Political discourse, particularly in an election year — and perhaps most especially in this election year — can become overheated and, frankly, unproductive. At Freakonomics Radio we try to take a clear-eyed look at the issues that are driving policy proposals and in some cases dividing the country. Among such topics we will be exploring in 2020 include the opioid crisis, the high cost of healthcare, gun violence, and the racial wealth gap. We’ve tackled other important social and economic issues over our 10 years of production, and many of the ideas and policy solutions discussed in those episodes remain relevant to our understanding of candidates’ proposals. We thought it would be helpful to gather all of our election-topic episodes in one place. So consider this page your go-to guide on the issues the candidates will be talking about — and that you will be voting on. We hope you find it helpful.

Does the President Matter as Much as You Think? (Ep. 404)

We asked this same question nearly a decade ago. The answer then: probably not. But a lot has changed since then, and we’re three years into one of the most anomalous presidencies in American history. So once again we try to sort out presidential signal from noise. What we hear from legal and policy experts may leave you surprised, befuddled — and maybe infuriated.

The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: “It’s Not a Death Sentence” (Ep. 403)

One prescription drug is keeping some addicts from dying. So why isn’t it more widespread? A story of regulation, stigma, and the potentially fatal faith in abstinence.

The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: “We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation” (Ep. 402)

How pharma greed, government subsidies, and a push to make pain the “fifth vital sign” kicked off a crisis that costs $80 billion a year and has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Why Is This Man Running for President? (Ep. 362 Update)

A year ago, nobody was taking Andrew Yang very seriously. Now he is America’s favorite entrepre-nerd, with a candidacy that keeps gaining momentum. This episode includes our Jan. 2019 conversation with the leader of the Yang Gang and a fresh interview recorded from the campaign trail in Iowa.

The Truth About the Vaping Crisis (Ep. 398)

A recent outbreak of illness and death has gotten everyone’s attention — including late-to-the-game regulators. But would a ban on e-cigarettes do more harm than good? We smoke out the facts.

Speak Softly and Carry Big Data (Ep. 395)

Do economic sanctions work? Are big democracies any good at spreading democracy? What is the root cause of terrorism? It turns out that data analysis can help answer all these questions — and make better foreign-policy decisions. Guests include former Department of Defense officials Chuck Hagel and Michèle Flournoy and Chicago Project on Security and Threats researchers Robert Pape and Paul Poast. Recorded live in Chicago; Steve Levitt is co-host.

How to Change Your Mind (Ep. 379)

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?

Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work (Ep. 373)

As cities become ever-more expensive, politicians and housing advocates keep calling for rent control. Economists think that’s a terrible idea. They say it helps a small (albeit noisy) group of renters, but keeps overall rents artificially high by disincentivizing new construction. So what happens next?

Why Is This Man Running for President? (Ep. 362)

In the American Dream sweepstakes, Andrew Yang was a pretty big winner. But for every winner, he came to realize, there are thousands upon thousands of losers — a “war on normal people,” he calls it. Here’s what he plans to do about it.

Is the Government More Entrepreneurial Than You Think? (Ep. 348)

We all know the standard story: our economy would be more dynamic if only the government would get out of the way. The economist Mariana Mazzucato says we’ve got that story backward. She argues that the government, by funding so much early-stage research, is hugely responsible for big successes in tech, pharma, energy, and more. But the government also does a terrible job in claiming credit — and, more important, getting a return on its investment.