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Episode 308

How Can I Do the Most Social Good With $100? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

Dubner and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answer your questions about crime, traffic, real-estate agents, the Ph.D. glut, and how to not get eaten by a bear.


Did Banning Lead Lower Crime?

…effects (and, for what it’s worth, she also confirms that, when controlling for lead, the link between abortion and crime is as strong or stronger as in our initial study,…



Episode 252

Confessions of a Pothole Politician

Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, has big ambitions but knows he must first master the small stuff. He’s also a polymath who relies heavily on data and new…

Will the NFL Lockout Lead to Increase in Crime?

…here, when Dubner took on French political scientist Sebastien Roche and his theory that sport causes crime. More recently, Freakonomics contributor Justin Wolfers reported on a study showing that crime




The Woman Behind New York State's Abortion Law

…drop in crime (for a measure of an abortion-crime correlation in these states in conjunction with a similar relationship in the other, later states, helped establish a causal link between…



Abortion/Crime: Where Do Ideas Come From?

…germinated. In our latest Freakonomics video, Levitt talks about the research that led to his most controversial paper, “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime,” co-authored by John Donohue. We…



‘The Today Show’

…“Legalized abortion led to less unwantedness. Unwantedness leads to high crime. Legalized abortion, therefore, led to lex–less crime.” I mean, you raise a lot of eyebrows with that comment. Is…




Lead and Crime

Over the weekend, the Washington Post published an article suggesting that much of the decline in crime in the 1990s may have been due to the reduction of childhood lead…




Does the Absence of Cash Help Cut Crime?

…via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) instead of checks (which are easily converted to crime-fueling cash): It has been long recognized that cash plays a critical role in fueling street crime



Episode 22

What If TV Isn’t Bad for Us?

We now have more access to TV, movies, and streaming entertainment than anytime in history. So what do we actually know about what all that screen time does to us?…

Episode 261

Why Are We Still Using Cash?

It facilitates crime, bribery, and tax evasion – and yet some governments (including ours) are printing more cash than ever. Other countries, meanwhile, are ditching cash entirely. And if Star…

Put Down That Basketball! Sport Causes Crime!

…outlet for young men and perhaps keeps them out of trouble. To the contrary, Roche contends, “the practice of sport never reduces the number of crimes” and, furthermore, sports can…



Abortion and Anti-Poverty in Mexico

…suburbs will have easy access to an abortion. And anyone living in Mexico could travel here for an abortion. The quotes that McKinley provides from opposing sides of the abortion



Portugal’s abortion ban

…any discussion of whether abortion should be legal. It is true that I believe that legalized abortion, by reducing the number of unwanted children, lowers future crime. On the other…




How to Cut Prison Costs Without Driving Up Crime?

…enhancements resulted in a 25% drop in acquisitive crime – exactly the types of crimes that the affected offenders committed. Figure 1 illustrates the average impact of the policy in…



High Crime = Winning Baseball?

crime rate the key to having a great baseball season? If so, maybe that’s why the Yankees haven’t won a Series in seven years: New York City crime has fallen…




Episode 420

Which Jobs Will Come Back, and When?

Covid-19 is the biggest job killer in a century. As the lockdown eases, what does re-employment look like? Who will be first and who last? Which sectors will surge and…

Religion, Crime, and Television

…paper: Watching TV associates with higher estimates of crime prevalence among non-religious viewers (ordinary cultivation), but it is correlated with lower estimates of crime prevalence and lower assessment of victimization…



Patience and Crime

…find that where people are more impatient and discount the future more heavily, property and violent crimes are higher. In particular, the correlation between crime rates and time preferences is…



UCLA's Crime Fighting Mathematicians

…sophisticated methods.” This is the UCLA math department’s second foray into crime investigations; last year, Bertozzi and her colleagues created a model to analyze crime “hot spots” in Los Angeles….




$500 not to have an abortion?

A Texas State Senator has been ridiculed for his proposal to pay women $500 if they show up at an abortion clinic, elect not to have an abortion, and then…




Episode 114

How to Think About Guns

No one wants mass shootings. Unfortunately, no one has a workable plan to stop them either.