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    Freakonomics Radio

    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.
    en-usFreakonomics Radio + Stitcher761 Episodes

    Episodes (760)

    589. Why Has the Opioid Crisis Lasted So Long?

    589. Why Has the Opioid Crisis Lasted So Long?

    Most epidemics flare up, do their damage, and fade away. This one has been raging for almost 30 years. To find out why, it’s time to ask some uncomfortable questions. (Part one of a two-part series.)

     

    • SOURCES:
      • David Cutler, professor of economics at Harvard University.
      • Travis Donahoe, professor of health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh.
      • Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University.
      • Stephen Loyd, chief medical officer of Cedar Recovery and chair of the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council.

     

     

    Freakonomics Radio
    en-usMay 23, 2024

    Extra: Car Colors & Storage Units

    Extra: Car Colors & Storage Units

    Presenting two stories from The Economics of Everyday Things: Why does it seem like every car is black, white, or gray these days? And: How self-storage took over America.

     

    • SOURCES:
      • Tom Crockett, classic car enthusiast.
      • Zachary Dickens, executive vice president and chief investment officer of Extra Space Storage.
      • Mark Gutjahr, global head of design at BASF.
      • Kara Kolodziej, self-storage unit tenant.
      • Anne Mari DeCoster, self-storage consultant.
      • Nikkie Riedel, carline planning manager at Subaru of America.

     

     

    Freakonomics Radio
    en-usMay 20, 2024

    588. Confessions of a Black Conservative

    588. Confessions of a Black Conservative

    The economist and social critic Glenn Loury has led a remarkably turbulent life, both professionally and personally. In a new memoir, he has chosen to reveal just about everything. Why?

     

    • SOURCE:
      • Glenn Loury, professor of economics at Brown University and host of The Glenn Show.

     

     

    Freakonomics Radio
    en-usMay 16, 2024

    587. Should Companies Be Owned by Their Workers?

    587. Should Companies Be Owned by Their Workers?

    The employee ownership movement is growing, and one of its biggest champions is also a private equity heavyweight. Is this meaningful change, or just window dressing?

     

    • SOURCES:
      • Marjorie Kelly, distinguished senior fellow at The Democracy Collaborative.
      • Corey Rosen, founder and senior staff member of the National Center for Employee Ownership.
      • Pete Stavros, co-head of Global Private Equity at KKR.

     

     

    586. How Does the Lost World of Vienna Still Shape Our Lives?

    586. How Does the Lost World of Vienna Still Shape Our Lives?

    From politics and economics to psychology and the arts, many of the modern ideas we take for granted emerged a century ago from a single European capital. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, the historian Richard Cockett explores all those ideas — and how the arrival of fascism can ruin in a few years what took generations to build.

     

     

     

    Extra: Why Is 23andMe Going Under? (Update)

    Extra: Why Is 23andMe Going Under? (Update)

    Five years ago, we published an episode about the boom in home DNA testing kits, focusing on the high-flying firm 23andMe and its C.E.O. Anne Wojcicki. Their flight has been extremely bumpy since then. This update includes an additional interview with the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been investigating the firm’s collapse.

     

     

     

    585. A Social Activist in Prime Minister’s Clothing

    585. A Social Activist in Prime Minister’s Clothing

    Justin Trudeau, facing record-low approval numbers, is doubling down on his progressive agenda. But he is so upbeat (and Canada-polite) that it’s easy to miss just how radical his vision is. Can he make it work?

     

     

     

    584. How to Pave the Road to Hell

    584. How to Pave the Road to Hell

    So you want to help people? That’s great — but beware the law of unintended consequences. Three stories from the modern workplace. 

     

    • SOURCES:
      • Joshua Angrist, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
      • Zoe Cullen, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
      • Marina Gertsberg, senior lecturer in finance at the University of Melbourne.

     

    Extra: The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution (Update)

    Extra: The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution (Update)

    The psychologist Daniel Kahneman — a Nobel laureate and the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow — recently died at age 90. Along with his collaborator Amos Tversky, he changed how we all think about decision-making. The journalist Michael Lewis told the Kahneman-Tversky story in a 2016 book called The Undoing Project. In this episode, Lewis explains why they had such a profound influence.

     

     

     

    Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Update)

    Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Update)

    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.

     

    • SOURCES:
      • Nick Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University.
      • Katie Johnson, freelance data and analytics coach.
      • Kelly Shue, professor of finance at the Yale University School of Management.
      • Steve Tadelis, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business.

     

     

    583. Are We Living Through the Most Revolutionary Period in History?

    583. Are We Living Through the Most Revolutionary Period in History?

    Fareed Zakaria says yes. But it’s not just political revolution — it’s economic, technological, even emotional. He doesn’t offer easy solutions but he does offer some hope.

     

     

     

    Extra: How Much Do You Know About Immigration?

    Extra: How Much Do You Know About Immigration?

    The political debates over immigration can generate a lot of fuzzy facts. We wanted to test Americans’ knowledge — so, to wrap up our special series on immigration, we called some Freakonomics Radio listeners and quizzed them.

     

    • SOURCES:
      • Zeke Hernandez, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

     

     

    582. Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?

    582. Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?

    As the U.S. tries to fix its messy immigration system, our neighbor to the north is scooping up more talented newcomers every year. Are the Canadians stealing America’s bacon? (Part three of a three-part series.)

     

    • SOURCES:
      • Zeke Hernandez, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
      • William Kerr, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
      • David Leonhardt, senior writer at the New York Times.
      • Sindhu Mahadevan, creator of This Immigrant Life newsletter.
      • Marc Miller, Member of Parliament and Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship of Canada.
      • Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

     

     

    581. What Both Parties Get Wrong About Immigration

    581. What Both Parties Get Wrong About Immigration

    The U.S. immigration system is a massively complicated machine, with a lot of worn-out parts. How to fix it? Step one: Get hold of some actual facts and evidence. (We did this step for you.) (Part two of a three-part series.)

     

     

     

    Extra: Madeleine Albright’s Warning on Immigration

    Extra: Madeleine Albright’s Warning on Immigration

    She arrived in the U.S. as an 11-year-old refugee, then rose to become Secretary of State. Her views on immigration, nationalism, and borders, from this 2015 interview, are almost strangely appropriate to the present moment. 

     

    • SOURCE:
      • Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

     

     

    580. The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System

    580. The True Story of America’s Supremely Messed-Up Immigration System

    How did a nation of immigrants come to hate immigration? We start at the beginning, sort through the evidence, and explain why your grandfather was lying about Ellis Island. (Part one of a three-part series.)

     

    • SOURCES:
      • Leah Boustan, professor of economics at Princeton University.
      • Zeke Hernandez, professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
      • Roger Nam, professor of Hebrew Bible at Emory University.

     

     

    579. Are You Caught in a Social Media Trap?

    579. Are You Caught in a Social Media Trap?

    Economists have discovered an odd phenomenon: many people who use social media (even you, maybe?) wish it didn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean they can escape.

     

    • SOURCES:

     

     

    Extra: What Is Sportswashing — and Does It Work? (Update)

    Extra: What Is Sportswashing — and Does It Work? (Update)

    In ancient Rome, it was bread and circuses. Today, it’s a World Cup, an Olympics, and a new Saudi-backed golf league that’s challenging the P.G.A. Tour. Can a sporting event really repair a country’s reputation — or will it trigger the dreaded Streisand Effect? Also: why the major U.S. sports leagues are warming up to the idea of foreign investment.

     

     

     

    578. Water, Water Everywhere — But You Have to Stop and Think

    578. Water, Water Everywhere —  But You Have to Stop and Think

    What surprises lurk in our sewage? How did racist city planners end up saving Black lives? Why does Arizona grow hay for cows in Saudi Arabia? Three strange stories about the most fundamental substance we all take for granted.

     

    • SOURCES:
      • Brian Beach, professor of economics at Vanderbilt University.
      • Marc Johnson, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.
      • Amy Kirby, program lead for the National Wastewater Surveillance System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
      • Natalie Koch, professor of geography at Syracuse University.

     

     

    Is Google Getting Worse? (Update)

    Is Google Getting Worse? (Update)

    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”?