Archives for



How to Rig an Election? Ask the Author

We’ve covered the history of dirty politics in the U.S. here at Freakonomics. But what about the modern state of affairs? Allen Raymond knows a thing or two about bending the rules in the electoral process. A former G.O.P. political operative who served as chief of staff to a co-chairman of the Republican National Committee […] Read More »



Is Too Much Attention Paid to Small InTrade Contracts?

Harvard economist Greg Mankiw recently posted this chart depicting an InTrade contract on the probability of a U.S. recession in 2008, with the following commentary: In online betting, the probability of recession is now about two-thirds, compared to about one-half a few weeks ago. Evidence pointing toward a recession is certainly present, as Larry Summers […] Read More »



What Can Hidden Video Teach Us About Our Healthcare System?

Dr. Gretchen Berland, an assistant professor at the Yale University School of Medicine and former documentary filmmaker, writes in the New England Journal of Medicine of an extraordinary experiment she has conducted over the past 10 years. It involved giving videocameras to people in wheelchairs, and asking them to document their daily lives (samples of […] Read More »



Is California’s Environmental Policy Worth Fighting For?

California’s environmental policy has made headlines recently, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announcing that he plans to sue the federal government over its refusal to let the state enact its own plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and instead adopt a more lax federal plan. While the E.P.A.’s regulation promises to increase fuel efficiency standards by […] Read More »



Is ‘Stop Liking Men Who Drive Hot Cars’ Sound Climate Advice?

Richard Gray at the U.K. Telegraph reports that Sir David King, a University of Cambridge chemist, staunch global warming activist, and one of Britain’s top government scientists, gave the following advice to a woman who asked him what she could do to curb global warming: “[S]top admiring young men in Ferraris.” King’s larger point — […] Read More »



Shaping the World at Versailles: A Q&A With the Author of A Shattered Peace

Any history book will give you a chapter on the Treaty of Versailles, during which delegates from around the world gathered in France to hammer out peace terms following World War I. The men (and occasional woman) who negotiated the outcome may have had their own individual and national agendas, but their decisions arguably set […] Read More »



What’s the Significance of Your Sign? A Guest Post

A reader named E. Allyn Smith, a Ph.D. student in linguistics at Ohio State University, wrote in with the following observations. I’ve been thinking about birthdays a lot lately, because November 15th to the 27th is one of the annual “birthday rushes” in which I have eight birthdays in two weeks. It got me thinking […] Read More »



Love Your Job? That Doesn’t Mean You’re Better at It

The conventional employer wisdom has always been that a happy employee is a more productive employee. Countless dollars are spent every year on initiatives to raise employee morale, create camaraderie in the workplace, and eliminate practices that could lead to a hostile work environment, all so that companies can boost their retention rates and productivity […] Read More »