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

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

The Economics of Sports Gambling (Ep. 388)

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.

The Future of Meat (Ep. 367 Rebroadcast)

Global demand for beef, chicken, and pork continues to rise. So do concerns about environmental and other costs. Will reconciling these two forces be possible — or, even better, Impossible™?

See a random post from our archives:
09 18 2007

A Good and Cheap Asthma Solution

I am a big fan of cheap, simple solutions to complex problems - but really, who isn't? One example is a column we wrote a while back on incentivizing doctors to do a better job of washing their hands to fight hospital-acquired infections. Similarly, this New York Times article described a study at a V.A. hospital in...

Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s? (Ep. 359 Rebroadcast)

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

Hello, My Name Is Marijuana Pepsi! (Ep. 387)

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.

How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Ep. 122 Rebroadcast)

A kid’s name can tell us something about his parents — their race, social standing, even their politics. But is your name really your destiny?

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

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.

America’s Hidden Duopoly (Ep. 356 Rebroadcast)

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

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

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.

Abortion and Crime, Revisited (Ep. 384)

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.

A Better Way to Eat (Ep. 173 Rebroadcast)

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