Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 2: Digital) (Ep. 441)

Google and Facebook are worth a combined $2 trillion, with the vast majority of their revenue coming from advertising. In our previous episode, we learned that TV advertising is much less effective than the industry says. Is digital any better? Some say yes, some say no — and some say we’re in a full-blown digital-ad bubble.

Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 1: TV) (Ep. 440)

Companies around the world spend more than half-a-trillion dollars each year on ads. The ad industry swears by its efficacy — but a massive new study tells a different story.

Please Get Your Noise Out of My Ears (Ep. 439)

The modern world overwhelms us with sounds we didn’t ask for, like car alarms and cell-phone “halfalogues.” What does all this noise cost us in terms of productivity, health, and basic sanity?

How to Succeed by Being Authentic (Hint: Carefully) (Ep. 438)

John Mackey, the C.E.O. of Whole Foods, has learned the perils of speaking his mind. But he still says what he thinks about everything from “conscious leadership” to the behavioral roots of the obesity epidemic. He also argues for a style of capitalism and politics that at this moment seems like a fantasy. What does he know that we don’t?

Many Businesses Thought They Were Insured for a Pandemic. They Weren’t. (Ep. 437)

A fine reading of most policies for “business interruption” reveals that viral outbreaks aren’t covered. Some legislators are demanding that insurance firms pay up anyway. Is it time to rethink insurance entirely?

Forget Everything You Know About Your Dog (Ep. 436)

As beloved and familiar as they are, we rarely stop to consider life from the dog’s point of view. That stops now. In this latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, we discuss Inside of a Dog with the cognitive scientist (and dog devotee) Alexandra Horowitz.

Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive? (Ep. 435)

It isn’t just supply and demand. We look at the complicated history and skewed incentives that make “affordable housing” more punch line than reality in cities from New York and San Francisco to Flint, Michigan (!).

Is New York City Over? (Ep. 434)

The pandemic has hit America's biggest city particularly hard. Amidst a deep fiscal hole, rising homicides, and a flight to the suburbs, some people think the city is heading back to the bad old 1970s. We look at the history — and the data — to see why that’s probably not the case.

How Are Psychedelics and Other Party Drugs Changing Psychiatry? (Ep. 433)

Three leading researchers from the Mount Sinai Health System discuss how ketamine, cannabis, and ecstasy are being used (or studied) to treat everything from severe depression to addiction to PTSD. We discuss the upsides, downsides, and regulatory puzzles.

When Your Safety Becomes My Danger (Ep. 432)

The families of U.S. troops killed and wounded in Afghanistan are suing several companies that did reconstruction there. Why? These companies, they say, paid the Taliban protection money, which gave them the funding — and opportunity — to attack U.S. soldiers instead. A look at the messy, complicated, and heart-breaking tradeoffs of conflict-zone economies.