This week’s podcast is a rebroadcast of a show about all the ways that “Women Are Not Men.” (You can subscribe 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.) We take a look at the ways in which the gender gap is closing, and the ways in which it’s not. You’ll hear about the gender gap among editors of the world’s biggest encyclopedia, and what a study conducted in Tanzania and India has to say about female-male differences in competition. You’ll also hear about the female happiness paradox and one of the biggest gender gaps out there: crime. Which begs the question: if you’re rooting for women and men to become completely equal, should you root for women to commit more crimes?
Season 4, Episode 1
Women are different from men, by a lot, in some key areas. For example, data show that women don’t: drown, compete as hard, get struck by lightning, use the Internet, edit Wikipedia, engage in delinquent behavior, or file patents as much as men do – and these are just some of the examples. Another way women are different from men? They have made significant economic gains and yet they are less happy now than they were 30 years ago. So, how do we explain this paradox? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, Stephen Dubner looks at some of the ways that women are not men. Later in the hour, Dubner talks to Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker about his research on the history of violence. Pinker has a surprising and counterintuitive thesis: violence has declined and the world is a much more peaceful place than it has ever been.
Some big news: the White House has recently announced that the newest member of the Council of Economic Advisers will be my favorite economist, and a long-time friend of this blog, Betsey Stevenson. She’ll be joining Harvard’s Jim Stock and the newly announced CEA Chairman, Jason Furman on the three-member council, which serves as the President’s main source of advice on economic policy.
When I say that I’m thrilled about this news, I’m speaking not just as a dismal scientist, but also as Betsey’s co-author, colleague, co-parent and domestic partner. The CEA has a special role as a bridge between ivory tower academic economists and the levers of public policy. They’re our best hope for ensuring that the sharpest insights of economists can elbow past the political machinations that dominate D.C., and the list of past CEA members reads like a who’s who of the economics profession. And there’s never been a more important time to be working as a labor economist than during a period of mass unemployment.
Honestly, I’m about as proud as an economist is allowed to be. Read More »
Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast is called “Women Are Not Men.” (You can subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript below; it includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)
As Stephen Dubner says:
DUBNER: Equality of the sexes has long been a goal, and in many ways that goal is being met. But, as you’ll hear on this program, the variance between men and women on some dimensions is still large. … We’re not trying to start any arguments. We’re just trying to look at the data that show differences between men and women to figure out why those differences exist, and how meaningful they are.
The first story you’ll hear is about the gender gap among editors of the world’s biggest encyclopedia. Bourree Lam (the editor of this blog) looks at why only 16% of Wikipedia’s editors are female — which is puzzling in that women outnumber men on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even in online games.
Next, you’ll hear about female-male differences in competition. Economist Uri Gneezy and a group of researchers got to study competition in the Masai tribe in Tanzania (which is extremely patriarchal) and the Khasi tribe in India (one of the world’s few matrilineal societies). When it comes to competition, Gneezy says, nurture is key: Read More »
Season 3, Episode 4
Is a college diploma really worth the paper it’s printed on? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner breaks down the costs and benefits of going to college, especially during an economy that’s leaving a lot of people un- and underemployed. The data say that college graduates make a lot more money in the long run and enjoy a host of other benefits as well. But does that justify the time and money? We’ll hear from economists David Card, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers, as well as former Bush adviser Karl Rove, who made it to the White House without a college degree. Amherst College president Biddy Martin describes what an education provides beyond facts and figures, while Steve Levitt wonders if the students he teaches at the University of Chicago are actually learning anything. Finally, a former FBI agent tells us about the very robust market for fake diplomas. Read More »
Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast is called “Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 2.”
Part 1 explored the value of a college degree and the market for fake diplomas. This episode looks at tuition costs and also tries to figure out exactly how the college experience makes people so much better off.
While there are a lot of different voices in this episode, including current and recent college grads, the episode is also a bit heavy on economists (d’oh!), including: Read More »
If you follow the economic policy debate in the popular press, you would be excused for missing one of our best-kept secrets: There’s remarkable agreement among economists on most policy questions. Unfortunately, this consensus remains obscured by the two laws of punditry: First, for any issue, there’s always at least one idiot willing to claim the spotlight to argue for it; and second, that idiot may sound more respectable if he calls himself an economist.
How then can the quiet consensus compete with these squawking heads? A wonderful innovation run by Brian Barry and Anil Kashyap at the University of Chicago’s Booth School Initial on Global Markets provides one answer: Data. Their “Economic Experts Panel” involves 40 of the leading economists across the US who have agreed to respond on the economic policy question du jour. The panel involves a geographically and ideologically diverse array of leading economists working across different fields. The main thing that unites them is that they are outstanding economists who care about public policy. The most striking result is just how often even this very diverse group of economists agree, even when there’s stark disagreement in Washington.