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Zack Lapinski

 
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Season 9, Episode 21

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. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: ‘We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation.’”

1/23/20

Season 9, Episode 22

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. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: ‘It’s Not a Death Sentence.’”

1/30/20

Does the President Matter as Much as You Think?

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.

2/5/20
53:12

Season 9, Episode 24

Does the president matter as much as you think? 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 . . .

2/13/20

Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work (Replay)

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?

3/11/20
49:31

What Happens When Everyone Stays Home to Eat?

Covid-19 has shocked our food-supply system like nothing in modern history. We examine the winners, the losers, the unintended consequences — and just how much toilet paper one household really needs.

4/8/20
48:35

Season 9, Episode 32

Covid-19 has shocked our food-supply system like nothing in modern history. We examine the winners, the losers, the unintended consequences — and just how much toilet paper one household really needs. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “What Happens When Everyone Stays Home to Eat?”

4/9/20

Who Gets the Ventilator?

Should a nurse or doctor who gets sick treating Covid-19 patients have priority access to a potentially life-saving healthcare device? Americans aren’t used to rationing in medicine, but it’s time to think about it. We consult a lung specialist, a bioethicist, and (of course) an economist.

4/15/20
50:10

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?)

4/29/20
53:49

Season 9, Episode 35

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?) To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “How Do You Reopen a Country?”

4/30/20

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 which will disappear? Welcome to the Great Labor Reallocation of 2020.

6/3/20
44:13

How to Prevent Another Great Depression

Millions and millions are out of work, with some jobs never coming back. We speak with four economists — and one former presidential candidate — about the best policy options and the lessons (good and bad) from the past.

6/10/20
39:41

The Doctor Will Zoom You Now

Thanks to the pandemic, the telehealth revolution we’ve been promised for decades has finally arrived. Will it stick? Will it cut costs — and improve outcomes? We ring up two doctors and, of course, an economist to find out.

6/24/20
54:10

Should America (and FIFA) Pay Reparations?

The racial wealth gap in the U.S. is massive. We explore the causes, consequences, and potential solutions. Also: another story of discrimination and economic disparity, this one perpetrated by an international sporting authority. The first of a two-part series.

7/15/20
44:48

The Pros and Cons of Reparations

Most Americans agree that racial discrimination has been, and remains, a big problem. But that is where the agreement ends.

7/22/20
42:10

The Simple Economics of Saving the Amazon Rain Forest

Everyone agrees that massive deforestation is an environmental disaster. But most of the standard solutions — scolding the Brazilians, invoking universal morality — ignore the one solution that might actually work.

7/29/20
33:35

The Economics of Sports Gambling (Replay)

What happens when tens of millions of fantasy-sports players are suddenly able to bet real money on real games? We’re about to find out. A recent Supreme Court decision has cleared the way to bring an estimated $300 billion in black-market sports betting into the light. We sort out the winners and losers.

8/19/20
58:23

Is New York City Over?

The pandemic has hit America’s biggest city particularly hard. Amidst a deep fiscal hole, rising homicides, and a flight to the suburbs, some people think the city is heading back to the bad old 1970s. We look at the history — and the data — to see why that’s probably not the case.

10/7/20
52:06

Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive?

It isn’t just supply and demand. We look at the complicated history and skewed incentives that make “affordable housing” more punch line than reality in cities from New York and San Francisco to Flint, Michigan (!).

10/14/20
48:38

Many Businesses Thought They Were Insured for a Pandemic. They Weren’t.

A fine reading of most policies for “business interruption” reveals that viral outbreaks aren’t covered. Some legislators are demanding that insurance firms pay up anyway. Is it time to rethink insurance entirely?

10/28/20
40:51

Is it Too Late for General Motors to Go Electric?

G.M. produces more than 20 times as many cars as Tesla, but Tesla is worth nearly 10 times as much. Mary Barra, the C.E.O. of G.M., is trying to fix that. We speak with her about the race toward an electrified (and autonomous) future, China and Trump, and what it’s like to be the “fifth-most powerful woman in the world.”

12/2/20
44:41

How Much Do We Really Care About Children?

They can’t vote or hire lobbyists. The policies we create to help them aren’t always so helpful. Consider the car seat: parents hate it, the safety data are unconvincing, and new evidence suggests an unintended consequence that is as anti-child as it gets.

1/13/21
47:45

Are You Ready for a Fresh Start?

Behavioral scientists have been exploring if — and when — a psychological reset can lead to lasting change. We survey evidence from the London Underground, Major League Baseball, and New Year’s resolutions; we look at accidental fresh starts, forced fresh starts, and fresh starts that backfire. And we wonder: will the pandemic’s end provide the biggest fresh start ever?

3/17/21
44:50

How to Fix the Hot Mess of U.S. Healthcare

Medicine has evolved from a calling into an industry, adept at dispensing procedures and pills (and gigantic bills), but less good at actual health. Most reformers call for big, bold action. What happens if, instead, you think small?

3/31/21
49:50

Is Dialysis a Test Case of Medicare for All?

Kidney failure is such a catastrophic (and expensive) disease that Medicare covers treatment for anyone, regardless of age. Since Medicare reimbursement rates are fairly low, the dialysis industry had to find a way to tweak the system if they wanted to make big profits. They succeeded.

4/7/21
53:28

The True Story of the Minimum-Wage Fight

Backers of a $15 federal wage say it’s a no-brainer if you want to fight poverty. Critics say it’s a blunt instrument that leads to job loss. Even the economists can’t agree! We talk to a bunch of them — and a U.S. Senator — to sort it out, and learn there’s a much bigger problem to worry about.

4/28/21
44:15

How to Stop Worrying and Love the Robot Apocalypse

It’s true that robots (and other smart technologies) will kill many jobs. It may also be true that newer collaborative robots (“cobots”) will totally reinvigorate how work gets done. That, at least, is what the economists are telling us. Should we believe them?

5/5/21
48:22

She’s From the Government, and She’s Here to Help

Cecilia Rouse, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, is as cold-blooded as any economist. But she admits that her profession would do well to focus on policy that actually helps people. Rouse explains why President Biden wants to spend trillions of dollars to reshape the economy, and why — as the first Black chair of the C.E.A. — she has a good idea of what needs fixing.

6/16/21
43:15

Mayor Pete and Elaine Chao Hit the Road

While other countries seem to build spectacular bridges, dams, and even entire cities with ease, the U.S. is stuck in pothole-fixing mode. We speak with an array of transportation nerds — including the secretary of transportation and his immediate predecessor — to see if a massive federal infrastructure package can put America back in the driver’s seat.

8/4/21
49:08

This Is Your Brain on Pollution

Air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million deaths a year and cost the global economy nearly $3 trillion. But is the true cost even higher? Stephen Dubner explores the links between pollution and cognitive function, and enlists two fellow Freakonomics Radio Network hosts in a homegrown experiment.

8/11/21
46:01

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