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?

The Economics of Sleep, Part 1

Season 5, Episode 10

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: poor sleep can impair our cognitive function; sleep loss has been linked to adverse physical outcomes like weight gain and, increasingly, more serious maladies; and the Centers for Disease Control recently declared insufficient sleep a “public-health epidemic.” So are we treating the problem as seriously as we ought to be? And is it possible that lack of sleep can even explain the income gap? We speak with sleep researchers, economists, a psychologist and an epidemiologist to answer these questions.

Why Do People Keep Having Children?

Season 5, Episode 9

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: first up: what are the factors that make a given person more or less likely to have children? And is the global population really going to double by the next century? Probably not.

And then: “That’s a great question!” You hear this phrase in all kinds of media interviews, during the Q&A portion of tech and academic conferences, and in ordinary meetings. Where did this ubiquitous reply come from? Is it a verbal tic, a strategic rejoinder, or something more? We talk to a linguist, a media consultant and master interviewer Charlie Rose about why it’s rare to come across an interview these days where at least one question isn’t a “great” one.   

Ben Bernanke Gives Himself a Grade

Season 5, Episode 8

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, two interviews: first, former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, who was handed the keys to the global economy just as it started heading off a cliff. And then Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former State Department adviser, who was best known for her adamant views on Syria when she accidentally became a poster girl for modern feminism.

Bernanke tells us what he knew and didn't know about the state of the economy as the financial crisis began to unfold, and he explains what FDR got right and wrong during the Great Depression. Slaughter continues the heated national conversation sparked by her 2012 Atlantic essay “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” and we talk about her early warnings on Syria and what she’d suggest if she had the White House’s ear today.

Time to Take Back the Toilet

Season 5, Episode 7

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, first: we’re not asking that using a public restroom be a pleasant experience, but are there ways to make it less miserable? And then: how did the belt, an organ-squeezing belly tourniquet, become part of our everyday wardrobe and what other suboptimal solutions do we routinely put up with?

The gist: public bathrooms -- when you can find one -- are often noisy and poorly designed. In this episode, we explore the history of the public restroom, the taboos that accompany it, and the public-health risks of paying too little attention to the lowly toilet.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Season 5, Episode 6

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio, a live game show with host Stephen Dubner, and judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson.

Audience members are invited onstage to tell us something we didn’t know. We learn a bit, laugh a lot, and as a bonus, each of the judges tell us something about themselves we didn’t know. You’ll learn how Malcolm Gladwell got fired from an internship with a prominent judge; how Ana Gasteyer watched Star Wars with a prominent family; and why Governor Paterson was desperate for O.J. Simpson’s famous Bronco chase to be cut short.

This Idea Must Die

Season 5, Episode 5

In this week's episode of Freakonomics Radio, we first explore whether some of the scientific ideas we cling to should be killed off; and then Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt answer some listener questions.

The gist: Every year, Edge.org asks its salon of big thinkers to answer one big question. In 2014, the question bordered on heresy: what scientific idea is ready for retirement? Experts weigh in. And then Dubner and Levitt talk about fixing the post office, putting cameras in the classroom, and wearing hats.

Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend

Season 5, Episode 4

In part one ("Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor's Best Friend"), we meet Jason and Kristen Sarata, a couple who win a diamond at a charity event. But the two can't agree on whether to sell the diamond or keep it. Luckily, investigative reporter Edward Jay Epstein has written an entire book about selling a diamond, and tells us it's unclear whether diamonds are as valuable as Marilyn Monroe taught us to think they are.