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Episode 271

The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution

Starting in the late 1960s, the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman began to redefine how the human mind actually works. Michael Lewis’s new book The Undoing Project explains…

Yet More News on “Deal or No Deal”

…University in Rotterdam, and Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago. “There is no doubt that these are real people making real choices for high stakes, and we rarely get…

World Water Day: Nudges for Safe Water

…a classic example of a nudge a la Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Diarrheal diseases claim two million lives each year worldwide—a loss that is especially tragic because it is…


…with Richard Thaler and he told me that he and Cass Sunstein were going to write a popular behavioral economics book about what they called “libertarian paternalism,” I have to…

Episode 105

Should You Give Kids an Allowance or Make Them Get Jobs?

How do kids learn about money? What’s the big problem with education? And who made Raiders of the Lost Ark?…

Episode 140

How to Think About Money, Choose Your Hometown, and Buy an Electric Toothbrush

Dubner and Levitt field your queries in this latest installment of our FREAK-quently Asked Questions….

Episode 349

How Sports Became Us

Dollar-wise, the sports industry is surprisingly small, about the same size as the cardboard-box industry. So why does it make so much noise? Because it reflects — and often amplifies…

Episode 32

Which Gets You Further: Talent or Effort?

Also: Where is the line between acronyms, initialisms and gibberish?

Episode 40

Have We All Lost Our Ability to Compromise?

Also: is it better to be right or “not wrong”?…

Episode 309

Nurses to the Rescue!

They are the most-trusted profession in America (and with good reason). They are critical to patient outcomes (especially in primary care). Could the growing army of nurse practitioners be an…

Episode 220

“I Don’t Know What You’ve Done With My Husband But He’s a Changed Man”

From domestic abusers to former child soldiers, there is increasing evidence that behavioral therapy can turn them around.

Episode 339

The Future of Freakonomics Radio

After eight years and more than 300 episodes, it was time to either 1) quit, or 2) make the show bigger and better. We voted for number 2. Here’s a…

Episode 87

How Much Are the Right Friends Worth?

Harvard economist Raj Chetty uses tax data to study inequality, kid success, and social mobility. He explains why you should be careful when choosing your grade school teachers — and…

Episode 61

Was Austan Goolsbee’s First Visit to the Oval Office Almost His Last?

The former chairman of the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisors tells Steve how improv comedy was a better training ground for teaching than a Ph.D. from M.I.T., and why…

Episode 329

The Invisible Paw

Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we’ve had it exactly backward?…

Episode 88

Ken Burns on Heroism, Horror, and History

The documentary filmmaker, known for The Civil War, Jazz, and Baseball, turns his attention to the Holocaust, and asks what we can learn from the evils of the past….

Episode 37

Sendhil Mullainathan Thinks Messing Around Is the Best Use of Your Time

He’s a professor of computation and behavioral science at the University of Chicago, MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, and author. Steve and Sendhil laugh their way through a conversation about the…

Episode 54

Do You Really Need a Muse to Be Creative?

Also: Is short-sightedness part of human nature?…

Episode 329

The Invisible Paw (Replay)

Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we’ve had it exactly backward?

When Is the 99% Really the 5%?

…have to think that his framing skills would be admired by Messrs. Tversky, Kahneman, and Thaler. If you’re looking for a somewhat headier argument about redistribution, you could try here….

Airlines and Opting Ethics

…“management.” But the 800-pound gorilla in the room is the opt-out scam that began this entire travail. In their recent best-selling book Nudge, Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler show that…

iPhone Altruism for Potential Organ Donors

…forgetfulness. So Richard Thaler had an idea. Why not build an iPhone app to help people enlist as organ donors? That app, developed gratis, is available now. As to the…

Who Will Climb the Piano Stairs?

It feels as if the whole world is suddenly enthralled with the potential of nudge-y incentives: using “choice architecture,” as the nudge-masters Thaler and Sunstein put it, to encourage behavior…

I’ll Be Brief

…a great example of what Thaler and Sunstein call libertarian paternalism in their great book, Nudge. The individual speakers retain the freedom to speak as long as they want, and…

How Predictable Are Nobel Prizes in Economics?

…Grossman Krugman Helpman P. Romer Phelps S. Grossman Newey Obsfeldt Rogoff Feldstein Kreps Posner Sutton Williamson K. Murphy Rabin Acemoglu Thaler Rajan Wilson Card Shleifer Jorgenson Pakes Mortensen Pissarides Tirole…

A Quick Note on the AEA Conference

…as well as scholars whose work you’ve encountered on this blog and elsewhere: Richard Thaler, Justin Wolfers, Dan Hamermesh, Robert Shiller, Orley Ashenfelter, Robert Frank, Avinash Dixit, Alan Kreuger, George…