What Does COVID-19 Mean for Cities (and Marriages)? (Ep. 410)

There are a lot of upsides to urban density — but viral contagion is not one of them. Also: a nationwide lockdown will show if familiarity really breeds contempt. And: how to help your neighbor.

The Side Effects of Social Distancing (Ep. 409)

In just a few weeks, the novel coronavirus has undone a century’s worth of our economic and social habits. What consequences will this have on our future — and is there a silver lining in this very black pandemic cloud?

Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work (Ep. 373 Rebroadcast)

As cities become ever-more expensive, politicians and housing advocates keep calling for rent control. Economists think that’s a terrible idea. They say it helps a small (albeit noisy) group of renters, but keeps overall rents artificially high by disincentivizing new construction. So what happens next?

See a random post from our archives:
10 03 2011

School Bus Ads: Good Use of Space, or Crass Commercialization?

Photo: LaurelRusswurm
Facing a combined budget deficit of more than $100 billion for fiscal year 2012, a lot of states are cutting education budgets to make ends meet: laying off teachers, reducing hours and services. But recently, a handful of states have found a creative way to raise revenue from public education...

Does Anyone Really Know What Socialism Is? (Ep. 408)

Trump says it would destroy us. Sanders says it will save us. The majority of millennials would like it to replace capitalism. But what is “it”? We bring in the economists to sort things out and tell us what the U.S. can learn from the good (and bad) experiences of other (supposedly) socialist countries.

Is There Really a “Loneliness Epidemic”? (Ep. 407)

That’s what some health officials are saying, but the data aren’t so clear. We look into what’s known (and not known) about the prevalence and effects of loneliness — including the possible upsides.

Can You Hear Me Now? (Ep. 406)

When he became chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announced that he was going to take a “weed whacker” to Obama-era regulations. So far, he’s kept his promise, and earned the internet’s ire for reversing the agency’s position on net neutrality. Pai defends his actions and explains how the U.S. can “win” everything from the 5G race to the war on robocalls.

Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet) (Ep. 405)

Why do so many promising solutions — in education, medicine, criminal justice, etc. — fail to scale up into great policy? And can a new breed of “implementation scientists” crack the code?

Does the President Matter as Much as You Think? (Ep. 404)

We asked this same question nearly a decade ago. The answer then: probably not. But a lot has changed since then, and we’re three years into one of the most anomalous presidencies in American history. So once again we try to sort out presidential signal from noise. What we hear from legal and policy experts may leave you surprised, befuddled — and maybe infuriated.

How the San Francisco 49ers Stopped Being Losers (Ep. 350 Update)

One of the most storied (and valuable) sports franchises in the world had fallen far. So they decided to do a full reboot — and it worked: this week, they are headed back to the Super Bowl. Before the 2018 season, we sat down with the team’s owner, head coach, general manager, and players as they were plotting their turnaround. Here’s an update of that episode.

The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: “It’s Not a Death Sentence” (Ep. 403)

One prescription drug is keeping some addicts from dying. So why isn’t it more widespread? A story of regulation, stigma, and the potentially fatal faith in abstinence.

The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: “We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation” (Ep. 402)

How pharma greed, government subsidies, and a push to make pain the “fifth vital sign” kicked off a crisis that costs $80 billion a year and has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.