Podcast

Freakonomics Radio

Discover the hidden side of everything with Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books. Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers. Special features include series l...more

Episodes

  • 359. Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s? (Rebroadcast)

    Aug 22 2019

    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.

  • 387. Hello, My Name Is Marijuana Pepsi!

    Aug 15 2019

    Research shows that having a distinctively black name doesn’t affect your economic future. But what is the day-to-day reality of living with such a name? Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, a newly-minted Ph.D., is well-qualified to answer this question. Her verdict: the data don’t tell the whole story.

  • 122. How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Rebroadcast)

    Aug 08 2019

    A kid’s name can tell us something about his parents — their race, social standing, even their politics. But is your name really your destiny?

  • 386. How the Supermarket Helped America Win the Cold War

    Aug 01 2019

    Aisle upon aisle of fresh produce, cheap meat, and sugary cereal — a delicious embodiment of free-market capitalism, right? Not quite. The supermarket was in fact the endpoint of the U.S. government’s battle for agricultural abundance against the U.S.S.R. Our farm policies were built to dominate, not necessarily to nourish — and we are still living with the consequences.

  • 356. America’s Hidden Duopoly (Rebroadcast)

    Jul 25 2019

    We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?

  • 385. What Do Nancy Pelosi, Taylor Swift, and Serena Williams Have in Common?

    Jul 18 2019

    They — along with a great many other high-achieving women — were all once Girl Scouts. So was Sylvia Acevedo. Raised in a poor, immigrant family, she was told that “girls like her” didn’t go to college. But she did, and then became a rocket scientist and tech executive. Now she’s C.E.O. of the very organization she credits with shaping her life. Acevedo tells us how the Girl Scouts are trying to stay relevant, why they’re suing the Boy Scouts, and how they sell so many cookies.

  • 384. Abortion and Crime, Revisited

    Jul 11 2019

    The controversial theory linking Roe v. Wade to a massive crime drop is back in the spotlight as several states introduce abortion restrictions. Steve Levitt and John Donohue discuss their original research, the challenges to its legitimacy, and their updated analysis. Also: what this means for abortion policy, crime policy, and having intelligent conversations about contentious topics.

  • 173. A Better Way to Eat (Rebroadcast)

    Jul 04 2019

    Takeru Kobayashi revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us learn from his breakthrough?

  • 383. The Zero-Minute Workout

    Jun 27 2019

    There is strong evidence that exercise is wildly beneficial. There is even stronger evidence that most people hate to exercise. So if a pill could mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it?

  • 382. How Goes the Behavior-Change Revolution?

    Jun 20 2019

    An all-star team of behavioral scientists discovers that humans are stubborn (and lazy, and sometimes dumber than dogs). We also hear about binge drinking, humblebragging, and regrets. Recorded live in Philadelphia with guests including Richard Thaler, Angela Duckworth, Katy Milkman, and Tom Gilovich.

  • 381. Long-Term Thinking in a Start-Up Town

    Jun 13 2019

    Recorded live in San Francisco. Guests include the keeper of a 10,000-year clock, the co-founder of Lyft, a pioneer in male birth control, a specialist in water security, and a psychology professor who is also a puppy. With co-host Angela Duckworth, fact-checker Mike Maughan, and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra.

  • 380. Notes From an Imperfect Paradise

    Jun 06 2019

    Recorded live in Los Angeles. Guests include Mayor Eric Garcetti, the “Earthquake Lady,” the head of the Port of L.A., and a scientist with NASA’s Planetary Protection team. With co-host Angela Duckworth, fact-checker Mike Maughan, and the worldwide debut of Luis Guerra and the Freakonomics Radio Orchestra.

  • 379. How to Change Your Mind

    May 30 2019

    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?