the script ...

The Dangers of Safety (Rebroadcast)

August 13th, 2015

30:57

What do NASCAR drivers, Glenn Beck and the hit men of the NFL have in common?

215. Why Do We Really Follow the News?

August 6th, 2015

35:52

There are all kinds of civics-class answers to that question. But how true are they? Could it be that we like to read about war, politics, and …

214. How to Create Suspense

July 30th, 2015

39:22

Why is soccer the best sport? How has Harlan Coben sold 70 million books? And why does "Apollo 13" keep you enthralled even when you know the ending?

213. Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush

July 23rd, 2015

32:03

The comedian, actor -- and now, author -- answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions

212. The Economics of Sleep, Part 2

July 16th, 2015

43:29

People who sleep better earn more money. Now all we have to do is teach everyone to sleep better.

211. The Economics of Sleep, Part 1

July 9th, 2015

45:01

Could a lack of sleep help explain why some people get much sicker than others?

A Better Way to Eat (Rebroadcast)

July 2nd, 2015

28:07

Takeru Kobayashi revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us learn from his breakthrough?

210. Is It Okay for Restaurants to Racially Profile Their Employees?

June 25th, 2015

53:56

We seem to have decided that ethnic food tastes better when it's served by people of that ethnicity (or at least something close). Does this make sense -- and is it legal?

209. Make Me a Match

June 18th, 2015

50:23

Sure, markets generally work well. But for some transactions -- like school admissions and organ transplants -- money alone can't solve the problem. …

208. Making Sex Offenders Pay -- and Pay and Pay and Pay

June 11th, 2015

35:29

Sure, sex crimes are horrific, and the perpetrators deserve to be punished harshly. But society keeps exacting costs -- out-of-pocket and otherwise -- long after the prison sentence has been served.

207. Should We Really Behave Like Economists Say We Do?

June 4th, 2015

54:48

One man's attempt to remake his life in the mold of homo economicus.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Rebroadcast)

May 28th, 2015

1:02:56

The debut of a live game show from Freakonomics Radio, with judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson.

Failure Is Your Friend (Rebroadcast)

May 21st, 2015

31:49

In which we argue that failure should not only be tolerated but celebrated.

206. Ten Years of Freakonomics

May 14th, 2015

46:03

Dubner and Levitt are live onstage at the 92nd Street Y in New York to celebrate their new book "When to Rob a Bank" -- and a decade of working together.

205. Could the Next Brooklyn Be ... Las Vegas?!

May 7th, 2015

55:17

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has a wild vision and the dollars to try to make it real. But it still might be the biggest gamble in town.

Think Like a Child (Rebroadcast)

April 30th, 2015

29:44

When it comes to generating ideas and asking questions it can be really fruitful to have the mentality of an eight year old.

204. Nate Silver Says: “Everyone Is Kind of Weird”

April 23rd, 2015

39:09

America's favorite statistical guru answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions, and more.

203. Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend

April 16th, 2015

40:29

It may seem like winning a valuable diamond is an unalloyed victory. It's not. It's not even clear that a diamond is so valuable.

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

April 9th, 2015

53:56

The practice of medicine has been subsumed by the business of medicine. This is great news for healthcare shareholders -- and bad news for pretty …

201. How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?

April 2nd, 2015

41:53

A lot of the conventional wisdom in medicine is nothing more than hunch or wishful thinking. A new breed of data detectives is hoping to change that.

The Perfect Crime (Rebroadcast)

March 26th, 2015

29:35

If you are driving and kill a pedestrian, there's a good chance you'll barely be punished. Why?

What You Don’t Know About Online Dating (Rebroadcast)

March 19th, 2015

40:11

Thick markets, thin markets, and the triumph of attributes over compatibility.

200. When Willpower Isn’t Enough

March 12th, 2015

33:03

Sure, we all want to make good personal decisions, but it doesn't always work out. That's where "temptation bundling" comes in.

199. This Idea Must Die

March 5th, 2015

54:33

Every year, Edge.org asks its salon of big thinkers to answer one big question. This year's question borders on heresy: what scientific idea is ready for retirement?

198. The Maddest Men of All

February 26th, 2015

32:56

Advertisers have always been adept at manipulating our emotions. Now they're using behavioral economics to get even better.

197. Hacking the World Bank

February 19th, 2015

36:01

Jim Yong Kim has an unorthodox background for a World Bank president — and his reign thus far is just as unorthodox.

196. Is There a Better Way to Fight Terrorism?

February 12th, 2015

42:48

The White House is hosting an anti-terror summit next week. Summits being what they are, we try to offer some useful advice.

195. How Efficient Is Energy Efficiency?

February 5th, 2015

32:36

It's a centerpiece of U.S. climate policy and a sacred cow among environmentalists. Does it work?

194. How Safe Is Your Job?

January 29th, 2015

33:38

Economists preach the gospel of "creative destruction," whereby new industries -- and jobs -- replace the old ones. But has creative destruction …

193. Someone Else’s Acid Trip

January 22nd, 2015

29:15

As Kevin Kelly tells it, the hippie revolution and the computer revolution are nearly one and the same.

192. That’s a Great Question!

January 15th, 2015

25:24

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.

191. Why Doesn’t Everyone Get the Flu Vaccine?

January 8th, 2015

36:17

Influenza kills, but you’d never know it by how few of us get the vaccine.

What’s the “Best” Exercise? (Rebroadcast)

January 1st, 2015

15:21

Most people blame lack of time for being out of shape. So maybe the solution is to exercise more efficiently.

What’s More Dangerous: Marijuana or Alcohol? (Rebroadcast)

December 25th, 2014

25:23

Imagine that both substances were undiscovered until today. How would we think about their relative risks?

190. Time to Take Back the Toilet

December 18th, 2014

34:45

Public bathrooms are noisy, poorly designed, and often nonexistent. What to do?

The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat (Rebroadcast)

December 11th, 2014

44:38

We spend billions on our pets, and one of the fastest-growing costs is pet "aftercare." But are those cremated remains you got back really from your pet?

189. How to Fix a Broken High Schooler, in Four Easy Steps

December 4th, 2014

29:19

Okay, maybe the steps aren’t so easy. But a program run out of a Toronto housing project has had great success in turning around kids who were headed for trouble.

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

November 27th, 2014

34:25

If U.S. schoolteachers are indeed “just a little bit below average,” it’s not really their fault. So what should be done about it?

187. The Man Who Would Be Everything

November 20th, 2014

27:45

Boris Johnson -- mayor of London, biographer of Churchill, cheese-box painter and tennis-racket collector -- answers our FREAK-quently Asked …

186. Why Do People Keep Having Children?

November 13th, 2014

38:34

Even a brutal natural disaster doesn’t diminish our appetite for procreating. This surely means we’re heading toward massive overpopulation, right? …

185. Should the U.S. Merge With Mexico?

November 6th, 2014

55:59

Corporations around the world are consolidating like never before. If it’s good enough for companies, why not countries? Welcome to Amexico!

184. What Can Vampires Teach Us About Economics?

October 30th, 2014

24:51

A lot! “The Economics of the Undead” is a book about dating strategy, job creation, and whether there should be a legal market for blood.

183. “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”

October 23rd, 2014

1:02:29

The debut of a live game show from Freakonomics Radio, with judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson.

182. How Can Tiny Norway Afford to Buy So Many Teslas?

October 16th, 2014

36:12

The Norwegian government parleys massive oil wealth into huge subsidies for electric cars. Is that carbon laundering or just pragmatic environmentalism?

How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten (Rebroadcast)

October 9th, 2014

33:16

The science of what works -- and doesn't work -- in fund-raising

181. Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition

October 2nd, 2014

41:59

A team of economists has been running the numbers on the U.N.'s development goals. They have a different view of how those billions of dollars should …

180. Fitness Apartheid

September 25th, 2014

30:42

Markets are hardly perfect, but the results can be ugly when you try to subvert them.

179. Outsiders by Design

September 18th, 2014

40:26

What does it mean to pursue something that everyone else thinks is nuts? And what does it take to succeed?

178. How to Save $1 Billion Without Even Trying

September 11th, 2014

33:41

Doctors, chefs, and other experts are much more likely than the rest of us to buy store-brand products. What do they know that we don’t?

177. Regulate This!

September 4th, 2014

56:14

Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, EatWith, and other companies in the “sharing economy” are practically daring government regulators to shut them down. The …

Who Runs the Internet? (Rebroadcast)

August 28th, 2014

32:16

The online universe doesn't have nearly as many rules, or rulemakers, as the real world. Discuss.

Parking Is Hell (Rebroadcast)

August 21st, 2014

35:09

There ain't no such thing as a free parking spot. Somebody has to pay for it -- and that somebody is everybody.

Should Tipping be Banned? (Rebroadcast)

August 7th, 2014

40:31

It's awkward, random, confusing -- and probably discriminatory too.

How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Rebroadcast)

July 31st, 2014

52:01

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?

176. Does Religion Make You Happy?

July 24th, 2014

28:36

It’s a hard question to answer, but we do our best.

175. Why You Should Bribe Your Kids

July 17th, 2014

27:33

Educational messaging looks good on paper but kids don’t respond to it -- and adults aren’t much better.

174. What Do King Solomon and David Lee Roth Have in Common?

July 10th, 2014

33:04

It isn’t easy to separate the guilty from the innocent, but a clever bit of game theory can help.

173. A Better Way to Eat

July 3rd, 2014

26:04

Takeru Kobayashi revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us learn from his breakthrough?

172. How to Screen Job Applicants, Act Your Age, and Get Your Brain Off Autopilot

June 26th, 2014

25:51

Dubner and Levitt answer reader questions in this first installment of the “Think Like a Freak” Book Club.

171. There’s No Such Thing as a Free Appetizer

June 19th, 2014

36:23

Is it really in a restaurant’s best interest to give customers free bread or chips before they even order?

170. Why America Doesn’t Love Soccer (Yet)

June 12th, 2014

37:14

Every four years, the U.S. takes a look at the World Cup and develops a slight crush. What would it take to really fall in love?

169. Failure Is Your Friend

June 5th, 2014

31:04

In which we argue that failure should not only be tolerated but celebrated.

The Upside of Quitting (Rebroadcast )

May 29th, 2014

58:01

You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says ... Are you sure?

168. Think Like a Child

May 22nd, 2014

28:15

When it comes to generating ideas and asking questions it can be really fruitful to have the mentality of an eight year old.

167. The Three Hardest Words in the English Language

May 15th, 2014

28:55

Why learning to say “I don’t know” is one of the best things you can do.

166. How to Think Like a Freak -- and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

May 8th, 2014

27:29

Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt talk about their new book and field questions about prestige, university life, and (yum yum) bacon.

165. The Perfect Crime

May 1st, 2014

28:28

If you are driving and kill a pedestrian, there's a good chance you'll barely be punished. Why?

164. Which Came First, the Chicken or the Avocado?

April 24th, 2014

29:29

When it comes to exercising outrage, people tend to be very selective. Could it be that humans are our least favorite animal?

163. What’s More Dangerous: Marijuana or Alcohol?

April 17th, 2014

24:53

Imagine that both substances were undiscovered until today. How would we think about their relative risks?

162. “If Mayors Ruled the World”

April 10th, 2014

31:06

Unlike certain elected officials in Washington, mayors all over the country actually get stuff done. So maybe we should ask them to do more?

161. How to Make People Quit Smoking

April 3rd, 2014

32:37

The war on cigarettes has been fairly successful in some places. But 1 billion humans still smoke -- so what comes next?

160. Why Everybody Who Doesn’t Hate Bitcoin Loves It

March 27th, 2014

35:17

Thinking of Bitcoin as just a digital currency is like thinking about the Internet as just e-mail. Its potential is much more exciting than that.

Women Are Not Men (Rebroadcast)

March 20th, 2014

37:29

In many ways, the gender gap is closing. In others, not so much. And that's not always a bad thing.

159. “It’s Fun to Smoke Marijuana”

March 13th, 2014

22:51

A psychology professor argues that the brain's greatest attribute is knowing what other people are thinking. And that a Queen song, played backwards, …

158. Is Learning a Foreign Language Really Worth It?

March 6th, 2014

21:12

Yes, it expands the mind but we usually don't retain much -- and then there's the opportunity cost.

157. Why Are Japanese Homes Disposable?

February 27th, 2014

23:17

In most countries, houses get more valuable over time. In Japan, a new buyer will often bulldoze the home. We'll tell you why.

156. Why Marry? (Part 2)

February 20th, 2014

23:27

The consequences of our low marriage rate -- and if the old model is less attractive, how about a new one?

154. What You Don’t Know About Online Dating

February 6th, 2014

35:49

Thick markets, thin markets, and the triumph of attributes over compatibility.
This episode is included in the Freakonomics #smartbinge podcast playlist at wnyc.org/smartbinge

153. Reasons to Not Be Ugly

January 30th, 2014

25:19

The "beauty premium" is real, for everyone from babies to NFL quarterbacks.

Fear Thy Nature (Rebroadcast)

January 16th, 2014

37:13

What "Sleep No More" and the Stanford Prison Experiment tell us about who we really are.

151. Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-Quently Asked Questions

January 9th, 2014

28:14

Dubner and Levitt talk about fixing the post office, putting cameras in the classroom, and wearing hats.

150. What’s the “Best” Exercise?

January 2nd, 2014

15:01

Most people blame lack of time for being out of shape. So maybe the solution is to exercise more efficiently.

Save Me From Myself (Rebroadcast)

December 26th, 2013

35:58

A commitment device forces you to be the person you really want to be. What could possibly go wrong?

149. Pontiff-icating on the Free-Market System

December 19th, 2013

37:26

The Pope just gave it to the global economy with both barrels. Was he right to do so?

148. Are Gay Men Really Rich?

December 12th, 2013

19:44

It’s easy to get that idea. But is the stereotype true?

147. The Most Dangerous Machine

December 5th, 2013

31:38

More than 1 million people die worldwide each year from traffic accidents. But there's never been a safer time to drive.

146. Fighting Poverty With Actual Evidence

November 27th, 2013

36:51

It's time to do away with feel-good stories, gut hunches, and magical thinking.

145. What Do Skating Rinks, Ultimate Frisbee, and the World Have in Common?

November 21st, 2013

46:11

Spontaneous order is everywhere if you know where to look for it.

144. Who Runs the Internet?

November 14th, 2013

32:18

The online universe doesn't have nearly as many rules, or rulemakers, as the real world. Discuss.

Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 2 (Rebroadcast)

November 7th, 2013

33:08

College tends to make people happier, healthier, and wealthier. But how?

Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1 (Rebroadcast)

October 31st, 2013

30:09

What's a college degree really worth these days?

143. Why Bad Environmentalism Is Such an Easy Sell

October 24th, 2013

24:28

Being green is rarely a black-and-white issue -- but that doesn't stop marketers and politicians from pretending it is.

142. The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat

October 14th, 2013

46:00

We spend billions on our pets, and one of the fastest-growing costs is pet "aftercare." But are those cremated remains you got back really from your pet?

141. How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten

October 10th, 2013

32:53

The science of what works -- and doesn't work -- in fund-raising

140. How to Think About Money, Choose Your Hometown, and Buy an Electric Toothbrush

October 3rd, 2013

25:24

Dubner and Levitt field your queries in this latest installment of our FREAK-quently Asked Questions.

139. Would a Big Bucket of Cash Really Change Your Life?

September 26th, 2013

27:51

A 19th-century Georgia land lottery may have something to teach us about today's income inequality.

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting (Rebroadcast)

September 19th, 2013

56:34

Think you know how much parents matter? Think again. Economists crunch the numbers to learn the ROI on child-rearing.

138. Whatever Happened to the Carpal Tunnel Epidemic?

September 12th, 2013

16:47

Once upon a time, office workers across America lived in fear of a dreaded infirmity. Was the computer keyboard really the villain -- and did carpal tunnel syndrome really go away?

The Suicide Paradox (Rebroadcast)

September 5th, 2013

56:57

There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.

137. Who Are the Most Successful Immigrants in the World?

August 29th, 2013

25:39

It's impossible to say for sure, but the Lebanese do remarkably well. Why?

The Folly of Prediction (Rebroadcast)

August 22nd, 2013

57:16

Human beings love to predict the future, but we're quite terrible at it. So how about punishing all those bad predictions?

136. The Middle of Everywhere

August 15th, 2013

29:47

Chicago has given the world more than sausage, crooked politics, and Da Bears.

The Church of "Scionology" (Rebroadcast)

August 8th, 2013

56:36

We worship the tradition of handing off a family business to the next generation. But is that really such a good idea?

135. Do Baby Girls Cause Divorce?

August 1st, 2013

18:42

Even American parents have a strong "son preference" -- which means that a newborn daughter can be bad news for a marriage.

The Upside of Quitting (Rebroadcast)

July 22nd, 2013

58:05

You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says ... Are you sure?

134. Government Employees Gone Wild

July 18th, 2013

18:40

The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failures catalogs the fiscal, sexual, and mental lapses of federal workers -- all with an eye toward preventing the next big mistake.

133. A Burger a Day

July 11th, 2013

6:30

Is junk food an abomination or a modern miracle?

132. Jane Austen, Game Theorist

July 3rd, 2013

27:13

What does "Pride and Prejudice" have to do with nuclear deterrence?

Legacy of a Jerk (Rebroadcast)

June 27th, 2013

43:14

What happens to your reputation when you're no longer around to defend it?

131. Do You Really Want to Know Your Future?

June 20th, 2013

31:02

You might think that someone with a 50-50 chance of getting a fatal disease would want to know for sure -- but you would be wrong. What does this say …

130. Why Family and Business Don’t Mix

June 12th, 2013

6:16

Yet another reason to blame your parents for pretty much everything.

129. Should Tipping be Banned?

June 3rd, 2013

37:04

It's awkward, random, confusing -- and probably discriminatory too.

128. Baby, You Can Program My Car

May 29th, 2013

5:37

A glimpse into our driverless future.

127. Can You Be Too Smart for Your Own Good? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

May 23rd, 2013

26:21

Dubner and Levitt talk about circadian rhythms, gay marriage, autism, and whether "pay what you want" is everything it's cracked up to be.

The Hidden Cost of False Alarms (Rebroadcast)

May 15th, 2013

6:12

If any other product failed 94 percent of the time, you'd probably stop using it. So why do we put up with burglar alarms?

126. What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common?

May 9th, 2013

37:55

A look at whether spite pays — and if it even exists.

125. It’s Crowded at the Top

May 1st, 2013

6:14

Why is unemployment still so high? It may be because of something that happened well before the Great Recession.

124. Running to Do Evil

April 25th, 2013

25:03

An interview with Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, whose younger brother turned him in -- and what it says about the Boston bombers.

123. Help Wanted. No Smokers Need Apply

April 17th, 2013

5:59

In many states, it is perfectly legal to not hire someone who smokes. Should employers also be able to weed out junk-food lovers or motorcyclists -- …

122. How Much Does Your Name Matter?

April 8th, 2013

49:52

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?

121. The Tax Man Nudgeth

April 3rd, 2013

10:11

Real tax reform may or may not ever happen. In the meantime, how about making the current system work a bit better?

120. 100 Ways to Fight Obesity

March 27th, 2013

35:45

Freakonomics asks a dozen smart people for their best ideas. Get ready for a fat tax, a sugar ban, and a calorie-chomping tapeworm.

119. How Money Is March Madness?

March 21st, 2013

6:13

The NCAA basketball tournament grabs a lot of eyeballs, but turning them into dollars hasn't always been easy -- even when the "talent" is playing …

118. Parking Is Hell

March 13th, 2013

35:12

There ain't no such thing as a free parking spot. Somebody has to pay for it -- and that somebody is everybody.

117. When Is a Negative a Positive?

March 6th, 2013

7:33

Sure, we all like to hear compliments. But if you're truly looking to get better at something, it's the negative feedback that will get you there.

116. Women Are Not Men

February 24th, 2013

36:31

In many ways, the gender gap is closing. In others, not so much. And that's not always a bad thing.

115. The Downside of More Miles Per Gallon

February 20th, 2013

6:05

The gas tax doesn't work well, and it's only going to get worse. What's next?

114. How to Think About Guns

February 13th, 2013

29:17

No one wants mass shootings. Unfortunately, no one has a workable plan to stop them either.

113. Sure, I Remember That

February 6th, 2013

6:24

It is startlingly easy to create false memories, especially in politics.

112. Would You Let a Coin Toss Decide Your Future?

January 30th, 2013

25:47

Levitt and Dubner go deep on "Freakonomics Experiments," a new research project that lets you take a chance on life.

111. Introducing “Freakonomics Experiments”

January 23rd, 2013

5:01

Steve Levitt has a novel idea for helping people make tough decisions

110. Who Owns the Words That Come Out of Your Mouth?

January 16th, 2013

30:59

The very long reach of Winston Churchill -- and how the British government is remaking copyright law.

109. How to Live Longer

January 9th, 2013

6:08

Why do Hall of Fame inductees, Oscar winners, and Nobel laureates outlive their peers?

108. How Did “Freakonomics” Get Its Name? … and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

January 2nd, 2013

26:50

Levitt and Dubner answer your questions about driving, sneezing, and ladies’ nights. Plus a remembrance of Levitt’s sister Linda.

107. How Much Does a Good Boss Really Matter?

December 26th, 2012

14:10

It's harder than you'd think to measure the value of a boss. But some enterprising economists have done just that -- and the news is good.

106. The House of Dreams

December 19th, 2012

21:35

Dubner's childhood home goes from sacred to profane -- and then back again.

105. Have a Very Homo Economicus Christmas

December 12th, 2012

15:10

Who better than an economist to help with your shopping list?

104. The Things They Taught Me

December 5th, 2012

23:22

College, at its best, is about learning to think. Stephen Dubner chats up three of his former professors who made the magic happen.

103. Free-conomics

November 28th, 2012

6:19

Economists are a notoriously self-interested bunch. But a British outfit called Pro Bono Economics is giving away its services to selected charities.

102. I Consult, Therefore I Am

November 21st, 2012

35:41

There are enough management consultants these days to form a small nation. But what do they actually do? And does it work?

101. Mass Transit Hysteria

November 14th, 2012

6:33

Adding more train and bus lines looks like an environmental slam dunk. Until you start to do the math.

100. Our 100th Episode!

November 5th, 2012

14:33

Turkey sex and chicken wings, selling souls and swapping organs, the power of the president and the price of wine: these are a few of our favorite …

99. How to Maximize Your Halloween Candy Haul

October 31st, 2012

5:59

Is it as simple as going to the richest neighborhood you can find? Of course not ...

98. We the Sheeple

October 24th, 2012

23:25

Politicians tell voters exactly what they want to hear, even when it makes no sense. Which is pretty much all the time.

97. Lying to Ourselves

October 17th, 2012

5:45

We rely on polls and surveys to tell us how people will behave in the future. Too bad they're completely unreliable.

96. The Cobra Effect

October 10th, 2012

34:10

When you want to get rid of a nasty pest, one obvious solution comes to mind: just offer a cash reward. But be careful -- because nothing backfires …

95. Why America’s Economic Growth May Be (Shh!) Over

October 3rd, 2012

5:46

Sure, we love our computers and all the rest of our digital toys. But when it comes to real economic gains, can we ever match old-school innovations …

94. The Tale of the $15 Tomato

September 23rd, 2012

9:25

Trying to go rustic by baking, brewing, and knitting at home can be terribly inefficient. And that's a wonderful thing.

93. Why Online Poker Should Be Legal

September 19th, 2012

5:26

The data show that poker is indeed a game of skill, not chance, and a Federal judge agrees. So why are players still being treated like criminals?

92. Fear Thy Nature

September 12th, 2012

37:15

What "Sleep No More" and the Stanford Prison Experiment tell us about who we really are.

91. Can Selling Beer Cut Down on Public Drunkenness?

September 5th, 2012

5:45

Binge drinking is a big problem at college football games. Oliver Luck -- father of No. 1 NFL pick Andrew, and the athletic director at West Virginia …

90. How Deep Is the Shadow Economy?

August 29th, 2012

19:22

What we know -- and don't know -- about the gazillions of dollars that never show up on anyone's books.

89. There’s Cake in the Breakroom!

August 22nd, 2012

6:11

If you think working from home offers too many distractions, just think about what happens at the office.

88. Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 2

August 15th, 2012

33:32

College tends to make people happier, healthier, and wealthier. But how?

87. The Season of Death

August 8th, 2012

6:17

We know that summertime brings far too many fatal accidents. But you may be surprised if you dig into the numbers.

86. Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1

July 29th, 2012

29:01

What's a college degree really worth these days?

85. Olympian Economics

July 25th, 2012

6:42

Do host cities really get the benefits their boosters promise, or are they just engaging in some fiscal gymnastics?

84. Legacy of a Jerk

July 18th, 2012

43:10

What happens to your reputation when you're no longer around to defend it?

83. What's Wrong With Cash for Grades?

July 10th, 2012

6:15

If we want our kids to thrive in school, maybe we should just pay them.

82. Please Steal My Car

July 4th, 2012

22:46

Levitt and Dubner answer your FREAK-quently Asked Questions about junk food, insurance, and how to make an economist happy.

81. Star-Spangled Banter?

June 26th, 2012

7:13

Once a week, the British Prime Minister goes before the House of Commons for a lightning round of hard questions. Should the U.S. give it a try?

80. Riding the Herd Mentality

June 20th, 2012

35:47

How using peer pressure -- and good, old-fashioned shame -- can push people to do the right thing.

79. A Cheap Employee Is … a Cheap Employee

June 13th, 2012

6:03

Paying workers as little as possible seems smart -- unless you can make more money by paying them more.

78. You Eat What You Are, Part 2

June 6th, 2012

28:50

To feed 7 billion people while protecting the environment, it would seem that going local is a no-brainer -- until you start looking at the numbers.

77. Playing the Nerd Card

May 30th, 2012

5:29

The NBA’s superstars are suddenly sporting Urkel glasses -- but is it more than a fashion statement?

76. You Eat What You Are, Part 1

May 23rd, 2012

29:44

How American food so got bad -- and why it's getting so much better.

75. Retirement Kills

May 16th, 2012

5:37

Sure, we all dream of leaving the office forever. But what if it's bad for your health?

74. Soul Possession

May 7th, 2012

28:08

In a world where nearly everything is for sale, is it always okay to buy what isn’t yours?

73. A Rose By Any Other Distance

May 2nd, 2012

5:40

At a time when people worry about every mile their food must travel, why is it okay to import most of our cut flowers from thousands of miles away?

72. Lottery Loopholes and Deadly Doctors

April 25th, 2012

56:48

What do you do when smart people keep making stupid mistakes? And: are we a nation of financial illiterates?

71. Is Good Corporate Citizenship Also Good for the Bottom Line?

April 18th, 2012

6:21

A new study says that yes, it is -- but try telling that to the United Nations officials who are preaching sustainability practices.

70. Eating and Tweeting

April 11th, 2012

57:01

Does the future of food lie in its past – or inside a tank of liquid nitrogen? Also: how anti-social can you be on a social network?

69. The Hidden Cost of False Alarms

April 3rd, 2012

5:41

If any other product failed 94 percent of the time, you’d probably stop using it. So why do we put up with burglar alarms?

68. The Power of the President -- and the Thumb

March 28th, 2012

57:03

How much does the President of the United States really matter? And: where did all the hitchhikers go? A pair of "attribution errors."

67. The Patent Gap

March 22nd, 2012

4:47

Women hold fewer than one in 10 patents. Why? And what are we missing out on?

66. Show and Yell

March 14th, 2012

57:32

Is booing an act of verbal vandalism or the last true expression of democracy? And: when you drive a Prius, are you guilty of “conspicuous conservation”?

65. It’s Not the President, Stupid

March 7th, 2012

5:25

Isn’t it time to admit that the U.S. economy doesn’t have a commander in chief?

64. The Days of Wine and Mouses

February 27th, 2012

56:22

Do more expensive wines taste better? And: what does one little rodent in a salad say about a restaurant’s future?

63. The Dilbert Index?

February 22nd, 2012

5:13

Measuring workplace morale -- and how to game the sick-day system.

62. How Biased Is Your Media?

February 15th, 2012

35:37

The left and the right blame each other for pretty much everything, including slanted media coverage. Can they both be right?

61. Does This Recession Make Me Look Fat?

February 8th, 2012

5:02

A look at some non-obvious ways to lose weight.

60. Save Me From Myself

February 1st, 2012

33:58

A commitment device forces you to be the person you really want to be. What could possibly go wrong?

59. The Hidden Side of the Super Bowl

January 25th, 2012

5:02

A football cheat sheet to help you sound like the smartest person at the party.

58. What Do Hand-Washing and Financial Illiteracy Have in Common?

January 19th, 2012

34:23

Education is the surest solution to a lot of problems. Except when it’s not.

57. Does Money Really Buy Elections?

January 11th, 2012

5:31

We all know the answer is yes. But the data -- and Rudy Giuliani -- say no.

56. Why Is “I Don’t Know” So Hard to Say?

January 4th, 2012

15:39

Levitt and Dubner answer your FREAK-quently Asked Questions about certifying politicians, irrational fears, and the toughest three words in the …

55. The Perils of Drunk Walking

December 27th, 2011

5:21

We know it's terribly dangerous to drive drunk. But heading home on foot isn't the solution.

54. How Is a Bad Radio Station Like Our Public-School System? (Encore)

December 21st, 2011

29:32

The thrill of customization, via Pandora and a radical new teaching method

53. How American Food Got So Bad

December 13th, 2011

4:38

Tyler Cowen points fingers. There's plenty of blame to go around.

52. Weird Recycling

December 2nd, 2011

24:06

Clever ways to not waste our waste.

51. What Makes a Donor Donate?

November 29th, 2011

5:02

The science of charity, with economist John List.

50. The Truth Is Out There…Isn’t It?

November 22nd, 2011

30:05

There’s a nasty secret about hot-button topics like global warming: knowledge is not always power.

49. Unnatural Turkeys

November 16th, 2011

4:39

Our appetite for breast meat renders our holiday birds unable to reproduce.

48. Boo…Who?

November 8th, 2011

29:42

Is booing an act of verbal vandalism—or the last true expression of democracy?

47. Wildfires, Cops, and Keggers

November 2nd, 2011

4:38

On Election Day, most people focus on the obvious winners and losers -- that is, the candidates. But we went looking for some of the strange side effects that elections produce.

46. Misadventures in Baby-Making

October 25th, 2011

27:00

We are constantly wowed by new technologies and policies meant to make childbirth better. But beware the unintended consequences.

45. Those Cheating Teachers!

October 18th, 2011

4:44

High-stakes testing has produced some rotten apples. But they can be caught.

44. Where Have All the Hitchhikers Gone?

October 10th, 2011

28:15

Did we needlessly scare ourselves into ditching a good thing? And, with millions of cars driving around with no passengers, should we be rooting for …

43. The Decline and Fall of Violence

October 5th, 2011

5:54

The world is a more peaceful place today that at any time in history -- by a long, long shot.

42. The Upside of Quitting

September 28th, 2011

56:57

You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says … Are you sure?

41. The Folly of Prediction

September 14th, 2011

56:37

Human beings love to predict the future, but we're quite terrible at it. So how about punishing all those bad predictions?

40. The Suicide Paradox

August 31st, 2011

56:57

There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.

39. The Economist’s Guide to Parenting

August 16th, 2011

56:35

Think you know how much parents matter? Think again. Economists crunch the numbers to learn the ROI on child-rearing.

38. The Church of "Scionology"

August 3rd, 2011

56:36

We worship the tradition of handing off a family business to the next generation. But is that really such a good idea?

37. Mouse in the Salad

July 20th, 2011

27:09

In restaurants and in life, bad things happen. But what happens next is just as important.

36. Hey Baby, Is That a Prius You're Driving?

July 6th, 2011

26:31

"Conspicuous conservation" is about showing off your environmental bona fides. In other words, if you lean green, there's extra value in being seen leaning green.

35. Live From St. Paul!

June 22nd, 2011

28:12

Freakonomics Radio hits the road, and plays some Quiz Bowl

34. Things Our Fathers Gave Us

June 8th, 2011

14:02

What did Levitt and Dubner learn as kids from their dads?

33. To Catch a Fugitive

May 25th, 2011

18:47

Who is likelier to get to the fugitive first? When a fugitive is on the run, it’s not only the police he has to worry about. A bounty hunter could be …

32. Growing Up Buffett

May 11th, 2011

14:38

What’s it like to wake up one day and realize Dad is a multi-billionaire? That's what happened to Warren Buffett’s son Peter -- who then started to …

31. Gambling With Your Life

April 27th, 2011

18:45

Does Las Vegas increase your risk of suicide? A researcher embeds himself in the city where Americans are most likely to kill themselves.

30. Does College Still Matter? And Other Freaky Questions Answered ...

April 13th, 2011

16:29

In our second round of FREAK-quently Asked Questions, Steve Levitt answers some queries from listeners and readers.

29. Smarter Kids at 10 Bucks a Pop

April 6th, 2011

20:07

It won’t work for everyone, but there’s a cheap, quick, and simple way to lift some students’ grades.

28. Why Can’t We Predict Earthquakes?

March 30th, 2011

21:02

We talk to a U.S. Geological Survey physicist about the science -- and folly -- of predicting earthquakes. There are lots of known knowns; and, …

27. Death by Fire? Probably Not

March 23rd, 2011

19:46

Fire deaths in the U.S. have fallen 90 percent over the past 100 years, a great and greatly underappreciated gain. How did it happen -- and could we …

26. The Health of Nations

March 16th, 2011

22:39

For decades, GDP has been the yardstick for measuring living standards around the world. Martha Nussbaum would rather use something that actually …

25. Is Twitter a Two-Way Street?

March 9th, 2011

26:07

To get a lot of followers on Twitter, do you need to follow a lot of other Tweeps? And if not, why not?

24. The Power of Poop

March 2nd, 2011

19:27

Since the beginning of civilization, we’ve thought that human waste was worthless and dangerous. What if we were wrong?

23. Millionaires vs. Billionaires

February 24th, 2011

28:17

Five things you don’t know about the NFL labor standoff

22. Why Cities Rock

February 17th, 2011

16:42

Could it be that cities are "our greatest invention" -- that, despite a reputation as black-soot-spewing engines of doom, they in fact make us …

21. Bring on the Pain!

February 9th, 2011

25:16

It's not about how much something hurts -- it's how you remember the pain. This week, lessons on pain from the New York City subway, the professional …

20. Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup! (Part 2)

February 2nd, 2011

26:55

What do a computer hacker, an Indiana farm boy, and Napoleon Bonaparte have in common? The past, present, and future of food science.

19. Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup! (Part 1)

January 26th, 2011

24:48

The "molecular gastronomy" movement -- which gets a bump in visibility next month with the publication of the mammoth cookbook "Modernist Cuisine" -- …

18. Freakonomics FAQ, No. 1

January 19th, 2011

16:20

Levitt and Dubner field questions from the public and hold forth on everything from dating strategies and rock-and-roll accordion music to whether …

17. Trashed

January 13th, 2011

21:28

How economics -- and emotion -- have turned our garbage into such a mess

16. Exit Interview: Schools Chancellor, NYC

January 5th, 2011

14:53

Having already amassed an eventful resume -- the Clinton White House, the Department of Justice, and Bertelsmann -- Joel I. Klein spent the past …

15. You Say Repugnant, I Say … Let's Do It!

December 29th, 2010

26:07

What happens when the most disturbing ideas are also the best?

14. Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?

December 15th, 2010

24:58

They should! It's a cardinal rule: more expensive items are supposed to be qualitatively better than their cheaper versions. But is that true for …

13. The "No-Lose Lottery," Part 2

December 1st, 2010

21:18

It’s the banking tool that got millions of people around the world to stop wasting money on the lottery. So why won't state and federal officials in …

12. Is America Ready for a "No-Lose Lottery"?

November 17th, 2010

25:17

For the most part, Americans don't like the simple, boring act of putting money in a savings account. We do, however, love to play the lottery. So what if you combined the two, creating a new kind of savings account …

11. How Much Does the President of the U.S. Really Matter?

November 3rd, 2010

32:29

The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the …

10. The NFL's Best Real Estate Isn't For Sale. Yet.

October 28th, 2010

21:39

The NFL is very good at making money. So why on earth doesn't it sell ad space on the one piece of real estate that football fans can’t help but see: the players themselves? The explanation is trickier than you might …

9. Reading, Rockets, and 'Rithmetic

October 21st, 2010

19:46

Government and the private sector often feel far apart. One is filled with compliance-driven bureaucracy. The other, with market-fueled innovation. …

8. Who Stole All the Runs in Major League Baseball?

October 7th, 2010

14:14

It was a pretty good baseball season -- especially if you're a fan of the Yankees, Rays, Twins, Rangers, Reds, Braves, Phillies, or Giants, all of whom made the playoffs. But the post-season just opened with a telling …

7. Two Book Authors and a Microphone

September 30th, 2010

11:32

The next chapter in the adventures of Dubner and Levitt has begun. Listen to a preview of what's to come for the fall season of Freakonomics Radio.

6. Why the World Cup Is an Economist's Dream

June 10th, 2010

8:31

Steve Levitt talks about why the center cannot hold in penalty kicks, why a running track hurts home-field advantage, and why the World Cup is an …

5. How Is a Bad Radio Station Like Our Public-School System?

May 13th, 2010

28:41

In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, we explore a way to make 1.1 million schoolkids feel like they have 1.1 million teachers.

4. Faking It

April 13th, 2010

19:21

Do you "fake it"? If so, you're hardly alone. In this episode, you'll hear how everyone from the President of the United States to a kosher-keeping bacon lover lives in a state of fallen grace. All the time. And gets by.

3. What Would the World Look Like if Economists Were in Charge?

March 24th, 2010

19:40

In this episode we speculate what would happen if economists got to run the world. Hear from a high-end call girl; an Estonian who ran his country …

2. Is America's Obesity Epidemic For Real?

February 26th, 2010

21:05

Americans keep putting on pounds. So is it time for a cheeseburger tax? Or would a chill pill be the best medicine? In this episode, we explore the …

1. The Dangers of Safety

February 6th, 2010

26:27

What do NASCAR drivers, Glenn Beck and the hit men of the NFL have in common?

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