“A Fascinating, Sexy, Intellectually Compelling, Unregulated Global Market.” (Ep. 484)

The art market is so opaque and illiquid that it barely functions like a market at all. A handful of big names get all the headlines (and most of the dollars). Beneath the surface is a tangled web of dealers, curators, auction houses, speculators — and, of course, artists. In the first episode of a three-part series, we meet the key players and learn how an obscure, long-dead American painter suddenly became a superstar. (Part 1 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”)

How Do You Cure a Compassion Crisis? (Ep. 444 Replay)

Patients in the U.S. healthcare system often feel they’re treated with a lack of empathy. Doctors and nurses have tragically high levels of burnout. Could fixing the first problem solve the second? And does the rest of society need more compassion too?

What’s Wrong With Shortcuts? (Ep. 483)

You know the saying: “There are no shortcuts in life.” What if that saying is just wrong? In his new book Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut in Math and Life, the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy argues that shortcuts can be applied to practically anything: music, psychotherapy, even politics. Our latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.

Is Venture Capital the Secret Sauce of the American Economy? (Ep. 482)

The U.S. is home to seven of the world’s 10 biggest companies. How did that happen? The answer may come down to two little letters: V.C. Is venture capital good for society, or does it just help the rich get richer? Stephen Dubner invests the time to find out.

Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than China? (Ep. 481)

A new book by an unorthodox political scientist argues that the two rivals have more in common than we’d like to admit. It’s just that most American corruption is essentially legal.

How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy? (Ep. 480)

Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940’s America (and pretty much everywhere else) shows that discrimination is incredibly costly — to the victims, of course, but also the perpetrators. One modern solution is to invoke a diversity mandate. But new research shows that’s not necessarily the answer.

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting: 10 Years Later (Ep. 479)

In one of the earliest Freakonomics Radio episodes (No. 39!), we asked a bunch of economists with young kids how they approached child-rearing. Now the kids are old enough to talk — and they have a lot to say. We hear about nature vs. nurture, capitalism vs. Marxism, and why you sometimes don’t tell your friends that your father is an economist.

How Can We Break Our Addiction to Contempt? (Ep. 478)

Arthur Brooks is an economist who for 10 years ran the American Enterprise Institute, one of the most influential conservative think tanks in the world. He has come to believe there is only one weapon that can defeat our extreme political polarization: love. Is Brooks a fool for thinking this — and are you perhaps his kind of fool?

Why Is U.S. Media So Negative? (Ep. 477)

Breaking news! Sources say American journalism exploits our negativity bias to maximize profits, and social media algorithms add fuel to the fire. Stephen Dubner investigates.

That’s a Great Question! (Ep. 192 Rebroadcast)

Verbal tic or strategic rejoinder? Whatever the case: it’s rare to come across an interview these days where at least one question isn’t a “great” one.