Summary: Have fun discovering the hidden side of everything with host Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the best-selling "Freakonomics” books. Each week, hear surprising conversations that explore the riddles of everyday life and the weird wrinkles of human nature—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports. Dubner talks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, social scientists and entrepreneurs — and his “Freakonomics” co-author Steve Levitt. After just a few episodes, this podcast will have you too thinking like a Freak. Produced by WNYC Studios, home of other great podcasts such as “Radiolab," "Death, Sex & Money," and "On the Media."
We tend to think of medicine as a science, but for most of human history it has been scientific-ish at best. In the first episode of a three-part series, we look at the grotesque mistakes produced by centuries of trial-and-error, and ask whether the new era of evidence-based medicine is the solution.
The restaurant business model is warped: kitchen wages are too low to hire cooks, while diners are put in charge of paying the waitstaff. So what happens if you eliminate tipping, raise menu prices, and redistribute the wealth? New York restaurant maverick Danny Meyer is about to find out.
Some of our most important decisions are shaped by something as random as the order in which we make them. The gambler's fallacy, as it's known, affects loan officers, federal judges -- and probably you too. How to avoid it? The first step is to admit just how fallible we all are.
"Tell Me Something I Don't Know" is a live game show hosted by Stephen J. Dubner of "Freakonomics Radio." He has always had a mission: to tell you the things you thought you knew but didn't, and things you never thought you wanted to know, but do. Now, with "TMSIDK," he has a new way of doing just that. This new show is still journalism, still factual -- but disguised in the most entertaining, unexpected, and occasionally ridiculous conversation you're likely to hear. Audience contestants come on stage and try to wow a panel of experts with a fascinating fact, a historical wrinkle, a new line of research -- anything, really, as long as it's interesting, useful and true (or at least true-ish). The panel -- an ever-changing mix of comedians, brainiacs, and other high achievers -- poke and prod the contestants, and ultimately choose a winner. And there's a real-time, human fact-checker on hand to filter out the bull. This debut episode features Barnard College president Debora Spar, New York Public Library president Tony Marx, and comedian Andy Zaltzman; Jody Avirgan from FiveThirtyEight handles the fact-checking. You can subscribe now on iTunes. And don't worry, Freakonomics Radio isn't going anywhere -- this is just a special bonus episode of Dubner's new side gig.
Societies where people trust one another are healthier and wealthier. In the U.S. (and the U.K. and elsewhere), social trust has been falling for decades -- in part because our populations are more diverse. What can we do to fix it?
The U.S. president is often called the "leader of free world." But if you ask an economist or a Constitutional scholar how much the occupant of the Oval Office matters, they won't say much. We look at what the data have to say about measuring leadership, and its impact on the economy and the country.
A tiny behavioral-sciences startup is trying to improve the way federal agencies do their work. Considering the size (and habits) of most federal agencies, this isn't so simple. But after a series of early victories -- and a helpful executive order from President Obama -- they are well on their way.
What do Renaissance painting, civil-rights movements, and Olympic cycling have in common? In each case, huge breakthroughs came from taking tiny steps. In a world where everyone is looking for the next moonshot, we shouldn't ignore the power of incrementalism.
Has our culture's obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?
Neuroscientists still have a great deal to learn about the human brain. One recent MRI study sheds some light, finding that a certain kind of storytelling stimulates enormous activity across broad swaths of the brain. The takeaway is obvious: you should be listening to even more podcasts. Show your support for Freakonomics Radio and all the great podcasts from WNYC Studios with a donation today. Just click here to give: http://bit.ly/2e85l3U
The process is famously secretive (and conducted in Swedish!) but we pry the lid off at least a little bit.
It facilitates crime, bribery, and tax evasion -- and yet some governments (including ours) are printing more cash than ever. Other countries, meanwhile, are ditching cash entirely. And if Star Trek is right, we won't have money of any sort in the 24th century.
Sure, we all pay lip service to the Madisonian system of checks and balances. But as one legal scholar argues, presidents have been running roughshod over the system for decades. The result? An accumulation of power that's turned the presidency into a position the founders wouldn't have recognized.
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate, likes to say that most Americans are libertarians but don't know it yet. So why can't Libertarians (and other third parties) gain more political traction?
To you, it's just a ride-sharing app that gets you where you're going. But to an economist, Uber is a massive repository of moment-by-moment data that is helping answer some of the field's most elusive questions.