Freakonomics Radio is a weekly podcast that is adapted for broadcast on public radio stations around the U.S. (check your local station’s schedule). If you heard our show on the radio and want to hear it again, or read a transcript of the original podcast episode, you can find your way to all of that in this archive. And if your public-radio station doesn’t carry Freakonomics Radio, give them a friendly nudge!
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.”)
Air travel is 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.”)
In a new book called The Voltage Effect, the economist John List — who has already revolutionized how his profession does research — is trying to start a scaling revolution. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, List teaches us how to avoid false positives, how to know whether a given success is due to the chef or the ingredients, and how to practice “optimal quitting.”
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?
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.)
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.
We tend to look down on artists who can’t match their breakthrough success. Should we be celebrating them instead?
Economists and politicians have turned Adam Smith 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 3 of “In Search of the Real Adam Smith.”)
Economists and politicians have turned Adam Smith 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 Adam Smith’s hometown in Scotland to uncover the man behind the myth. (Part 1 of a series.)
Arthur Brooks is an economist who for 10 years ran the American Enterprise Institute, one of the most influential conservative think tanks in the world. He has come to believe there is only one weapon that can defeat our extreme political polarization: love. Is Brooks a fool for thinking this — and are you perhaps his kind of fool?
The public has almost no chance to buy good tickets to the best events. Ticket brokers, meanwhile, make huge profits on the secondary markets. Here’s the story of how this market got so dysfunctional, how it can be fixed – and why it probably won’t be.
Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940s 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.
Did Michael Lewis just get lucky with “Moneyball”? No — but he does have a knack for stumbling into the perfect moment, including the recent FTX debacle.
Is Google getting worse? 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.
Has globalization failed? 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.
Are personal finance gurus giving you bad advice? 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?
Liberals endorse harm reduction when it comes to the opioid epidemic. Are they ready to take the same approach to climate change?
The pandemic moved a lot of religious activity onto the internet. With faith-based apps, Silicon Valley is turning virtual prayers into earthly rewards. Does this mean sharing user data? Dear God, let’s hope not …
As the Biden administration rushes to address climate change, Stephen Dubner looks at another, hidden cost of air pollution — one that’s affecting how we think.
The controversial Harvard economist Roland Fryer, recently back from a suspension, “broke a lot of glass early in my career,” he says. His research on school incentives and police brutality won him acclaim — but also enemies. Now he’s taking a hard look at corporate diversity programs. The common thread in his work? “I refuse to not tell the truth.”
Should public transit be free? 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.
Is art really meant to be an “asset class”? Will the digital revolution finally democratize a market that just keeps getting more elitist? And what will happen to the last painting Alice Neel ever made? (Part 3 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”)
The more successful an artist is, the more likely their work will later be resold at auction for a huge markup — and they receive nothing. Should that change? Also: why doesn’t contemporary art impact society the way music and film do? (Part 2 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”)
You want to listen to Freakonomics Radio? That’s great! Most people use a podcast app on their smartphone. It’s free (with the purchase of a phone, of course). Looking for more guidance? We’ve got you covered.
Stay up-to-date on all our shows. We promise no spam.