Freakonomics Radio: The Cobra Effect

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Broadcast Times: Thursday, June 19 at 9pm on 93.9FM

If you want to get rid of a nasty invasive pest, it might seem sensible to offer a bounty. But as we’ll hear in this episode of Freakonomics Radio, bounties can backfire. We look at bounties on snakes in Delhi, rats in Hanoi, and feral pigs in Fort Benning, Georgia. In each case, bounty seekers came up with creative ways to maximize their payoff – and pest populations grew. Host Stephen Dubner talks to Steve Levitt about how incentives don’t always work out the way you’d expect.

Later in the hour: if you want to write a book about Winston Churchill, you will have to pay for his words. The Churchill estate, like the holders of other British intellectual property, has powers that are unfamiliar and perhaps shocking to Americans. Dubner talks about who owns words that come out of our mouths.