Freakonomics Radio

by Stephen J. Dubner and WNYC Studios

In their books "Freakonomics," "SuperFreakonomics" and "Think Like a Freak", Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore "the hidden side of everything," telling stories about cheating schoolteachers and eating champions while teaching us all to think a bit more creatively, rationally, and productively. The Freakonomics Radio podcast, hosted by Dubner, carries on that tradition with weekly episodes. Prepare to be enlightened, engaged, perhaps enraged, and definitely surprised.

  

Latest Episodes

In Praise of Maintenance (Rebroadcast)

Has our culture's obsession with innovation led us to neglect the fact that things also need to be taken care of?


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Posted on 21 June 2018 | 3:00 am


How to Catch World Cup Fever

For soccer fans, it's easy. For the rest of us? Not so much, especially since the U.S. team didn't qualify. So here's what to watch for even if you have no team to root for. Because the World Cup isn't just a gargantuan sporting event; it's a microcosm of human foibles and (yep) economic theory brought to life.


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Posted on 14 June 2018 | 3:00 am


How to Build a Smart City

We are in the midst of a historic (and wholly unpredicted) rise in urbanization. But it's hard to retrofit old cities for the 21st century. Enter Dan Doctoroff. The man who helped modernize New York City — and tried to bring the Olympics there — is now C.E.O. of a Google-funded startup that is building, from scratch, the city of the future.


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Posted on 7 June 2018 | 3:00 am


How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns? (Rebroadcast)

Nearly two percent of America is grassy green. Sure, lawns are beautiful and useful and they smell great. But are the costs — financial, environmental and otherwise — worth the benefits?


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Posted on 31 May 2018 | 3:00 am


The Most Vilified Industry in America Is Also the Most Charitable

Pharmaceutical firms donate an enormous amount of their products (and some cash too). But it doesn't seem to be helping their reputation. We ask Pfizer's generosity chief why the company gives so much, who it really helps, and whether all this philanthropy is just corporate whitewashing.


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Posted on 24 May 2018 | 3:00 am


Does Doing Good Give You License to Be Bad?

Corporate Social Responsibility programs can attract better job applicants who'll work for less money. But they also encourage employees to misbehave. Don't laugh — you too probably engage in “moral licensing,” even if you don't know it.


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Posted on 17 May 2018 | 3:00 am


5 Psychology Terms You’re Probably Misusing

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.


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Posted on 10 May 2018 | 3:00 am


Evolution, Accelerated (Rebroadcast)

A breakthrough in genetic technology has given humans more power than ever to change nature. It could help eliminate hunger and disease; it could also lead to the sort of dystopia we used to only read about in sci-fi novels. So what happens next?


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Posted on 3 May 2018 | 3:00 am


The Most Ambitious Thing Humans Have Ever Attempted

Sure, medical progress has been astounding. But today the U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country, with so-so outcomes. Atul Gawande — cancer surgeon, public-health researcher, and best-selling author — has some simple ideas for treating a painfully complex system.


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Posted on 26 April 2018 | 3:00 am