When the White House Got Into the Nudge Business

Season 7, Episode 6 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a tiny behavioral-sciences startup in the Obama White House tried to improve the way federal agencies did their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, it wasn’t so simple. Plus: a terrorism summit. Stephen Dubner reviews what we do and don’t know about terrorism; what’s […]

Evolution, Accelerated

Season 6, Episode 45 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner explores a breakthrough in genetic technology that has given humans more power than ever to change nature. So what happens next? Plus: some of the hoops we jump through to get ahead are poorly designed for girls and women. Behavioral economics could help change that. […]

How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?

Season 6, Episode 44 This week on Freakonomics Radio: why are we so obsessed with lawns? Plus: Stephen J. Dubner talks to the British political operative trying to launch the United States’s next political revolution. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?” and […]

The Fracking Boom, a Baby Boom, and the Retreat From Marriage

Over 40 percent of U.S. births are to unmarried mothers, and the numbers are especially high among the less-educated. Why? One argument is that the decline in good manufacturing jobs led to a decline in “marriageable” men. Surely the fracking boom reversed that trend, right?

Food + Science = Victory!

Season 6, Episode 43 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a full menu of goodies. First up: a nutrition detective. And then, Stephen J. Dubner explores the war on sugar. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Food + Science = Victory!” and “There’s A War On Sugar. Is It Justified?” […]

How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google)

Season 6, Episode 41 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner talks about what gossip is and isn’t; about the characteristics of the people who produce and consume gossip; and about the functions of gossip, good and bad. Plus: what do our online searches say about our true selves? In the real world, everybody lies. […]

The Health of Nations

Season 6, Episode 41 This week on Freakonomics Radio: for decades, G.D.P. has been a standard way of measuring living standards around the world. Martha Nussbaum tells Stephen J. Dubner that she’d rather use some better data. Plus: Steve Ballmer wants to know how the U.S. government actually using its G.D.P. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which […]

Why Cities Rock

Season 6, Episode 39 This week on Freakonomics Radio: could it be that cities are humanity’s greatest invention? Is it possible that, despite their reputation as soot-spewing engines of doom, they make us richer, smarter, happier and (gulp) greener? Plus: Stephen Dubner speaks with Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles. To find out more, check […]

How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?

Nearly two percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, environmental and otherwise — worth the benefits?

Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others?

Season 6, Episode 38 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the biggest problem with humanity is humans themselves. Too often, we make choices — what we eat, how we spend our money and time — that undermine our well-being. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “How can we stop?” And this radio hour has two answers: think small, and make behavior […]