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Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner uncovers the hidden side of everything. Why is it safer to fly in an airplane than drive a car? How do we decide whom to marry? Why is the media so full of bad news? Also: things you never knew you wanted to know about wolves, bananas, pollution, search engines, and the quirks of human behavior. Join the Freakonomics Radio Plus membership program for weekly member-only episodes of Freakonomics Radio. You’ll also get every show in our network without ads. To sign up, visit our show page on Apple Podcasts or go to freakonomics.com/plus.

Location:

New York, NY

Description:

Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner uncovers the hidden side of everything. Why is it safer to fly in an airplane than drive a car? How do we decide whom to marry? Why is the media so full of bad news? Also: things you never knew you wanted to know about wolves, bananas, pollution, search engines, and the quirks of human behavior. Join the Freakonomics Radio Plus membership program for weekly member-only episodes of Freakonomics Radio. You’ll also get every show in our network without ads. To sign up, visit our show page on Apple Podcasts or go to freakonomics.com/plus.

Language:

English

Contact:

160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013


Episodes
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589. Why Has the Opioid Crisis Lasted So Long?

5/22/2024
Most epidemics flare up, do their damage, and fade away. This one has been raging for almost 30 years. To find out why, it’s time to ask some uncomfortable questions. (Part one of a two-part series.) SOURCES:David CutlerTravis DonahoeKeith HumphreysStephen Loyd RESOURCES:Thick Market Externalities and the Persistence of the Opioid EpidemicNBER Working Paper, Responding to the Opioid Crisis in North America and Beyond: Recommendations of the Stanford-Lancet CommissionThe Lancet, When Innovation Goes Wrong: Technological Regress and the Opioid EpidemicJournal of Economic Perspectives, EXTRAS:Nuclear Power Isn’t Perfect. Is It Good Enough?Freakonomics Radio The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: 'It’s Not a Death SentenceFreakonomics Radio The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: 'We’ve Addicted an Entire GenerationFreakonomics Radio

Duration:00:48:33

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Extra: Car Colors & Storage Units

5/19/2024
Presenting two stories from The Economics of Everyday Things: Why does it seem like every car is black, white, or gray these days? And: How self-storage took over America. SOURCES:Zachary DickensMark GutjahrAnne Mari DeCosterNikkie Riedel RESOURCES:A Fifth Of Americans Rent Self Storage, With Millennials Overtaking Gen Xers In Generational Storage WarsStorage Cafe, Lessors of Mini Warehouses and Self-Storage Units Show Significant Financial Gains During COVID-19 PandemicBASF Color Report 2023 for Automotive OEM CoatingsThe Fate of Oversupplied Self-Storage Markets and How to Pull Back From the BrinkInside Self Storage, A Pandemic Space Race: Self-Storage Roars BackThe New York Times, Beige on an S.U.V. Will Cost You, but for Pickups It’s GoldenThe New York Times, A Brief History Of Car Colors — And Why Are We So Boring Now?Consumer Reports, The Link Between the Colour of Cars and the EconomyThe Economist, Need to Store That? Booming Self-Storage Industry Says No ProblemThe Wall Street Journal, EXTRAS:Car WashesThe Economics of Everyday Things Storage Wars, Auction Hunters,

Duration:00:35:15

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588. Confessions of a Black Conservative

5/15/2024
The economist and social critic Glenn Loury has led a remarkably turbulent life, both professionally and personally. In a new memoir, he has chosen to reveal just about everything. Why? SOURCE:Glenn LouryThe Glenn Show RESOURCES:Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative, Amy Wax – The DEI Witch Hunt at Penn LawThe Glenn Show, The Conservative Line on RaceThe Atlantic, Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?The American Economic Review, EXTRAS:Roland Fryer Refuses to Lie to Black AmericaFreakonomics Radio How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy?Freakonomics Radio The Pros and Cons of ReparationsFreakonomics Radio

Duration:00:56:40

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587. Should Companies Be Owned by Their Workers?

5/8/2024
The employee ownership movement is growing, and one of its biggest champions is also a private equity heavyweight. Is this meaningful change, or just window dressing? SOURCES:Marjorie KellyCorey RosenPete Stavros RESOURCES:Private Equity Is Starting to Share With Workers, Without Taking a Financial HitThe New York Times, Private Equity Heavyweight Pushing Employee Ownership60 Minutes, Ownership Works: Scaling a Profitable Social MissionHBS Case Collection, Research on Employee OwnershipWealth Supremacy: How the Extractive Economy and the Biased Rules of Capitalism Drive Today’s Crises, Is Private Equity Joining — or Co-Opting—the Employee Ownership Movement?Fast Company, How Well Is Employee Ownership Working?Harvard Business Review, EXTRAS:Are Private Equity Firms Plundering the U.S. Economy?Freakonomics Radio Do You Know Who Owns Your Vet?Freakonomics Radio Should You Trust Private Equity to Take Care of Your Dog?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:46:33

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586. How Does the Lost World of Vienna Still Shape Our Lives?

5/1/2024
From politics and economics to psychology and the arts, many of the modern ideas we take for granted emerged a century ago from a single European capital. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, the historian Richard Cockett explores all those ideas — and how the arrival of fascism can ruin in a few years what took generations to build. SOURCE:Richard CockettThe Economist RESOURCES:Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World, Birth, Death and ShoppingThe Economist, The Hidden Persuaders, An Economist's View of 'PlanningThe New York Times, The World of Yesterday: Memoires of a European, EXTRA:Arnold Schwarzenegger Has Some Advice for YouPeople I (Mostly) Admire

Duration:00:57:19

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Extra: Why Is 23andMe Going Under? (Update)

4/28/2024
Five years ago, we published an episode about the boom in home DNA testing kits, focusing on the high-flying firm 23andMe and its C.E.O. Anne Wojcicki. Their flight has been extremely bumpy since then. This update includes an additional interview with the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been investigating the firm’s collapse. SOURCES:Rolfe WinklerThe Wall Street Journal.Anne Wojcicki RESOURCES:23andMe’s Fall From $6 Billion to Nearly $0The Wall Street Journal, 23andMe User Data Stolen in Targeted Attack on Ashkenazi JewsWired, Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, How To Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results, Diet and exercise changes following direct-to-consumer personal genomic testingBMC Medical Genomics.The impact of communicating genetic risks of disease on risk-reducing health behaviour: systematic review with meta-analysisThe British Medical Journal EXTRAS:Does Your DNA Determine Your Weight?No Stupid Questions What’s Stopping Us From Curing Rare Diseases?Freakonomics, M.D. We Can Play God NowPeople I (Mostly) Admire Susan Wojcicki: 'Hey, Let’s Go Buy YouTube!'People I (Mostly) Admire

Duration:01:02:04

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585. A Social Activist in Prime Minister’s Clothing

4/24/2024
Justin Trudeau, facing record-low approval numbers, is doubling down on his progressive agenda. But he is so upbeat (and Canada-polite) that it’s easy to miss just how radical his vision is. Can he make it work? SOURCE:Justin Trudeau RESOURCES:2024 Canadian Federal BudgetCanada to Set First-Ever Cap on Temporary ResidentsBBC News, Common Ground, EXTRAS:Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:52:26

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584. How to Pave the Road to Hell

4/17/2024
So you want to help people? That’s great — but beware the law of unintended consequences. Three stories from the modern workplace. SOURCES:Joshua AngristZoe CullenMarina Gertsberg RESOURCES:Is Pay Transparency Good?Journal of Economic Perspectives, DP18969 Economics Coauthorships in the Aftermath of MeTooCEPR Discussion Paper, The Underground Economy of Company ReviewsCareer Fair, Why Did Gender Wage Convergence in the United States Stall?NBER Working Paper, The Unintended Consequences of #MeToo: Evidence from Research CollaborationsSSRN, Outsourcing Tasks Online: Matching Supply and Demand on Peer-to-Peer Internet PlatformsManagement Science, Equilibrium Effects of Pay TransparencyNBER Working Paper, How Much Does Your Boss Make? The Effects of Salary ComparisonsNBER Working Paper, Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All CostBloomberg, A Comprehensive Analysis of the Effects of US Disability Discrimination Laws on the Employment of the Disabled PopulationNBER Working Paper, Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities ActJournal of Political Economy,

Duration:00:43:59

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Extra: The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution (Update)

4/14/2024
The psychologist Daniel Kahneman — a Nobel laureate and the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow — recently died at age 90. Along with his collaborator Amos Tversky, he changed how we all think about decision-making. The journalist Michael Lewis told the Kahneman-Tversky story in a 2016 book called The Undoing Project. In this episode, Lewis explains why they had such a profound influence. SOURCE:Michael Lewis RESOURCES:The Undoing ProjectThinking, Fast and SlowThe Big Short: Inside the Doomsday MachineNudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and HappinessMoneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair GameWho’s On FirstNew RepublicThe Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of ChoiceScienceProspect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under RiskEconometricaJudgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and BiasesScienceSubjective Probability: A Judgment of RepresentativenessCognitive Psychology, EXTRAS:Remembering Daniel KahnemanPeople I (Mostly) Admire Why Are People So Mad at Michael Lewis?Freakonomics Radio Did Michael Lewis Just Get Lucky with 'Moneyball'?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:34:51

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Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Update)

4/10/2024
People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers — and why that’s unlikely to change. SOURCES:Nick BloomKatie JohnsonKelly ShueSteve Tadelis RESOURCES:People Management Skills, Employee Attrition, and Manager Rewards: An Empirical AnalysisJournal of Political Economy,Promotions and the Peter PrincipleThe Quarterly Journal of Economics, Bosses Matter: The Effects of Managers on Workers’ PerformanceThe Value of BossesJournal of Labor Economics, The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong, EXTRAS:The Secret Life of C.E.O.sFreakonomics Radio.What Does a C.E.O. Actually Do?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:49:41

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583. Are We Living Through the Most Revolutionary Period in History?

4/3/2024
Fareed Zakaria says yes. But it’s not just political revolution — it’s economic, technological, even emotional. He doesn’t offer easy solutions but he does offer some hope. SOURCES:Fareed Zakaria RESOURCES:Age of Revolutions: Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the Present, The Ultimate Election Year: All the Elections Around the World in 2024TIME, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican ConservatismPerspectives on Politics, The Post-American World, The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, EXTRAS:Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than China?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:01:02:43

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Extra: How Much Do You Know About Immigration?

3/31/2024
The political debates over immigration can generate a lot of fuzzy facts. We wanted to test Americans’ knowledge — so, to wrap up our special series on immigration, we called some Freakonomics Radio listeners and quizzed them. SOURCES:Zeke Hernandez RESOURCES:The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers, EXTRA:The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration SystemFreakonomics Radio

Duration:00:27:39

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582. Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?

3/27/2024
As the U.S. tries to fix its messy immigration system, our neighbor to the north is scooping up more talented newcomers every year. Are the Canadians stealing America’s bacon? (Part three of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Zeke HernandezWilliam KerrDavid LeonhardtNew York TimesSindhu MahadevanThis Immigrant Life Marc MillerMike Savage RESOURCES:The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers, The Border Where Different Rules ApplyThe New York Times Magazine, Last Year, Canada Became My Home. Feeling Like a Canadian Will Take a Bit LongerCBC News, Canadians Are Starting to Sour on MigrationThe Economist, The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society, EXTRAS:The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration SystemFreakonomics Radio Is the American Dream Really Dead?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:49:47

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581. What Both Parties Get Wrong About Immigration

3/20/2024
The U.S. immigration system is a massively complicated machine, with a lot of worn-out parts. How to fix it? Step one: Get hold of some actual facts and evidence. (We did this step for you.) (Part two of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Zeke HernandezDavid LeonhardtNew York TimesSindhu MahadevanThis Immigrant Life RESOURCES:The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers, Illegal Immigration Is a Bigger Problem Than Ever. These Five Charts Explain WhyThe Wall Street Journal, Ours Was the Shining Future: The Story of the American Dream, The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, EXTRAS:The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration SystemFreakonomics Radio And the New Six-Word Motto for the U.S. Is …Freakonomics

Duration:00:55:50

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Extra: Madeleine Albright’s Warning on Immigration

3/18/2024
She arrived in the U.S. as an 11-year-old refugee, then rose to become Secretary of State. Her views on immigration, nationalism, and borders, from this 2015 interview, are almost strangely appropriate to the present moment. SOURCE:Madeleine Albright RESOURCES:Madeleine Albright, First Woman to Serve as Secretary of State, Dies at 84The New York Times, The Case for Getting Rid of Borders — CompletelyThe Atlantic, EXTRAS:The True Story of America's Supremely Messed-Up Immigration SystemFreakonomics Radio Is Migration a Basic Human Right?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:29:04

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580. The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System

3/13/2024
How did a nation of immigrants come to hate immigration? We start at the beginning, sort through the evidence, and explain why your grandfather was lying about Ellis Island. (Part one of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Leah BoustanZeke HernandezRoger Nam RESOURCES:The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers,The Refugee Advantage: English-Language Attainment in the Early Twentieth CenturyNBER Working Paper,Streets of Gold: America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success,If Liberals Won't Enforce Borders, Fascists WillThe Atlantic, EXTRAS:Is Migration a Basic Human Right?Freakonomics RadioWho Are the Most Successful Immigrants in the World?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:55:05

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579. Are You Caught in a Social Media Trap?

3/6/2024
Economists have discovered an odd phenomenon: many people who use social media (even you, maybe?) wish it didn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean they can escape. SOURCES:Leonardo BursztynBenjamin Handel RESOURCES:When Product Markets Become Collective Traps: The Case of Social MediaNBER Working Paper, Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from RussiaNBER Working Paper, Status Goods: Experimental Evidence from Platinum Credit CardsNBER Working Paper, 'Acting Wife': Marriage Market Incentives and Labor Market InvestmentsAmerican Economic Review, Measuring Crack Cocaine and Its ImpactEconomic Inquiry, EXTRAS:Is Facebook Bad for Your Mental Health?Freakonomics, M.D. Why Is U.S. Media So Negative?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:42:16

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Extra: What Is Sportswashing — and Does It Work? (Update)

3/4/2024
In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf league that’s challenging the PGA Tour. Can a sporting event really repair a country’s reputation — or will it trigger the dreaded Streisand Effect? Also: why the major U.S. sports leagues are warming up to the idea of foreign investment. SOURCES:Jodi BalsamBrandel ChambleeKaren CrouseBomani JonesVictor MathesonAlan Shipnuck RESOURCES:The New N.F.L. Owners?The New York Times, PGA Tour Raises $1.5 Billion From Group of U.S. InvestorsThe New York Times, PGA Tour, LIV Golf Agree to MergeThe Wall Street Journal, Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful SuperstarDustin Johnson Paid £100m to Perform Late U-Turn and Join Saudi-Backed Rebel SeriesThe TelegraphRussia Was the Hottest Place in Sports. Now It’s Frozen OutThe Wall Street JournalCould This Be the Year ‘Sportwashing’ Backfires?The Los Angeles TimesThe Truth About Phil and Saudi ArabiaThe New Yale Book of QuotationsThe Surprising Reason That There Are So Many Thai Restaurants in AmericaVice EXTRAS:Greg Norman Takes On the P.G.A. TourPeople I (Mostly) Admire

Duration:01:05:45

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578. Water, Water Everywhere — But You Have to Stop and Think

2/28/2024
What surprises lurk in our sewage? How did racist city planners end up saving Black lives? Why does Arizona grow hay for cows in Saudi Arabia? Three strange stories about the most fundamental substance we all take for granted. SOURCES:Brian BeachMarc JohnsonAmy KirbyNatalie Koch RESOURCES:Arid Empire: The Entangled Fates of Arizona and Arabia, How a Saudi Firm Tapped a Gusher of Water in Drought-Stricken ArizonaThe Washington Post, Arizona Is in a Race to the Bottom of Its Water Wells, With Saudi Arabia’s HelpThe New York Times, Tracing the Origin of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron-Like Spike Sequences Detected in WastewatermedRxiv, Water and Waste: A History of Reluctant Policymaking in U.S. CitiesWorking Paper, Water, Race, and Disease, COVID Data Tracker: Wastewater Surveillance EXTRAS:What Is Sportswashing (and Does It Work)?Freakonomics Radio Covid-19Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:52:14

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Is Google Getting Worse? (Update)

2/21/2024
It used to feel like magic. Now it can feel like a set of cheap tricks. Is the problem with Google — or with us? And is Google Search finally facing a real rival, in the form of A.I.-powered “answer engines”? SOURCES:Marissa MayerRyan McDevittTim HwangElizabeth ReidAravind SrinivasJeremy Stoppelman RESOURCES:A Fraudster Who Just Can’t Seem to Stop … Selling EyeglassesThe New York Times, Subprime Attention Crisis: Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet, Complaint: U.S. and Plaintiff States v. Google LLCFake Online Locksmiths May Be Out to Pick Your Pocket, TooThe New York Times, ‘A’ Business by Any Other Name: Firm Name Choice as a Signal of Firm QualityJournal of Political Economy, In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives, The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search EngineComputer Networks and ISDN Systems EXTRAS:Is Dialysis a Test Case of Medicare for All?Freakonomics Radio How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google)Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:56:53