Perfection: TMSIDK Episode 7

In 1921, Congress considered a bill that would add a 13th month called Vern. The goal was to create a year with 13 identical months of exactly four weeks (28 days). We would have a perfectly fixed calendar — every date of every month would fall on the exact same day of the week. Always. […]

Is the American Dream Really Dead?

Season 6, Episode 24 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner asks, “Is the American Dream Really Dead?” For years, the U.S. government has been trying to make the American Dream a reality. So how successful have these efforts been? Plus: has China eaten all of America’s jobs? To find out more, check out the podcasts […]

Professor Hendryx vs. Big Coal

What happens when a public-health researcher deep in coal country argues that mountaintop mining endangers the entire community? Hint: it doesn’t go very well.

What You Don’t Know About Online Dating

Season 6, Episode 23 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: an economist’s guide to dating online. PJ Vogt bravely lets us evaluate his OkCupid account, and we teach him how to game the algorithms. Plus: Stephen J. Dubner on the state of the marriage union. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: […]

Trevor Noah Has a Lot to Say

Season 6, Episode 21 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner sits down with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah to discuss being born a crime in apartheid South Africa, the subject of Noah’s new memoir. The comedian has a sui generis view of American politics, customs, and obsessions. Plus: who are the most successful […]

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, […]

The Economics of Sleep, Part 2 (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 17 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: we continue last week’s conversation about the economics of sleep. We look at some research suggesting, for instance, that early birds really do get the worm. And then we look into the tactics — physical, mental, and strategic — of  six-time hot dog-eating champion Takeru […]

The Economics of Sleep, Part 1 (Rebroadcast)

Season 6, Episode 16 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: poor sleep can impair our cognitive function; sleep loss has been linked to adverse physical outcomes like weight gain and, increasingly, more serious maladies; and the Centers for Disease Control recently declared insufficient sleep a “public-health epidemic.” So are we treating the problem as […]

Who Needs Handwriting?

Season 6, Episode 14 This week on Freakonomics Radio: The digital age is making pen and paper seem obsolete. But what are we giving up if we give up on handwriting? A famous economics essay features a pencil (yes, a pencil) arguing that “not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to […]