Freakonomics Radio: All in the Family

Monday, June 06, 2011

Host of Freakonomics Radio (produced by American Public Media’s Marketplace, WNYC, and Dubner Productions) and the co-author, with Steven D. Levitt, of Freakonomics (2005) and SuperFreakonomics (2009), Stephen J. Dubner talks about the launch of the new radio specials with a look at the economics of family business succession.


Stephen J. Dubner

Comments [7]

Amanda from Queens

I have to start by saying that I am sorry if I came off as inarticulate, I was beyond nervous. I’m not even sure what possessed me to call. Ither way I did, and what I said wasn’t formulated clearly. I’d like to clarify if I may. My fathers sweat and tears went into his company and a part of both of us feel that I could never do justice to the company like he could. That’s not to say with the proper molding and shaping I couldn’t. Unfortunately that was not the path I chose to follow in my life. I know nothing of what he does, except for the passion she puts in. But if he ever felt that his dream was for me to take over or to keep a hand in it after he is gone, I would do so in a heart beat. The love from my father pulsates through every ounce of my family, extended to his friends, and encompasses and defines his company. No matter what we do or say, we all play a vital roll in his company.

Jun. 06 2011 01:04 PM
Alice Bednarchik from Morningside Heights, NYC

The correct pronunciation of the German word ‘Jüngling’ the word upon which Yuengling Beer is based is ‘jung’ (as in Carl Jung). The closest phonetic spellings I can give you are ‘yoong’ where the ‘oo’ is like the ‘oo’ in the word ‘book’ or ‘yung’ where the ‘u’ is like the ‘u’ in the word ‘put’

The spelling of the German word was obviously changed for the American public so that people wouldn’t pronounce the ‘J’ in English (as in the word junk) rather than in German where the ‘j’ is pronounced like the English ‘y’.

Jun. 06 2011 11:51 AM
Amy from Manhattan

So does Dubner think we should say "scionara" to the idea of family succession in business? (I didn't hear the whole Freakonomics show, so I hope they didn't already use this.)

Jun. 06 2011 11:47 AM
anna from new york

Dear Stephen, "five generations of CEOs" doesn't exist. CEO (someone who is deprived of knowledge of everything, but has skills and interests of die Kommandanten) is a recent American invention. There is a difference between old-fashioned owners/administrators and CEOs.

Jun. 06 2011 11:42 AM
Katherine Jackson

I heard the Freakonomics show on Friday, and was quite put off by the lack of mention of women "scions." I realize it's a small demographic, but I personally know a number of women who have taken over the family business quite successfully. How about Russ and Daughters??? That would have been a great part of the story. And I also know of women "scions" in India. Now Mr. Dubner has mentioned 4 daughter/scions in the first few minutes of today's show, but Freakonomics was so obsessed with the Busch story, the story was pretty much all male. Without comment by Dubner, I might point out. It seems to me likely that the kind of dissolute 4th generation "scion" one finds in the Busch family would not be as likely if the scion in question were a woman. Do women heirs "lose values" as consistently as male ones?

Jun. 06 2011 11:40 AM

worked in the succession dept of a large, well known knowledge based company that's been around for over 100 years. it was the busiest dept, w smartest, most broadly educated workers, and was linked to that firm's in house "think tank." in times of crisis these two groups put their heads together to think big thoughts.

Jun. 06 2011 11:39 AM
William from NYC

I have a good friend who has all but completely taken over his family's business.

He often brags about how little taxes they pay and how every few years the IRS audits them but finds nothing.

He never went into deep detail, but I think what they did was somehow keep profits in the company rather than pay out and expensed almost all their living expenses. So the company paid for their apartments, maybe even mortgages, etc. I am curious how common this is, perhaps the guest can comment?

Jun. 06 2011 11:36 AM

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