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Stephen J. Dubner

What Is the Future of College — and Does It Have Room for Men?

Educators and economists tell us all the reasons college enrollment has been dropping, especially for men, and how to stop the bleeding. (Part 4 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

5/18/22
53:32

Season 11, Episode 37

America’s top colleges are facing record demand. So why don’t they increase supply? (Part 2 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

5/12/22
50:30

Abortion and Crime, Revisited (Update)

As the Supreme Court considers overturning Roe v. Wade, we look back at Steve Levitt’s controversial research on an unintended consequence of the 1973 ruling.

5/11/22
61:17

Season 11, Episode 36

We think of them as intellectual enclaves and the surest route to a better life. But U.S. colleges also operate like firms, trying to differentiate their products to win market share and prestige points. In the first episode of a special series, we ask what our chaotic system gets right — and wrong. (Part 1 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

5/5/22
50:30

“I Don’t Think the Country Is Turning Away From College.”

Enrollment is down for the first time in memory, and critics complain college is too expensive, too elitist, and too politicized. The economist Chris Paxson — who happens to be the president of Brown University — does not agree.

5/4/22
47:58

Season 11, Episode 35

The political scientist Yuen Yuen Ang argues that different forms of government create different styles of corruption. The U.S. and China have more in common than we’d like to admit — but Russia is a different story, which could explain its willingness to invade Ukraine.

4/28/22
50:30

The University of Impossible-to-Get-Into

America’s top colleges are facing record demand. So why don’t they increase supply? (Part 2 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

4/27/22
62:49

Season 11, Episode 34

Nearly 2 percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, environmental and otherwise — worth the benefits?

4/21/22
50:30

What Exactly Is College For?

We think of them as intellectual enclaves and the surest route to a better life. But U.S. colleges also operate like firms, trying to differentiate their products to win market share and prestige points. In the first episode of a special series, we ask what our chaotic system gets right — and wrong.

4/20/22
49:47

Season 11, Episode 33

The British art superstar Flora Yukhnovich, the Freakonomist Steve Levitt, and the upstart American Basketball Association were all unafraid to follow their joy — despite sneers from the Establishment. Should we all be more willing to embrace the déclassé?

4/14/22

Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than China — and How About Russia? (Update)

The political scientist Yuen Yuen Ang argues that different forms of government create different styles of corruption. The U.S. and China have more in common than we’d like to admit — but Russia is a different story, which could explain its willingness to invade Ukraine.

4/13/22
70:09

Season 11, Episode 32

After a huge false start, electric cars are finally about to flourish. We speak with a technology historian about this all-too-common story, and what it means for innovation everywhere.

4/7/22

Don’t Worry, Be Tacky

The British art superstar Flora Yukhnovich, the Freakonomist Steve Levitt, and the upstart American Basketball Association were all unafraid to follow their joy — despite sneers from the Establishment. Should we all be more willing to embrace the déclassé?

4/6/22
39:57

Season 11, Episode 31

Every year, there are more than a million collisions in the U.S. between drivers and deer. The result: hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and billions in damages. Enter the wolf …

3/31/22

In the 1890s, the Best-Selling Car Was … Electric

After a huge false start, electric cars are finally about to flourish. We speak with a technology historian about this all-too-common story, and what it means for innovation everywhere.

3/30/22
46:20

Season 11, Episode 30

Organized labor hasn’t had this much public support in 50 years, and yet the percentage of Americans in a union is near a record low. A.F.L-C.I.O. president Liz Shuler tries to explain this gap — and persuade Stephen Dubner that “the folks who brought you the weekend” still have the leverage to fix a broken economy.

3/24/22

Can the Big Bad Wolf Save Your Life?

Every year, there are more than a million collisions in the U.S. between drivers and deer. The result: hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and billions in damages. Enter the wolf …

3/23/22
49:00

Season 11, Episode 29

People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers — and why that’s unlikely to change.

3/17/22

How to Change Your Mind (Update)

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves?

3/16/22
51:11

Season 11, Episode 28

In a new book called The Voltage Effect, the economist John List — who has already revolutionized how his profession does research — is trying to start a scaling revolution. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, List teaches us how to avoid false positives, how to know whether a given success is due to the chef or the ingredients, and how to practice “optimal quitting.”

3/10/22
50:30

Do Unions Still Work?

Organized labor hasn’t had this much public support in 50 years, and yet the percentage of Americans in a union is near a record low. A.F.L-C.I.O. president Liz Shuler tries to explain this gap — and persuade Stephen Dubner that “the folks who brought you the weekend” still have the leverage to fix a broken economy.

3/9/22
55:36

Season 11, Episode 27

Among O.E.C.D. nations, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty. Until recently, it looked as if Washington was about to change that. But then … Washington happened.

3/3/22

Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses?

People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers — and why that’s unlikely to change.

3/2/22
48:34

Season 11, Episode 26

Frisco used to be just another sleepy bedroom community outside of Dallas. Now it’s got corporate headquarters, billions of investment dollars, and a bunch of Democrats in a place that used to be deep red. Is Frisco nothing more than a suburb on steroids — or is it the future of the American city?

2/24/22

Why Do Most Ideas Fail to Scale?

In a new book called The Voltage Effect, the economist John List — who has already revolutionized how his profession does research — is trying to start a scaling revolution. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, List teaches us how to avoid false positives, how to know whether a given success is due to the chef or the ingredients, and how to practice “optimal quitting.”

2/23/22
52:52

Season 11, Episode 25

When Stephen Dubner learned that Dallas–Fort Worth will soon overtake Chicago as the third-biggest metro area in the U.S., he got on a plane to find out why. Despite getting stood up by the mayor, nearly drowning on a highway, and eating way too much barbecue, he came away impressed. (Part 1 of 2 — because even podcasts are bigger in Texas.)

2/17/22

Why Does the Richest Country in the World Have So Many Poor Kids? (Update)

Among O.E.C.D. nations, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty. Until recently, it looked as if Washington was about to change that. But then … Washington happened.

2/16/22
57:00

Season 11, Episode 24

Adam Smith famously argued that specialization is the key to prosperity. In the N.F.L., the long snapper is proof of that argument. Just in time for the Super Bowl, here’s everything there is to know about a job that didn’t used to exist. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why Does the . . .

2/10/22

Why Does the Most Monotonous Job in the World Pay $1 Million?

Adam Smith famously argued that specialization is the key to prosperity. In the N.F.L., the long snapper is proof of that argument. Just in time for the Super Bowl, here’s everything there is to know about a job that didn’t used to exist.

2/9/22
53:20

Season 11, Episode 23

Curses and other superstitions may have no basis in reality, but that doesn’t stop us from believing.

2/3/22

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