Season 10, Episode 26

Most of us are are afraid to ask sensitive questions about money, sex, politics, etc. New research shows this fear is largely unfounded. Time for some interesting conversations! To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Can I Ask You a Ridiculously Personal Question?” and “That’s a Great Question!”

Season 10, Episode 20

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. To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour […]

How Much Do We Really Care About Children? (Ep. 447)

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.

Suzanne Gluck: “I’m a Person Who Can Convince Other People to Do Things” (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 10)

She might not be a household name, but Suzanne Gluck is one of the most powerful people in the book industry. Her slush pile is a key entry point to the biggest publishers in the U.S., and the authors she represents have sold more than 100 million books worldwide. Steve Levitt talks with Gluck — his own agent — about negotiating a deal, advising prospective authors, and convincing him to co-write Freakonomics.

Season 10, Episode 15

Google and Facebook are worth a combined $2 trillion, with the vast majority of their revenue coming from advertising. In our previous episode, we learned that TV advertising is much less effective than the industry says. Is digital any better? Some say yes, some say no — and some say we’re in a full-blown digital-ad […]

Season 10, Episode 14

Companies around the world spend more than half-a-trillion dollars each year on ads. The ad industry swears by its efficacy — but a massive new study tells a different story. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 1: TV)” and “Does Advertising Actually Work? […]

Steve Levitt: “I’m Not as Childlike as I’d Like to Be” (People I (Mostly) Admire, Bonus Episode)

Steve Levitt has so far occupied the interviewer chair on this show, but in a special live event — recorded over Zoom and presented by WNYC and the Greene Space — the microphone is turned toward him. His Freakonomics friend and co-author Stephen Dubner checks in on the wisdom Levitt has extracted from his interviews, finds out why Levitt is happiest when angering everyone across the political spectrum, and asks Levitt why he ends every interview with the same question.

Ken Jennings: “Don’t Neglect the Thing That Makes You Weird” (People I (Mostly) Admire, Ep. 4)

It was only in his late twenties that America’s favorite brainiac began to seriously embrace his love of trivia. Now he holds the “Greatest of All Time” title on Jeopardy! Steve Levitt digs into how he trained for the show, what it means to have a "geographic memory," and why we lie to our children.

Season 10, Episode 4

The families of U.S. troops killed and wounded in Afghanistan are suing several companies that did reconstruction there. Why? These companies, they say, paid the Taliban protection money, which gave them the funding — and opportunity — to attack U.S. soldiers instead. A look at the messy, complicated, and heart-breaking tradeoffs of conflict-zone economies. To […]

Season 9, Episode 49

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. And: humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we’ve had it exactly backward? To find out […]