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Stephen J. Dubner

Season 11, Episode 43

When the world went into lockdown, experts predicted a rise in intimate-partner assaults. What actually happened was more complicated.

6/23/22
50:30

Does the Crypto Crash Mean the Blockchain Is Over?

No. But now is a good time to sort out the potential from the hype. Whether you’re bullish, bearish, or just confused, we’re here to explain what the blockchain can do for you. (Part 1 of a series.)

6/22/22
49:29

Season 11, Episode 42

In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf league that’s challenging the P.G.A. Tour. Can a sporting event really repair a country’s reputation — or will it trigger the dreaded Streisand Effect?

6/16/22
50:30

103 Pieces of Advice That May or May Not Work

Kevin Kelly calls himself “the most optimistic person in the world.” And he has a lot to say about parenting, travel, A.I., being luckier — and why we should spend way more time on YouTube.

6/15/22
42:43

Season 11, Episode 41

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.

6/9/22
50:30

What Is Sportswashing (and Does It Work)?

In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf league that’s challenging the P.G.A. Tour. Can a sporting event really repair a country’s reputation — or will it trigger the dreaded Streisand Effect?

6/8/22
53:33

Season 11, Episode 40

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.”)

6/2/22
50:30

Did Domestic Violence Really Spike During the Pandemic?

When the world went into lockdown, experts predicted a rise in intimate-partner assaults. What actually happened was more complicated.

6/1/22
54:17

Season 11, Episode 39

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.

5/26/22
50:30

Introducing “Off Leash”

In this new podcast from the Freakonomics Radio Network, dog-cognition expert and bestselling author Alexandra Horowitz (Inside of a Dog) takes us inside the scruffy, curious, joyful world of dogs. This is the first episode of Off Leash; you can find more episodes in your podcast app now.

5/25/22
42:58

Season 11, Episode 38

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. (Part 3 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

5/19/22
50:30

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. (Part 3 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

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. (Part 1 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

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

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