How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare? (Rebroadcast)

 Season 5, Episode 40 This week we look at healthcare. First, Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt discusses the randomized control trial, or RCT, which he calls “the very best way to learn about the world around us.” Then Amy Finkelstein, a professor of economics at MIT, talks about using RCTs to explore healthcare delivery — and the […]

Do Boycotts Work?

This week on Freakonomics Radio: 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 aimed at?

This Idea Must Die (Rebroadcast)

This week on Freakonomics Radio, we draw from the fascinating book This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress, put together by the group Edge.org, that asks its salon of big thinkers to answer one big question. And the question this time: what scientific idea is ready for retirement?

How Safe Is Your Job?

This week on Freakonomics Radio, economists preach the gospel of “creative destruction,” whereby new industries — and jobs — replace the old ones. But in this era of technological wonder, has creative destruction become too destructive?

Does Religion Make You Happy?

This week, Freakonomics Radio asks two questions, related but separate. One is whether giving away money – in this case, to a religious institution – makes you happier. The other is whether religion itself makes you happier. Neither question is easy to answer.

Why Do We Really Follow the News?

On Freakonomics Radio this week, we dare to ask whether civics class answers for why we pay attention to the news are really true. Could it be that we read about war, politics, etc. simply because it’s (gasp) entertaining?

The Longest Long Shot

On this week's Freakonomics Radio: 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.

Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend (Rebroadcast)

On this week's Freakonomics Radio, we meet a young Michigan couple who win a diamond at a charity event and then can't decide what to do with it. Sell? Set it in a ring? Or stash it in the laundry room and just keep fighting about it? We also hear from Edward Jay Epstein, who wrote a book about trying to resell a diamond, and we learn the strange, shady history of how diamonds have come to be as "valuable" as they are.

How to Create Suspense

This week on Freakonomics Radio, we were inspired by a fascinating research paper called “Suspense and Surprise” by the economists Jeffrey Ely, Alexander Frankel, and Emir Kamenica. We speak with all three of them about what makes a particular sport suspenseful (or boring), what makes a movie thrilling (or, as in the case of M. Night Shyamalan, increasingly not), and why these things are worth discussing within the realm of economics. We'll also hear from practitioners of the art of suspense, including novelist Harlan Coben.

“If Mayors Ruled the World”

Season 5, Episode 30 This week, Freakonomics Radio expands on an idea from political theorist Benjamin Barber, who wrote If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. Barber argues that cities are paragons of good governance — compared, at least, to nation-states — and that is largely due to their mayors. Mayors, Barber argues, are can-do people […]