She’s From the Government, and She’s Here to Help (Ep. 466)

Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, is as cold-blooded as any economist. But she admits that her profession would do well to focus on policy that actually helps people. Rouse explains why President Biden wants to spend trillions of dollars to reshape the economy, and why — as the first Black chair of the C.E.A. — she has a good idea of what needs fixing.

Introducing a New “Freakonomics of Medicine” Podcast (Ep. 465)

Bapu Jena was already a double threat: a doctor who’s also an economist. Now he’s a podcast host too. In this sneak preview of the Freakonomics Radio Network’s newest show, Bapu discovers that marathons can be deadly — but not for the reasons you may think.

Will Work-from-Home Work Forever? (Ep. 464)

The pandemic may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean we’ll return to full-time commuting and packed office buildings. The greatest accidental experiment in the history of labor has lessons to teach us about productivity, flexibility, and even reversing the brain drain. But don’t buy another dozen pairs of sweatpants just yet.

How to Get Anyone to Do Anything (Ep. 463)

The social psychologist Robert Cialdini is a pioneer in the science of persuasion. His 1984 book Influence is a classic, and he has just published an expanded and revised edition. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, he gives a master class in the seven psychological levers that bewitch our rational minds and lead us to buy, behave, or believe without a second thought.

These Shoes Are Killing Me! (Ep. 296 Rebroadcast)

The human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece, far more functional than we give it credit for. So why do we encase it in “a coffin” (as one foot scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability — and may create more problems than it solves?

The Future of New York City Is in Question. Could Andrew Yang Be the Answer? (Ep. 462)

The man who wants America to “think harder” has parlayed his quixotic presidential campaign into front-runner status in New York’s mayoral election. And he has some big plans.

How to Stop Worrying and Love the Robot Apocalypse (Ep. 461)

It’s true that robots (and other smart technologies) will kill many jobs. It may also be true that newer collaborative robots (“cobots”) will totally reinvigorate how work gets done. That, at least, is what the economists are telling us. Should we believe them?

The True Story of the Minimum-Wage Fight (Ep. 460)

Backers of a $15 federal wage say it’s a no-brainer if you want to fight poverty. Critics say it’s a blunt instrument that leads to job loss. Even the economists can’t agree! We talk to a bunch of them — and a U.S. Senator — to sort it out, and learn there’s a much bigger problem to worry about.

Let’s Be Blunt: Marijuana Is a Boon for Older Workers (Ep. 459)

The state-by-state rollout of legalized weed has given economists a perfect natural experiment to measure its effects. Here’s what we know so far — and don’t know — about the costs and benefits of legalization.

Is Dialysis a Test Case of Medicare for All? (Ep. 457)

Kidney failure is such a catastrophic (and expensive) disease that Medicare covers treatment for anyone, regardless of age. Since Medicare reimbursement rates are fairly low, the dialysis industry had to find a way to tweak the system if they wanted to make big profits. They succeeded.