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Freakonomics Radio : About

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In their books Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomicsSteven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner use the tools of economics to explore real-world behavior. As boring as that may sound, what they really do is tell stories — about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama’s boys. American Public Media’s Marketplace and WNYC are now bringing those Freakonomics stories — and plenty of new ones — to the radio, with Dubner as host. Just like the books, Freakonomics Radio will explore “the hidden side of everything.” It will tell you things you always thought you knew but didn’t, and things you never thought you wanted to know, but do.

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  • Stephen J. Dubner
  • Freakonomics Radio
http://freakonomicsradio.com/
Show Archive

Show Staff

  • Stephen J. Dubner - Host, Freakonomics Radio

    Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He is best-known for writing, along with the economist Steven D. Levitt, Freakonomics (2005) and SuperFreakonomics (2009), which have sold more than 5 million copies in 35 languages.

Latest Stories from Freakonomics Radio

Last updated: Saturday, December 20 2014 11:04 PM

Time to Take Back the Toilet

Thursday, December 18 2014 05:00 AM

Public bathrooms are noisy, poorly designed, and often nonexistent. What to do?

The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, December 11 2014 05:00 AM

We spend billions on our pets, and one of the fastest-growing costs is pet "aftercare." But are those cremated remains you got back really from your pet?

How to Fix a Broken High Schooler, in Four Easy Steps

Thursday, December 04 2014 05:00 AM

Okay, maybe the steps aren’t so easy. But a program run out of a Toronto housing project has had great success in turning around kids who were headed for trouble.

Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem?

Thursday, November 27 2014 05:00 AM

If U.S. schoolteachers are indeed “just a little bit below average,” it’s not really their fault. So what should be done about it?

The Man Who Would Be Everything

Thursday, November 20 2014 05:00 AM

Boris Johnson -- mayor of London, biographer of Churchill, cheese-box painter and tennis-racket collector -- answers our FREAK-quently Asked Questions.

Why Do People Keep Having Children?

Thursday, November 13 2014 05:00 AM

Even a brutal natural disaster doesn’t diminish our appetite for procreating. This surely means we’re heading toward massive overpopulation, right? Probably not.

Should the U.S. Merge With Mexico?

Thursday, November 06 2014 05:00 AM

Corporations around the world are consolidating like never before. If it’s good enough for companies, why not countries? Welcome to Amexico!

What Can Vampires Teach Us About Economics?

Thursday, October 30 2014 04:00 AM

A lot! “The Economics of the Undead” is a book about dating strategy, job creation, and whether there should be a legal market for blood.

“Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”

Thursday, October 23 2014 04:00 PM

The debut of a live game show from Freakonomics Radio, with judges Malcolm Gladwell, Ana Gasteyer, and David Paterson.

How Can Tiny Norway Afford to Buy So Many Teslas?

Thursday, October 16 2014 04:00 AM

The Norwegian government parleys massive oil wealth into huge subsidies for electric cars. Is that carbon laundering or just pragmatic environmentalism?

How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, October 09 2014 04:00 AM

The science of what works -- and doesn't work -- in fund-raising

Fixing the World, Bang-for-the-Buck Edition

Thursday, October 02 2014 04:00 AM

A team of economists has been running the numbers on the U.N.'s development goals. They have a different view of how those billions of dollars should be spent.

Fitness Apartheid

Thursday, September 25 2014 04:00 AM

Markets are hardly perfect, but the results can be ugly when you try to subvert them.

Outsiders by Design

Thursday, September 18 2014 04:00 AM

What does it mean to pursue something that everyone else thinks is nuts? And what does it take to succeed?

How to Save $1 Billion Without Even Trying

Thursday, September 11 2014 04:00 AM

Doctors, chefs, and other experts are much more likely than the rest of us to buy store-brand products. What do they know that we don’t?

Regulate This!

Thursday, September 04 2014 04:00 AM

Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, EatWith, and other companies in the “sharing economy” are practically daring government regulators to shut them down. The regulators are happy to comply.

Who Runs the Internet? (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, August 28 2014 04:00 AM

The online universe doesn't have nearly as many rules, or rulemakers, as the real world. Discuss.

Parking Is Hell (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, August 21 2014 04:00 AM

There ain't no such thing as a free parking spot. Somebody has to pay for it -- and that somebody is everybody.

What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common? (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, August 14 2014 04:00 AM

A look at whether spite pays -- and if it even exists.

Should Tipping be Banned? (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, August 07 2014 04:00 AM

It's awkward, random, confusing -- and probably discriminatory too.

How Much Does Your Name Matter? (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, July 31 2014 04:00 AM

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?

Does Religion Make You Happy?

Thursday, July 24 2014 04:00 AM

It’s a hard question to answer, but we do our best.

Why You Should Bribe Your Kids

Thursday, July 17 2014 04:00 AM

Educational messaging looks good on paper but kids don’t respond to it -- and adults aren’t much better.

What Do King Solomon and David Lee Roth Have in Common?

Thursday, July 10 2014 04:00 AM

It isn’t easy to separate the guilty from the innocent, but a clever bit of game theory can help.

A Better Way to Eat

Thursday, July 03 2014 04:00 AM

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

How to Screen Job Applicants, Act Your Age, and Get Your Brain Off Autopilot

Thursday, June 26 2014 04:00 AM

Dubner and Levitt answer reader questions in this first installment of the “Think Like a Freak” Book Club.

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Appetizer

Thursday, June 19 2014 04:00 AM

Is it really in a restaurant’s best interest to give customers free bread or chips before they even order?

Why America Doesn’t Love Soccer (Yet)

Thursday, June 12 2014 04:00 AM

Every four years, the U.S. takes a look at the World Cup and develops a slight crush. What would it take to really fall in love?

Failure Is Your Friend

Thursday, June 05 2014 04:00 AM

In which we argue that failure should not only be tolerated but celebrated.

The Upside of Quitting (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, May 29 2014 04:00 AM

You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says ... Are you sure?

Think Like a Child

Thursday, May 22 2014 04:00 AM

When it comes to generating ideas and asking questions it can be really fruitful to have the mentality of an eight year old.

The Three Hardest Words in the English Language

Thursday, May 15 2014 04:00 AM

Why learning to say “I don’t know” is one of the best things you can do.

How to Think Like a Freak -- and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

Thursday, May 08 2014 04:00 AM

Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt talk about their new book and field questions about prestige, university life, and (yum yum) bacon.

The Perfect Crime

Thursday, May 01 2014 04:00 AM

If you are driving and kill a pedestrian, there's a good chance you'll barely be punished. Why?

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Avocado?

Thursday, April 24 2014 04:00 AM

When it comes to exercising outrage, people tend to be very selective. Could it be that humans are our least favorite animal?

What’s More Dangerous: Marijuana or Alcohol?

Thursday, April 17 2014 04:00 AM

Imagine that both substances were undiscovered until today. How would we think about their relative risks?

“If Mayors Ruled the World”

Thursday, April 10 2014 04:00 AM

Unlike certain elected officials in Washington, mayors all over the country actually get stuff done. So maybe we should ask them to do more?

How to Make People Quit Smoking

Thursday, April 03 2014 04:00 AM

The war on cigarettes has been fairly successful in some places. But 1 billion humans still smoke -- so what comes next?

Why Everybody Who Doesn’t Hate Bitcoin Loves It

Thursday, March 27 2014 04:00 AM

Thinking of Bitcoin as just a digital currency is like thinking about the Internet as just e-mail. Its potential is much more exciting than that.

Women Are Not Men (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, March 20 2014 04:00 AM

In many ways, the gender gap is closing. In others, not so much. And that's not always a bad thing.

“It’s Fun to Smoke Marijuana”

Thursday, March 13 2014 04:00 AM

A psychology professor argues that the brain's greatest attribute is knowing what other people are thinking. And that a Queen song, played backwards, can improve your mind-reading skills.

Is Learning a Foreign Language Really Worth It?

Thursday, March 06 2014 05:00 AM

Yes, it expands the mind but we usually don't retain much -- and then there's the opportunity cost.

Why Are Japanese Homes Disposable?

Thursday, February 27 2014 05:00 AM

In most countries, houses get more valuable over time. In Japan, a new buyer will often bulldoze the home. We'll tell you why.

Why Marry? (Part 2)

Thursday, February 20 2014 05:00 AM

The consequences of our low marriage rate -- and if the old model is less attractive, how about a new one?

Why Marry? (Part 1)

Thursday, February 13 2014 05:00 AM

The myths of modern marriage.

What You Don’t Know About Online Dating

Thursday, February 06 2014 05:00 AM

Thick markets, thin markets, and the triumph of attributes over compatibility. This episode is included in the Freakonomics #smartbinge podcast playlist at wnyc.org/smartbinge

Reasons to Not Be Ugly

Thursday, January 30 2014 02:00 PM

The "beauty premium" is real, for everyone from babies to NFL quarterbacks.

Everybody Gossips (and That’s a Good Thing)

Thursday, January 23 2014 02:00 PM

The benefits of rumor-mongering

Fear Thy Nature (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, January 16 2014 02:00 PM

What "Sleep No More" and the Stanford Prison Experiment tell us about who we really are.

Are We Ready to Legalize Drugs? And Other FREAK-Quently Asked Questions

Thursday, January 09 2014 02:00 PM

Dubner and Levitt talk about fixing the post office, putting cameras in the classroom, and wearing hats.

What’s the “Best” Exercise?

Thursday, January 02 2014 02:00 PM

Most people blame lack of time for being out of shape. So maybe the solution is to exercise more efficiently.

Save Me From Myself (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, December 26 2013 02:00 PM

A commitment device forces you to be the person you really want to be. What could possibly go wrong?

Pontiff-icating on the Free-Market System

Thursday, December 19 2013 02:00 PM

The Pope just gave it to the global economy with both barrels. Was he right to do so?

Are Gay Men Really Rich?

Thursday, December 12 2013 02:00 PM

It’s easy to get that idea. But is the stereotype true?

The Most Dangerous Machine

Thursday, December 05 2013 02:00 PM

More than 1 million people die worldwide each year from traffic accidents. But there's never been a safer time to drive.

Fighting Poverty With Actual Evidence

Wednesday, November 27 2013 02:00 PM

It's time to do away with feel-good stories, gut hunches, and magical thinking.

What Do Skating Rinks, Ultimate Frisbee, and the World Have in Common?

Thursday, November 21 2013 02:00 PM

Spontaneous order is everywhere if you know where to look for it.

Who Runs the Internet?

Thursday, November 14 2013 02:00 PM

The online universe doesn't have nearly as many rules, or rulemakers, as the real world. Discuss.

Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 2 (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, November 07 2013 02:00 PM

College tends to make people happier, healthier, and wealthier. But how?

Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1 (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, October 31 2013 01:00 PM

What's a college degree really worth these days?

Why Bad Environmentalism Is Such an Easy Sell

Thursday, October 24 2013 01:00 PM

Being green is rarely a black-and-white issue -- but that doesn't stop marketers and politicians from pretending it is.

The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat

Monday, October 14 2013 01:00 PM

We spend billions on our pets, and one of the fastest-growing costs is pet "aftercare." But are those cremated remains you got back really from your pet?

How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten

Thursday, October 10 2013 01:00 PM

The science of what works -- and doesn't work -- in fund-raising

How to Think About Money, Choose Your Hometown, and Buy an Electric Toothbrush

Thursday, October 03 2013 01:00 PM

Dubner and Levitt field your queries in this latest installment of our FREAK-quently Asked Questions.

Would a Big Bucket of Cash Really Change Your Life?

Thursday, September 26 2013 01:00 PM

A 19th-century Georgia land lottery may have something to teach us about today's income inequality.

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, September 19 2013 01:00 PM

Think you know how much parents matter? Think again. Economists crunch the numbers to learn the ROI on child-rearing.

Whatever Happened to the Carpal Tunnel Epidemic?

Thursday, September 12 2013 01:00 PM

Once upon a time, office workers across America lived in fear of a dreaded infirmity. Was the computer keyboard really the villain -- and did carpal tunnel syndrome really go away?

The Suicide Paradox (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, September 05 2013 01:00 PM

There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.

Who Are the Most Successful Immigrants in the World?

Thursday, August 29 2013 01:00 PM

It's impossible to say for sure, but the Lebanese do remarkably well. Why?

The Folly of Prediction (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, August 22 2013 01:00 PM

Human beings love to predict the future, but we're quite terrible at it. So how about punishing all those bad predictions?

The Middle of Everywhere

Thursday, August 15 2013 01:00 PM

Chicago has given the world more than sausage, crooked politics, and Da Bears.

The Church of "Scionology" (Rebroadcast)

Thursday, August 08 2013 01:00 PM

We worship the tradition of handing off a family business to the next generation. But is that really such a good idea?

Do Baby Girls Cause Divorce?

Thursday, August 01 2013 01:00 PM

Even American parents have a strong "son preference" -- which means that a newborn daughter can be bad news for a marriage.

REBROADCAST: The Upside of Quitting

Monday, July 22 2013 01:00 PM

You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says ... Are you sure?

Government Employees Gone Wild

Thursday, July 18 2013 01:00 PM

The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failures catalogs the fiscal, sexual, and mental lapses of federal workers -- all with an eye toward preventing the next big mistake.

A Burger a Day

Thursday, July 11 2013 01:00 PM

Is junk food an abomination or a modern miracle?

Jane Austen, Game Theorist

Wednesday, July 03 2013 09:00 PM

What does "Pride and Prejudice" have to do with nuclear deterrence?

REBROADCAST: Legacy of a Jerk

Thursday, June 27 2013 01:00 PM

What happens to your reputation when you're no longer around to defend it?

Do You Really Want to Know Your Future?

Thursday, June 20 2013 01:00 PM

You might think that someone with a 50-50 chance of getting a fatal disease would want to know for sure -- but you would be wrong. What does this say about our supposed thirst for certainty?

Why Family and Business Don’t Mix

Wednesday, June 12 2013 08:00 PM

Yet another reason to blame your parents for pretty much everything.

Should Tipping be Banned?

Monday, June 03 2013 01:00 PM

It's awkward, random, confusing -- and probably discriminatory too.

Baby, You Can Program My Car

Wednesday, May 29 2013 08:00 PM

A glimpse into our driverless future.

Can You Be Too Smart for Your Own Good? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

Thursday, May 23 2013 01:00 PM

Dubner and Levitt talk about circadian rhythms, gay marriage, autism, and whether "pay what you want" is everything it's cracked up to be.

REBROADCAST: The Hidden Cost of False Alarms

Wednesday, May 15 2013 09:00 PM

If any other product failed 94 percent of the time, you'd probably stop using it. So why do we put up with burglar alarms?

What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have in Common?

Thursday, May 09 2013 12:00 PM

A look at whether spite pays -- and if it even exists.

It’s Crowded at the Top

Wednesday, May 01 2013 08:00 PM

Why is unemployment still so high? It may be because of something that happened well before the Great Recession.

Running to Do Evil

Thursday, April 25 2013 01:00 PM

An interview with Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, whose younger brother turned him in -- and what it says about the Boston bombers.

Help Wanted. No Smokers Need Apply

Wednesday, April 17 2013 08:00 PM

In many states, it is perfectly legal to not hire someone who smokes. Should employers also be able to weed out junk-food lovers or motorcyclists -- or anyone who wants to have a baby?

How Much Does Your Name Matter?

Monday, April 08 2013 01:00 PM

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?

The Tax Man Nudgeth

Wednesday, April 03 2013 09:00 PM

Real tax reform may or may not ever happen. In the meantime, how about making the current system work a bit better?

100 Ways to Fight Obesity

Wednesday, March 27 2013 08:00 PM

Freakonomics asks a dozen smart people for their best ideas. Get ready for a fat tax, a sugar ban, and a calorie-chomping tapeworm.

How Money Is March Madness?

Thursday, March 21 2013 08:00 PM

The NCAA basketball tournament grabs a lot of eyeballs, but turning them into dollars hasn't always been easy -- even when the "talent" is playing for free.

Parking Is Hell

Wednesday, March 13 2013 08:00 PM

There ain't no such thing as a free parking spot. Somebody has to pay for it -- and that somebody is everybody.

When Is a Negative a Positive?

Wednesday, March 06 2013 09:00 PM

Sure, we all like to hear compliments. But if you're truly looking to get better at something, it's the negative feedback that will get you there.

Women Are Not Men

Sunday, February 24 2013 09:00 PM

In many ways, the gender gap is closing. In others, not so much. And that's not always a bad thing.

The Downside of More Miles Per Gallon

Wednesday, February 20 2013 09:00 PM

The gas tax doesn't work well, and it's only going to get worse. What's next?

How to Think About Guns

Wednesday, February 13 2013 09:00 PM

No one wants mass shootings. Unfortunately, no one has a workable plan to stop them either.

Sure, I Remember That

Wednesday, February 06 2013 09:00 PM

It is startlingly easy to create false memories, especially in politics.

Would You Let a Coin Toss Decide Your Future?

Wednesday, January 30 2013 09:00 PM

Levitt and Dubner go deep on "Freakonomics Experiments," a new research project that lets you take a chance on life.

Introducing “Freakonomics Experiments”

Wednesday, January 23 2013 09:00 PM

Steve Levitt has a novel idea for helping people make tough decisions

Who Owns the Words That Come Out of Your Mouth?

Wednesday, January 16 2013 09:00 PM

The very long reach of Winston Churchill -- and how the British government is remaking copyright law.

How to Live Longer

Wednesday, January 09 2013 10:00 PM

Why do Hall of Fame inductees, Oscar winners, and Nobel laureates outlive their peers?

How Did “Freakonomics” Get Its Name? … and Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

Wednesday, January 02 2013 09:00 PM

Levitt and Dubner answer your questions about driving, sneezing, and ladies’ nights. Plus a remembrance of Levitt’s sister Linda.

How Much Does a Good Boss Really Matter?

Wednesday, December 26 2012 09:00 PM

It's harder than you'd think to measure the value of a boss. But some enterprising economists have done just that -- and the news is good.

The House of Dreams

Wednesday, December 19 2012 09:00 PM

Dubner's childhood home goes from sacred to profane -- and then back again.

Have a Very Homo Economicus Christmas

Wednesday, December 12 2012 11:00 PM

Who better than an economist to help with your shopping list?

The Things They Taught Me

Wednesday, December 05 2012 09:00 PM

College, at its best, is about learning to think. Stephen Dubner chats up three of his former professors who made the magic happen.

Free-conomics

Wednesday, November 28 2012 10:00 PM

Economists are a notoriously self-interested bunch. But a British outfit called Pro Bono Economics is giving away its services to selected charities.

I Consult, Therefore I Am

Wednesday, November 21 2012 08:00 PM

There are enough management consultants these days to form a small nation. But what do they actually do? And does it work?

Mass Transit Hysteria

Wednesday, November 14 2012 11:00 PM

Adding more train and bus lines looks like an environmental slam dunk. Until you start to do the math.

Our 100th Episode!

Monday, November 05 2012 03:00 PM

Turkey sex and chicken wings, selling souls and swapping organs, the power of the president and the price of wine: these are a few of our favorite things.

How to Maximize Your Halloween Candy Haul

Wednesday, October 31 2012 08:00 PM

Is it as simple as going to the richest neighborhood you can find? Of course not ...

We the Sheeple

Wednesday, October 24 2012 08:00 PM

Politicians tell voters exactly what they want to hear, even when it makes no sense. Which is pretty much all the time.

Lying to Ourselves

Wednesday, October 17 2012 08:00 PM

We rely on polls and surveys to tell us how people will behave in the future. Too bad they're completely unreliable.

The Cobra Effect

Wednesday, October 10 2012 08:00 PM

When you want to get rid of a nasty pest, one obvious solution comes to mind: just offer a cash reward. But be careful -- because nothing backfires quite like a bounty.

Why America’s Economic Growth May Be (Shh!) Over

Wednesday, October 03 2012 08:00 PM

Sure, we love our computers and all the rest of our digital toys. But when it comes to real economic gains, can we ever match old-school innovations like the automobile and electricity?

The Tale of the $15 Tomato

Sunday, September 23 2012 02:00 PM

Trying to go rustic by baking, brewing, and knitting at home can be terribly inefficient. And that's a wonderful thing.

Why Online Poker Should Be Legal

Wednesday, September 19 2012 10:00 PM

The data show that poker is indeed a game of skill, not chance, and a Federal judge agrees. So why are players still being treated like criminals?

Fear Thy Nature

Wednesday, September 12 2012 08:00 PM

What "Sleep No More" and the Stanford Prison Experiment tell us about who we really are.

Can Selling Beer Cut Down on Public Drunkenness?

Wednesday, September 05 2012 08:00 PM

Binge drinking is a big problem at college football games. Oliver Luck -- father of No. 1 NFL pick Andrew, and the athletic director at West Virginia University -- had an unusual idea to help solve it.

How Deep Is the Shadow Economy?

Wednesday, August 29 2012 08:00 PM

What we know -- and don't know -- about the gazillions of dollars that never show up on anyone's books.

There’s Cake in the Breakroom!

Wednesday, August 22 2012 09:00 PM

If you think working from home offers too many distractions, just think about what happens at the office.

Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 2

Wednesday, August 15 2012 09:00 PM

College tends to make people happier, healthier, and wealthier. But how?

The Season of Death

Wednesday, August 08 2012 08:00 PM

We know that summertime brings far too many fatal accidents. But you may be surprised if you dig into the numbers.

Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1

Sunday, July 29 2012 12:00 PM

What's a college degree really worth these days?

Olympian Economics

Wednesday, July 25 2012 09:00 PM

Do host cities really get the benefits their boosters promise, or are they just engaging in some fiscal gymnastics?

Legacy of a Jerk

Wednesday, July 18 2012 08:00 PM

What happens to your reputation when you're no longer around to defend it?

What's Wrong With Cash for Grades?

Tuesday, July 10 2012 10:00 PM

If we want our kids to thrive in school, maybe we should just pay them.

Please Steal My Car

Wednesday, July 04 2012 04:00 PM

Levitt and Dubner answer your FREAK-quently Asked Questions about junk food, insurance, and how to make an economist happy.

Star-Spangled Banter?

Tuesday, June 26 2012 09:00 PM

Once a week, the British Prime Minister goes before the House of Commons for a lightning round of hard questions. Should the U.S. give it a try?

Riding the Herd Mentality

Wednesday, June 20 2012 08:00 PM

How using peer pressure -- and good, old-fashioned shame -- can push people to do the right thing.

A Cheap Employee Is … a Cheap Employee

Wednesday, June 13 2012 10:00 PM

Paying workers as little as possible seems smart -- unless you can make more money by paying them more.

You Eat What You Are, Part 2

Wednesday, June 06 2012 08:00 PM

To feed 7 billion people while protecting the environment, it would seem that going local is a no-brainer -- until you start looking at the numbers.

Playing the Nerd Card

Wednesday, May 30 2012 10:00 PM

The NBA’s superstars are suddenly sporting Urkel glasses -- but is it more than a fashion statement?

You Eat What You Are, Part 1

Wednesday, May 23 2012 08:00 PM

How American food so got bad -- and why it's getting so much better.

Retirement Kills

Wednesday, May 16 2012 10:00 PM

Sure, we all dream of leaving the office forever. But what if it's bad for your health?

Soul Possession

Monday, May 07 2012 02:00 PM

In a world where nearly everything is for sale, is it always okay to buy what isn’t yours?

A Rose By Any Other Distance

Wednesday, May 02 2012 09:00 PM

At a time when people worry about every mile their food must travel, why is it okay to import most of our cut flowers from thousands of miles away?

Lottery Loopholes and Deadly Doctors

Wednesday, April 25 2012 08:00 PM

What do you do when smart people keep making stupid mistakes? And: are we a nation of financial illiterates?

Is Good Corporate Citizenship Also Good for the Bottom Line?

Wednesday, April 18 2012 10:00 PM

A new study says that yes, it is -- but try telling that to the United Nations officials who are preaching sustainability practices.

Eating and Tweeting

Wednesday, April 11 2012 08:30 PM

Does the future of food lie in its past – or inside a tank of liquid nitrogen? Also: how anti-social can you be on a social network?

The Hidden Cost of False Alarms

Tuesday, April 03 2012 10:00 PM

If any other product failed 94 percent of the time, you’d probably stop using it. So why do we put up with burglar alarms?

The Power of the President -- and the Thumb

Wednesday, March 28 2012 02:00 PM

How much does the President of the United States really matter? And: where did all the hitchhikers go? A pair of "attribution errors."

The Patent Gap

Thursday, March 22 2012 09:13 PM

Women hold fewer than one in 10 patents. Why? And what are we missing out on?

Show and Yell

Wednesday, March 14 2012 02:00 PM

Is booing an act of verbal vandalism or the last true expression of democracy? And: when you drive a Prius, are you guilty of “conspicuous conservation”?

It’s Not the President, Stupid

Wednesday, March 07 2012 09:31 PM

Isn’t it time to admit that the U.S. economy doesn’t have a commander in chief?

The Days of Wine and Mouses

Monday, February 27 2012 05:00 AM

Do more expensive wines taste better? And: what does one little rodent in a salad say about a restaurant’s future?

The Dilbert Index?

Wednesday, February 22 2012 10:21 PM

Measuring workplace morale -- and how to game the sick-day system.

How Biased Is Your Media?

Wednesday, February 15 2012 10:00 PM

The left and the right blame each other for pretty much everything, including slanted media coverage. Can they both be right?

Does This Recession Make Me Look Fat?

Wednesday, February 08 2012 11:30 PM

A look at some non-obvious ways to lose weight.

Save Me From Myself

Wednesday, February 01 2012 09:00 PM

A commitment device forces you to be the person you really want to be. What could possibly go wrong?

The Hidden Side of the Super Bowl

Wednesday, January 25 2012 10:37 PM

A football cheat sheet to help you sound like the smartest person at the party.

What Do Hand-Washing and Financial Illiteracy Have in Common?

Thursday, January 19 2012 05:00 AM

Education is the surest solution to a lot of problems. Except when it’s not.

Does Money Really Buy Elections?

Wednesday, January 11 2012 08:27 PM

We all know the answer is yes. But the data -- and Rudy Giuliani -- say no.

Why Is “I Don’t Know” So Hard to Say?

Wednesday, January 04 2012 05:00 AM

Levitt and Dubner answer your FREAK-quently Asked Questions about certifying politicians, irrational fears, and the toughest three words in the English language.

The Perils of Drunk Walking

Tuesday, December 27 2011 10:00 PM

We know it's terribly dangerous to drive drunk. But heading home on foot isn't the solution.

How Is a Bad Radio Station Like Our Public-School System? (Encore)

Wednesday, December 21 2011 05:00 AM

The thrill of customization, via Pandora and a radical new teaching method

How American Food Got So Bad

Tuesday, December 13 2011 10:47 PM

Tyler Cowen points fingers. There's plenty of blame to go around.

Weird Recycling

Friday, December 02 2011 02:44 PM

Clever ways to not waste our waste.

What Makes a Donor Donate?

Tuesday, November 29 2011 10:05 PM

The science of charity, with economist John List.

The Truth Is Out There…Isn’t It?

Tuesday, November 22 2011 08:47 PM

There’s a nasty secret about hot-button topics like global warming: knowledge is not always power.

Unnatural Turkeys

Wednesday, November 16 2011 05:12 PM

Our appetite for breast meat renders our holiday birds unable to reproduce.

Boo…Who?

Tuesday, November 08 2011 08:16 PM

Is booing an act of verbal vandalism—or the last true expression of democracy?

Wildfires, Cops, and Keggers

Wednesday, November 02 2011 01:36 AM

On Election Day, most people focus on the obvious winners and losers -- that is, the candidates. But we went looking for some of the strange side effects that elections produce.

Misadventures in Baby-Making

Tuesday, October 25 2011 09:17 PM

We are constantly wowed by new technologies and policies meant to make childbirth better. But beware the unintended consequences.

Those Cheating Teachers!

Tuesday, October 18 2011 07:05 PM

High-stakes testing has produced some rotten apples. But they can be caught.

Where Have All the Hitchhikers Gone?

Monday, October 10 2011 04:05 AM

Did we needlessly scare ourselves into ditching a good thing? And, with millions of cars driving around with no passengers, should we be rooting for a renaissance?

The Decline and Fall of Violence

Wednesday, October 05 2011 12:39 AM

The world is a more peaceful place today that at any time in history -- by a long, long shot.

The Upside of Quitting

Wednesday, September 28 2011 06:08 AM

You know the saying: a winner never quits and a quitter never wins. To which Freakonomics Radio says … Are you sure?

The Folly of Prediction

Wednesday, September 14 2011 03:00 PM

Human beings love to predict the future, but we're quite terrible at it. So how about punishing all those bad predictions?

The Suicide Paradox

Wednesday, August 31 2011 03:00 PM

There are more than twice as many suicides as murders in the U.S., but suicide attracts far less scrutiny. Freakonomics Radio digs through the numbers and finds all kinds of surprises.

The Economist’s Guide to Parenting

Tuesday, August 16 2011 04:00 PM

Think you know how much parents matter? Think again. Economists crunch the numbers to learn the ROI on child-rearing.

The Church of "Scionology"

Wednesday, August 03 2011 04:00 PM

We worship the tradition of handing off a family business to the next generation. But is that really such a good idea?

Mouse in the Salad

Wednesday, July 20 2011 05:37 PM

In restaurants and in life, bad things happen. But what happens next is just as important.

Hey Baby, Is That a Prius You're Driving?

Wednesday, July 06 2011 09:04 PM

"Conspicuous conservation" is about showing off your environmental bona fides. In other words, if you lean green, there's extra value in being seen leaning green.

Live From St. Paul!

Wednesday, June 22 2011 09:00 AM

Freakonomics Radio hits the road, and plays some Quiz Bowl

Things Our Fathers Gave Us

Wednesday, June 08 2011 04:39 PM

What did Levitt and Dubner learn as kids from their dads?

To Catch a Fugitive

Wednesday, May 25 2011 07:10 PM

Who is likelier to get to the fugitive first? When a fugitive is on the run, it’s not only the police he has to worry about. A bounty hunter could be coming after him, too.

Growing Up Buffett

Wednesday, May 11 2011 09:41 PM

What’s it like to wake up one day and realize Dad is a multi-billionaire? That's what happened to Warren Buffett’s son Peter -- who then started to think about whether or not to join the family business.

Gambling With Your Life

Wednesday, April 27 2011 09:08 PM

Does Las Vegas increase your risk of suicide? A researcher embeds himself in the city where Americans are most likely to kill themselves.

Does College Still Matter? And Other Freaky Questions Answered ...

Wednesday, April 13 2011 10:19 PM

In our second round of FREAK-quently Asked Questions, Steve Levitt answers some queries from listeners and readers.

Smarter Kids at 10 Bucks a Pop

Wednesday, April 06 2011 10:38 PM

It won’t work for everyone, but there’s a cheap, quick, and simple way to lift some students’ grades.

Why Can’t We Predict Earthquakes?

Wednesday, March 30 2011 05:13 PM

We talk to a U.S. Geological Survey physicist about the science -- and folly -- of predicting earthquakes. There are lots of known knowns; and, fortunately, not too many unknown unknowns. But it's the known unknowns -- the timing of the next Big One -- t

Death by Fire? Probably Not

Wednesday, March 23 2011 08:27 PM

Fire deaths in the U.S. have fallen 90 percent over the past 100 years, a great and greatly underappreciated gain. How did it happen -- and could we ever get to zero?

The Health of Nations

Wednesday, March 16 2011 10:30 PM

For decades, GDP has been the yardstick for measuring living standards around the world. Martha Nussbaum would rather use something that actually works.

Is Twitter a Two-Way Street?

Wednesday, March 09 2011 09:24 PM

To get a lot of followers on Twitter, do you need to follow a lot of other Tweeps? And if not, why not?

The Power of Poop

Wednesday, March 02 2011 05:51 PM

Since the beginning of civilization, we’ve thought that human waste was worthless and dangerous. What if we were wrong?

Millionaires vs. Billionaires

Thursday, February 24 2011 02:59 AM

Five things you don’t know about the NFL labor standoff

Why Cities Rock

Thursday, February 17 2011 12:42 AM

Could it be that cities are "our greatest invention" -- that, despite a reputation as black-soot-spewing engines of doom, they in fact make us richer, smarter, happier and (believe it!) greener?

Bring on the Pain!

Wednesday, February 09 2011 09:55 PM

It's not about how much something hurts -- it's how you remember the pain. This week, lessons on pain from the New York City subway, the professional hockey rink, and a landmark study of colonoscopy patients. So have a listen; we promise, it won't hurt a

Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup! (Part 2)

Wednesday, February 02 2011 02:09 PM

What do a computer hacker, an Indiana farm boy, and Napoleon Bonaparte have in common? The past, present, and future of food science.

Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup! (Part 1)

Wednesday, January 26 2011 03:52 PM

The "molecular gastronomy" movement -- which gets a bump in visibility next month with the publication of the mammoth cookbook "Modernist Cuisine" -- is all about bringing more science into the kitchen. In many ways, it's the opposite of the "slow food"

Freakonomics FAQ, No. 1

Wednesday, January 19 2011 04:19 PM

Levitt and Dubner field questions from the public and hold forth on everything from dating strategies and rock-and-roll accordion music to whether different nations have different economic identities. Oh, and also: is it worthwhile to vote?

Trashed

Thursday, January 13 2011 02:04 AM

How economics -- and emotion -- have turned our garbage into such a mess

Exit Interview: Schools Chancellor, NYC

Wednesday, January 05 2011 07:58 PM

Having already amassed an eventful resume -- the Clinton White House, the Department of Justice, and Bertelsmann -- Joel I. Klein spent the past eight years at chancellor of the biggest school system in the country. So what'd he learn?

You Say Repugnant, I Say … Let's Do It!

Wednesday, December 29 2010 04:29 PM

What happens when the most disturbing ideas are also the best?

Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?

Wednesday, December 15 2010 11:09 PM

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?

The "No-Lose Lottery," Part 2

Wednesday, December 01 2010 10:14 PM

It’s the banking tool that got millions of people around the world to stop wasting money on the lottery. So why won't state and federal officials in the U.S. give it a chance?

Is America Ready for a "No-Lose Lottery"?

Wednesday, November 17 2010 10:57 PM

For the most part, Americans don't like the simple, boring act of putting money in a savings account. We do, however, love to play the lottery. So what if you combined the two, creating a new kind of savings account with a lottery payout?

How Much Does the President of the U.S. Really Matter?

Wednesday, November 03 2010 08:48 PM

The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won't say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership,

The NFL's Best Real Estate Isn't For Sale. Yet.

Thursday, October 28 2010 07:50 PM

The NFL is very good at making money. So why on earth doesn't it sell ad space on the one piece of real estate that football fans can’t help but see: the players themselves? The explanation is trickier than you might think. It has to do with Peyton Manni

Reading, Rockets, and 'Rithmetic

Thursday, October 21 2010 02:53 AM

Government and the private sector often feel far apart. One is filled with compliance-driven bureaucracy. The other, with market-fueled innovation. But something is changing in a multi-billion dollar corner of the Department of Education. It's an experim

Who Stole All the Runs in Major League Baseball?

Thursday, October 07 2010 12:57 PM

It was a pretty good baseball season -- especially if you're a fan of the Yankees, Rays, Twins, Rangers, Reds, Braves, Phillies, or Giants, all of whom made the playoffs. But the post-season just opened with a telling event, a no-hitter pitched by the Ph

Two Book Authors and a Microphone

Thursday, September 30 2010 04:06 AM

The next chapter in the adventures of Dubner and Levitt has begun. Listen to a preview of what's to come for the fall season of Freakonomics Radio.

Why the World Cup Is an Economist's Dream

Thursday, June 10 2010 06:25 AM

Steve Levitt talks about why the center cannot hold in penalty kicks, why a running track hurts home-field advantage, and why the World Cup is an economist's dream.

How Is a Bad Radio Station Like Our Public-School System?

Thursday, May 13 2010 12:53 AM

In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, we explore a way to make 1.1 million schoolkids feel like they have 1.1 million teachers.

Faking It

Tuesday, April 13 2010 12:52 AM

Do you "fake it"? If so, you're hardly alone. In this episode, you'll hear how everyone from the President of the United States to a kosher-keeping bacon lover lives in a state of fallen grace. All the time. And gets by.

What Would the World Look Like if Economists Were in Charge?

Wednesday, March 24 2010 12:52 AM

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

Is America's Obesity Epidemic For Real?

Friday, February 26 2010 01:53 AM

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 overwei

The Dangers of Safety

Saturday, February 06 2010 03:15 AM

What do NASCAR drivers, Glenn Beck and the hit men of the NFL have in common?