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.

Is It Okay for Restaurants to Racially Profile Their Employees?

Season 6, Episode 5 This week on Freakonomics Radio:  We seem to have decided that ethnic food tastes better when it’s served by people of that ethnicity (or at least something close). Does this make sense — and is it legal? Host Stephen Dubner speaks with the owners of Elizabeth’s Neighborhood Table, which serves “thoughtful […]

The Harvard President Will See You Now

Season 6, Episode 4 This week on Freakonomics Radio: an in-depth interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, who was installed as the president of Harvard University in 2007. Stephen Dubner explores how a (self-described) “pain-in-the-neck” little girl from rural Virginia came to run the most powerful university in the world. Plus, what is the true value these days of […]

Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush (Rebroadcast)

The comedian, actor -- and now, author -- answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions

This Idea Must Die (Rebroadcast)

This week on Freakonomics Radio, we draw from the fascinating book This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress, put together by the group Edge.org, that asks its salon of big thinkers to answer one big question. And the question this time: what scientific idea is ready for retirement?

Why Do We Really Follow the News?

On Freakonomics Radio this week, we dare to ask whether civics class answers for why we pay attention to the news are really true. Could it be that we read about war, politics, etc. simply because it’s (gasp) entertaining?

This Idea Must Die

Season 5, Episode 5

In this week's episode of Freakonomics Radio, we first explore whether some of the scientific ideas we cling to should be killed off; and then Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt answer some listener questions.

The gist: Every year, Edge.org asks its salon of big thinkers to answer one big question. In 2014, the question bordered on heresy: what scientific idea is ready for retirement? Experts weigh in. And then Dubner and Levitt talk about fixing the post office, putting cameras in the classroom, and wearing hats.

How to Think Like a Freak — and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Our latest podcast is called "How to Think Like a Freak -- and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions."  (You can subscribe to the podcast at  iTunes, 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.) In it, we talk about the imminent release of our new book, Think Like a Freak, and field reader questions about prestige, university life, and (yum yum) bacon. Along the way, we touch upon Michelangelo, George Bernard Shaw, and Steve Levitt's deep disdain of book tours:

LEVITT: I don’t know why but there’s something about book tours, which undo me. I just become dark.

Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Our latest podcast is called “Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions.” (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player in the post. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.) Once again, Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt take questions from you, our readers and listeners. 

In this installment, Joseph Fogan wants to know about the hidden costs of the war on drugs. The latest Gallup poll shows that 58 percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization (compared to just 12 percent in 1969). Are we really ready to legalize drugs in more than just a few states? And if the answer is yes, what will police do all day?