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Steve Levitt

 
Date
Length

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?”

2/5/10
26:53

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.

4/13/10
19:22

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.

5/12/10
28:33

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.

9/30/10
11:32

Who Stole All the Runs in Major League Baseball?

It was a pretty good baseball season — especially if you’re a fan of the Yankees, Rays, Twins, Rangers, Reds, Braves, Phillies, or Giants, all of whom made the playoffs. But the post-season just opened with a telling event, a no-hitter pitched by the Phillies’ Roy Halladay, which shows what’s been missing all season: runs.

10/7/10
24:10

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?

12/2/10
21:44

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?

3/10/11
26:31

Things Our Fathers Gave Us

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

6/8/11
14:27

Live From St. Paul!

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

6/23/11
28:36

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting

Think you know how much parents matter? Think again. Economists crunch the numbers to learn the ROI on child-rearing.

8/17/11
58:27

Misadventures in Baby-Making

We are constantly wowed by new technologies and policies meant to make childbirth better. But beware the unintended consequences.

10/26/11
28:02

The Perils of Drunk Walking

We know it’s terribly dangerous to drive drunk. But heading home on foot isn’t the solution.

12/28/11
6:03

Why Is “I Don’t Know” So Hard to Say?

Levitt and Dubner answer your FREAK-quently Asked Questions about certifying politicians, irrational fears, and the toughest three words in the English language.

1/4/12
17:31

How Biased Is Your Media?

The left and the right blame each other for pretty much everything, including slanted media coverage. Can they both be right?

2/16/12
39:09

The Dilbert Index?

Measuring workplace morale — and how to game the sick-day system.

2/23/12
6:15

The Days of Wine and Mouses

Do more expensive wines taste better? And: what does one little rodent in a salad say about a restaurant’s future? This is a “mashupdate” of “Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?” and “A Mouse in the Salad.”

2/27/12
57:48

The Days of Wine and Mouses (Ep. 64)

Season 2, Episode 1

We have just released a new series of five one-hour Freakonomics Radio specials to public-radio stations across the country. (Check here for your local station.) These new shows are what might best be called “mashupdates” — that is, mashups of earlier podcasts that have also been updated with new interviews, etc.

If you are a charter subscriber to our podcast (remember this one on the dangers of safety, or this one on the obesity epidemic?), then some of this material will be familiar to you. If you are one of the people who have heard these new shows on the radio and wondered when they’d hit the podcast stream — well, that time is now. We’ll be releasing all five hours over the next ten weeks.

This first episode is called “The Days of Wine and Mouses.” (Download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below.) Here’s what you’ll be hearing:

When you take a sip of Cabernet, what are you tasting? The grape? The tannins? The oak barrel? Or is it the price? Believe it or not, the most dominant flavor may be the dollars.

2/27/12

The Power of the President — and the Thumb

How much does the President of the United States really matter? And: where did all the hitchhikers go? A pair of “attribution errors.” This is a “mashupdate” of “How Much Does the President Really Matter?” and “Where Have All the Hitchhikers Gone?”

3/29/12
59:12

Retirement Kills

Sure, we all dream of leaving the office forever. But what if it’s bad for your health?

5/16/12
5:36

Riding the Herd Mentality

How using peer pressure — and good, old-fashioned shame — can push people to do the right thing.

6/21/12
36:26

Legacy of a Jerk

What happens to your reputation when you’re no longer around to defend it?

7/19/12
44:05

Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1

What’s a college degree really worth these days?

7/30/12
34:38

Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 2

College tends to make people happier, healthier, and wealthier. But how?

8/16/12
36:58

Can Selling Beer Cut Down on Public Drunkenness?

Binge drinking is a big problem at college football games. Oliver Luck — father of No. 1 N.F.L. pick Andrew, and the athletic director at West Virginia University — had an unusual idea to help solve it.

9/6/12
5:45

Save Me From Myself

Season 3, Episode 1

Sometimes we have a hard time committing ourselves – whether it’s quitting a bad habit or following through on a worthy goal. In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, we share stories about “commitment devices.” They’re a clever way to force yourself to do something that you know will be hard. Host Stephen Dubner talks to a struggling gambler who signs himself up for a program that bans him from state casinos – only to return, win a jackpot, and have it confiscated. We’ll also hear from a new father trying to shed bad habits. So he makes a list of things he wants to change and vows to pay a penalty if he can’t shape up in 30 days. The penalty? He’d write a $750 check to someone he really dislikes: Oprah Winfrey. Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt offers a few of his own off-the-wall commitment devices, and the Brown economist Anna Aizer talks about using commitment devices to fight domestic violence.

10/11/12

Freakonomics Goes to College

Season 3, Episode 4

Is a college diploma really worth the paper it’s printed on? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner breaks down the costs and benefits of going to college, especially during an economy that’s leaving a lot of people un- and underemployed. The data say that college graduates make a lot more money in the long run and enjoy a host of other benefits as well.  But does that justify the time and money? We’ll hear from economists David Card, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers, as well as former Bush adviser Karl Rove, who made it to the White House without a college degree. Amherst College president Biddy Martin describes what an education provides beyond facts and figures, while Steve Levitt wonders if the students he teaches at the University of Chicago are actually learning anything.  Finally, a former FBI agent tells us about the very robust market for fake diplomas.

10/11/12

Legacy of a Jerk

Season 3, Episode 5

Since the beginning of civilization, human waste has been considered worthless at best and quite often dangerous. What if it turns out we were wrong? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner explores the power of poop, focusing on an experimental procedure called a fecal transplant (some call it a “transpoosion”), which may offer promising results not only for intestinal problems but also obesity and neurological disorders.  We’ll talk to two doctors at the vanguard of this procedure and a patient who says it changed his life.

10/11/12

Our 100th Episode!

Turkey sex and chicken wings, selling souls and swapping organs, the power of the president and the price of wine: these are a few of our favorite things

11/5/12
14:33

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

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