Are You Ready for a Glorious Sunset?

Season 5, Episode 19

On this week's episode of Freakonomics Radio: We spend billions of dollars on end-of-life healthcare that often doesn’t do much good. So what if a patient could forego the standard treatment and get a cash rebate instead?

Also, the war on cigarettes has been fairly successful in some places. In the U.S., the smoking rate has fallen by more than half. But a billion humans still smoke, so what comes next?

The True Story of the Gender Pay Gap

Season 5, Episode 18

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: The first woman to get tenure in the Harvard economics department has tried to uncover the reasons for the pay gap between men and women. Turns out discrimination doesn't explain why women earn so much less. It's much more complicated than that.

Also, what's behind the surprising fact that a marriage that produces a girl is more likely to end in divorce than one that produces a boy? In this episode we delve into the research — and the broader economic implications of so many girls living without their dads.

Failure Is Your Friend

Season 5, Episode 17

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: there’s a huge stigma attached to failure. But should there be? Perhaps we’re not thinking clearly about failure. Maybe failure can be your friend.

Also on this week's episode: in most countries, houses get more valuable over time. But in Japan, a new buyer often bulldozes the home. Why?

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

Season 5, Episode 16

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: a look at the supply side of the education equation — the teachers — as well the demand side, the students. 

Teacher quality has a huge impact. So how can we best identify, educate, and reward the good ones? And what can be done to take failing students and put them on a track to graduation?

Make Me a Match

Season 5, Episode 15

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: 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 Nobel Prize winner Al Roth. You’ll hear how Roth and others have revolutionized the organ-donor market. Plus, the amazing story of how one particularly selfless woman became the first link in a donor chain that gave life to many others.

Think Like a Child

Season 5, Episode 14

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Why would anyone want to think like a child? Aren’t kids just sloppy, inchoate versions of us? Hardly. As Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt describe in their book Think Like a Freak, it can be very fruitful like a child.

And then: How can we get kids to eat healthier food? Educational messaging sounds like a good idea, but kids don’t respond to it. So why not bribe them?

How Can Tiny Norway Afford So Many Teslas?

Season 5, Episode 13

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio:

In 2014, Tesla’s Model S became the best-selling car in Norway ever for a one-month period. Not bad for a luxury electric vehicle whose base price in Norway is over $100,000. What’s behind this Tesla boom?

And then, hear our interview with the physician/anthropologist Jim Yong Kim. He used to advocate dismantling the World Bank; now he's running it — and is eager to apply the insights of behavioral economics to development policy.

Is Migration a Basic Human Right?

Season 5, Episode 12

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: The argument for open borders is compelling — and deeply problematic. We hear from economists for and against the argument as well as immigrants, including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Win Free Tickets to See Dubner on Stage in Brooklyn on January 14

When Stephen Dubner’s new podcast Question of the Day launched in August, it immediately shot to No. 1 on the iTunes chart. Last month it was selected as one of iTunes "Best of 2015." (You can subscribe here.) Now you can come see a live taping of the show on Thursday, January 14, at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Join Dubner, his Question of the Day co-host, James Altucher, and their special guest Negin Farsad for an evening of conversation that will run from the ridiculous to the sublime (and occasionally both).

The Economics of Sleep, Part 2

Season 5, Episode 11

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, we continue last week's conversation about the economics of sleep. We look at some research suggesting, for instance, that early birds really do get the worm.

And then we look into the tactics — physical, mental, and strategic — of  six-time hot dog-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, who revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us can learn from his breakthroughs?