What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common? A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast
This week’s podcast is a rebroadcast of our episode called “What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common?” (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)
The episode is about spite. As in “cutting off your nose to spite your face” spite. Lisi Oliver, a linguist at Louisiana State University, tells us about the probable origin of this phrase. You’ll also hear Bo Jackson talk about a costly decision he once made that most people would certainly think of as spiteful — and from Dave O’Connor, executive producer of the documentary film You Don’t Know Bo. The economist Benedikt Herrmann tries to measure spite in the lab (papers are here, here and here).
Why are people willing to hurt others even when it is costly to themselves?
Steve Levitt warns that the real world is more complicated than any lab — and wonders, therefore, if pure spite even exists.