Why the Left Had to Steal the Right’s Dark-Money Playbook (Bonus Episode)

The sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh spent years studying crack dealers, sex workers, and the offspring of billionaires. Then he wandered into an even stranger world: social media. He spent the past five years at Facebook and Twitter. Now that he’s back in the real world, he’s here to tell us how the digital universe really works. In this pilot episode of a new podcast, Venkatesh interviews the progressive political operative Tara McGowan about her digital successes with the Obama campaign, her noisy failure with the Iowa caucus app, and why the best way for Democrats to win more elections was to copy the Republicans.

Not Just Another Labor Force (Ep. 365)

If you think talent and hard work give top athletes all the leverage to succeed, think again. As employees in the Sports-Industrial Complex, they’ve got a tight earnings window, a high injury rate, little choice in where they work — and a very early forced retirement. (Ep. 6 of "The Hidden Side of Sports" series.)

Here’s Why You’re Not an Elite Athlete

Season 8, Episode 5 There are a lot of factors that go into greatness, many of which are not obvious. A variety of Olympic and professional athletes tell us how they made it and what they sacrificed to get there. And if you can identify the sport most likely to get a kid into a […]

Here’s Why You’re Not an Elite Athlete (Ep. 351)

There are a lot of factors that go into greatness, many of which are not obvious. A variety of Olympic and professional athletes tell us how they made it and what they sacrificed to get there. And if you can identify the sport most likely to get a kid into a top college — well then, touché!

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 […]

How Deep Is the Shadow Economy? (Ep. 90)

Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast is called “How Deep Is the Shadow Economy?” It addresses what we know -- and don't know -- about the gazillions of dollars that never show up on anyone's books.

(You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below.)

The conversation ranges from the macro to the micro -- that is, from worldwide estimates of the size of the shadow economy to the actual off-the-books transactions (from drug dealing to freelance hair-cutting) that make those dollars flow.