Search the Site

Stephen Dubner


The Dangers of Safety

In the first episode (subscribe at iTunes; or listen now in the player at right), we ask the question “What Do NASCAR Drivers, Glenn Beck, and the Hitmen of the N.F.L. Have in Common?”


Is America’s Obesity Epidemic For Real?

Americans keep putting on pounds. So is it time for a cheeseburger tax? Or would a chill pill be the best medicine? In this episode, we explore the underbelly of fat through the eyes of a 280-pound woman, a top White House doctor, and a couple of overweight academics.


Faking It

Do you “fake it?” If so, you’re hardly alone. In this episode, you’ll hear how everyone from the President of the United States to a kosher-keeping bacon-lover lives in a state of fallen grace. All the time. And gets by.


How Is a Bad Radio Station Like the Public School System?

In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, we explore a way to make 1.1 million schoolkids feel like they have 1.1 million teachers.


Two Book Authors and a Microphone

The next chapter in the adventures of Dubner and Levitt has begun. Listen to a preview of what’s to come for the fall season of Freakonomics Radio.


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.


How Much Does the President Really Matter?

The U.S. president is often called the “leader of the free world.” But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won’t say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership, and its impact on the economy and the country.


Is America Ready for a “No-Lose Lottery”?

For the most part, Americans don’t like the simple, boring act of putting money in a savings account. We do, however, love to play the lottery. So what if you combined the two, creating a new kind of savings account with a lottery payout?


The “No-Lose Lottery,” Part 2

It’s the banking tool that got millions of people around the world to stop wasting money on the lottery. So why won’t state and federal officials in the U.S. give it a chance?


You Say Repugnant, I Say … Let’s Do It!

What happens when the most disturbing ideas are also the best?


Exit Interview: Schools Chancellor, NYC

Having already amassed an eventful resume — the Clinton White House, the Department of Justice, and Bertelsmann — Joel I. Klein spent the past eight years at chancellor of the biggest school system in the country. So what’d he learn?


Waiter, There’s a Physicist In My Soup, Part I

The “molecular gastronomy” movement — which gets a bump in visibility next month with the publication of the mammoth cookbook “Modernist Cuisine” — is all about bringing more science into the kitchen. In many ways,it is the opposite of the “slow food” movement. In this episode, you’ll hear the chieftains of the two camps square off: Alice Waters for the slow foodies and Nathan Myhrvold for the mad scientists. Bon appetit!


Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup, Part 2

What do a computer hacker, an Indiana farm boy, and Napoleon Bonaparte have in common? The past, present, and future of food science.


Bring on the Pain!

Bring on the Pain! It’s not about how much something hurts — it’s how you remember the pain. This week, lessons on pain from the New York City subway, the professional hockey rink, and a landmark study of colonoscopy patients. So have a listen. We promise, it won’t hurt a bit.


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?


Millionaires vs. Billionaires

Five things you don’t know about the NFL labor standoff.


The Power of Poop

Since the beginning of civilization, we’ve thought that human waste was worthless at best, and often dangerous. What if we were wrong?


Is Twitter a Two-Way Street?

To get a lot of followers on Twitter, do you need to follow a lot of other Tweeps? And if not, why not?


Death by Fire? Probably Not

Fire deaths in the U.S. have fallen 90 percent over the past 100 years, a great and greatly underappreciated gain. How did it happen — and could we ever get to zero?


Why Can’t We Predict Earthquakes?

We talk to a U.S. Geological Survey physicist about the science — and folly — of predicting earthquakes. There are lots of known knowns; and, fortunately, not too many unknown unknowns. But it’s the known unknowns — the timing of the next Big One — that are the most dangerous.


Smarter Kids at 10 Bucks a Pop

It won’t work for everyone, but there’s a cheap, quick, and simple way to lift some students’ grades.


Does College Still Matter? And Other Freaky Questions Answered…

In our second round of FREAK-quently Asked Questions, Steve Levitt answers some queries from listeners and readers.


Gambling With Your Life

Does Las Vegas increase your risk of suicide? A researcher embeds himself in the city where Americans are most likely to kill themselves.


Growing Up Buffett

What’s it like to wake up one day and realize Dad is a multi-billionaire? That’s what happened to Warren Buffett’s son, Peter — who then started to think about whether or not to join the family.


To Catch a Fugitive

Who is likelier to get to the fugitive first? When a fugitive is on the run, it’s not only the police he has to worry about. A bounty hunter could be coming after him, too.


Things Our Fathers Gave Us

What did Levitt and Dubner learn as kids from their dads?


Live From St. Paul!

Freakonomics Radio hits the road, and plays some Quiz Bowl!


Hey Baby, Is That a Prius You’re Driving?

Conspicuous conservation is about showing off your environmental bona fides. In other words, if you lean green, there’s extra value in being seen leaning green.


Mouse in the Salad

In restaurants and in life, bad things happen. But what happens next is just as important.


The Church of “Scionology”

We worship the tradition of handing off a family business to the next generation. But is that really such a good idea?


The Freakonomics Radio Network

Freakonomics Radio Follow this show 803 Episodes
No Stupid Questions Follow this show 219 Episodes
People I (Mostly) Admire Follow this show 149 Episodes
The Economics of Everyday Things Follow this show 63 Episodes
The Freakonomics Radio Book Club Follow this show 23 Episodes

How to Listen

You want to listen to Freakonomics Radio? That’s great! Most people use a podcast app on their smartphone. It’s free (with the purchase of a phone, of course). Looking for more guidance? We’ve got you covered.

Learn more about how to listen

Freakonomics Radio Network Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on all our shows. We promise no spam.