Is art really meant to be an “asset class”? Will the digital revolution finally democratize a market that just keeps getting more elitist? And what will happen to the last painting Alice Neel ever made? (Part 3 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”) To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “‘The . . .
The more successful an artist is, the more likely their work will later be resold at auction for a huge markup — and they receive nothing. Should that change? Also: why doesn’t contemporary art impact society the way music and film do? (Part 2 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”)
The art market is so opaque and illiquid that it barely functions like a market at all. A handful of big names get all the headlines (and most of the dollars). Beneath the surface is a tangled web of dealers, curators, auction houses, speculators — and, of course, artists. In this episode, we meet the key players and learn how an obscure, long-dead American painter suddenly became a superstar.
When Richard Thaler published Nudge in 2008 with co-author Cass Sunstein, the world was just starting to believe in his brand of behavioral economics. How did nudge theory hold up in the face of a global financial meltdown, a pandemic and other existential crises? With the publication of a new, radically updated edition, Thaler tries to persuade Stephen Dubner that nudging is more relevant today than ever.
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.
You know the saying: “There are no shortcuts in life.” What if that saying is just wrong? In his new book Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut in Math and Life, the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy argues that shortcuts can be applied to practically anything: music, psychotherapy, even politics. Our latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.
The U.S. is home to seven of the world’s 10 biggest companies. How did that happen? The answer may come down to two little letters: V.C. Is venture capital good for society, or does it just help the rich get richer? Stephen Dubner invests the time to find out. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this . . .
The pandemic may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean we’ll return to full-time commuting and packed office buildings. The greatest accidental experiment in the history of labor has lessons to teach us about productivity, flexibility, and even reversing the brain drain. But don’t buy another dozen pairs of sweatpants just yet. To find out more, check out the podcast . . .
Is the U.S. really less corrupt than China? A new book by an unorthodox political scientist argues that the two rivals have more in common than we’d like to admit. It’s just that most American corruption is essentially legal. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than . . .
Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940’s America (and pretty much everywhere else) shows that discrimination is incredibly costly — to the victims, of course, but also the perpetrators. One modern solution is to invoke a diversity mandate. But new research shows that’s not necessarily the answer. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: . . .
In one of the earliest Freakonomics Radio episodes (No. 39!), 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 sometimes don’t tell your friends that your father is an economist. . . .
Should America be run by … Trader Joe’s? The quirky little grocery chain with California roots and German ownership has a lot to teach all of us about choice architecture, efficiency, frugality, collaboration, and team spirit. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s?” and No . . .
Arthur Brooks is an economist who for 10 years ran the American Enterprise Institute, one of the most influential conservative think tanks in the world. He has come to believe there is only one weapon that can defeat our extreme political polarization: love. Is Brooks a fool for thinking this — and are you perhaps his kind of fool? And: . . .
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. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Why Is U.S. Media So Negative?” and “Reasons to Be Cheerful.”
Do more expensive wines taste better? They should! It’s a cardinal rule: more expensive items are supposed to be qualitatively better than their cheaper versions. But is that true for wine? And: The state-by-state rollout of legalized weed has given economists a perfect natural experiment to measure its effects. Here’s what we know so far — and don’t know — about . . .
The U.S. is an outlier when it comes to policing, as evidenced by more than 1,000 fatal shootings by police each year. But we’re an outlier in other ways too: a heavily-armed populace, a fragile mental-health system, and the fact that we spend so much time in our cars. Add in a history of racism and it’s no surprise that . . .
Among O.E.C.D. nations, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty. How can that be? To find out, Stephen Dubner speaks with a Republican senator, a Democratic mayor, and a large cast of econo-nerds. Along the way, we hear some surprisingly good news: Washington is finally ready to attack the problem head-on. To find out more, check . . .
When Richard Thaler published Nudge in 2008 (with co-author Cass Sunstein), the world was just starting to believe in his brand of behavioral economics. How did nudge theory hold up in the face of a global financial meltdown, a pandemic, and other existential crises? With the publication of a new, radically updated edition, Thaler tries to persuade Stephen Dubner that nudging is . . .
Behavioral scientists have been exploring if — and when — a psychological reset can lead to lasting change. We survey evidence from the London Underground, Major League Baseball, and New Year’s resolutions; we look at accidental fresh starts, forced fresh starts, and fresh starts that backfire. And we wonder: will the pandemic’s end provide the biggest fresh start ever? To find . . .
For all the progress made in fighting cancer, it still kills 10 million people a year, and some types remain especially hard to detect and treat. Pancreatic cancer, for instance, is nearly always fatal. A new clinical-trial platform could change that by aligning institutions that typically compete against one another. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which . . .
Air pollution is estimated to cause 7 million deaths a year and cost the global economy nearly $3 trillion. But is the true cost even higher? Stephen Dubner explores the links between pollution and cognitive function, and enlists two fellow Freakonomics Radio Network hosts in a homegrown experiment. To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour . . .
Americans are so accustomed to the standard intersection that we rarely consider how dangerous it can be — as well as costly, time-wasting, and polluting. Is it time to embrace the lowly, lovely roundabout? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished?”
While other countries seem to build spectacular bridges, dams, and even entire cities with ease, the U.S. is stuck in pothole-fixing mode. We speak with an array of transportation nerds — including the secretary of transportation and his immediate predecessor — to see if a massive federal infrastructure package can put America back in the driver’s seat. To find out more, check . . .
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. To find . . .
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? To find out more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “The U.S. Is Just Different — So Let’s Stop Pretending We’re Not.”
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 podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “How Much Do . . .
The benefits of sleep are by now well established, and yet many people don’t get enough. A new study suggests we should channel our inner toddler and get 30 minutes of shut-eye in the afternoon. But are we ready for a napping revolution? To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “Nap Time for . . .
It’s a powerful biological response that has preserved our species for millennia. But now it may be keeping us from pursuing strategies that would improve the environment, the economy, even our own health. So is it time to dial down our disgust reflex? You can help fix things — as Stephen Dubner does in this episode — by chowing down . . .
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