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Freakonomics Radio

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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 great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers. Special features include series like “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.” as well as a live game show, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.”

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 great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers. Special features include series like “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.” as well as a live game show, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.”

Location:

New York, NY

Description:

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 great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers. Special features include series like “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.” as well as a live game show, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.”

Language:

English

Contact:

160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013


Episodes

Can You Hear Me Now?

2/19/2020
When he became chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announced that he was going to take a “weed whacker” to Obama-era regulations. So far, he’s kept his promise, and earned the internet’s ire for reversing the agency’s position on net neutrality. Pai defends his actions and explains how the U.S. can “win” everything from the 5G race to the war on robocalls.

Duration:00:50:40

Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet)

2/12/2020
Why do so many promising solutions — in education, medicine, criminal justice, etc. — fail to scale up into great policy? And can a new breed of “implementation scientists” crack the code?

Duration:00:47:05

Does the President Matter as Much as You Think?

2/5/2020
We asked this same question nearly a decade ago. The answer then: probably not. But a lot has changed since then, and we’re three years into one of the most anomalous presidencies in American history. So once again we try to sort out presidential signal from noise. What we hear from legal and policy experts may leave you surprised, befuddled — and maybe infuriated.

Duration:00:55:16

How the San Francisco 49ers Stopped Being Losers (Ep. 350 Update)

1/29/2020
One of the most storied (and valuable) sports franchises in the world had fallen far. So they decided to do a full reboot — and it worked: this week, they are headed back to the Super Bowl. Before the 2018 season, we sat down with the team’s owner, head coach, general manager, and players as they were plotting their turnaround. Here’s an update of that episode.

Duration:01:01:43

The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: “It’s Not a Death Sentence”

1/22/2020
One prescription drug is keeping some addicts from dying. So why isn’t it more widespread? A story of regulation, stigma, and the potentially fatal faith in abstinence.

Duration:00:49:01

The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: “We’ve Addicted an Entire Generation”

1/15/2020
How pharma greed, government subsidies, and a push to make pain the “fifth vital sign” kicked off a crisis that costs $80 billion a year and has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Duration:00:49:57

5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing (Ep. 334 Rebroadcast)

1/8/2020
We all like to throw around terms that describe human behavior — “bystander apathy” and “steep learning curve” and “hard-wired.” Most of the time, they don’t actually mean what we think they mean. But don’t worry — the experts are getting it wrong, too.

Duration:00:48:49

The Zero-Minute Workout (Ep. 383 Rebroadcast)

1/1/2020
There is strong evidence that exercise is wildly beneficial. There is even stronger evidence that most people hate to exercise. So if a pill could mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it?

Duration:00:40:09

How Many Prince Charleses Can There Be in One Room?

12/25/2019
In a special holiday episode, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth take turns asking each other questions about charisma, wealth vs. intellect, and (of course) grit.

Duration:00:37:09

Why Is This Man Running for President? (Ep. 362 Update)

12/18/2019
A year ago, nobody was taking Andrew Yang very seriously. Now he is America’s favorite entrepre-nerd, with a candidacy that keeps gaining momentum. This episode includes our Jan. 2019 conversation with the leader of the Yang Gang and a fresh interview recorded from the campaign trail in Iowa.

Duration:01:00:49

How to Hate Taxes a Little Bit Less

12/11/2019
Every year, Americans short the I.R.S. nearly half a trillion dollars. Most ideas to increase compliance are more stick than carrot — scary letters, audits, and penalties. But what if we gave taxpayers a chance to allocate how their money is spent, or even bribed them with a thank-you gift?

Duration:00:45:15

Honey, I Grew the Economy

12/4/2019
Innovation experts have long overlooked where a lot of innovation actually happens. The personal computer, the mountain bike, the artificial pancreas — none of these came from some big R&D lab, but from users tinkering in their homes. Acknowledging this reality — and encouraging it — would be good for the economy (and the soul too).

Duration:00:46:05

How to Change Your Mind (Ep. 379 Rebroadcast)

11/27/2019
There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves?

Duration:00:47:38

The Truth About the Vaping Crisis

11/20/2019
A recent outbreak of illness and death has gotten everyone’s attention — including late-to-the-game regulators. But would a ban on e-cigarettes do more harm than good? We smoke out the facts.

Duration:00:47:52

How to Save $32 Million in One Hour

11/13/2019
For nearly a decade, governments have been using behavioral nudges to solve problems — and the strategy is catching on in healthcare, firefighting, and policing. But is that thinking too small? Could nudging be used to fight income inequality and achieve world peace? Recorded live in London, with commentary from Andy Zaltzman (The Bugle).

Duration:00:47:19

Why Does Tipping Still Exist?

11/6/2019
It’s an acutely haphazard way of paying workers, and yet it keeps expanding. We dig into the data to find out why.

Duration:00:50:31

Speak Softly and Carry Big Data

10/30/2019
Do economic sanctions work? Are big democracies any good at spreading democracy? What is the root cause of terrorism? It turns out that data analysis can help answer all these questions — and make better foreign-policy decisions. Guests include former Department of Defense officials Chuck Hagel and Michèle Flournoy and Chicago Project on Security and Threats researchers Robert Pape and Paul Poast. Recorded live in Chicago; Steve Levitt is co-host.

Duration:01:06:01

Does Hollywood Still Have a Princess Problem?

10/23/2019
For decades, there’s been a huge gender disparity both on-screen and behind the scenes. But it seems like cold, hard data — with an assist from the actor Geena Davis — may finally be moving the needle.

Duration:00:52:40

Can Britain Get Its “Great” Back?

10/16/2019
It used to be a global capital of innovation, invention, and exploration. Now it’s best known for its messy European divorce. We visit London to see if the British spirit of discovery is still alive. Guests include the mayor of London, undersea explorers, a time-use researcher, and a theoretical physicist who helped Liverpool win the Champions League. Dan Schreiber from No Such Thing as a Fish rides shotgun.

Duration:01:03:33

The Prime Minister Who Cried Brexit

10/9/2019
In 2016, David Cameron held a referendum on whether the U.K. should stay in the European Union. A longtime Euroskeptic, he nevertheless led the Remain campaign. So what did Cameron really want? We ask him that and much more — including why he left office as soon as his side lost and what he’d do differently if given another chance. (Hint: not much.)

Duration:00:54:57