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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

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

Extra: Mr. Feynman Takes a Trip — But Doesn’t Fall

2/19/2024
A wide-open conversation with three women who guided Richard Feynman through some big adventures at the Esalen Institute. (Part of our Feynman series.) SOURCES: EXTRAS: Richard Feynman SeriesFreakonomics RadioThe Future of Therapy Is PsychedelicPeople I (Mostly) Admire

Duration:00:47:31

The Vanishing Mr. Feynman

2/14/2024
In his final years, Richard Feynman's curiosity took him to some surprising places. We hear from his companions on the trips he took — and one he wasn’t able to. (Part three of a three-part series.) SOURCES: Alan AldaHelen CzerskiMichelle FeynmanRalph LeightonCharles MannJohn PreskillLisa RandallChristopher SykesStephen Wolfram RESOURCES: Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From the Beaten Track: Selected Letters of Richard P. Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the DarkGenius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, The Quest for Tannu Tuva“What Do You Care What Other People Think?” The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-century Physics, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Fun to Imagine EXTRAS: The Brilliant Mr. FeynmanFreakonomics RadioThe Curious Mr. FeynmanFreakonomics Radio

Duration:01:01:32

The Brilliant Mr. Feynman

2/7/2024
What happens when an existentially depressed and recently widowed young physicist from Queens gets a fresh start in California? We follow Richard Feynman out west, to explore his long and extremely fruitful second act. (Part two of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Seamus BlackleyCarl FeynmanMichelle FeynmanRalph LeightonCharles MannJohn PreskillLisa RandallChristopher SykesStephen WolframAlan Zorthian RESOURCES:Love After Life: Nobel-Winning Physicist Richard Feynman’s Extraordinary Letter to His Departed WifeThe Marginalian, Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, G. Feynman; Landscape Expert, Physicist’s WidowLos Angeles Times, Nobel Physicist R. P. Feynman of Caltech DiesLos Angeles Times, “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-century Physics, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Fun to ImagineRichard P. Feynman: Nobel Prize WinnerEngineering and Science, F.B.I. files on Richard Feynman EXTRAS:The Curious Mr. FeynmanFreakonomics Radio

Duration:00:52:42

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

2/5/2024
They’re heading to the Super Bowl for the second time in five years. But back in 2018, they were coming off a long losing streak — and that’s the year we sat down with 49ers players, coaches, and executives to hear their turnaround plans. It’s probably time to consider the turnaround a success. SOURCES:Jimmy GaroppoloAl GuidoKyle JuszczykBob LangeJohn LynchParaag MaratheVictor MathesonKyle ShanahanMalcolm SmithJoe StaleySolomon ThomasJed York RESOURCES:49ers Overreactions: Have Shanahan, Lynch Built Team That Can Last?NBC Sports, Jimmy Garoppolo Leads a 49ers ResurgenceThe New York Times Why American Sports Are Organized As CartelsForbes NFL History - Super Bowl WinnersESPN EXTRAS:When Is a Superstar Just Another Employee?Freakonomics Radio How Does Playing Football Affect Your Health?Freakonomics, M.D. Why Does the Most Monotonous Job in the World Pay $1 Million?Freakonomics Radio The Hidden Side of SportsFreakonomics Radio An Egghead’s Guide to the Super BowlFreakonomics Radio

Duration:01:03:46

The Curious Mr. Feynman

1/31/2024
From the Manhattan Project to the Challenger investigation, the physicist Richard Feynman loved to shoot down what he called “lousy ideas.” Today, the world is awash in lousy ideas — so maybe it’s time to get some more Feynman in our lives? (Part one of a three-part series.) SOURCES:Helen CzerskiMichelle FeynmanRalph LeightonCharles MannJohn PreskillStephen Wolfram RESOURCES:How Legendary Physicist Richard Feynman Helped Crack the Case on the Challenger DisasterLiterary Hub, Challenger: The Final FlightTruth, Lies, and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, Perfectly Reasonable Deviations From the Beaten Track: Selected Letters of Richard P. Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” Mr. Feynman Goes to Washington(Engineering & Science,The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-century Physics, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, The Pleasure of Finding Things OutHorizonLos Alamos From BelowThe World from Another Point of ViewPBS Nova, EXTRAS:Exploring Physics, from Eggshells to OceansPeople I (Mostly) Admire

Duration:01:02:22

574. “A Low Moment in Higher Education”

1/24/2024
Michael Roth of Wesleyan University doesn’t hang out with other university presidents. He also thinks some of them have failed a basic test of good sense and decency. It’s time for a conversation about college, and courage. SOURCE:Michael S. Roth RESOURCES:Opinion: College Presidents Are Supposed to Be Moral Leaders, Not Evasive BureaucratsLos Angeles Times, Transcript: What Harvard, MIT and Penn Presidents Said at Antisemitism HearingRoll Call, To Testify or Not to Testify in Congress? Your Job Could Hang in the BalanceThe New York Times, You Could Not Pay Me Enough to Be a College PresidentThe Chronicle of Higher Education, The Case for College: Promising Solutions to Reverse College Enrollment DeclinesBrookings, Arab Funding of American Universities: Donors, Recipients, and ImpactAmerican-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, Racist Attack Spotlights Stefanik’s Echo of Replacement TheoryThe New York Times, Why Is There So Much Saudi Money in American Universities?The New York Times Magazine, Safe Enough Spaces: A Pragmatist’s Approach to Inclusion, Free Speech, and Political Correctness on College Campuses, The Opening of the Liberal MindThe Wall Street Journal, EXTRAS:Academic FraudFreakonomics Radio Freakonomics Radio Goes Back to SchoolFreakonomics Radio

Duration:00:46:51

5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing (Replay)

1/22/2024
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. SOURCES:Sharon BegleyStatThe Boston GlobeJerome KaganBibb LatanéScott LilienfeldJames SolomonThe Witness RESOURCES:Tech Metaphors Are Holding Back Brain ResearchWiredCan’t Just Stop: An Investigation of CompulsionsThe WitnessFifty Psychological and Psychiatric Terms to Avoid: a List of Inaccurate, Misleading, Misused, Ambiguous, and Logically Confused Words and PhrasesFrontiers in PsychologySuperFreakonomicsFifty Great Myths of Popular PsychologyTrain Your Mind, Change Your BrainKitty, 40 Years Later(The New York Times,37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the PoliceThe New York Times EXTRAS:Academic FraudFreakonomics Radio This Idea Must DieFreakonomics Radio

Duration:00:49:12

573. Can Academic Fraud Be Stopped?

1/17/2024
Probably not — the incentives are too strong. Scholarly publishing is a $28 billion global industry, with misconduct at every level. But a few reformers are gaining ground. (Part 2 of 2) SOURCES:Max BazermanLeif NelsonBrian NosekIvan OranskyThe TransmitterRetraction Watch.Joseph SimmonsUri SimonsohnSimine VazirePsychological Science. RESOURCES:The Harvard Professor and the BloggersThe New York Times, They Studied Dishonesty. Was Their Work a Lie?The New Yorker, Evolving Patterns of Extremely Productive Publishing Behavior Across SciencebioRxiv, Hindawi Reveals Process for Retracting More Than 8,000 Paper Mill ArticlesRetraction Watch, Exclusive: Russian Site Says It Has Brokered Authorships for More Than 10,000 ResearchersRetraction Watch, How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey DataPLOS One, EXTRAS:Why Is There So Much Fraud in Academia?Freakonomics Radio Freakonomics Goes to College, Part 1Freakonomics Radio

Duration:01:02:36

572. Why Is There So Much Fraud in Academia?

1/10/2024
Some of the biggest names in behavioral science stand accused of faking their results. Last year, an astonishing 10,000 research papers were retracted. We talk to whistleblowers, reformers, and a co-author who got caught up in the chaos. (Part 1 of 2) SOURCES:Max BazermanLeif NelsonBrian NosekJoseph SimmonsUri SimonsohnSimine VazirePsychological Science. RESOURCES:More Than 10,000 Research Papers Were Retracted in 2023 — a New RecordNature, Data Falsificada (Part 1): 'ClusterfakeData Colada, Fabricated Data in Research About Honesty. You Can't Make This Stuff Up. Or, Can You?Planet Money, Complicit: How We Enable the Unethical and How to Stop, Evidence of Fraud in an Influential Field Experiment About DishonestyData Colada, False-Positive Psychology: Undisclosed Flexibility in Data Collection and Analysis Allows Presenting Anything as SignificantPsychological Science, EXTRAS:Why Do We Cheat, and Why Shouldn’t We?No Stupid Questions Is Everybody Cheating These Days?No Stupid Questions

Duration:01:14:06

571. Greeting Cards, Pizza Boxes, and Personal Injury Lawyers

1/3/2024
In a special episode of The Economics of Everyday Things, host Zachary Crockett explains what millennials do to show they care, how corrugated cardboard keeps your food warm, and why every city has a billboard for a guy who calls himself “The Hammer.” SOURCES:Jason AbrahamNora EngstromKyle HebenstreitPatrick KivitsMia MercadoEric NelsonScott WienerGeorge White RESOURCES:34th Louie Awards - Finalists & WinnersPersonal Injury Settlement Amounts Examples (2024 Guide)Forbes Advisor, Who Is the Fastest Pizza Box Folder?! World Pizza Games 2021Season’s (and Other...) GreetingsMarie Claire, Scott's Pizza Chronicles: A Brief History of the Pizza BoxSerious Eats, Apple Patented a Pizza Box, for PizzasThe Verge, Hallmark Greeting Cards Have Adjusted to the Digital RevolutionCNBC, We Eat 100 Acres of Pizza a Day in the U.S.The Washington Post, Low Ball: An Insider’s Look at How Some Insurers Can Manipulate Computerized Systems to Broadly Underpay Injury ClaimsConsumer Federation of America, A Century of Change in Personal Injury LawUC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper,Pizza Tiger, Bates v. State Bar of Arizona

Duration:00:49:25

570. Is Gynecology the Best Innovation Ever?

12/27/2023
In a special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt talks to Cat Bohannon about her new book Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution. SOURCE:Cat Bohannon RESOURCES:Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution, Genomic Inference of a Severe Human Bottleneck During the Early to Middle Pleistocene TransitionScience, The Greatest Invention in the History of HumanityThe Atlantic, A Newborn Infant Chimpanzee Snatched and Cannibalized Immediately After Birth: Implications for 'Maternity Leave' in Wild ChimpanzeeAmerican Journal of Biological Anthropology, War in the WombAeon, Timing of Childbirth Evolved to Match Women’s Energy LimitsSmithsonian Magazine, Bonobo Sex and SocietyScientific American, EXTRAS:Yuval Noah Harari Thinks Life Is Meaningless and AmazingPeople I (Mostly) Admire Jared Diamond on the Downfall of Civilizations — and His Optimism for OursPeople I (Mostly) Admire

Duration:00:46:02

569. Do You Need Closure?

12/20/2023
In a special episode of No Stupid Questions, Angela Duckworth and Mike Maughan talk about unfinished tasks, recurring arguments, and Irish goodbyes. SOURCES:Roy BaumeisterDaniel GilbertJohn GottmanKurt LewinE. J. MasicampoTimothy WilsonBluma Zeigarnik RESOURCES:Life and Work of the Psychologist Bluma ZeigarnikNeurosciences and History, Why We Need AnswersThe New Yorker, Consider It Done! Plan Making Can Eliminate the Cognitive Effects of Unfulfilled GoalsJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples'Let Me Dream On!' Anticipatory Emotions and Preference for Timing in LotteriesTinbergen Institute Discussion Paper, Explaining Away: A Model of Affective AdaptationPerspectives on Psychological Science, On Finished and Unfinished TasksA Source Book of Gestalt Psychology, EXTRAS:Can We Disagree Better?No Stupid Questions Would You Be Happier if You Were More Creative?No Stupid Questions "How Can You Be Kinder to Yourself?No Stupid Questions What’s Wrong With Holding a Grudge?No Stupid Questions Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch,

Duration:00:39:34

568. Why Are People So Mad at Michael Lewis?

12/13/2023
Lewis got incredible access to Sam Bankman-Fried, the billionaire behind the spectacular FTX fraud. His book is a bestseller, but some critics say he went too easy on S.B.F. Lewis tells us why the critics are wrong — and what it’s like to watch your book get turned into a courtroom drama. SOURCES:Michael Lewis RESOURCES:Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon, Column: In Michael Lewis, Sam Bankman-Fried Found His Last and Most Willing VictimLos Angeles Times, Even Michael Lewis Can’t Make a Hero Out of Sam Bankman-FriedThe New York Times, Michael Lewis Goes Close on Sam Bankman-Fried — Maybe Too CloseThe Washington Post, What You Won’t Learn From Michael Lewis’ Book on FTX Could Fill Another BookLos Angeles Times, Michael Lewis’s Big Contrarian BetThe New Yorker, He-Said, They-SaidLondon Review of Books, Downfall of the Crypto KingThe Times Literary Supplement, FTX Debtors vs. Joseph Bankman and Barbara FriedFederal Prosecution of Election Offenses: Eighth EditionPay Candidates to Drop Out? That Should Be LegalBloomberg, The History of the Term 'Effective AltruismEffective Altruism Forum, EXTRAS:Is This 'The Worst Job in Corporate America' — or Maybe the Best?Freakonomics Radio A Million-Year View on MoralityPeople I (Mostly) Admire Did Michael Lewis Just Get Lucky with 'Moneyball'?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:01:00:36

567. Do the Police Have a Management Problem?

12/6/2023
In policing, as in most vocations, the best employees are often promoted into leadership without much training. One economist thinks he can address this problem — and, with it, America’s gun violence. SOURCESKenneth CoreyStephanie DrescherMax KapustinJens LudwigSandy Jo MacArthurSean MalinowskiSindyanna Paul-NoelMichael Wolley RESOURCES:Policing Leadership Academy (PLA) Graduation of Inaugural CohortPolicing and ManagementNBER Working Paper, Getting More Out of Policing in the U.S.VoxEU, University of Chicago Crime Lab Launches National Policing and Community Violence Intervention Leadership AcademiesWhat Drives Differences in Management?NBER Working Paper, Management as a Technology?NBER Working Paper, Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and CountriesNBER Working Paper, Crime, Urban Flight, and the Consequences for CitiesSSRN, EXTRAS:Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses?Freakonomics Radio What Are the Police for, Anyway?Freakonomics Radio

Duration:00:47:39

513. Should Public Transit Be Free? (Update)

11/29/2023
It boosts economic opportunity and social mobility. It’s good for the environment. So why do we charge people to use it? The short answer: it’s complicated. Also: We talk to the man who gets half the nation’s mass-transit riders where they want to go (most of the time). SOURCES: Marcus FinbomRobbie MakinenJanno LieberBrian TaylorShashi VermaMichelle Wu RESOURCES: Free Bus Service Starts Sunday on 5 Routes in New York CityThe New York Times, Vehicle Access and Falling Transit Ridership: Evidence From Southern CaliforniaTransportation, Route-28 Fare-Free Pilot Evaluation: Summary FindingsForget Fare Hikes — Make the T FreeThe Boston Globe, Traffic Power Structure, The Impacts of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility: Childhood Exposure Effects and County-Level EstimatesNBER Working Paper, Fare, Free, or Something in Between?World Transit Research, Planka.Nu EXTRAS: Why Is the U.S. So Good at Killing Pedestrians?Freakonomics Radio Should Public Transit Be Free?Freakonomics Radio Should Traffic Lights Be Abolished?Freakonomics Radio The Perfect CrimeFreakonomics Radio Parking Is HellFreakonomics Radio

Duration:00:56:10

566. Why Is It So Hard (and Expensive) to Build Anything in America?

11/22/2023
Most industries have become more productive over time. But not construction! We identify the causes — and possible solutions. (Can you say ... “prefab”?) RESOURCES: The Strange and Awful Path of Productivity in the US Construction SectorBFI Working Paper, Infrastructure CostsAmerican Economic Journal: Applied, The Silicon Valley Elite Who Want to Build a City From ScratchThe New York Times, A Decent Home EXTRAS: Edward Glaeser Explains Why Some Cities Thrive While Others Fade AwayPeople I (Mostly) Admire Why Are Cities (Still) So Expensive?Freakonomics Radio SOURCES: Vaughan BuckleyCarrie Sturts DossickEd GlaeserMichael HoughIvan RupnikChad Syverson

Duration:00:54:45

Extra: Jason Kelce Hates to Lose

11/19/2023
Pro footballer and star podcaster Jason Kelce is ubiquitous right now (almost as ubiquitous as his brother and co-host Travis, who's been in the limelight for his relationship with Taylor Swift). After you hear this wide-ranging interview, you might want even more Kelce in your life. RESOURCES: N.F.L. Player Team Report CardsKelce, New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce,EXTRAS: When Is a Superstar Just Another Employee?Freakonomics Radio SOURCES: Jason Kelce

Duration:00:56:39

565. Are Private Equity Firms Plundering the U.S. Economy?

11/15/2023
They say they make companies more efficient through savvy management. Critics say they bend the rules to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers and employees. Can they both be right? (Probably not.) RESOURCES: Plunder: Private Equity's Plan to Pillage America, Two and Twenty: How the Masters of Private Equity Always Win, Local Journalism under Private Equity OwnershipNBER Working Paper, Owner Incentives and Performance in Healthcare: Private Equity Investment in Nursing HomesNBER Working Paper, Leveraged Buyouts and Financial DistressFinance Research Letters, Have Private Equity Owned Nursing Homes Fared Worse Under COVID-19?SSRN, When Investor Incentives and Consumer Interests Diverge: Private Equity in Higher EducationThe Review of Financial Studies, The Economic Effects of Private Equity BuyoutsSSRN, How Acquisitions Affect Firm Behavior and Performance: Evidence from the Dialysis IndustryThe Quarterly Journal of Economics, In Silicon Valley, Even Mobile Homes Are Getting Too Pricey for Longtime ResidentsLos Angeles Times, The Operational Consequences of Private Equity Buyouts: Evidence from the Restaurant IndustrySSRN, Private Equity and EmploymentNBER Working Paper, EXTRAS: Should You Trust Private Equity to Take Care of Your Dog?Freakonomics Radio Do You Know Who Owns Your Vet?Freakonomics Radio Mobile Home ParksThe Economics of Everyday Things The Secret Life of a C.E.O.Freakonomics Radio Extra: David Rubenstein Full InterviewFreakonomics Radio SOURCES: Brendan BallouDan GlickbergHannah HowardSachin Khajuria

Duration:00:51:17

480. How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy? (Replay)

11/8/2023
Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940’s America (and pretty much everywhere else) shows that discrimination is incredibly costly — to the victims, of course, but also the perpetrators. One modern solution is to invoke a diversity mandate. But new research shows that’s not necessarily the answer. RESOURCES: Discrimination, Managers, and Firm Performance: Evidence from 'Aryanizations' in Nazi GermanyJournal of Political Economy,Diversity and Performance in Entrepreneurial TeamsSSRN,Systemic Discrimination Among Large U.S. EmployersNBER Working Papers, City of Champions: A History of Triumph and Defeat in Detroit, The Allocation of Talent and U.S. Economic GrowthEconometrica,Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947, And the Children Shall Lead: Gender Diversity and Performance in Venture CapitalNBER Working Papers,The Political Economy of HatredThe Quarterly Journal of Economics, Statistical Theories of Discrimination in Labor MarketsIndustrial and Labor Relations Review,The Economics of DiscriminationEXTRAS: A New Nobel Laureate Explains the Gender Pay Gap (Replay)Freakonomics Radio Edward Glaeser Explains Why Some Cities Thrive While Others Fade AwayPeople I (Mostly) Admire What Are the Secrets of the German Economy — and Should We Steal Them?Freakonomics RadioSOURCES: Kilian HuberSilke-Maria WeineckSophie Calder-Wang

Duration:00:57:50