Should I Work for an “Evil” Company?

A reader writes in with a question that is hard to answer. I thought it’d be best to put the question to you, our readers; hopefully you can help him find his way to a good decision.

Hello:

I am an academic plant geneticists, who has worked at [a renowned academic institution] for the last five years. I’ve pretty much decided I want to leave academia but remain in science. The obvious direction to then go into is biotech and I think I could be a good fit for it. There are many options for me in biotech and I’ve applied for many jobs. The company that has been the most responsive to me is Monsanto.

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A Would-Be Freakonomist in Kyrgyzstan Needs Your Help

From a reader named John Keaney: I just finished your book Think Like a Freak, and I’m trying to use the lessons in the book while I’m in Kyrgyzstan. I’m an undergraduate at University of South Carolina, and I’ve decided to pursue my very first, independent research project while I’m living in Kyrgyzstan on the […] Read More »



What Happens When Poor Pregnant Women Are Given Medicaid Coverage?

We’ll be putting out a new Freakonomics Radio episode later this week on the use of RCTs (randomized controlled trials) in healthcare delivery. It features the work of the MIT economist Amy Finkelstein and her colleagues at J-PAL, and it includes their analysis of what happened when Oregon expanded its Medicaid coverage. If you want […] Read More »



The Perfect Crime: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast


This week’s Freakonomics Radio episode is a rebroadcast of the episode “The Perfect Crime” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

But let’s be clear: Dubner isn’t suggesting that anyone actually try this. In fact, the problem is that too many people are doing it already.

So what’s “the perfect crime”? It turns out that if you are driving your car and run over a pedestrian, there’s a good chance — especially if you live in New York — that you’ll barely be punished. Why?

We hear from Lisa Smith, a former prosecutor and now a law professor, who tells us that just 5 percent of the New York drivers who are involved in a fatal crash with a pedestrian are arrested. As it happens, New York has particularly narrow standards for conviction in such cases; there is a lot of variance among states.

read more…

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What You Don’t Know About Online Dating: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

This week’s Freakonomics Radio episode is a rebroadcast of the episode “What You Don’t Know About Online Dating” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) Read More »



When Willpower Isn’t Enough: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast


One of the most compelling talks I saw at this year’s American Economics Association conference was by Katherine Milkman, an assistant professor at the Wharton School at Penn. She holds a joint Ph.D. in computer science and business, but her passion is behavioral economics — and, specifically, how its findings can be applied to help people in their daily lives. Milkman and her research are the focus of our latest Freakonomics Radio episode, “When Willpower Isn’t Enough.” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) Read More »



This Idea Must Die: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast


Are you an idea junkie? Of course you are! It’s exciting to hear about ideas, especially new ones. There’s a progression that happens when you hear a new idea – you run it through your brain, try to envision where it might lead. Who will benefit from this new idea? Who will it hurt? Will it be worth the cost? Is it legal; is it morally defensible? Is it, in fact, a good idea?

In our latest episode of Freakonomics Radio, we run that progression in reverse. Rather than asking if a new idea is a good one, we ask whether it’d be better if some of the ideas we cling to were killed off. The episode is called “This Idea Must Die.” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) Read More »



The Maddest Men of All: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast


Our previous Freakonomics Radio episode, “Hacking the World Bank,” discussed how Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, is using the insights of behavioral economics to fight poverty. Kim acknowledged that non-profits like the World Bank are playing catch-up:

KIM: If you were to go to Ogilvy or any of the big public-relations companies and give them this [new World Bank report on behavioralism], I think they would laugh at us in the sense that they would have been utilizing these insights very aggressively for a very long time.

This week — voila! — we have a story about how Ogilvy (& Mather), the global marketing and advertising giant, is indeed pushing the limits on how behavioral insights can be applied in the real world. The episode is called “The Maddest Men of All.” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) Read More »



New Miracle Sleep Aid Discovered!

From a podcast listener named Jessica Graham in Sydney, Australia: My name is Jess and for most of my adult life I have been afflicted by various forms of sleeplessness. Would I call it insomnia? I don’t know if it could be classified as clinical insomnia, but all I can say is up until a […] Read More »



Hacking the World Bank: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast


Since its inception in 1944, the World Bank, a multilateral organization charged with financing the development of poor nations, has been led by macroeconomists, bankers, and government insiders. The White House’s 2012 nomination of President Jim Yong Kim – a physician, anthropologist, and academic who used to advocate dismantling the Bank — broke the mold. He is the focus of our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast, “Hacking the World Bank.” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

In less than three years, Kim has overhauled the Bank and laid out ambitious goals — including a 2030 deadline to rescue the more than 1 billion people who live in extreme poverty. Kim is also — along with the Bank’s chief economist Kaushik Basu — eager to apply the insights of behavioral economics to development policy. That is the focus of Kim’s conversation today with Stephen Dubner. Read More »