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

Season 5, Hour 43 Here’s $2.5 trillion. You have 15 years to spend it. How do you distribute this money in a way that will achieve the most good for the world? This isn’t a hypothetical. In September 2015, the United Nations set its Sustainable Development Goals,  a continuation of the Millennium Development Goals it set in 2000. […]

Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late?

Season 5, Episode 42 This week on Freakonomics Radio, 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. Dana Suskind of the Thirty Million Words Initiative works with parents in their homes to teach them the best ways of […]

How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution? (Rebroadcast)

Season 5, Episode 3 In part one (“How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?”), we continue conversations from last week’s episode, (“How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?”). Anupam Jena, a physician, economist, and professor at Harvard Medical School, told us about his study that shows mortality rates improve when cardiologists […]

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 […]

How to Be Less Terrible at Predicting the Future

This week on Freakonomics Radio, 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.

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?