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Freakonomics Radio
Freakonomics Radio
Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher

Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner uncovers the hidden side of everything. Why is it safer to fly in an airplane than drive... more

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Episodes

584. How to Pave the Road to Hell

So you want to help people? That’s great — but beware the law of unintended consequences. Three stories from the... more

18 Apr 2024 · 43 minutes
Extra: The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution (Update)

The psychologist Daniel Kahneman — a Nobel laureate and the author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow” — recently died at... more

14 Apr 2024 · 34 minutes
Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Update)

People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms... more

11 Apr 2024 · 49 minutes
583. Are We Living Through the Most Revolutionary Period in History?

Fareed Zakaria says yes. But it’s not just political revolution — it’s economic, technological, even emotional. He doesn’t offer easy... more

04 Apr 2024 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
Extra: How Much Do You Know About Immigration?

The political debates over immigration can generate a lot of fuzzy facts. We wanted to test Americans’ knowledge — so,... more

01 Apr 2024 · 27 minutes
582. Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?

As the U.S. tries to fix its messy immigration system, our neighbor to the north is scooping up more talented... more

28 Mar 2024 · 49 minutes
581. What Both Parties Get Wrong About Immigration

The U.S. immigration system is a massively complicated machine, with a lot of worn-out parts. How to fix it? Step... more

21 Mar 2024 · 55 minutes
Extra: Madeleine Albright’s Warning on Immigration

She arrived in the U.S. as an 11-year-old refugee, then rose to become Secretary of State. Her views on immigration,... more

18 Mar 2024 · 29 minutes
580. The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System

How did a nation of immigrants come to hate immigration? We start at the beginning, sort through the evidence, and... more

14 Mar 2024 · 55 minutes
579. Are You Caught in a Social Media Trap?

Economists have discovered an odd phenomenon: many people who use social media (even you, maybe?) wish it didn’t exist. But... more

07 Mar 2024 · 42 minutes
Extra: What Is Sportswashing — and Does It Work? (Update)

In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf... more

04 Mar 2024 · 1 hour, 5 minutes
578. Water, Water Everywhere — But You Have to Stop and Think

What surprises lurk in our sewage? How did racist city planners end up saving Black lives? Why does Arizona grow... more

29 Feb 2024 · 52 minutes
Is Google Getting Worse? (Update)

It used to feel like magic. Now it can feel like a set of cheap tricks. Is the problem with... more

22 Feb 2024 · 56 minutes
Extra: Mr. Feynman Takes a Trip — But Doesn’t Fall

A wide-open conversation with three women who guided Richard Feynman through some big adventures at the Esalen Institute. (Part of... more

19 Feb 2024 · 47 minutes
The Vanishing Mr. Feynman

In his final years, Richard Feynman's curiosity took him to some surprising places. We hear from his companions on the... more

15 Feb 2024 · 1 hour, 1 minute
The Brilliant Mr. Feynman

What happens when an existentially depressed and recently widowed young physicist from Queens gets a fresh start in California? We... more

08 Feb 2024 · 52 minutes
How the San Francisco 49ers Stopped Being Losers (Update)

They’re heading to the Super Bowl for the second time in five years. But back in 2018, they were coming... more

05 Feb 2024 · 1 hour, 3 minutes
The Curious Mr. Feynman

From the Manhattan Project to the Challenger investigation, the physicist Richard Feynman loved to shoot down what he called “lousy... more

01 Feb 2024 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
574. “A Low Moment in Higher Education”

Michael Roth of Wesleyan University doesn’t hang out with other university presidents. He also thinks some of them have failed... more

25 Jan 2024 · 46 minutes
5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing (Replay)

We all like to throw around terms that describe human behavior — “bystander apathy” and “steep learning curve” and “hard-wired.”... more

22 Jan 2024 · 49 minutes
573. Can Academic Fraud Be Stopped?

Probably not — the incentives are too strong. Scholarly publishing is a $28 billion global industry, with misconduct at every... more

18 Jan 2024 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
572. Why Is There So Much Fraud in Academia?

Some of the biggest names in behavioral science stand accused of faking their results. Last year, an astonishing 10,000 research... more

11 Jan 2024 · 1 hour, 14 minutes
571. Greeting Cards, Pizza Boxes, and Personal Injury Lawyers

In a special episode of The Economics of Everyday Things, host Zachary Crockett explains what millennials do to show they... more

04 Jan 2024 · 49 minutes
570. Is Gynecology the Best Innovation Ever?

In a special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt talks to Cat Bohannon about her new book "Eve:... more

28 Dec 2023 · 46 minutes
569. Do You Need Closure?

In a special episode of No Stupid Questions, Angela Duckworth and Mike Maughan talk about unfinished tasks, recurring arguments, and... more

21 Dec 2023 · 39 minutes
568. Why Are People So Mad at Michael Lewis?

Lewis got incredible access to Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire behind the spectacular FTX fraud. His book is a bestseller, but... more

14 Dec 2023 · 1 hour,
567. Do the Police Have a Management Problem?

In policing, as in most vocations, the best employees are often promoted into leadership without much training. One economist thinks... more

07 Dec 2023 · 47 minutes
513. Should Public Transit Be Free? (Update)

It boosts economic opportunity and social mobility. It’s good for the environment. So why do we charge people to use... more

30 Nov 2023 · 56 minutes
566. Why Is It So Hard (and Expensive) to Build Anything in America?

Most industries have become more productive over time. But not construction! We identify the causes — and possible solutions. (Can... more

23 Nov 2023 · 54 minutes
Extra: Jason Kelce Hates to Lose

Pro footballer and star podcaster Jason Kelce is ubiquitous right now (almost as ubiquitous as his brother and co-host Travis,... more

19 Nov 2023 · 56 minutes
565. Are Private Equity Firms Plundering the U.S. Economy?

They say they make companies more efficient through savvy management. Critics say they bend the rules to enrich themselves at... more

16 Nov 2023 · 51 minutes
480. How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy? (Replay)

Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940’s America (and pretty much everywhere else) shows that discrimination is incredibly costly — to... more

09 Nov 2023 · 57 minutes
564. How to Succeed at Failing, Part 4: Extreme Resiliency

Everyone makes mistakes. How do you learn from them? Lessons from the classroom, the Air Force, and the world’s deadliest... more

02 Nov 2023 · 52 minutes
563. How to Succeed at Failing, Part 3: Grit vs. Quit

Giving up can be painful. That's why we need to talk about it. Today: stories about glitchy apps, leaky paint... more

26 Oct 2023 · 1 hour, 3 minutes
562. How to Succeed at Failing, Part 2: Life and Death

In medicine, failure can be catastrophic. It can also produce discoveries that save millions of lives. Tales from the front... more

19 Oct 2023 · 54 minutes
561. How to Succeed at Failing, Part 1: The Chain of Events

We tend to think of tragedies as a single terrible moment, rather than the result of multiple bad decisions. Can... more

12 Oct 2023 · 55 minutes
232. A New Nobel Laureate Explains the Gender Pay Gap (Replay)

Claudia Goldin is the newest winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. We spoke with her in 2016 about why... more

10 Oct 2023 · 44 minutes
560. Is This “the Worst Job in Corporate America” — or Maybe the Best?

John Ray is an emergency C.E.O., a bankruptcy expert who takes over companies that have succumbed to failure or fraud.... more

05 Oct 2023 · 40 minutes
559. Are Two C.E.O.s Better Than One?

If two parents can run a family, why shouldn’t two executives run a company? We dig into the research and... more

28 Sep 2023 · 50 minutes
558. The Facts Are In: Two Parents Are Better Than One

In her new book "The Two-Parent Privilege," the economist Melissa Kearney says it’s time for liberals to face the facts:... more

21 Sep 2023 · 1 hour, 4 minutes
557. When Is a Superstar Just Another Employee?

The union that represents N.F.L. players conducted their first-ever survey of workplace conditions, and issued a report card to all... more

14 Sep 2023 · 1 hour,
556. A.I. Is Changing Everything. Does That Include You?

For all the speculation about the future, A.I. tools can be useful right now. Adam Davidson discovers what they can... more

07 Sep 2023 · 48 minutes
555. New Technologies Always Scare Us. Is A.I. Any Different?

Guest host Adam Davidson looks at what might happen to your job in a world of human-level artificial intelligence, and... more

31 Aug 2023 · 47 minutes
554. Can A.I. Take a Joke?

Artificial intelligence, we’ve been told, will destroy humankind. No, wait — it will usher in a new age of human... more

24 Aug 2023 · 48 minutes
553. The Suddenly Diplomatic Rahm Emanuel

The famously profane politician and operative is now U.S. ambassador to Japan, where he’s trying to rewrite the rules of... more

17 Aug 2023 · 56 minutes
Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished? (Ep. 454 Replay)

Americans are so accustomed to the standard intersection that we rarely consider how dangerous it can be — as well... more

10 Aug 2023 · 46 minutes
Extra: A Modern Whaler Speaks Up

Bjorn Andersen killed 111 minke whales this season. He tells us how he does it, why he does it, and... more

06 Aug 2023 · 26 minutes
552. Freakonomics Radio Presents: The Economics of Everyday Things

In three stories from our newest podcast, host Zachary Crockett digs into sports mascots, cashmere sweaters, and dinosaur skeletons.

03 Aug 2023 · 47 minutes
551. What Can Whales Teach Us About Clean Energy, Workplace Harmony, and Living the Good Life?

In the final episode of our whale series, we learn about fecal plumes, shipping noise, and why "Moby-Dick" is still... more

27 Jul 2023 · 47 minutes
550. Why Do People Still Hunt Whales?

For years, whale oil was used as lighting fuel, industrial lubricant, and the main ingredient in (yum!) margarine. Whale meat... more

20 Jul 2023 · 37 minutes
549. The First Great American Industry

Whaling was, in the words of one scholar, “early capitalism unleashed on the high seas.” How did the U.S. come... more

13 Jul 2023 · 43 minutes
548. Why Is the U.S. So Good at Killing Pedestrians?

Actually, the reasons are pretty clear. The harder question is: Will we ever care enough to stop?

06 Jul 2023 · 44 minutes
Why Did You Marry That Person? (Ep. 511 Replay)

Sure, you were “in love.” But economists — using evidence from "Bridgerton" to Tinder — point to what’s called “assortative... more

29 Jun 2023 · 47 minutes
547. Satya Nadella’s Intelligence Is Not Artificial

But as C.E.O. of the resurgent Microsoft, he is firmly at the center of the A.I. revolution. We speak with... more

22 Jun 2023 · 36 minutes
546. Are E.S.G. Investors Actually Helping the Environment?

Probably not. The economist Kelly Shue argues that E.S.G. investing just gives more money to firms that are already green... more

15 Jun 2023 · 54 minutes
545. Enough with the Slippery Slopes!

Gun control, abortion rights, drug legalization — it seems like every argument these days claims that if X happens, then... more

08 Jun 2023 · 44 minutes
544. Ari Emanuel Is Never Indifferent

He turned a small Hollywood talent agency into a massive sports-and-entertainment empire. In a freewheeling conversation, he explains how he... more

01 Jun 2023 · 1 hour, 5 minutes
Make Me a Match (Ep. 209 Update)

Sure, markets work well in general. But for some transactions — like school admissions and organ transplants — money alone... more

25 May 2023 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
543. How to Return Stolen Art

Museums are purging their collections of looted treasures. Can they also get something in return? And what does it mean... more

18 May 2023 · 51 minutes
542. Is a Museum Just a Trophy Case?

The world’s great museums are full of art and artifacts that were plundered during an era when plunder was the... more

11 May 2023 · 52 minutes
541. The Case of the $4 Million Gold Coffin

How did a freshly looted Egyptian antiquity end up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Why did it take Kim... more

04 May 2023 · 53 minutes
Why Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It (Ep. 323 Replay)

Whether it’s a giant infrastructure plan or a humble kitchen renovation, it’ll inevitably take way too long and cost way... more

27 Apr 2023 · 42 minutes
540. Swearing Is More Important Than You Think

Every language has its taboo words (which many people use all the time). But the list of forbidden words is... more

20 Apr 2023 · 45 minutes
539. Why Does One Tiny State Set the Rules for Everyone?

Delaware is beloved by corporations, bankruptcy lawyers, tax avoiders, and money launderers. Critics say the Delaware “franchise” is undemocratic and... more

13 Apr 2023 · 46 minutes
538. A Radically Simple Way to Boost a Neighborhood

Many companies say they want to create more opportunities for Black Americans. One company is doing something concrete about it.... more

06 Apr 2023 · 47 minutes
How to Hate Taxes a Little Bit Less (Ep. 400 Replay)

Every year, Americans short the I.R.S. nearly half a trillion dollars. Most ideas to increase compliance are more stick than... more

30 Mar 2023 · 43 minutes
537. “Insurance Is Sexy.” Discuss.

In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, the economist Amy Finkelstein explains why insurance markets are broken and... more

23 Mar 2023 · 52 minutes
Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Ep. 495 Replay)

People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms... more

16 Mar 2023 · 49 minutes
536. Is Your Plane Ticket Too Expensive — or Too Cheap?

Most travelers want the cheapest flight they can find. Airlines, meanwhile, need to manage volatile fuel costs, a pricey workforce,... more

09 Mar 2023 · 58 minutes
535. Why Is Flying Safer Than Driving?

Thanks to decades of work by airlines and regulators, plane crashes are nearly a thing of the past. Can we... more

02 Mar 2023 · 56 minutes
534. Air Travel Is a Miracle. Why Do We Hate It?

It’s an unnatural activity that has become normal. You’re stuck in a metal tube with hundreds of strangers (and strange... more

23 Feb 2023 · 58 minutes
Why Does the Most Monotonous Job in the World Pay $1 Million? (Ep. 493 Update)

Adam Smith famously argued that specialization is the key to prosperity. In the N.F.L., the long snapper is proof of... more

16 Feb 2023 · 53 minutes
The Economics of Everyday Things: Used Hotel Soaps

Hotel guests adore those cute little soaps, but is it just a one-night stand? In our fourth episode of "The... more

13 Feb 2023 · 16 minutes
533. Will the Democrats “Make America Great Again”?

For decades, the U.S. let globalization run its course and hoped China would be an ally. Now the Biden administration... more

09 Feb 2023 · 50 minutes
The Economics of Everyday Things: “My Sharona”

Can a hit single from four decades ago still pay the bills? Zachary Crockett f-f-f-finds out in the third episode... more

06 Feb 2023 · 18 minutes
Is Economic Growth the Wrong Goal? (Ep. 429 Update)

The economist Kate Raworth says the aggressive pursuit of G.D.P. is trashing the planet and shortchanging too many people. She... more

02 Feb 2023 · 41 minutes
The Economics of Everyday Things: Girl Scout Cookies

How does America's cutest sales force get billions of Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs into our hands every year? Zachary... more

30 Jan 2023 · 14 minutes
532. Do You Know Who Owns Your Vet?

When small businesses get bought by big investors, the name may stay the same — but customers and employees can... more

26 Jan 2023 · 46 minutes
Introducing “The Economics of Everyday Things”

A new podcast hosted by Zachary Crockett. In the first episode: Gas stations. When gas prices skyrocket, do station owners... more

23 Jan 2023 · 15 minutes
531. Should You Trust Private Equity to Take Care of Your Dog?

Big investors are buying up local veterinary practices (and pretty much everything else). What does this mean for scruffy little... more

19 Jan 2023 · 42 minutes
Extra: Samin Nosrat Always Wanted to Be Famous

And with her book "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat," she succeeded. Now she's not so sure how to feel about all... more

16 Jan 2023 · 39 minutes
530. What's Wrong with Being a One-Hit Wonder?

We tend to look down on artists who can't match their breakthrough success. Should we be celebrating them instead?

12 Jan 2023 · 49 minutes
529. Can Our Surroundings Make Us Smarter?

In a special episode of No Stupid Questions, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discuss classroom design, open offices, and cognitive... more

05 Jan 2023 · 46 minutes
528. Yuval Noah Harari Thinks Life is Meaningless and Amazing

In this special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt talks to the best-selling author of "Sapiens" and "Homo... more

29 Dec 2022 · 51 minutes
527. Can Adam Smith Fix Our Economy?

Labor exploitation! Corporate profiteering! Government corruption! The 21st century can look a lot like the 18th. In the final episode... more

22 Dec 2022 · 48 minutes
526. Was Adam Smith Really a Right-Winger?

Economists and politicians have turned him into a mascot for free-market ideology. Some on the left say the right has... more

15 Dec 2022 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
Freakonomics Radio Needs Your Help

A sneak peek at an upcoming series — and a call for would-be radio reporters.

12 Dec 2022 · 5 minutes
525. In Search of the Real Adam Smith

How did an affable 18th-century “moral philosopher” become the patron saint of cutthroat capitalism? Does “the invisible hand” mean what... more

08 Dec 2022 · 46 minutes
524. How Important Is Breastfeeding, Really?

In this special episode of Freakonomics, M.D., host Bapu Jena looks at a clever new study that could help answer... more

01 Dec 2022 · 31 minutes
523. Did Michael Lewis Just Get Lucky with “Moneyball”?

No — but he does have a knack for stumbling into the perfect moment, including the recent FTX debacle. In... more

24 Nov 2022 · 52 minutes
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530. What's Wrong with Being a One-Hit Wonder?
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Description

We tend to look down on artists who can't match their breakthrough success. Should we be celebrating them instead?