“How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?”

John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. simultaneously getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain damage, he abruptly retired. Here’s the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions in the face of risk versus uncertainty.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask)

The bad news: roughly 70 percent of Americans are financially illiterate. The good news: all the important stuff can fit on one index card. Here’s how to become your own financial superhero.

When Helping Hurts

Season 6, Episode 47 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner investigates one of the most fascinating and troubling research findings in the history of social science. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “When Helping Hurts.” You can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast at Apple […]

Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?

Season 6, Episode 46 This week on Freakonomics Radio: a series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It’s an easy narrative to swallow. But, Stephen J. Dubner asks, is it true? Plus: a lot of ideas about how to successfully raise money — using good old-fashioned guilt, for instance. […]

When Helping Hurts

Good intentions are nice, but with so many resources poured into social programs, wouldn’t it be even nicer to know what actually works?

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?

He’s One of the Most Famous Political Operatives in America. America Just Doesn’t Know It Yet.

Steve Hilton was the man behind David Cameron’s push to remake British politics. Things didn’t work out so well there. Now he’s trying to launch a new political revolution — from sunny California.

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 […]

Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?

A series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It’s an easy narrative to swallow — but is it true? A trio of economists set out to test the theory. All it took was a Dutch postal worker’s uniform, some envelopes stuffed with cash, and a slight sense of the absurd.