Freakonomics Radio

Freakonomics Radio + Stitcher

"society & culture"
Discover the hidden side of everything with Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books. Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to how to become greatRead more
Wondering where to start with Freakonomics Radio? Fans of the podcast have clipped their favorite moments: check out a list of the best episodes below. Want more podcast clips? Get the Shuffle app.

Best Episodes

434. Is New York City Over?

Oct 8, 2020

" What kind of federal aid does New York need to reboot? "



The pandemic has hit America's biggest city particularly hard. Amidst a deep fiscal hole, rising homicides, and a flight to the suburbs, some people think the city is heading back to the bad old 1970s. We look at the history — and the data — to see why that’s probably not the case.

440. Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 1: TV)

Nov 19, 2020

"How should we be thinking about advertising in periods of ⬆️⬆️ demand? "



Companies around the world spend more than half-a-trillion dollars each year on ads. The ad industry swears by its efficacy — but a massive new study tells a different story.

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435. Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive?

Oct 15, 2020

"Permitting seems to be the main barrier to low cost housing"



 It isn’t just supply and demand. We look at the complicated history and skewed incentives that make “affordable housing” more punch line than reality in cities from New York and San Francisco to Flint, Michigan (!).

433. How Are Psychedelics and Other Party Drugs Changing Psychiatry?

Oct 1, 2020

"Elements of addiction"



Three leading researchers from the Mount Sinai Health System discuss how ketamine, cannabis, and ecstasy are being used (or studied) to treat everything from severe depression to addiction to PTSD. We discuss the upsides, downsides, and regulatory puzzles.

438. How to Succeed by Being Authentic (Hint: Carefully)

Nov 5, 2020

"What it’s like to get a boss as a CEO "


John Mackey, the C.E.O. of Whole Foods, has learned the perils of speaking his mind. But he still says what he thinks about everything from “conscious leadership” to the behavioral roots of the obesity epidemic. He also argues for a style of capitalism and politics that at this moment seems like aRead more

Am I Boring You? (Ep. 225 Rebroadcast)

Feb 25, 2021

"Characteristics of successful people"



Researchers are trying to figure out who gets bored — and why — and what it means for ourselves and the economy. But maybe there’s an upside to boredom?

436. Forget Everything You Know About Your Dog

Oct 22, 2020

" An attempt to launch a smear campaign against dachshunds"



As beloved and familiar as they are, we rarely stop to consider life from the dog’s point of view. That stops now. In this latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, we discuss Inside of a Dog with the cognitive scientist (and dog devotee) Alexandra Horowitz.

432. When Your Safety Becomes My Danger

Sep 24, 2020

"When protecting yourself means leaving others in the target"



The families of U.S. troops killed and wounded in Afghanistan are suing several companies that did reconstruction there. Why? These companies, they say, paid the Taliban protection money, which gave them the funding — and opportunity — to attack U.S. soldiers instead. A look at the messy,Read more

447. How Much Do We Really Care About Children?

Jan 14, 2021

"Seatbelts are as safe as car seats in terms of protecting kids in a car crash"


They can’t vote or hire lobbyists. The policies we create to help them aren’t always so helpful. Consider the car seat: parents hate it, the safety data are unconvincing, and new evidence suggests an unintended consequence that is as anti-child as it gets.

“Don’t Neglect the Thing That Makes You Weird” | People I (Mostly) Admire: Ken Jennings

Oct 3, 2020

"What’s something your parents lied about when you were a kid?"


It was only in his late twenties that America’s favorite brainiac began to seriously embrace his love of trivia. Now he holds the “Greatest of All Time” title on Jeopardy! Steve Levitt digs into how he trained for the show, what it means to have a "geographic memory," and why we lie to our children.
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