In Praise of Incrementalism

Season 6, Episode 20  On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: what do the Italian Renaissance, Olympic cycling, and civil rights movements have in common? In each case, huge breakthroughs came from taking tiny steps. In a world where everyone is looking for the next moonshot, Stephen J. Dubner argues that we shouldn’t ignore the power of incrementalism. […]

In Praise of Maintenance

Season 6, Episode 19 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Our society is obsessed with innovation, which has a pretty high cost. Stephen J. Dubner got obsessed with the notion of maintenance, and talks about why it isn’t the enemy of innovation, but rather the saving grace of American infrastructure. Speaking of things that need taking care of, […]

Trust Me

Season 6, Episode 15 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades — in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it? Plus: Some of our most […]

Trust Me

Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades -- in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it?

In Praise of Incrementalism

What do Renaissance painting, civil-rights movements, and Olympic cycling have in common? In each case, huge breakthroughs came from taking tiny steps. In a world where everyone is looking for the next moonshot, we shouldn’t ignore the power of incrementalism.

In Praise of Maintenance

Has our culture’s obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?

“If Mayors Ruled the World”

Season 5, Episode 30 This week, Freakonomics Radio expands on an idea from political theorist Benjamin Barber, who wrote If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities. Barber argues that cities are paragons of good governance — compared, at least, to nation-states — and that is largely due to their mayors. Mayors, Barber argues, are can-do people […]

The Perfect Crime

Season 5, Episode 25

This week on Freakonomics Radio, 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?

Also, where have all the hitchhikers gone? Thumbing a ride used to be commonplace. Now you're more likely to see it happen in the opening scene of a slasher movie. Maybe that explains it.

Could the Next Brooklyn Be … Las Vegas?! A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called “Could the Next Brooklyn Be ... Las Vegas?!" (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.) The gist: Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has a wild vision and the dollars to try to make it real. But it still might be the biggest gamble in town.

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.

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