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Freakonomics

 
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Reading, Rockets, and ‘Rithmetic

Government and the private sector often feel far apart. One is filled with compliance-driven bureaucracy. The other, with market-fueled innovation. But something is changing in a multi-billion-dollar corner of the Department of Education. It’s an experiment, which takes cues from the likes of Google and millionaires who hope to go to the moon.

10/21/10
20:20

Why Cities Rock

Could it be that cities are “our greatest invention” – that, despite their reputation as soot-spewing engines of doom, they in fact make us richer, smarter, happier and (gulp) greener?

2/18/11
17:07

The Upside of Quitting

You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says … Are you sure?

9/30/11
59:40

Star-Spangled Banter?

Once a week, the British Prime Minister goes before the House of Commons for a lightning round of hard questions. Should the U.S. give it a try?

6/26/12
7:13

How Did “Freakonomics” Get Its Name?

Levitt and Dubner answer your questions about driving, sneezing, and ladies’ nights. Plus a remembrance of Levitt’s sister Linda.

1/3/13
32:02

Introducing “Freakonomics Experiments”

Steve Levitt has a novel idea for helping people make tough decisions.

1/24/13
5:01

How Much Does Your Name Matter?

Season 4, Episode 2

When Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney Googled her name one day, she noticed something strange: an ad for a background check website came up in the results, with the heading: “Latanya Sweeney, Arrested?” But she had never been arrested, and neither had the only other Latanya Sweeney in the U.S. So why did the ad suggest so? Thousands of Google searches later, Sweeney discovered that Googling traditionally black names is more likely to produce an ad suggestive of a criminal background. Why? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, Stephen Dubner investigates the latest research on names. Steve Levitt talks about his groundbreaking research on names, economic status, and race. And University of Chicago economist Eric Oliver explains why a baby named “Cody” is more likely to belong to conservative parents, and why another named “Esme” was probably born to a pair of liberals.

10/24/13

Does Religion Make You Happy?

This week, Freakonomics Radio asks two questions, related but separate. One is whether giving away money – in this case, to a religious institution – makes you happier. The other is whether religion itself makes you happier. Neither question is easy to answer.

6/17/16

Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents for Raising Them?

Season 6, Episode 2 This week on Freakonomics Radio: When one athlete turned pro, his mom asked him for $1 million. Our modern sensibilities tell us she doesn’t have a case. But does she? Plus, Steve Levitt talks about what he learned from his dad, good and bad. Next, Stephen Dubner shares one of the best lessons he ever learned, over a diner meal with . . .

9/16/16

The Harvard President Will See You Now

Season 6, Episode 4 This week on Freakonomics Radio: an in-depth interview with Drew Gilpin Faust, who was installed as the president of Harvard University in 2007. Stephen Dubner explores how a (self-described) “pain-in-the-neck” little girl from rural Virginia came to run the most powerful university in the world. Plus, what is the true value these days of a college education? We hear . . .

9/30/16

In Praise of Maintenance

Season 6, Episode 19 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Our society is obsessed with innovation, which has a pretty high cost. Stephen J. Dubner got obsessed with the notion of maintenance, and talks about why it isn’t the enemy of innovation, but rather the saving grace of American infrastructure. Speaking of things that need taking care of, have you ever considered how . . .

1/12/17

Trevor Noah Has a Lot to Say

Season 6, Episode 21 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner sits down with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah to discuss being born a crime in apartheid South Africa, the subject of Noah’s new memoir. The comedian has a sui generis view of American politics, customs, and obsessions. Plus: who are the most successful immigrants in the world, and . . .

1/26/17

What You Don’t Know About Online Dating

Season 6, Episode 23 On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: an economist’s guide to dating online. PJ Vogt bravely lets us evaluate his OkCupid account, and we teach him how to game the algorithms. Plus: Stephen J. Dubner on the state of the marriage union. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Aziz Ansari Needs Another Toothbrush,””Why Marry? . . .

2/9/17

Is the American Dream Really Dead?

Season 6, Episode 24 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner asks, “Is the American Dream Really Dead?” For years, the U.S. government has been trying to make the American Dream a reality. So how successful have these efforts been? Plus: has China eaten all of America’s jobs? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was . . .

2/16/17

Why Are We Still Using Cash?

Season 6, Episode 28 This week on Freakonomics Radio: cash 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. Plus: why thinking of Bitcoin as just a digital currency is like thinking about the Internet as just email. To find out more, check out the . . .

3/16/17

The Upside of Quitting

Season 6, Hour 31 This week on Freakonomics Radio: do you know this bromide? “A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins.” To which Stephen J. Dubner says, “Are you sure?” Sometimes quitting is strategic, and sometimes it can be your best possible plan. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The Upside of . . .

4/6/17

How to be More Productive

Season 6, Episode 34 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner returns to his alma mater to ask his three favorite professors if colleges make people more productive and happier. Among the discoveries in this episode, here’s a big one: there’s a significant difference between being busy and being productive. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .

4/27/17

The Most Dangerous Machine

Season 6, Episode 35 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Uber is disrupting profitable sectors by using one of the world’s most dangerous machines. Plus, Stephen J. Dubner learns that data from Uber’s users is helping answer one of the most elusive questions in economics. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why Uber Is an Economist’s Dream” . . .

5/5/17

Earth 2.0: What Would Our Economy Look Like?

Season 6, Episode 37 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner asks, “If we could reboot the planet and create new systems and institutions from scratch, what would that look like?” This first installment of our Earth 2.0 series is about economics, of course! You’ll hear from Nobel laureate Angus Deaton, the poverty-fighting superhero Jeff Sachs; and many others. To find out more, check out . . .

5/19/17

Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others?

Season 6, Episode 38 This week on Freakonomics Radio: the biggest problem with humanity is humans themselves. Too often, we make choices — what we eat, how we spend our money and time — that undermine our well-being. Stephen J. Dubner asks, “How can we stop?” And this radio hour has two answers: think small, and make behavior change stick. To find out . . .

5/25/17

Evolution, Accelerated

Season 6, Episode 45 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner explores a breakthrough in genetic technology that has given humans more power than ever to change nature. So what happens next? Plus: some of the hoops we jump through to get ahead are poorly designed for girls and women. Behavioral economics could help change that. To find out more, check . . .

7/13/17

What Are You Waiting For?

Standing in line represents a particularly sloppy — and frustrating — way for supply and demand to meet. Why haven’t we found a better way to get what we want? Is it possible that we secretly enjoy waiting in line? And might it even be (gulp) good for us?

11/30/17

Evolution, Accelerated (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 20 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Stephen J. Dubner explores a breakthrough in genetic technology that has given humans more power than ever to change nature. So what happens next? Plus: some of the hoops we jump through to get ahead are poorly designed for girls and women. Behavioral economics could help change that. To find out more, . . .

1/18/18

How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Replay)

Season 7, Episode 37 When Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney Googled her name one day, she noticed something strange: an ad for a background check website came up in the results, with the heading: “Latanya Sweeney, Arrested?” But she had never been arrested, and neither had the only other Latanya Sweeney in the U.S. So why did the ad suggest so? . . .

5/17/18

What Are You Waiting For? (Replay)

Season 8, Episode 15 This week on Freakonomics Radio: Standing in line represents a particularly sloppy — and frustrating — way for supply and demand to meet. Why haven’t we found a better way to get what we want? Is it possible that we secretly enjoy waiting in line? And might it even be (gulp) good for us? Plus: the . . .

12/13/18

How Spotify Saved the Music Industry (But Not Necessarily Musicians)

Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail?

4/10/19
59:36

Season 8, Episode 34

Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail? To find out . . .

4/25/19

Season 8, Episode 43

The banana used to be a luxury good. Now it’s the most popular fruit in the U.S. and elsewhere. But the production efficiencies that made it so cheap have also made it vulnerable to a deadly fungus that may wipe out the one variety most of us eat. Scientists do have a way to save it — but will Big . . .

6/27/19

Abortion and Crime, Revisited

The controversial theory linking Roe v. Wade to a massive crime drop is back in the spotlight as several states introduce abortion restrictions. Steve Levitt and John Donohue discuss their original research, the challenges to its legitimacy, and their updated analysis. Also: what this means for abortion policy, crime policy, and having intelligent conversations about contentious topics.

7/10/19
57:20

Season 8, Episode 46

The revolution in home DNA testing is giving consumers important, possibly life-changing information. It’s also building a gigantic database that could lead to medical breakthroughs. But how will you deal with upsetting news? What if your privacy is compromised? And are you prepared to have your DNA monetized? We speak with Anne Wojcicki, founder and C.E.O. of 23andMe. To find . . .

7/18/19

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