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 […]

Hoopers! Hoopers! Hoopers!

As CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer was famous for over-the-top enthusiasm. Now he’s brought that same passion to the N.B.A. — and to a pet project called USAFacts, which performs a sort of fiscal colonoscopy on the American government.

Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?

Season 5, Episode 26

This week on Freakonomics Radio: critics — including President Obama — say short-term, high-interest loans are predatory, trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. But some economists see them as a useful, if expensive, financial instrument for people who might otherwise not have access to cash. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau promotes new regulation, we ask: who’s right?

To learn more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Are Payday Loans Really as Evil as People Say?"

Could a Lottery Be the Answer to America’s Poor Savings Rate?

The Gates Foundation has just pledged $500 million to a cause that seems quite different from typical problems like disease, famine or illiteracy. That $500 million is going to help poor people learn to save money.