Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others?

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. An all-star team of academic researchers thinks it has the solution: perfecting the science of behavior change. Will it work?

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, […]

Think Like A Child (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 7 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Why would anyone want to think like a child? Aren’t kids just sloppy, inchoate versions of us? Hardly. As Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt describe in their book Think Like a Freak, it can be very fruitful to think like a child. And then, how can we […]

Think Like a Child

Season 5, Episode 14

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Why would anyone want to think like a child? Aren’t kids just sloppy, inchoate versions of us? Hardly. As Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt describe in their book Think Like a Freak, it can be very fruitful like a child.

And then: How can we get kids to eat healthier food? Educational messaging sounds like a good idea, but kids don’t respond to it. So why not bribe them?

How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?

Season 5, Episode 3

In part one ("How Many Doctors Does It Take to Start a Healthcare Revolution?”), we continue conversations from last week's episode ("How Do We Know What Really Works in Healthcare?”). Anupam Jena, a physician, economist, and professor at Harvard Medical School, told us last week about his study that shows mortality rates improve when cardiologists are away at medical conferences. One possible explanation for his results, Jena says, is that many procedures, although highly effective, aren't better than doing nothing in certain cases.

How to Make People Quit Smoking: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Our latest Freakonomics Radio episode is called "How to Make People Quit Smoking." (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.) The gist: the war on cigarettes has been fairly successful in some places. But 1 billion humans still smoke -- so what comes next?

In the U.S., roughly 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit. But when they try, some 90 percent of them fail. So what does get people to smoke less? Something must be working: the smoking rate in the U.S. has fallen by more than half.

Kenneth Warner, an economist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, has been doing tobacco-policy research since the 1970’s. One of the most powerful smoking deterrents, he says, is making cigarettes more expensive.

The Economics of Trash

This week's Freakonomics Radio podcast (you can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed or listen live via the link in box at right) is about one of our favorite topics: trash. We explore the economics thereof, and the emotions too.