In this episode we speculate what would happen if economists got to run the world. Hear from a high-end call girl; an Estonian who ran his country according to the gospel of Milton Friedman; and a guy who wants to start building new nations in the middle of the ocean.
Americans keep putting on pounds. So is it time for a cheeseburger tax? Or would a chill pill be the best medicine? In this episode, we explore the underbelly of fat through the eyes of a 280-pound woman, a top White House doctor, and a couple of overweight academics.
What do NASCAR drivers, Glenn Beck and the hit men of the NFL have in common?
In the wake of attempted and successful suicide bombings on an airplane and at a CIA base, American attention is riveted on how to identify potential terrorists and cope with the costs of attacks. But conventional wisdom about these attackers and their attacks is often wrong, and the costs can significantly add up even when far from the site of a potential blast. Our friend Stephen Dubner, co-author of “SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance” and the Freakonomics blog on nytimes.com joins us to talk about how we frequently let terrorists succeed ... even when they fail.
This year’s football season … full of exciting games and undefeated teams ... is also unfolding amidst concerns over head injuries to players. But what would happen if the helmets meant to protect players' heads were removed from the game? "SuperFreakonomics" co-author Stephen Dubner reports on the surprising outcomes, with safeguards and incentives included, of course.
Click through to watch a video of Cal's electric tailback Jahvid Best, who was diagnosed with a concussion after taking a serious fall earlier this month.
Seat belts are a simple technology; they have saved many lives since their introduction in the 1950s. Since then, however, concern over protecting children in traffic accidents has led to many models of child car seats, and many state laws requiring parents to put kids in them until they are six or seven years old. In "SuperFreakonomics," Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt compare the safety record of car seats and seat belts, going so far as to buy their own testing time at a safety rating facility. Their analysis brings into question whether seat belts actually perform any worse than newer technologies. Some people, including the Secretary of Transportation, are questioning these results. Here is "Super Freakonomics" co-author Steven Levitt's response.
People (and economists) have long thought that humans have a basic inclination toward altruism: toward helping one another without thinking of a reward. Stephen Dubner, co-author of "SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance" tells the story of how this was called into question and how studies complicate the picture of what motivates human beings.
Our contributor Beth Kobliner brings in a new 6-year survey out today from The Ethics Resource Center, which says people are behaving more ethically at work while the economy is slow. Stephen Dubner is a little skeptical, however, that people reliably self-report their own ethics practices.
The new "SuperFreakonomics" book has attracted some passionate criticism from climate scientists and a community of writers, researchers and scholars for a chapter on global warming. Co-authors Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt reject the idea that reducing carbon emissions should be the sole focus for addressing global warming, and dive into an array of bold ideas for "geoengineering," which would allow people to directly change temperatures on Earth. Stephen Dubner joins us to explain and defend the Freakonomics approach.
Our friend Stephen Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books and the Freakonomics blog at The New York Times, joins us all this week. We'll ask him what motivates the questions he asks in the new book, "SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance." Today's topic is health care costs and the impact of 'all-you-can-eat' insurance plans.
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner ask unexpected questions to challenge the way we think by looking at the hidden sides of things. Their new book SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, is a follow-up to their first book, Freakonomics. Read ...
A few decades before doctors understood basic germ theory, a curious process played out in 19th-century Austria. At the time, doctors were trying to find the cause of a deadly fever striking many mothers and newborn infants in the delivery room. Among the possible causes they considered were tight corsets and women upset by the presence of men in the room. The actual cause was eventually uncovered by the relentless and data-driven work of Ignaz Semmelweis, a doctor whose work ulimately saved uncountable lives.
Dr. Semmelweis' line of reasoning is now highlighted by Stephen Dubner, co-author of the "Freakonomics" book and blog. The new book, "SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance," comes out next month.