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Episode No.
Date
Length
No. 517

Are M.B.A.s to Blame for Wage Stagnation?

New research finds that bosses who went to business school pay their workers less. So what are M.B.A. programs teaching — and should they stop?

10/5/22
47:35
No. 439

Please Get Your Noise Out of My Ears (Update)

The pandemic provided city dwellers with a break from the din of the modern world. Now the noise is coming back. What does that mean for our productivity, health, and basic sanity?

9/28/22
56:24
No. 516

Nuclear Power Isn’t Perfect. Is It Good Enough?

Liberals endorse harm reduction when it comes to the opioid epidemic. Are they ready to take the same approach to climate change?

9/21/22
58:28
No. 515

When You Pray to God Online, Who Else Is Listening?

The pandemic moved a lot of religious activity onto the internet. With faith-based apps, Silicon Valley is turning virtual prayers into earthly rewards. Does this mean sharing user data? Dear God, let’s hope not …

9/14/22
49:45
No. 472

This Is Your Brain on Pollution (Update)

As the Biden administration rushes to address climate change, Stephen Dubner looks at another, hidden cost of air pollution — one that’s affecting how we think.

9/7/22
52:35
No. 514

Roland Fryer Refuses to Lie to Black America

The controversial Harvard economist, recently back from a suspension, “broke a lot of glass early in my career,” he says. His research on school incentives and police brutality won him acclaim — but also enemies. Now he’s taking a hard look at corporate diversity programs. The common thread in his work? “I refuse to not tell the truth.”

8/31/22
61:29
No. 513

Should Public Transit Be Free?

It boosts economic opportunity and social mobility. It’s good for the environment. So why do we charge people to use it? The short answer: it’s complicated.

8/24/22
47:41
No. 477

Why Is U.S. Media So Negative? (Replay)

Breaking news! Sources say American journalism exploits our negativity bias to maximize profits, and social media algorithms add fuel to the fire. Stephen Dubner investigates.

8/17/22
47:47
No. 470

The Pros and Cons of America’s (Extreme) Individualism (Replay)

According to a decades-long research project, the U.S. is not only the most individualistic country on earth; we’re also high on indulgence, short-term thinking, and masculinity (but low on “uncertainty avoidance,” if that makes you feel better). We look at how these traits affect our daily lives and why we couldn’t change them even if we wanted to.

8/10/22
52:38
No. 469

The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not (Replay)

We often look to other countries for smart policies on education, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. But can a smart policy be simply transplanted into a country as culturally unusual (and as supremely WEIRD) as America?

8/3/22
54:46
No. 512

Does Philosophy Still Matter?

It used to be at the center of our conversations about politics and society. Scott Hershovitz (author of Nasty, Brutish, and Short) argues that philosophy still has a lot to say about work, justice, and parenthood. Our latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.

7/27/22
53:00
No. 511

Why Did You Marry That Person?

Sure, you were “in love.” But economists — using evidence from Bridgerton to Tinder — point to what’s called “assortative mating.” And it has some unpleasant consequences for society.

7/20/22
47:00
No. 479

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting: 10 Years Later (Replay)

In one of the earliest Freakonomics Radio episodes, we asked a bunch of economists with young kids how they approached child-rearing. Now the kids are old enough to talk — and they have a lot to say. We hear about nature vs. nurture, capitalism vs. Marxism, and why you don’t tell your friends that your father is an economist.

7/13/22
53:04
No. 510

What Problems Does Crypto Solve, Anyway?

Boosters say blockchain technology will usher in a brave new era of decentralization. Are they right — and would it be a dream or a nightmare? (Part 3 of “What Can Blockchain Do for You?“)

7/6/22
56:45
No. 509

Are N.F.T.s All Scams?

Some of them are. With others, it’s more complicated (and more promising). We try to get past the Bored Apes and the ripoffs to see if we can find art on the blockchain. (Part 2 of “What Can Blockchain Do for You?“)

6/29/22
49:44
No. 508

Does the Crypto Crash Mean the Blockchain Is Over?

No. But now is a good time to sort out the potential from the hype. Whether you’re bullish, bearish, or just confused, we’re here to explain what the blockchain can do for you. (Part 1 of a series.)

6/22/22
49:29
No. 507

103 Pieces of Advice That May or May Not Work

Kevin Kelly calls himself “the most optimistic person in the world.” And he has a lot to say about parenting, travel, A.I., being luckier — and why we should spend way more time on YouTube.

6/15/22
42:43
No. 506

What Is Sportswashing (and Does It Work)?

In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf league that’s challenging the P.G.A. Tour. Can a sporting event really repair a country’s reputation — or will it trigger the dreaded Streisand Effect?

6/8/22
53:33
No. 505

Did Domestic Violence Really Spike During the Pandemic?

When the world went into lockdown, experts predicted a rise in intimate-partner assaults. What actually happened was more complicated.

6/1/22
54:17
No. 504

Introducing “Off Leash”

In this new podcast from the Freakonomics Radio Network, dog-cognition expert and bestselling author Alexandra Horowitz (Inside of a Dog) takes us inside the scruffy, curious, joyful world of dogs. This is the first episode of Off Leash; you can find more episodes in your podcast app now.

5/25/22
42:58
No. 503

What Is the Future of College — and Does It Have Room for Men?

Educators and economists tell us all the reasons college enrollment has been dropping, especially for men, and how to stop the bleeding. (Part 4 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

5/18/22
53:32
No. 384

Abortion and Crime, Revisited (Update)

As the Supreme Court considers overturning Roe v. Wade, we look back at Steve Levitt’s controversial research on an unintended consequence of the 1973 ruling.

5/11/22
61:17
No. 502

“I Don’t Think the Country Is Turning Away From College.”

Enrollment is down for the first time in memory, and critics complain college is too expensive, too elitist, and too politicized. The economist Chris Paxson — who happens to be the president of Brown University — does not agree. (Part 3 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

5/4/22
47:58
No. 501

The University of Impossible-to-Get-Into

America’s top colleges are facing record demand. So why don’t they increase supply? (Part 2 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

4/27/22
62:49
No. 500

What Exactly Is College For?

We think of them as intellectual enclaves and the surest route to a better life. But U.S. colleges also operate like firms, trying to differentiate their products to win market share and prestige points. In the first episode of a special series, we ask what our chaotic system gets right — and wrong. (Part 1 of “Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to School.”)

4/20/22
49:47
No. 481

Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than China — and How About Russia? (Update)

The political scientist Yuen Yuen Ang argues that different forms of government create different styles of corruption. The U.S. and China have more in common than we’d like to admit — but Russia is a different story, which could explain its willingness to invade Ukraine.

4/13/22
70:09
No. 499

Don’t Worry, Be Tacky

The British art superstar Flora Yukhnovich, the Freakonomist Steve Levitt, and the upstart American Basketball Association were all unafraid to follow their joy — despite sneers from the Establishment. Should we all be more willing to embrace the déclassé?

4/6/22
39:57
No. 498

In the 1890s, the Best-Selling Car Was … Electric

After a huge false start, electric cars are finally about to flourish. We speak with a technology historian about this all-too-common story, and what it means for innovation everywhere.

3/30/22
46:20
No. 497

Can the Big Bad Wolf Save Your Life?

Every year, there are more than a million collisions in the U.S. between drivers and deer. The result: hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, and billions in damages. Enter the wolf …

3/23/22
49:00
No. 379

How to Change Your Mind (Update)

There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves?

3/16/22
51:11
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