Discover the hidden side of everything with host 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, plus the true stories of minimum wage, rent control, and the gender pay gap. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers.
Listen here or follow Freakonomics Radio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts. We also provide transcripts, show notes, and links to research for each episode.
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.
Most travelers want the cheapest flight they can find. Airlines, meanwhile, need to manage volatile fuel costs, a pricey workforce, and complex logistics. So how do they make money — and how did America’s grubbiest airport suddenly turn into a palace? (Part 3 of “Freakonomics Radio Takes to the Skies.”)
Thanks to decades of work by airlines and regulators, plane crashes are nearly a thing of the past. Can we do the same for cars? (Part 2 of “Freakonomics Radio Takes to the Skies.”)
It’s an unnatural activity that has become normal. You’re stuck in a metal tube with hundreds of strangers (and strange smells), defying gravity and racing through the sky. But oh, the places you’ll go! We visit the world’s busiest airport to see how it all comes together. (Part 1 of “Freakonomics Radio Takes to the Skies.”)
Adam Smith famously argued that specialization is the key to prosperity. In the N.F.L., the long snapper is proof of that argument. Here’s everything there is to know about a job that didn’t used to exist.
Hotel guests adore those cute little soaps, but is it just a one-night stand? In our fourth episode of The Economics of Everyday Things, Zachary Crockett discovers what happens to those soaps when we love ’em and leave ’em.
For decades, the U.S. let globalization run its course and hoped China would be an ally. Now the Biden administration is spending billions to bring high-tech manufacturing back home. Is this the beginning of a new industrial policy — or just another round of corporate welfare?
Can a hit single from four decades ago still pay the bills? Zachary Crockett f-f-f-finds out in the third episode of our newest podcast, The Economics of Everyday Things.
The economist Kate Raworth says the aggressive pursuit of G.D.P. is trashing the planet and shortchanging too many people. She has proposed an alternative — and the city of Amsterdam is giving it a try. How’s it going?
How does America’s cutest sales force get billions of Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs into our hands every year? Zachary Crockett finds out in the second episode of our newest podcast, The Economics of Everyday Things.
When small businesses get bought by big investors, the name may stay the same — but customers and employees can feel the difference. (Part 2 of 2.)
A new podcast hosted by Zachary Crockett. In the first episode: Gas stations. When gas prices skyrocket, do station owners get a windfall? And where do their profits really come from?
Big investors are buying up local veterinary practices (and pretty much everything else). What does this mean for scruffy little Max* — and for the U.S. economy? (Part 1 of 2.)
*The most popular dog name in the U.S. in 2022.
And with her book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, she succeeded. Now she’s not so sure how to feel about all the attention.
We tend to look down on artists who can’t match their breakthrough success. Should we be celebrating them instead?
In a special episode of No Stupid Questions, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discuss classroom design, open offices, and cognitive drift.
In this special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt talks to the best-selling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus about finding the profound in the obvious.
Labor exploitation! Corporate profiteering! Government corruption! The 21st century can look a lot like the 18th. In the final episode of a series, we turn to “the father of economics” for solutions. (Part 3 of “In Search of the Real Adam Smith.”)
Economists and politicians have turned him into a mascot for free-market ideology. Some on the left say the right has badly misread him. Prepare for a very Smithy tug of war. (Part 2 of “In Search of the Real Adam Smith.”)
How did an affable 18th-century “moral philosopher” become the patron saint of cutthroat capitalism? Does “the invisible hand” mean what everyone thinks it does? We travel to Smith’s hometown in Scotland to uncover the man behind the myth. (Part 1 of a series.)
In this special episode of Freakonomics, M.D., host Bapu Jena looks at a clever new study that could help answer one of parenting’s most contentious questions.
No — but he does have a knack for stumbling into the perfect moment, including the recent FTX debacle.
It used to feel like magic. Now it can feel like a set of cheap tricks. Is the problem with Google — or with us?
The banana, once a luxury good, rose to become America’s favorite fruit. Now a deadly fungus threatens to wipe it out. Can it be saved?
It’s fun to obsess over pop stars and racecar drivers — but is fandom making our politics even more toxic?
The last two years have radically changed the way we work — producing winners, losers, and a lot of surprises.
It was supposed to boost prosperity and democracy at the same time. What really happened? According to the legal scholar Anthea Roberts, it depends which story you believe.
One Yale economist certainly thinks so. But even if he’s right, are economists any better?
New research finds that bosses who went to business school pay their workers less. So what are M.B.A. programs teaching — and should they stop?
The pandemic provided city dwellers with a break from the din of the modern world. Now the noise is coming back. What does that mean for our productivity, health, and basic sanity?
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