What Are Your Favorite Freakonomics.com Blog Posts of All Time?

We are starting to put together an anthology of posts from this blog, which we began in 2005, just before the publication of Freakonomics. It is a lot of fun going through the archives — more than 8,000 posts! — but also a bit overwhelming.

Are you willing to help? Whether you are a longtime reader or a new one, please tell us (in the comments section below) any blog posts that you think should be included (or that shouldn’t be). Maybe it was a post you loved … or hated … or something that changed the way you think … or gave you a good idea. Maybe it was simply something that was memorable for reasons you don’t understand.

Don’t feel that you need to troll through the archives as I’m doing, although you are certainly welcome to!

Many thanks.


The post about online dating. I'm a well-educated & successful single woman. In the online dating world I just wasn't getting as many messages as friends. After your post (where I learned that education beyond college & high earnings relative to men can work against women online dating) I removed my occupation & salary... voila! The messages were rolling in!


Why, this post (asking about best posts) of course.


Wolfers' series on income and happiness pierces conventional wisdom with counter-intuitive and fact-based analysis. In other words, it's the epitome of what a good freakonomics post is.


James H

Commenting on a comment. Reminds me that context matters. It still gives me a chuckle, 7 years later.


I've cited this post more than any others.

Lili Torok

Hi, most of your podcasts are very good, I especially loved the ones on online dating, and on whether an unconditional cash transfer would improve lives. The one on efficient exercise is one of the less fortunate ones.


I liked the podcast on guns in America where the conclusion was that nothing will change despite all the mass shootings. That was spot on and nothing has changed.


You should NOT include the post "Is Learning a Foreign Language Really Worth It?"

First, the title of your post should be "Is Learning a Foreign Language (In America) Really Worth It?" which Dubner, Saiz and Caplan all distinguish in the article.

I read Albert Saiz’s paper (not carefully) and only two percent of individuals in their data sample speak Chinese, and it was not even clarified if this was Mandarin or a dialect such as Cantonese. Saiz had some data that suggests different second languages have different economic returners, but here was no data on the correlation between speaking Chinese and income, perhaps because of the lack of data.

Your article rightfully points out that the school system is inefficient at teaching a second language, but that does not indicate that learning a second language is a waste of time, but rather schools need to change their methods, or language learning should not be emphasized in a normal curriculum, which was more or less pointed out by Caplan.

Also, there was no study presented in the article exploring whether or not becoming fluent (not just studying a bit) a second language enriched people’s personal life.


Felipe Araujo

I loved the post in which Levitt replied to the argument that driving drunk was actually more dangerous than walking drunk on a per-minute-doing-it basis. He mentioned that occasionally people would write him arguing that. I had e-mailed him the day before he wrote his response.


I would like to know what happens with that girl which levitt tell can't get a boyfriend


Have you ever been to the gambling hotels in Atlantic City or Resorts in Queens? Have you ever noticed the number of people with arthritis? I wonder whether there is a connection between gambling and arthritis? :))

caleb b

the one about conspicuous conservation - because it reinforced my idea that folks "care" about the environment as long as it is convenient or they can brag about it. No one ever uses cloth diapers and fails to tell everyone they've ever known that they are using cloth diapers. The Prius Effect just helped confirmed something that i had already suspected.

Someone recently had a pretty funny comment: "If you've run a marathon, are a vegan, or climbed some major mountain, how do you decide what you are going to force into the conversation first?"

Steve Nations

I like posts about unintended consequences. The Cobra Effect, et. al. One of my favorites is a little post from 2009 titled "More Money, More Fishing" regarding fishing and coconut harvesting on the island of Kiribati. My hope for humanity is that more people understand that unintended consequences are rampant in our world.

Steve Nations

Another great post is "When You're Paying Per Bone Fragment, Expect More Fragments"


The piece on watching The Wire with "real thugs."

Levitt's post about his sister.

Nils Headley

As a high Statistics and Econ teacher I really enjoy the podcasts and they are a great source of inspiration for lessons. THANKS!

My favorites have to be the one on parenting and cultural loading AND the one on quitting.

Lastly, I have shared your coin flip method of decision making with students who are conflicted about which college to attend.

Nils H

Whoops! I meant to type "high SCHOOL teacher".


My favorites have to be:

The Power of Poop

Another batch of poop loving doctors


My favourite is an Economists Guide to Parenting. I have saved it on my phone for future reference.
My least favourite, by a very long way, was the one about Dubner's childhood house: his umbrage that someone should be carrying on what he considers a morally dubious business in his childhood home was ridiculous; a total non-story.


I'm not going to play favorites, but I much prefer it when you choose stories about marginal economies - those that many of us never encounter, and surely most of us don't know how effect our work-a-day financial lives.

I would like you to do more of these. The dirtier the better.