How to Think About Sex? A Freakonomics Quorum

Photo: Mai Le When it comes to sex, some things change (internet pornography and contraception) while others stay the same (political scandals and teen pregnancy). The externalities of sex, positive and negative, are so strong that some people even have wondered if a sex tax is a good idea, or wished at the very least […]

What’s Your Best Idea to Cut Gun Deaths? A Freakonomics Quorum

Photo: Secretly Ironic Are there more guns in the U.S. or more opinions about guns? Hard to say. This blog has featured a variety of posts about guns in the past; today we present a quorum with a very narrow focus: what are some good ideas to cut gun deaths? Let’s put aside for a […]

What Is the Future of Suburbia? A Freakonomics Quorum

Photo: Peter Katz On a forum at the Chicago outpost of, a certain JohnDoe2008 asked suburbanites: Why do you like suburbs over [the] city? Be honest please, I never understood it, still don’t. I might have serious problems, because I hate even looking at pictures of suburbs. Respondents cited backyards, quiet and cheap living, […]

What Happened To Boxing’s Golden Age? A Freakonomics Quorum

Bruce Silverglade at Gleason’s Gym, Brooklyn, NY Sports fan or not, chances are you’ve heard of Sugar Ray Robinson, George Foreman, and Rocky Marciano. But unless you follow boxing, you probably haven’t heard of Antonio Margarito, who recently beat Miguel Cotto to become a three-time welterweight champion. This disparity may explain why boxing isn’t as […]

How Much Do Looks Matter? A Freakonomics Quorum

We’ve written before about various “beauty premiums”: the advantages gained in the marketplace by people who are better looking, taller, or have better teeth than the average person. Empiricism and theory have their place, of course, but we decided to ask some real people to discuss how much looks really matter. Here are their answers; […]

How Are You Fighting Global Warming? A Freakonomics Quorum

Whenever the subject of global warming comes up on this blog, readers have plenty to say. There are a lot of things to think about, of course, including the effectiveness (or lack thereof?) of carbon taxes; the environmental impact of a global food market; even whether it’s greener to drive than walk. For the average […]

Ask a Construction Worker: A Freakonomics Quorum

Safety is an all-too-familiar issue in the construction industry — workers in Las Vegas are striking over it; in April, New York’s building commissioner resigned in light of more than 26 construction worker deaths in the city this year. As for the two recent crane collapses in New York, Patrick Crean, a construction worker at […]

How Can We Measure Innovation? A Freakonomics Quorum

There’s one theme that we’ve touched on repeatedly in our Times columns and on this blog, and which we’ll devote considerable space to in SuperFreakonomics: how technological innovation and robust markets tend to fix a lot of problems that seem unsolvable. In the business community, “innovation” is a buzzword of the highest order (so high, […]

Bring Your Questions for Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich

Robert Reich Robert Reich, perhaps best known as labor secretary under Bill Clinton, recently announced his endorsement of Barack Obama. He explains his decision on his blog. Reich has served in three national administrations, and implemented the Family and Medical Leave Act while he was labor secretary. He was awarded the Vaclev Havel Foundation Prize […]

How Much Progress Have Psychology and Psychiatry Really Made? A Freakonomics Quorum

The debate about the effectiveness and safety of psychiatric drugs rambles on while new (if not conclusive) psychological studies come out with the frequency of fad diets. We invited some people who think a lot about such issues — David B. Baker, John Medina, Dan Ariely, Satoshi Kanazawa, Peter D. Kramer, and Laurie Schwartz — […]