Freakonomics, M.D.

Each week, physician and economist Dr. Bapu Jena will dig into a fascinating study at the intersection of economics and healthcare. He takes on questions like: Why do kids with summer birthdays get the flu more often? Can surviving a hurricane help you live longer? What do heart surgery and grocery-store pricing have in common? You can follow the show on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts,



Anupam “Bapu” Jena is a professor at Harvard Medical School, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has a M.D. and a Ph. D in economics from the University of Chicago, where he studied under Steve Levitt, co-author of the Freakonomics books. 

As an economist and physician, Jena is uniquely positioned to explore the world of medicine with an eye towards behavioral science and economics that’s rooted in data: how and why doctors and patients behave the way they do, the role of incentives in healthcare, the impact that healthcare has on our health, and the reasons behind a multitude of perplexing phenomena. Bapu is a prolific researcher and is fascinated by studies done by others too.

As an expert communicator of issues that lie at the intersection of medicine, behavioral science, and economics, Jena will apply his inquisitive mind and his warm and engaging style to his new weekly podcast with the Freakonomics Radio Network.


Introducing “This Won’t Hurt a Bit”

How can a marathon be dangerous even if you don’t run the race? Does your doctor follow medical advice any better than you do? Just how dangerous was it to go to a birthday party at the height of the pandemic? These are the kinds of questions that intrigue Dr. Bapu Jena, a rare double threat — he’s both an M.D. and a Ph.D. economist at Harvard. Each week on This Won’t Hurt a Bit, Jena digs into fascinating research to discover the hidden side of healthcare.