Freakonomics Radio

Freakonomics Radio: The Cobra Effect

Thursday, June 19, 2014

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.


Azi Paybarah


Thursday, July 29, 2010


State Senator Bill Perkins has a mailer seeking input about the rat problem in upper Manhattan. He also uses it to tout his “fight to eradicate rodents from our community.”

My favorite line:

“As a result of that struggle, City government hired a nationally renowned rodentologist…”

I’m also waiting to see how colleague Kate Hinds responds to question 4 of the rat survey on the back of the mailer:

How would you describe the rat problem:



-state of emergency

-there is no rat problem


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