Who Decides How Much a Life Is Worth?

Season 8, Episode 14 After every mass shooting or terrorist attack, victims and survivors receive a huge outpouring of support — including a massive pool of compensation money. How should that money be allocated? Stephen J. Dubner speaks with the man who’s done that job after many tragedies, including 9/11. The hard part, it turns […]

How to Be Happy

Season 8, Episode 13 The U.N.’s World Happiness Report — created to curtail our unhealthy obsession with G.D.P. — is dominated every year by the Nordic countries. We head to Denmark to learn the secrets of this happiness epidemic (and to see if we should steal them). Also, Kenji Lopez-Alt became a rock star of […]

Are We Running Out of Ideas? (Rebroadcast)

Season 8, Episode 12 Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. This week on Freakonomics Radio, Stephen J. Dubner examines one theory: that true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next? Also, Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answers your questions about highway-merging, […]

Can an Industrial Giant Become a Tech Darling?

Season 8, Episode 11 The Ford Motor Company is ditching its legacy sedans, doubling down on trucks, and trying to steer its stock price out of a long skid. But C.E.O. Jim Hackett has even bigger plans: to turn a century-old automaker into the nucleus of a “transportation operating system.” Is Hackett just whistling past […]

America’s Hidden Duopoly

Season 8, Episode 10 We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it? To find […]

How to Optimize Your Apology

Season 8, Episode 9 You said, “I’m sorry,” but somehow you haven’t been forgiven. Why? Because you’re doing it wrong! A report from the front lines of apology science. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Is the Government More Entrepreneurial Than You Think?” and “How to Optimize […]

Can This Man Stop a Trade War?

Season 8, Episode 8 The World Trade Organization is the referee for 164 trading partners, each with their own political and economic agendas. Lately, those agendas have gotten more complicated — especially with President Trump’s tariff blitz. Roberto Azevêdo, head of the W.T.O., tells Stephen J. Dubner why it’s so hard to balance protectionism and […]

Why We Choke Under Pressure (and How Not To)

Season 8, Episode 7 It happens to just about everyone, whether you’re going for Olympic gold or giving a wedding toast. Stephen J. Dubner talks to psychologists, economists, and the golfer who some say committed the greatest choke of all time. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Why […]

How to Build a Smart City

Season 8, Episode 6 We are in the midst of a historic (and wholly unpredicted) rise in urbanization. But it’s hard to retrofit old cities for the 21st century. Enter Dan Doctoroff. The man who helped modernize New York City — and tried to bring the Olympics there — is now C.E.O. of a Google-funded […]

Here’s Why You’re Not an Elite Athlete

Season 8, Episode 5 There are a lot of factors that go into greatness, many of which are not obvious. A variety of Olympic and professional athletes tell us how they made it and what they sacrificed to get there. And if you can identify the sport most likely to get a kid into a […]