Freakonomics Radio

By Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher

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Subscribers: 53313
Reviews: 82


 Oct 14, 2021

nunu
 Aug 14, 2021
loved the books, love the podcast even more


 Jul 10, 2021

Al Dixon
 Jul 3, 2021
When I hear Andrew talk I vote for him, when I hear him laugh he loses my vote


 Jun 28, 2021

Description

Discover the hidden side of everything with Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books. Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers.

Episode Date
479. The Economist’s Guide to Parenting: 10 Years Later
00:51:02

 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 the kids are old enough to talk — and they have a lot to say. We hear about nature vs. nurture, capitalism vs. Marxism, and why you sometimes don’t tell your friends that your father is an economist.

Oct 21, 2021
478. How Can We Break Our Addiction to Contempt?
00:42:20

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 our extreme political polarization: love. Is Brooks a fool for thinking this — and are you perhaps his kind of fool?

Oct 14, 2021
477. Why Is U.S. Media So Negative?
00:47:13

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.

Oct 07, 2021
That’s a Great Question! (Ep. 192 Rebroadcast)
00:19:28

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.  

Sep 30, 2021
“This Didn't End the Way It’s Supposed to End.”
00:32:40

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 installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, he talks with guest host Angela Duckworth.

Sep 27, 2021
476. What Are the Police for, Anyway?
00:45:59

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 ways too: a heavily-armed populace, a fragile mental-health system, and the fact that we spend so much time in our cars. Add in a history of racism and it’s no surprise that barely half of all Americans have a lot of confidence in the police. So what if we start to think about policing as … philanthropy?

Sep 23, 2021
475. Why Does the Richest Country in the World Have So Many Poor Kids?
00:48:51

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 the way, we hear some surprisingly good news: Washington is finally ready to attack the problem head-on.

Sep 16, 2021
474. All You Need Is Nudge
00:58:48

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

Sep 09, 2021
Is There Really a “Loneliness Epidemic”? (Ep. 407 Rebroadcast)
00:35:55

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.

Sep 02, 2021
473. These Jobs Were Not Posted on ZipRecruiter
00:47:02

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 Black four-star admirals) about nuclear deterrence, smart leadership, and how to do inclusion right.

Aug 26, 2021
Reasons to Be Cheerful (Ep. 417 Rebroadcast)
00:52:35

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 reverse this tendency?

Aug 19, 2021
472. This Is Your Brain on Pollution
00:46:02

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 Dubner explores the links between pollution and cognitive function, and enlists two fellow Freakonomics Radio Network hosts in a homegrown experiment.

Aug 12, 2021
471. Mayor Pete and Elaine Chao Hit the Road
00:49:08

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 with an array of transportation nerds — including the secretary of transportation and his immediate predecessor — to see if a massive federal infrastructure package can put America back in the driver’s seat.

Aug 05, 2021
Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet (Ep. 346 Rebroadcast)
00:53:28

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

Jul 29, 2021
470. The Pros and Cons of America’s (Extreme) Individualism
00:47:31

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, short-term thinking, and masculinity (but low on “uncertainty avoidance,” if that makes you feel better). We look at how these traits affect our daily lives and why we couldn’t change them even if we wanted to.

Jul 22, 2021
469. The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not
00:50:19

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into a country as culturally unusual (and as supremely WEIRD) as America?

Jul 15, 2021
468. Nap Time for Everyone!
00:36:51

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 get 30 minutes of shut-eye in the afternoon. But are we ready for a napping revolution?

Jul 08, 2021
How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Ep. 289 Rebroadcast)
00:27:23

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

Jul 01, 2021
467. Is the Future of Farming in the Ocean?
00:42:55

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 ingredient: kelp. But don’t worry, you won’t have to eat it (not much, at least). An installment of The Freakonomics Radio Book Club.

Jun 24, 2021
466. She’s From the Government, and She’s Here to Help
00:45:14

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 would do well to focus on policy that actually helps people. Rouse explains why President Biden wants to spend trillions of dollars to reshape the economy, and why — as the first Black chair of the C.E.A. — she has a good idea of what needs fixing.

Jun 17, 2021
465. Introducing a New “Freakonomics of Medicine” Podcast
00:23:10

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 — but not for the reasons you may think.

Jun 10, 2021
464. Will Work-from-Home Work Forever?
00:48:04

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 experiment in the history of labor has lessons to teach us about productivity, flexibility, and even reversing the brain drain. But don’t buy another dozen pairs of sweatpants just yet.

Jun 03, 2021
463. How to Get Anyone to Do Anything
00:58:04

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 expanded and revised edition. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, he gives a master class in the seven psychological levers that bewitch our rational minds and lead us to buy, behave, or believe without a second thought.

May 27, 2021
These Shoes Are Killing Me! (Ep. 296 Rebroadcast)
00:39:51

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 scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability — and may create more problems than it solves?

May 20, 2021
462. The Future of New York City Is in Question. Could Andrew Yang Be the Answer?
00:42:38

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.

May 13, 2021
461. How to Stop Worrying and Love the Robot Apocalypse
00:48:22

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 reinvigorate how work gets done. That, at least, is what the economists are telling us. Should we believe them?

May 06, 2021
460. The True Story of the Minimum-Wage Fight
00:44:16

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. Senator — to sort it out, and learn there’s a much bigger problem to worry about.

Apr 29, 2021
459. Let’s Be Blunt: Marijuana Is a Boon for Older Workers
00:35:24

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 — and don’t know — about the costs and benefits of legalization.

Apr 22, 2021
458. How to Manage Your Goal Hierarchy
00:51:26

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

Apr 15, 2021
457. Is Dialysis a Test Case of Medicare for All?
00:53:28

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 tweak the system if they wanted to make big profits. They succeeded.

Apr 08, 2021
456. How to Fix the Hot Mess of U.S. Healthcare
00:49:51

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

Apr 01, 2021
Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet) (Ep. 405 Rebroadcast)
00:46:02

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 “implementation scientists” crack the code?

Mar 25, 2021
How Does New York City Keep Reinventing Itself? (Bonus)
00:52:28

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 Freakonomics Radio Book Club, guest host Kurt Andersen interviews Thomas Dyja, author of New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess and Transformation.

Mar 21, 2021
455. Are You Ready for a Fresh Start?
00:42:04

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

Mar 18, 2021
454. Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished?
00:44:49

Americans are so accustomed to the standard intersection that we rarely consider how dangerous it can be — as well as costly, time-wasting, and polluting. Is it time to embrace the lowly, lovely roundabout?

Mar 11, 2021
453. A Rescue Plan for Black America
00:56:47

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 something radical about it. In The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto, he urges a “reverse migration” to the South to consolidate political power and create a region where it’s safe to be Black. (This is an episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.)

Mar 04, 2021
Am I Boring You? (Ep. 225 Rebroadcast)
00:39:13

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?

Feb 25, 2021
452. Jeff Immelt Knows He Let You Down
00:45:49

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 financial services and The Apprentice. Now it’s selling off body parts to survive. What does the C.E.O. who presided over the decline have to say for himself?

Feb 18, 2021
451. Can I Ask You a Ridiculously Personal Question?
00:42:44

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 some interesting conversations!

Feb 11, 2021
450. How to Be Better at Death
00:57:39

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 offer our loved ones an authentic sendoff. Doughty is the author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, she is interviewed by guest host Maria Konnikova.

Feb 04, 2021
449. How to Fix the Incentives in Cancer Research
00:44:17

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 clinical-trial platform could change that by aligning institutions that typically compete against one another.

Jan 28, 2021
448. The Downside of Disgust
00:45:40

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 improve the environment, the economy, even our own health. So is it time to dial down our disgust reflex? You can help fix things — as Stephen Dubner does in this episode — by chowing down on some delicious insects.

Jan 21, 2021
447. How Much Do We Really Care About Children?
00:47:46

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 data are unconvincing, and new evidence suggests an unintended consequence that is as anti-child as it gets.

Jan 14, 2021
446. “We Get All Our Great Stuff from Europe — Including Witch Hunting.”
00:40:21

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

Jan 07, 2021
Trust Me (Ep. 266 Rebroadcast)
00:30:56

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 decades — in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it?

Dec 31, 2020
445. Why Do We Seek Comfort in the Familiar?
00:36:56

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 might in fact be better to try new things instead. Also: is a little knowledge truly as dangerous as they say?

Dec 24, 2020
444. How Do You Cure a Compassion Crisis?
00:48:51

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. Could fixing the first problem solve the second? And does the rest of society need more compassion too?

Dec 17, 2020
443. A Sneak Peek at Biden’s Top Economist
00:43:16

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

Dec 10, 2020
PLAYBACK (2015): Could the Next Brooklyn Be ... Las Vegas?!
00:57:02

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 house fire; he was 46.

Dec 06, 2020
442. Is it Too Late for General Motors to Go Electric?
00:44:42

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 autonomous) future, China and Trump, and what it’s like to be the “fifth-most powerful woman in the world.”

Dec 03, 2020
441. Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 2: Digital)
00:48:22

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 says. Is digital any better? Some say yes, some say no — and some say we’re in a full-blown digital-ad bubble.

Nov 26, 2020
440. Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 1: TV)
00:37:13

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 tells a different story.

Nov 19, 2020
439. Please Get Your Noise Out of My Ears
00:49:41

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?

Nov 12, 2020
438. How to Succeed by Being Authentic (Hint: Carefully)
00:47:32

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 “conscious leadership” to the behavioral roots of the obesity epidemic. He also argues for a style of capitalism and politics that at this moment seems like a fantasy. What does he know that we don’t?

Nov 05, 2020
Why the Left Had to Steal the Right’s Dark-Money Playbook
00:45:20

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

Oct 31, 2020
437. Many Businesses Thought They Were Insured for a Pandemic. They Weren’t.
00:40:51

A fine reading of most policies for “business interruption” reveals that viral outbreaks aren’t covered. Some legislators are demanding that insurance firms pay up anyway. Is it time to rethink insurance entirely?

Oct 29, 2020
436. Forget Everything You Know About Your Dog
00:57:37

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 cognitive scientist (and dog devotee) Alexandra Horowitz.

Oct 22, 2020
435. Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive?
00:44:55

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 (!).

Oct 15, 2020
434. Is New York City Over?
00:49:05

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 think the city is heading back to the bad old 1970s. We look at the history — and the data — to see why that’s probably not the case.

Oct 08, 2020
“Don’t Neglect the Thing That Makes You Weird” | People I (Mostly) Admire: Ken Jennings
00:47:08

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 Time” title on Jeopardy! Steve Levitt digs into how he trained for the show, what it means to have a "geographic memory," and why we lie to our children.

Oct 03, 2020
433. How Are Psychedelics and Other Party Drugs Changing Psychiatry?
00:53:34

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 upsides, downsides, and regulatory puzzles.

Oct 01, 2020
432. When Your Safety Becomes My Danger
00:47:57

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 — and opportunity — to attack U.S. soldiers instead. A look at the messy, complicated, and heart-breaking tradeoffs of conflict-zone economies.

Sep 24, 2020
“One Does Not Know Where an Insight Will Come From” | People I (Mostly) Admire: Kerwin Charles
00:39:29

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, communicable disease, and why so many African-Americans haven’t had the kind of success he’s had. Steve Levitt talks to Charles about his parents’ encouragement, his love of Sports Illustrated, and how he talks to his American-born kids about the complicated history of Blackness in America.

Sep 19, 2020
Does Anyone Really Know What Socialism Is? (Ep. 408 Rebroadcast)
00:44:24

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 replace capitalism. But what is “it”? We bring in the economists to sort things out and tell us what the U.S. can learn from the good (and bad) experiences of other (supposedly) socialist countries.

Sep 17, 2020
What if Your Company Had No Rules?
00:55:07

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

Sep 12, 2020
431. Why Can’t Schools Get What the N.F.L. Has?
00:49:37

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

Sep 10, 2020
"I Started Crying When I Realized How Beautiful the Universe Is” | People I (Mostly) Admire Ep. 2: Mayim Bialik
00:45:28

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 acting career, as a teacher, mother — and a real-life neuroscientist. Steve Levitt tries to learn more about this one-time academic and Hollywood non-conformist, who is both very similar to him and also quite his opposite.

Sep 05, 2020
America’s Hidden Duopoly (Ep. 356 Rebroadcast)
00:53:00

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 industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?

Sep 03, 2020
430. Will a Covid-19 Vaccine Change the Future of Medical Research?
00:58:25

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 former F.D.A. commissioner who’s been warning of a pandemic for years; and an economist who thinks Covid-19 may finally change how diseases are cured.

Aug 27, 2020
Introducing “People I (Mostly) Admire"
00:42:53

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

Aug 22, 2020
The Economics of Sports Gambling (Ep. 388 Rebroadcast)
00:54:43

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 billion in black-market sports betting into the light. We sort out the winners and losers.

Aug 20, 2020
429. Is Economic Growth the Wrong Goal?
00:41:08

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 Doughnut Economics. It has found an audience among reformers, and now the city of Amsterdam is going whole doughnut.

Aug 13, 2020
How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War (Ep. 386 Rebroadcast)
00:43:49

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 agricultural abundance against the U.S.S.R. Our farm policies were built to dominate, not necessarily to nourish — and we are still living with the consequences.

Aug 06, 2020
428. The Simple Economics of Saving the Amazon Rain Forest
00:32:15

Everyone agrees that massive deforestation is an environmental disaster. But most of the standard solutions — scolding the Brazilians, invoking universal morality — ignore the one solution that might actually work

Jul 30, 2020
427. The Pros and Cons of Reparations
00:40:08

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

Jul 23, 2020
426. Should America (and FIFA) Pay Reparations?
00:44:03

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

Jul 16, 2020
425. Remembrance of Economic Crises Past
00:51:41

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.

Jul 09, 2020
424. How to Make Your Own Luck
01:00:05

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 brilliant coach, and a burning desire to know whether life is driven more by skill or chance. She found some answers in poker — and in her new book The Biggest Bluff, she’s willing to tell us everything she learned.

Jul 02, 2020
423. The Doctor Will Zoom You Now
00:52:35

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 outcomes? We ring up two doctors and, of course, an economist to find out.

Jun 25, 2020
422. Introducing "No Stupid Questions"
00:33:57

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 Stupid Questions" are released every Sunday evening — please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Jun 18, 2020
421. How to Prevent Another Great Depression
00:37:39

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

Jun 11, 2020
420. Which Jobs Will Come Back, and When?
00:42:09

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 Reallocation of 2020.

Jun 04, 2020
How to Make Meetings Less Terrible (Ep. 389 Rebroadcast)
00:42:37

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 — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of healthy conflict.

May 28, 2020
419. 68 Ways to Be Better at Life
00:37:30

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

May 21, 2020
418. What Will College Look Like in the Fall (and Beyond)?
00:55:50

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

May 14, 2020
417. Reasons to Be Cheerful
00:49:58

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 reverse this tendency?

May 07, 2020
416. How Do You Reopen a Country?
00:53:50

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?)

Apr 30, 2020
415. How Rahm Emanuel Would Run the World
00:46:53

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 that cities are where real problems get solved — especially in the era of Covid-19.

Apr 27, 2020
414. Will Covid-19 Spark a Cold War (or Worse) With China?
00:57:44

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.

Apr 23, 2020
413. Who Gets the Ventilator?
00:48:05

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

Apr 16, 2020
412. What Happens When Everyone Stays Home to Eat?
00:46:00

Covid-19 has shocked our food-supply system like nothing in modern history. We examine the winners, the losers, the unintended consequences — and just how much toilet paper one household really needs.

Apr 09, 2020
411. Is $2 Trillion the Right Medicine for a Sick Economy?
00:53:10

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 come from, and what are the long-term effects of all that government spending?

Apr 02, 2020
410. What Does Covid-19 Mean for Cities (and Marriages)?
00:40:01

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.

Mar 26, 2020
409. The Side Effects of Social Distancing
00:47:57

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?

Mar 19, 2020
Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work (Ep. 373 Rebroadcast)
00:47:03

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

Mar 12, 2020
408. Does Anyone Really Know What Socialism Is?
00:43:27

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 bring in the economists to sort things out and tell us what the U.S. can learn from the good (and bad) experiences of other (supposedly) socialist countries.

Mar 05, 2020
407. Is There Really a “Loneliness Epidemic”?
00:33:26

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.

Feb 27, 2020
406. Can You Hear Me Now?
00:48:03

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

Feb 20, 2020
405. Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet)
00:44:31

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 “implementation scientists” crack the code?

Feb 13, 2020
404. Does the President Matter as Much as You Think?
00:52:29

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 try to sort out presidential signal from noise. What we hear from legal and policy experts may leave you surprised, befuddled — and maybe infuriated.

Feb 06, 2020
How the San Francisco 49ers Stopped Being Losers (Ep. 350 Update)
01:01:11

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, they are headed back to the Super Bowl. Before the 2018 season, we sat down with the team’s owner, head coach, general manager, and players as they were plotting their turnaround. Here’s an update of that episode.

Jan 30, 2020
403. The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: “It’s Not a Death Sentence”
00:46:24

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 faith in abstinence.

Jan 23, 2020
402. The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: “We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation”
00:47:32

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.

Jan 16, 2020
5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing (Rebroadcast)
00:48:06

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 experts are getting it wrong, too.

Jan 09, 2020
The Zero-Minute Workout (Rebroadcast)
00:38:43

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 mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it?

Jan 02, 2020
401. How Many Prince Charleses Can There Be in One Room?
00:33:51

In a special holiday episode, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth take turns asking each other questions about charisma, wealth vs. intellect, and (of course) grit.

Dec 26, 2019
Why Is This Man Running for President? (Update)
00:59:03

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 Yang Gang and a fresh interview recorded from the campaign trail in Iowa.

Dec 19, 2019
400. How to Hate Taxes a Little Bit Less
00:42:37

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, audits, and penalties. But what if we gave taxpayers a chance to allocate how their money is spent, or even bribed them with a thank-you gift?

Dec 12, 2019
399. Honey, I Grew the Economy
00:43:20

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 tinkering in their homes. Acknowledging this reality — and encouraging it — would be good for the economy (and the soul too).

Dec 05, 2019
How to Change Your Mind (Rebroadcast)
00:45:05

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

Nov 28, 2019
398. The Truth About the Vaping Crisis
00:44:13

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 more harm than good? We smoke out the facts.

Nov 21, 2019
397. How to Save $32 Million in One Hour
00:45:10

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

Nov 14, 2019
396. Why Does Tipping Still Exist?
00:47:00

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

Nov 07, 2019
395. Speak Softly and Carry Big Data
01:03:23

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 can help answer all these questions — and make better foreign-policy decisions. Guests include former Department of Defense officials Chuck Hagel and Michèle Flournoy and Chicago Project on Security and Threats researchers Robert Pape and Paul Poast. Recorded live in Chicago; Steve Levitt is co-host.

Oct 31, 2019
394. Does Hollywood Still Have a Princess Problem?
00:50:03

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 actor Geena Davis — may finally be moving the needle.

Oct 24, 2019
393. Can Britain Get Its “Great” Back?
01:00:06

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 mayor of London, undersea explorers, a time-use researcher, and a theoretical physicist who helped Liverpool win the Champions League. Dan Schreiber from No Such Thing as a Fish rides shotgun.

Oct 17, 2019
392. The Prime Minister Who Cried Brexit
00:52:10

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 Remain campaign. So what did Cameron really want? We ask him that and much more — including why he left office as soon as his side lost and what he’d do differently if given another chance. (Hint: not much.)

Oct 10, 2019
391. America’s Math Curriculum Doesn’t Add Up
00:45:48

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 have kids learn what they really need in the modern era: data fluency.

Oct 03, 2019
390. Fed Up
00:41:46

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. It starts with recognizing that the economy is made up of actual humans.

Sep 26, 2019
389. How to Make Meetings Less Terrible
00:41:42

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 — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of healthy conflict.

Sep 19, 2019
Yes, the Open Office Is Terrible — But It Doesn’t Have to Be (Rebroadcast)
00:41:40

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 open office be saved, or should we all just be working from home?

Sep 12, 2019
388. The Economics of Sports Gambling
00:54:53

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 billion in black-market sports betting into the light. We sort out the winners and losers.

Sep 05, 2019
The Future of Meat (Rebroadcast)
00:53:16

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™?

Aug 29, 2019
Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s? (Rebroadcast)
00:47:40

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

Aug 22, 2019
387. Hello, My Name Is Marijuana Pepsi!
00:38:47

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 to answer this question. Her verdict: the data don’t tell the whole story.

Aug 15, 2019
How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Rebroadcast )
00:51:24

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?

Aug 08, 2019
386. How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War
00:39:30

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 agricultural abundance against the U.S.S.R. Our farm policies were built to dominate, not necessarily to nourish — and we are still living with the consequences.

Aug 01, 2019
America’s Hidden Duopoly (Rebroadcast)
00:52:55

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 industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?

Jul 25, 2019
385. What Do Nancy Pelosi, Taylor Swift, and Serena Williams Have in Common?
00:35:31

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 was told that “girls like her” didn’t go to college. But she did, and then became a rocket scientist and tech executive. Now she’s C.E.O. of the very organization she credits with shaping her life. Acevedo tells us how the Girl Scouts are trying to stay relevant, why they’re suing the Boy Scouts, and how they sell so many cookies.

Jul 18, 2019
384. Abortion and Crime, Revisited
00:55:19

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 challenges to its legitimacy, and their updated analysis. Also: what this means for abortion policy, crime policy, and having intelligent conversations about contentious topics.

Jul 11, 2019
A Better Way to Eat (Rebroadcast )
00:26:56

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

Jul 04, 2019
383. The Zero-Minute Workout
00:37:23

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 mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it?

Jun 27, 2019
382. How Goes the Behavior-Change Revolution?
00:51:03

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 guests including Richard Thaler, Angela Duckworth, Katy Milkman, and Tom Gilovich.

Jun 20, 2019
381. Long-Term Thinking in a Start-Up Town
00:49:56

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 specialist in water security, and a psychology professor who is also a puppy. With co-host Angela Duckworth, fact-checker Mike Maughan, and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra.

Jun 13, 2019
380. Notes From an Imperfect Paradise
00:50:22

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 Mike Maughan, and the worldwide debut of Luis Guerra and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra.

Jun 06, 2019
379. How to Change Your Mind
00:45:51

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

May 30, 2019
Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It (Rebroadcast)
00:41:46

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” and a bad case of overconfidence.) But don’t worry: we’ve got the solution.

May 23, 2019
378. 23andMe (and You, and Everyone Else)
00:49:26

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

May 16, 2019
377. The $1.5 Trillion Question-How to fix student loan debt?
00:48:02

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 away from students and onto investors looking for a cut of the graduates’ earning power.

May 09, 2019
376. The Data-Driven Guide to Sane Parenting
00:49:59

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 — and tells her fellow parents to calm the heck down.

May 02, 2019
The Invisible Paw (Rebroadcast)
00:47:01

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

Apr 25, 2019
375. The Most Interesting Fruit in the World
00:36:40

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 have also made it vulnerable to a deadly fungus that may wipe out the one variety most of us eat. Scientists do have a way to save it — but will Big Banana let them?

Apr 18, 2019
374. How Spotify Saved the Music Industry (But Not Necessarily Musicians)
00:57:35

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 world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail?

Apr 11, 2019
373. Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work
00:48:18

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

Apr 04, 2019
372. Freakonomics Radio Live: “Would You Eat a Piece of Chocolate Shaped Like Dog Poop?”
00:53:54

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 compelling guests tell Stephen Dubner, co-host Angela Duckworth, and fact-checker Jody Avirgan lots of things they didn’t know.

Mar 28, 2019
Why You Shouldn’t Open a Restaurant (Update)
00:48:57

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 science can’t solve.

Mar 21, 2019
371. A Free-Trade Democrat in the Trump White House
00:48:23

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 talks about the fights he won, the fights he lost, and the fights he was no longer willing to have. Also: why he and Trump are still on speaking terms even after he reportedly called the president “a professional liar.”

Mar 14, 2019
370. How to Fail Like a Pro
00:40:39

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.)

Mar 07, 2019
369. A Good Idea Is Not Good Enough
00:54:28

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 — and what you can do about it. (Ep. 4 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)

Feb 28, 2019
368. Where Do Good Ideas Come From?
01:01:34

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.)

Feb 21, 2019
367. The Future of Meat
00:51:47

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™?

Feb 14, 2019
366. This Economist Predicted the Last Crisis. What’s the Next One?
00:49:08

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 sees another potential crisis — and he offers a solution. Is it stronger governments? Freer markets? Rajan’s answer: neither.

Feb 07, 2019
Extra: Domonique Foxworth Full Interview
01:29:53

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.

Feb 02, 2019
365. Not Just Another Labor Force
01:00:07

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 where they work — and a very early forced retirement. (Ep. 6 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)

Jan 31, 2019
Extra: Mark Cuban Full Interview
00:42:04

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

Jan 26, 2019
364. Inside the Sports-Industrial Complex
00:52:50

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., and U.F.C. executives about labor costs, viewership numbers, legalized gambling, and the rise of e-sports. (Ep. 5 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)

Jan 24, 2019
Extra: Mark Teixeira Full Interview
00:58:39

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.”

Jan 19, 2019
363. Think Like a Winner
00:55:05

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 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)

Jan 17, 2019
Hacking the World Bank (Update)
00:35:40

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 him in 2015.

Jan 12, 2019
362. Why Is This Man Running for President?
00:52:10

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 plans to do about it.

Jan 10, 2019
How to Be Happy (Rebroadcast)
00:37:41

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 see if we should steal them).

Jan 03, 2019
How to Win Games and Beat People (Rebroadcast)
00:52:29

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 one of those people. That’s why he consulted an army of preposterously overqualified experts to find the secret to winning any game.

Dec 27, 2018
People Aren’t Dumb. The World Is Hard. (Rebroadcast)
00:57:57

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. The founder of behavioral economics describes his unlikely route to success; his reputation for being lazy; and his efforts to fix the world — one nudge at a time.

Dec 20, 2018
Freakonomics Radio Live: “The World’s a Mess. But Oysters, They Hold it Down.”
00:56:55

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 work, and how beer helped build an empire. Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri is our real-time fact-checker.

Dec 15, 2018
Freakonomics Radio Live: “Where Does Fear Live in the Brain?”
00:55:20

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 when) politicians are bad at math. Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri is our real-time fact-checker.

Dec 15, 2018
Freakonomics Radio Live: “We Thought of a Way to Manipulate Your Perception of Time.”
00:56:39

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 author and humorist A.J. Jacobs.

Dec 15, 2018
361. Freakonomics Radio Live: “Jesus Could Have Been a Pigeon.”
01:00:27

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 how a “memory athlete” memorizes a deck of cards. Mike Maughan is our real-time fact-checker.

Dec 13, 2018
360. Is the Protestant Work Ethic Real?
00:40:30

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 trick that goes back to 16th-century Germany.

Dec 06, 2018
359. Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s?
00:47:01

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

Nov 29, 2018
There’s a War on Sugar. Is It Justified? (Rebroadcast)
00:47:06

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 make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former F.D.A. commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest.

Nov 22, 2018
358. Yes, the Open Office Is Terrible — But It Doesn’t Have to Be
00:40:32

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 open office be saved, or should we all just be working from home?

Nov 15, 2018
357. Can an Industrial Giant Become a Tech Darling?
00:54:04

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 Hackett has even bigger plans: to turn a century-old automaker into the nucleus of a “transportation operating system.” Is Hackett just whistling past the graveyard, or does he see what others can’t?

Nov 08, 2018
356. America’s Hidden Duopoly
00:54:15

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 industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?

Nov 01, 2018
Extra: Elvis Costello Full Interview
01:19:31

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

Oct 27, 2018
355. Where Does Creativity Come From (and Why Do Schools Kill It Off)?
01:13:43

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

Oct 25, 2018
Extra: Jeremy Lin Full Interview
00:43:18

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

Oct 20, 2018
354. How to Be Creative
00:52:32

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 day: Ai Weiwei, James Dyson, Elvis Costello, Jennifer Egan, Rosanne Cash, Wynton Marsalis, Maira Kalman, and more. (Ep. 1 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)

Oct 18, 2018
353. How to Optimize Your Apology
00:49:16

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.

Oct 11, 2018
352. Can This Man Stop a Trade War?
00:42:43

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

Oct 04, 2018
Extra: Shawn Johnson Full Interview
01:07:17

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

Oct 01, 2018
351. Here’s Why You’re Not an Elite Athlete
01:07:43

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 the sport most likely to get a kid into a top college — well then, touché! (Ep. 3 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)

Sep 27, 2018
Extra: Full Interviews With Jimmy Garoppolo, Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey, and Kyle Juszczyk
01:20:12

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.

Sep 23, 2018
350. How to Stop Being a Loser
01:00:48

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 knee during the national anthem. So why is everyone there so optimistic? To find out, we speak with the team’s owner, head coach, general manager, and star players, including their new $137.5 million quarterback. (Ep. 2 of “The Hidden Side of Sports” series.)

Sep 20, 2018
349. How Sports Became Us
00:52:06

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 it reflects — and often amplifies — just about every political, economic, and social issue of the day. Introducing a new series, “The Hidden Side of Sports.”

Sep 13, 2018
348. Is the Government More Entrepreneurial Than You Think?
00:34:43

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 says we’ve got that story backward. She argues that the government, by funding so much early-stage research, is hugely responsible for big successes in tech, pharma, energy, and more. But the government also does a terrible job in claiming credit — and, more important, getting a return on its investment.

Sep 06, 2018
347. Why You Shouldn’t Open a Restaurant
00:37:17

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 science can’t solve.

Aug 30, 2018
346. Two (Totally Opposite) Ways to Save the Planet
00:51:22

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

Aug 23, 2018
345. How to Be Happy
00:37:30

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 see if we should steal them).

Aug 16, 2018
344. Who Decides How Much a Life Is Worth?
00:38:10

After every mass shooting or terrorist attack, victims and survivors receive a huge outpouring of support — including a massive pool of compensation money. How should that money be allocated? We speak with the man who’s done that job after many tragedies, including 9/11. The hard part, it turns out, isn’t attaching a dollar figure to each victim; the hard part is acknowledging that dollars can’t heal the pain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 12, 2018
339. The Future of Freakonomics Radio
00:35:59

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.

Jul 03, 2018
In Praise of Incrementalism (Rebroadcast)
00:49:21

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 shouldn’t ignore the power of incrementalism.

Jun 28, 2018
In Praise of Maintenance (Rebroadcast)
00:42:17

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

Jun 21, 2018
338. How to Catch World Cup Fever
00:56:45

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 sporting evént; it's a microcosm of human foibles and (yep) economic theory brought to life.

Jun 14, 2018
337. How to Build a Smart City
00:39:07

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 Doctoroff. The man who helped modernize New York City — and tried to bring the Olympics there — is now C.E.O. of a Google-funded startup that is building, from scratch, the city of the future.

Jun 07, 2018
How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Rebroadcast)
00:28:26

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

May 31, 2018
336. The Most Vilified Industry in America Is Also the Most Charitable
00:33:25

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 helps, and whether all this philanthropy is just corporate whitewashing.

May 24, 2018
335. Does Doing Good Give You License to Be Bad?
00:36:54

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 you don't know it.

May 17, 2018
334. 5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing
00:49:36

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

May 10, 2018
Evolution, Accelerated (Rebroadcast)
00:35:32

A breakthrough in genetic technology has given humans more power than ever to change nature. It could help eliminate hunger and disease; it could also lead to the sort of dystopia we used to only read about in sci-fi novels. So what happens next?

May 03, 2018
333. The Most Ambitious Thing Humans Have Ever Attempted
00:52:00

Sure, medical progress has been astounding. But today the U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country, with so-so outcomes. Atul Gawande — cancer surgeon, public-health researcher, and best-selling author — has some simple ideas for treating a painfully complex system.

Apr 26, 2018
332. Why the Trump Tax Cuts Are Terrible/Awesome (Part 2)
00:44:59

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

Apr 19, 2018
331. Why the Trump Tax Cuts are Awesome/Terrible (Part 1)
00:45:28

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.)

Apr 12, 2018
330. Extra: Ray Dalio Full Interview
01:17:12

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.”

Apr 09, 2018
329. The Invisible Paw
00:48:21

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

Apr 05, 2018
328. Extra: Mark Zuckerberg Full Interview
00:45:34

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.”

Apr 02, 2018
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask) (Rebroadcast)
00:44:48

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.

Mar 29, 2018
327. Extra: Carol Bartz Full Interview
00:50:39

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.”

Mar 26, 2018
The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money (Rebroadcast)
00:46:38

It's hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns? Enter the low-cost index fund. The revolution will not be monetized.

Mar 22, 2018
326. Extra: Jack Welch Full Interview
00:55:48

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.”

Mar 19, 2018
325. How to Train Your Dragon Child
00:35:31

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, according to Chinese folk belief, confers power, fortune, and more. We look at what happens to Dragon babies when they grow up, and why timing your kid's birth based on the zodiac isn't as ridiculous it sounds.

Mar 15, 2018
324. Extra: Satya Nadella Full Interview
00:39:39

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.”

Mar 12, 2018
323. Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It
00:41:13

Whether it's a giant infrastructure plan or a humble kitchen renovation, it'll inevitably take way too long and cost way too much. That's because you suffer from “the planning fallacy.” (You also have an “optimism bias” and a bad case of overconfidence.) But don't worry: we've got the solution.

Mar 08, 2018
322. Extra: David Rubenstein Full Interview
01:29:00

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.”

Mar 05, 2018
Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late? (Rebroadcast)
00:46:34

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.

Mar 01, 2018
321. Extra: Richard Branson Full Interview
00:53:35

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

Feb 26, 2018
320. Letting Go
00:45:07

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 wrong). In this final episode of our "Secret Life of a C.E.O." series, we hear those stories and many more. Also: what happens when you no longer have a corner office to go to — and how will you spend all that money?​

Feb 22, 2018
319. After the Glass Ceiling, a Glass Cliff
00:52:26

Only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Why? Research shows that female executives are more likely to be put in charge of firms that are already in crisis. Are they being set up to fail? (Part 5 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")

Feb 15, 2018
318. It’s Your Problem Now
00:44:07

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 if you're the C.E.O., it is your problem. So what are you going to do about it? First-hand stories of disaster (and triumph) from Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer, Satya Nadella, Jack Welch, Ellen Pao, Richard Branson, and more. (Part 4 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")

Feb 08, 2018
317. What Can Uber Teach Us About the Gender Pay Gap?
00:42:32

The gig economy offers the ultimate flexibility to set your own hours. That's why economists thought it would help eliminate the gender pay gap. A new study, using data from over a million Uber drivers, finds the story isn't so simple.

Feb 06, 2018
An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl (Rebroadcast)
00:27:38

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 you're a football fanatic or a total newbie.

Feb 03, 2018
316. “I Wasn’t Stupid Enough to Say This Could Be Done Overnight”
00:48:04

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 decided that junk food is borderline toxic. Here's the story of how she overhauled that portfolio, stared down activist investors, and learned to "leave the crown in the garage." (Part 3 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s")

Feb 01, 2018
315. How to Become a C.E.O.
00:44:23

Mark Zuckerberg's dentist dad was an early adopter of digital x-rays. Jack Welch blew the roof off a factory. Carol Bartz was a Wisconsin farm girl who got into computers. No two C.E.O.'s have the same origin story — so we tell them all! How the leaders of Facebook, G.E., Yahoo!, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Virgin, the Carlyle Group, Reddit, and Bridgewater Associates made it to the top. (Part 2 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")

Jan 25, 2018
314. What Does a C.E.O. Actually Do?
00:38:37

They're paid a fortune — but for what, exactly? What makes a good C.E.O. — and how can you even tell? Is "leadership science" a real thing — or just airport-bookstore mumbo jumbo? We put these questions to Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Indra Nooyi, Satya Nadella, Jack Welch, Ray Dalio, Carol Bartz, David Rubenstein, and Ellen Pao. (Part 1 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")

Jan 18, 2018
313. How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win
00:38:07

Gina Raimondo, the governor of tiny Rhode Island, has taken on unions, boosted big business, and made friends with Republicans. She is also one of just 15 Democratic governors in the country. Would there be more of them if there were more like her?

Jan 11, 2018
Why Is My Life So Hard? (Rebroadcast)
00:30:11

Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?

Jan 04, 2018
Trust Me (Rebroadcast)
00:30:00

Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades — in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it?

Dec 28, 2017
Make Me a Match (Rebroadcast)
00:52:47

Sure, markets generally work well. But for some transactions — like school admissions and organ transplants — money alone can't solve the problem. That's when you need a market-design wizard like Al Roth.

Dec 21, 2017
312. Not Your Grandmother’s I.M.F.
00:38:23

The International Monetary Fund has long been the "lender of last resort" for economies in crisis. Christine Lagarde, who runs the institution, would like to prevent those crises from ever happening. She tells us her plans.

Dec 14, 2017
311. Why Is the Live-Event Ticket Market So Screwed Up?
00:47:42

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 fixed – and why it probably won't be.

Dec 07, 2017
310. Are We Running Out of Ideas?
00:37:01

Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. One theory: true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next?

Nov 30, 2017
Is America Ready for a “No-Lose Lottery”? (Update)
00:45:17

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?

Nov 23, 2017
309. Nurses to the Rescue!
00:57:48

They are the most-trusted profession in America (and with good reason). They are critical to patient outcomes (especially in primary care). Could the growing army of nurse practitioners be an answer to the doctor shortage? The data say yes but —  big surprise — doctors' associations say no.

Nov 16, 2017
308. How Can I Do the Most Social Good With $100? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions
00:43:28

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

Nov 09, 2017
Why Is There So Much Ground Beef in the World? (Special Feature)
00:43:26

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

Nov 07, 2017
307. Thinking Is Expensive. Who’s Supposed to Pay for It?
00:38:50

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

Nov 02, 2017
306. How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution
00:44:45

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 dream team of social scientists is doing — and we sat in as they drew up their game plan.

Oct 26, 2017
305. The Demonization of Gluten
00:43:59

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 celiac patients haven't been diagnosed. The weird news: millions of people without celiac disease have quit gluten – which may be a big mistake.

Oct 19, 2017
304. What Are the Secrets of the German Economy — and Should We Steal Them?
00:57:08

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

Oct 12, 2017
“Tell Me Something I Don't Know” on the topic of Behavior Change (Special Feature)
00:54:12

Stephen J. Dubner hosts an episode full of the world's most renowned behavior change experts, including Colin Camerer, Ayelet Fishbach, David Laibson, Max Bazerman, Katy Milkman, and Kevin Volpp. Angela Duckworth (psychologist and author of Grit) is our special guest co-host, with Mike Maughan (head of global insights at Qualtrics) as real-time fact-checker.

Oct 01, 2017
303. Why Larry Summers Is the Economist Everyone Hates to Love
00:50:26

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). And he thinks the Trump Administration is wrong on just about everything.

Sep 28, 2017
302. Why Learn Esperanto?
00:31:00

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?

Sep 26, 2017
301. What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)
00:41:07

We explore votes for English, Indonesian, and … Esperanto! The search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in translation. Will technology finally solve that?

Sep 21, 2017
300. Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)
00:43:06

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

Sep 14, 2017
299. "How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?"
00:47:08

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 damage, he abruptly retired. Here's the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions in the face of risk versus uncertainty.

Sep 07, 2017
Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis (Rebroadcast)
00:48:40

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

Aug 31, 2017
Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations (Rebroadcast)
00:45:39

How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on "dream patients" who aren't representative of a larger population. On the other hand, sometimes the only thing worse than being excluded from a drug trial is being included.

Aug 24, 2017
Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6 (Rebroadcast)
00:44:06

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 trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.

Aug 17, 2017
What Are You Waiting For? (Rebroadcast)
00:36:22

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 what we want? Is it possible that we secretly enjoy waiting in line? And might it even be (gulp) good for us?

Aug 10, 2017
298. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask)
00:44:05

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.

Aug 03, 2017
297. The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money
00:48:04

It's hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns? Enter the low-cost index fund. The revolution will not be monetized.

Jul 27, 2017
296. These Shoes Are Killing Me!
00:39:17

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 scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability — and may create more problems than it solves?

Jul 20, 2017
295. When Helping Hurts
00:51:30

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

Jul 13, 2017
294. The Fracking Boom, a Baby Boom, and the Retreat From Marriage
00:43:58

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

Jul 06, 2017
The Harvard President Will See You Now (Rebroadcast)
00:39:22

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

Jun 29, 2017
293. Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2)
00:37:16

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 most Democrats hate him so much? In a rare series of interviews, he explains his political awakening, his management philosophy, and why he supports legislation that goes against his self-interest.

Jun 23, 2017
292. Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 1)
00:44:32

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 most Democrats hate him so much? In a rare series of interviews, he explains his political awakening, his management philosophy and why he supports legislation that goes against his self-interest.

Jun 22, 2017
"Tell Me Something I Don't Know" on the topic of Rivalry
00:57:17

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: athletic, sexual, geopolitical, and the little-known battle between butter and margarine that landed in the Supreme Court. WBEZ's Tricia Bobeda, co-host of the "Nerdette" podcast, is fact-checker.

Jun 20, 2017
291. Evolution, Accelerated
00:35:44

A breakthrough in genetic technology has given humans more power than ever to change nature. It could help eliminate hunger and disease; it could also lead to the sort of dystopia we used to only read about in sci-fi novels. So what happens next?
Help us meet the Freakonomics Radio listener challenge. If 500 of you become sustaining members at just $7/month before June 30th we'll unlock an additional $25,000 from the Tow Foundation. Become a member now!

Jun 15, 2017
290. He’s One of the Most Famous Political Operatives in America. America Just Doesn’t Know It Yet.
00:42:16

Steve Hilton was the man behind David Cameron's push to remake British politics. Things didn't work out so well there. Now he's trying to launch a new political revolution – from sunny California.

Jun 08, 2017
289. How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?
00:28:01

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

Jun 01, 2017
288. Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?
00:42:24

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 postal worker's uniform, some envelopes stuffed with cash, and a slight sense of the absurd.

May 25, 2017
287. Hoopers! Hoopers! Hoopers!
00:39:24

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 called USAFacts, which performs a sort of fiscal colonoscopy on the American government.

May 18, 2017
286. How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google)
00:34:02

On the Internet, people say all kinds of things they'd never say aloud -- about sex and race, about their true wants and fears. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has spent years parsing the data. His conclusion: our online searches are the reflection of our true selves. In the real world, everybody lies.

May 11, 2017
Food + Science = Victory! (Rebroadcast)
00:36:46

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 about everything.

May 04, 2017
285. There’s a War on Sugar. Is It Justified?
00:45:40

Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it's addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former FDA commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest.

Apr 27, 2017
284. Is Income Inequality Inevitable? (Earth 2.0 Series)
00:40:58

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 would be genius -- or maybe the worst idea ever.

Apr 20, 2017
283. What Would Our Economy Look Like? (Earth 2.0 Series)
00:42:54

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 through trial and error? This is the first of a series of episodes that we'll release over several months. Today we start with — what else? — economics. You'll hear from Nobel laureate Angus Deaton, the poverty-fighting superhero Jeff Sachs; and many others.

Apr 13, 2017
282. Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others?
00:35:24

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 the solution: perfecting the science of behavior change. Will it work?

Apr 06, 2017
281. Big Returns from Thinking Small
00:30:47

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 improve their personal lives. They want to help you do the same.

Mar 30, 2017
280. “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” on the topic of Collections.
00:51:22

Hear live journalism wrapped in a game show package and hosted by Stephen J. Dubner. In this episode, Tim Ferriss, Eugene Mirman and Anne Pasternak are panelists. The self-help guru, the comedian and the Brooklyn Museum director talk about brainwaves, sugar, stars and — thanks to fact-checker AJ Jacobs — barf bags.

Mar 28, 2017
How Safe Is Your Job? (Rebroadcast)
00:33:20

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

Mar 23, 2017
279. Why Is My Life So Hard?
00:30:32

Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?

Mar 16, 2017
278. Chuck E. Cheese’s: Where a Kid Can Learn Price Theory
00:31:23

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?

Mar 09, 2017
277. The Taboo Trifecta
00:32:09

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

Mar 02, 2017
276. No Hollywood Ending for the Visual-Effects Industry
00:55:46

In their chase for a global audience, American movie studios spend billions to make their films look amazing. But almost none of those dollars stay in America. What would it take to bring those jobs back -- and would it be worth it?

Feb 23, 2017
275. Professor Hendryx vs. Big Coal
00:37:05

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.

Feb 16, 2017
How to Get More Grit in Your Life
00:42:11

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 there. But grit, she says, isn't something you're born with — it can be learned. Here's how.

Feb 09, 2017
274. An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl
00:28:28

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 football fanatic or a total newbie.

Feb 02, 2017
273. Did China Eat America’s Jobs?
00:38:24

For years, economists promised that global free trade would be mostly win-win. Now they admit the pace of change has been "traumatic." This has already led to a political insurrection -- so what's next?

Jan 26, 2017
Is the American Dream Really Dead?
00:39:30

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 percent. What happened -- and what can be done about it?

Jan 19, 2017
272. Trevor Noah Has a Lot to Say
00:35:22

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 — especially on race, politics, and religion — and he's not afraid to speak his mind.

Jan 12, 2017
271. The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution
00:35:10

Starting in the late 1960s, the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman began to redefine how the human mind actually works. Michael Lewis's new book The Undoing Project explains how the movement they started -- now known as behavioral economics -- has had such a profound effect on academia, governments, and society at large.

Jan 05, 2017
How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Rebroadcast)
00:50:11

What if the thing we call "talent" is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades. He tells us everything he's learned.

Dec 29, 2016
How to Be More Productive (Rebroadcast)
00:39:23

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

Dec 22, 2016
270. Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis
00:48:35

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.

Dec 15, 2016
269. Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations
00:45:22

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 aren't representative of a larger population. On the other hand, sometimes the only thing worse than being excluded from a drug trial is being included.

Dec 08, 2016
268. Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6
00:44:55

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 trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.

Dec 01, 2016
The No-Tipping Point (Rebroadcast)
00:44:26

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 wealth? New York restaurant maverick Danny Meyer is about to find out.

Nov 24, 2016
267. How to Make a Bad Decision
00:35:44

Some of our most important decisions are shaped by something as random as the order in which we make them. The gambler's fallacy, as it's known, affects loan officers, federal judges -- and probably you too. How to avoid it? The first step is to admit just how fallible we all are.

Nov 17, 2016
Introducing Stephen J. Dubner's new podcast, "Tell Me Something I Don't Know"
00:53:22

"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 you wanted to know, but do. Now, with "TMSIDK," he has a new way of doing just that. This new show is still journalism, still factual -- but disguised in the most entertaining, unexpected, and occasionally ridiculous conversation you're likely to hear.
Audience contestants come on stage and try to wow a panel of experts with a fascinating fact, a historical wrinkle, a new line of research -- anything, really, as long as it's interesting, useful and true (or at least true-ish). The panel -- an ever-changing mix of comedians, brainiacs, and other high achievers -- poke and prod the contestants, and ultimately choose a winner. And there's a real-time, human fact-checker on hand to filter out the bull.
This debut episode features Barnard College president Debora Spar, New York Public Library president Tony Marx, and comedian Andy Zaltzman; Jody Avirgan from FiveThirtyEight handles the fact-checking. You can subscribe now on iTunes. And don't worry, Freakonomics Radio isn't going anywhere -- this is just a special bonus episode of Dubner's new side gig.

Nov 15, 2016
266. Trust Me
00:27:42

Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades -- in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it?

Nov 10, 2016
How Much Does the President Really Matter? (Rebroadcast )
00:33:26

The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won't say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership, and its impact on the economy and the country.

Nov 09, 2016
265. The White House Gets Into the Nudge Business
00:42:18

A tiny behavioral-sciences startup is trying to improve the way federal agencies do their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, this isn't so simple. But after a series of early victories -- and a helpful executive order from President Obama -- they are well on their way.

Nov 03, 2016
264. In Praise of Incrementalism
00:48:34

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 shouldn't ignore the power of incrementalism.

Oct 27, 2016
263. In Praise of Maintenance
00:41:44

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

Oct 20, 2016
262. This Is Your Brain on Podcasts
00:45:23

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 storytelling stimulates enormous activity across broad swaths of the brain. The takeaway is obvious: you should be listening to even more podcasts.

Oct 13, 2016
How To Win A Nobel Prize (Rebroadcast)
00:44:32

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

Oct 06, 2016
261. Why Are We Still Using Cash?
00:42:59

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 have money of any sort in the 24th century.

Sep 29, 2016
260. Has the U.S. Presidency Become a Dictatorship?
00:47:48

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 over the system for decades. The result? An accumulation of power that's turned the presidency into a position the founders wouldn't have recognized.

Sep 22, 2016
259. Ten Signs You Might Be a Libertarian
00:50:42

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate, likes to say that most Americans are libertarians but don't know it yet. So why can't Libertarians (and other third parties) gain more political traction?

Sep 15, 2016
258. Why Uber Is an Economist’s Dream
00:38:28

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

Sep 08, 2016
257. The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary as You Think
00:35:01

Internet pioneer Kevin Kelly tries to predict the future by identifying what's truly inevitable. How worried should we be? Yes, robots will probably take your job -- but the future will still be pretty great.

Sep 01, 2016
Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset? (Rebroadcast)
00:37:49

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

Aug 25, 2016
Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush (Rebroadcast)
00:31:28

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

Aug 18, 2016
256. What Are You Waiting For?
00:34:56

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

Aug 11, 2016
Is It Okay for Restaurants to Racially Profile Their Employees? (Rebroadcast)
00:52:00

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?

Aug 04, 2016
255. Ten Ideas to Make Politics Less Rotten
00:43:03

We Americans may love our democracy -- at least in theory -- but at the moment our feelings toward the federal government lie somewhere between disdain and hatred. Which electoral and political ideas should be killed off to make way for a saner system?

Jul 28, 2016
254. What Are Gender Barriers Made Of?
00:36:33

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?

Jul 21, 2016
253. Is the Internet Being Ruined?
00:47:58

It's a remarkable ecosystem that allows each of us to exercise control over our lives. But how much control do we truly have? How many of our decisions are really being made by Google and Facebook and Apple? And, perhaps most importantly: is the Internet's true potential being squandered?

Jul 14, 2016
252. Confessions of a Pothole Politician
00:43:48

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 data and new technologies. Could this be what modern politics is supposed to look like?

Jul 07, 2016
The Suicide Paradox (Rebroadcast )
00:57:27

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.

Jun 30, 2016
How Much Does the President Really Matter? (Rebroadcast)
00:33:28

The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won't say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership, and its impact on the economy and the country.

Jun 23, 2016
Why Do We Really Follow the News? (Rebroadcast)
00:35:50

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 miscellaneous heartbreak simply because it's (gasp) entertaining?

Jun 16, 2016
Time to Take Back the Toilet
00:31:49

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

Jun 09, 2016
251. Are We in a Mattress-Store Bubble?
00:36:46

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 there so many stores selling something we buy so rarely?

Jun 09, 2016
250. Why Does Everyone Hate Flying? And Other Questions Only a Pilot Can Answer
00:43:46

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 actually doing the flying.

Jun 02, 2016
249. The Longest Long Shot
00:43:03

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

May 26, 2016
248. How to Be Tim Ferriss
00:41:32

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, creator of the Four-Hour universe, may at first glance look like a charlatan, but it seems more likely that he's a wizard -- and the kind of self-improvement ally we all want on our side.

May 19, 2016
247. How to Win Games and Beat People
00:52:31

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 one of those people. That's why he consulted an army of preposterously overqualified experts to find the secret to winning any game.

May 12, 2016
246. How to Get More Grit in Your Life
00:44:29

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 there. But grit, she says, isn't something you're born with -- it can be learned. Here's how.

May 05, 2016
245. Being Malcolm Gladwell
00:28:20

"Books are a pain in the ass," says Gladwell, who has written some of the most popular, influential, and beloved non-fiction books in recent history. In this wide-ranging and candid conversation, he describes other pains in the ass -- as well as his passions, his limits, and why he'll never take up golf.

May 02, 2016
244. How to Become Great at Just About Anything
00:48:04

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 research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades. He tells us everything he's learned.

Apr 28, 2016
243. How to Be More Productive
00:38:38

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 being productive.

Apr 21, 2016
242. Is the World Ready for a Guaranteed Basic Income?
00:36:43

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 be done so that financially vulnerable people aren't just crushed? It may finally be time for an idea that economists have promoted for decades.

Apr 14, 2016
241. Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?
00:49:41

Critics -- including President Obama -- say short-term, high-interest loans are predatory, trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. But some economists see them as a useful financial instrument for people who need them. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau promotes new regulation, we ask: who's right?

Apr 07, 2016
The Economics of Sleep, Part 2 (Rebroadcast)
00:42:51

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

Mar 31, 2016
The Economics of Sleep, Part 1 (Rebroadcast)
00:45:42

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

Mar 24, 2016
240. Yes, the American Economy Is in a Funk -- But Not for the Reasons You Think
00:33:32

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

Mar 17, 2016
239. The No-Tipping Point
00:43:18

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 wealth? New York restaurant maverick Danny Meyer is about to find out.

Mar 11, 2016
238. The United States of Cory Booker
00:39:22

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?

Mar 03, 2016
237. Ask Not What Your Podcast Can Do for You
00:41:43

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 should anyone pay good money for something that can be had for free? Here are a few reasons.

Feb 25, 2016
236. How Can This Possibly Be True?
00:40:53

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 our global interdependence — and the proper role of government in the economy?

Feb 18, 2016
235. Who Needs Handwriting?
00:39:37

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

Feb 11, 2016
How to Fix a Broken High Schooler, in Four Easy Steps (Rebroadcast)
00:29:15

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

Feb 04, 2016
Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem? (Rebroadcast)
00:36:40

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?

Jan 28, 2016
234. Do Boycotts Work?
00:37:26

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

Jan 21, 2016
233. How to Be Less Terrible at Predicting the Future
00:46:57

Experts and pundits are notoriously bad at forecasting, in part because they aren't punished for bad predictions. Also, they tend to be deeply unscientific. The psychologist Philip Tetlock is finally turning prediction into a science -- and now even you could become a superforecaster.

Jan 14, 2016
232. The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap
00:43:27

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

Jan 07, 2016
When Willpower Isn’t Enough (Rebroadcast)
00:31:02

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

Dec 31, 2015
Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition (Rebroadcast)
00:42:00

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 be spent.

Dec 24, 2015
231. Is Migration a Basic Human Right?
01:00:58

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

Dec 17, 2015
230. The Cheeseburger Diet
00:32:07

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

Dec 10, 2015
229. Ben Bernanke Gives Himself a Grade
00:47:05

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

Dec 03, 2015
Why Do People Keep Having Children? (Rebroadcast)
00:40:04

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

Nov 26, 2015
228. Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late?
00:45:57

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.

Nov 19, 2015
227. Should Everyone Be in a Rock Band?
00:45:32

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

Nov 12, 2015
226. Food + Science = Victory!
00:38:24

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 about everything.

Nov 05, 2015
225. Am I Boring You?
00:39:32

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

Oct 29, 2015
How to Save $1 Billion Without Even Trying (Rebroadcast)
00:36:28

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?

Oct 22, 2015
224. How To Win A Nobel Prize
00:45:27

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

Oct 15, 2015
223. Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents for Raising Them?
00:47:22

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

Oct 08, 2015
222. Meet the Woman Who Said Women Can’t Have It All
00:42:11

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.

Oct 01, 2015
221. How Did the Belt Win?
00:30:56

Suspenders may work better, but the dork factor is too high. How did an organ-squeezing belly tourniquet become part of our everyday wardrobe -- and what other suboptimal solutions do we routinely put up with?

Sep 24, 2015
220. “I Don't Know What You've Done With My Husband, But He's a Changed Man.”
00:46:53

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

Sep 17, 2015
219. Preventing Crime for Pennies on the Dollar
00:41:33

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

Sep 10, 2015
218. The Harvard President Will See You Now
00:38:53

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

Sep 03, 2015
217. Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset?
00:36:55

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

Aug 27, 2015
216. How to Make a Smart TV Ad
00:30:35

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

Aug 20, 2015
The Dangers of Safety (Rebroadcast)
00:30:57

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

Aug 13, 2015
215. Why Do We Really Follow the News?
00:35:52

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 miscellaneous heartbreak simply because it's (gasp) entertaining?

Aug 06, 2015
214. How to Create Suspense
00:39:22

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?

Jul 30, 2015
213. Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush
00:32:03

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

Jul 23, 2015
212. The Economics of Sleep, Part 2
00:43:29