How To Win A Nobel Prize

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(photo: Michael Caven)

Season 5, Episode 44

This week on Freakonomics Radio, how to win a Nobel Prize. Host Stephen Dubner talks with Per Stromberg, one of the people who choose the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. And we learn as many of his secrets as we can pry out of him. Then, what happens after you win the coveted Nobel Prize? First, you get a phone call in the middle of the night. Then, the person on the other end of the line assures you this is not a prank. Stephen Dubner talks to Nobel Prize winner of Economics Al Roth about finding out he won the prize.

Plus, what can we learn about strategic thinking from author Jane Austen? Michael Chwe is an associate professor of political science at UCLA whose research centers on game theory and, as he puts it, “its applications to social movements and macroeconomics and violence — and this latest thing is about its applications maybe to literature.”

The literature in question? The novels of Jane Austen. Chwe discovered that Austen’s novels are full of strategic thinking, decision analysis, and other tools that would later come to be prized by game theorists like those as the RAND Corporation just after World War II. And so Chwe wrote a book called Jane Austen, Game Theorist.

To learn more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How To Win A Nobel Prize” and “Jane Austen, Game Theorist.”

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