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Episode 15

The Most “Unique, Excellent, and Promising” Episode

Studies by men published in scientific journals are more likely to include glowing, hyperbolic terms. Bapu talks about this “groundbreaking” research (see what we did there?) in a wide-ranging discussion…

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Episode 70

In a Job Interview, How Much Does Timing Matter?

Also: Why is it smart to ignore what your podcast hosts look like?…

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Episode 54

Do You Really Need a Muse to Be Creative?

Also: Is short-sightedness part of human nature?…

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Episode 197

Hacking the World Bank

Jim Yong Kim has an unorthodox background for a World Bank president — and his reign thus far is just as unorthodox.

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Episode 76

Why Can’t Baby Boomers and Millennials Just Get Along?

Also: how do phone cameras affect the way we experience live events?…

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Episode 197

Hacking the World Bank (Update)

Jim Yong Kim has an unorthodox background for a World Bank president — and his reign has been just as unorthodox. He has just announced he’s stepping down, well before…


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Episode 339

The Future of Freakonomics Radio

After eight years and more than 300 episodes, it was time to either 1) quit, or 2) make the show bigger and better. We voted for number 2. Here’s a…

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Episode 416

How Do You Reopen a Country?

We speak with a governor, a former C.D.C. director, a pandemic forecaster, a hard-charging pharmacist, and a pair of economists — who say it’s all about the incentives. (Pandemillions, anyone?)

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Economists’ Version

…Stiglitz-Atkinson–Leigh-Wolfers, or Stiglitz-Blinder–Reis-Wolfers. Steve Levitt is also a three: Stiglitz-Sachs–Poterba-Levitt, and so Steve endows both Stephen Dubner and Sudhir Venkatesh with a four. Dan Hamermesh has written so many papers…




Are Economists as Biased as Everyone Else?

(Hamermesh and Schmidt, 2003). The good news is that, where it really matters—in judging scholarly papers for publication—economists are remarkably fair (Blank, 1991; Abrevaya and Hamermesh, 2012), ignoring an author’s…




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Episode 463

How to Get Anyone to Do Anything

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….

Using the Minimum Wage to Beat the Competition

Germany is considering a new government-imposed minimum wage — a price floor in the labor market — to apply to postal carriers and related workers. One of the major proponents…



Which of Your Kids Should Get More?

Class today is about bequests — wealth left over to one’s heirs. There are many interesting economic questions about bequests, including whether they are planned (partly yes, but partly no,…



Because, Not In Spite Of

A recent article notes that attendance in Major League Baseball parks is actually above last year, despite, so the story says, the economic downturn (recession?). But despite is incorrect —…



My "Buy One, Get One Free" Burden

Photo: Anantab My wife made me give my 12-year-old suit to charity, so I had to get a new one. Men’s Wearhouse had some nice outfits, and I was willing…



Pennies: Enough Already!

Photo: Odalaigh Whenever I travel in other wealthy countries, I am a bit embarrassed about the dollar bill’s insignificance compared to other countries’ smallest bills: a 5-pound note is worth…



The Continuing Saga of the Suits

Photo: bobster1985 In facing the “Buy one, get one free” suit deal, my quick-thinking wife said, “Let’s take the second suit anyway.” She called our older son on her cell…





To Discriminate You Need to Separate

Price discrimination — charging different prices for the same product or service — requires preventing people who pay a high price for an item from being able to buy it…



Older Economists Want the Oscars

The Society of Labor Economists, a professional organization, gives awards to worthy scholars. One is for lifetime achievement, the other to a scholar who finished his/her education within the past…



The Upside of Procrastination

The free newspaper on the London tube has this front-page advertisement: “From 10 a.m. tomorrow, £10 ($15) hotel rooms, on the web site lastminute.com.” For an economist this is a…



The Rich Drink Better Beer, Not More

The average item bought by the average buyer has an income elasticity of nearly one: most people roughly double their spending when their income doubles. But everything we buy consists…



Manipulating Yourself for Your Own Good

Standard economic theory implies that we maximize our happiness if we have more choices. Yet we limit our choices — impose self-control mechanisms — voluntarily in order to improve our…



The Army's Not Coming Up Short

NPR reported last month that, for the first time in five years, the U.S. Army had more than met its recruiting goals. This happens every time unemployment rises, and it…



Football, Sex, and Parking

An old adage is that a university is a happy place if the administration provides football for the alumni, parking for the faculty, and sex for the students. I assume…



Would a Porn Tax Hurt Sales?

A California state assemblyman has proposed dealing with the state’s huge budget shortfall by taxing pornography, including the production and sale of pornographic videos — by 25 percent. To an…