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Freakonomics Radio Podcast by Stephen J. Dubner

Freakonomics Radio Podcast

by Stephen J. Dubner

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In their books "Freakonomics" and "SuperFreakonomics," Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore "the hidden side of everything," with stories about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama’s boys. The Freakonomics Radio podcast, hosted by Dubner, carries on that tradition with weekly episodes. Prepare to be enlightened, engaged, perhaps enraged, and definitely surprised.


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http://www.freakonomics.com/radio/

  • The Most Ambitious Thing Humans Have Ever Attempted
    Wed, Apr 25, 2018


    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.

  • Why the Trump Tax Cuts Are Terrible/Awesome (Part 2)
    Wed, Apr 18, 2018


    Three former White House economists weigh in on the new tax bill. A sample: "The overwhelming evidence is that the trickle-down, magic-beanstalk beans argument — that's just nonsense."

  • Why the Trump Tax Cuts are Awesome/Terrible (Part 1)
    Wed, Apr 11, 2018


    Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, explains the thinking behind the controversial new Republican tax package — and why its critics are wrong. (Next week, we'll hear from the critics.)

  • Extra: Ray Dalio Full Interview
    Sun, Apr 08, 2018


    Stephen Dubner's conversation with the founder and longtime C.E.O. of Bridgewater Associates, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.

  • The Invisible Paw
    Wed, Apr 04, 2018


    Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we've had it exactly backward?

  • Extra: Mark Zuckerberg Full Interview
    Sun, Apr 01, 2018


    Stephen Dubner's conversation with the Facebook founder and C.E.O., recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.

  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask) (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Mar 28, 2018


    The bad news: roughly 70 percent of Americans are financially illiterate. The good news: all the important stuff can fit on one index card. Here's how to become your own financial superhero.

  • Extra: Carol Bartz Full Interview
    Sun, Mar 25, 2018


    Stephen Dubner's conversation with the former C.E.O. of Yahoo, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.

  • The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Mar 21, 2018


    It's hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns? Enter the low-cost index fund. The revolution will not be monetized.

  • Extra: Jack Welch Full Interview
    Sun, Mar 18, 2018


    Stephen Dubner's conversation with the former longtime C.E.O. of General Electric, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.

  • How to Train Your Dragon Child
    Wed, Mar 14, 2018


    Every 12 years, there's a spike in births among certain communities across the globe, including the U.S. Why? Because the Year of the Dragon, according to Chinese folk belief, confers power, fortune, and more. We look at what happens to Dragon babies when they grow up, and why timing your kid's birth based on the zodiac isn't as ridiculous it sounds.

  • Extra: Satya Nadella Full Interview
    Sun, Mar 11, 2018


    Stephen Dubner's conversation with the C.E.O. of Microsoft, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.

  • Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It
    Wed, Mar 07, 2018


    Whether it's a giant infrastructure plan or a humble kitchen renovation, it'll inevitably take way too long and cost way too much. That's because you suffer from “the planning fallacy.” (You also have an “optimism bias” and a bad case of overconfidence.) But don't worry: we've got the solution.

  • Extra: David Rubenstein Full Interview
    Sun, Mar 04, 2018


    Stephen Dubner's conversation with the co-founder and longtime co-C.E.O. of the Carlyle Group, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.

  • Does “Early Education” Come Way Too Late? (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Feb 28, 2018


    In our collective zeal to reform schools and close the achievement gap, we may have lost sight of where most learning really happens — at home.

  • Extra: Richard Branson Full Interview
    Sun, Feb 25, 2018


    Stephen Dubner's conversation with the Virgin Group founder, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.

  • ?Letting Go
    Wed, Feb 21, 2018


    If you're a C.E.O., there are a lot of ways to leave your job, from abrupt firing to carefully planned succession (which may still go spectacularly wrong). In this final episode of our "Secret Life of a C.E.O." series, we hear those stories and many more. Also: what happens when you no longer have a corner office to go to — and how will you spend all that money??

  • After the Glass Ceiling, a Glass Cliff
    Wed, Feb 14, 2018


    Only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Why? Research shows that female executives are more likely to be put in charge of firms that are already in crisis. Are they being set up to fail? (Part 5 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")

  • It’s Your Problem Now
    Wed, Feb 07, 2018


    No, it's not your fault the economy crashed. Or that consumer preferences changed. Or that new technologies have blown apart your business model. But if you're the C.E.O., it is your problem. So what are you going to do about it? First-hand stories of disaster (and triumph) from Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer, Satya Nadella, Jack Welch, Ellen Pao, Richard Branson, and more. (Part 4 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")

  • What Can Uber Teach Us About the Gender Pay Gap?
    Tue, Feb 06, 2018


    The gig economy offers the ultimate flexibility to set your own hours. That's why economists thought it would help eliminate the gender pay gap. A new study, using data from over a million Uber drivers, finds the story isn't so simple.

  • An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl (Rebroadcast)
    Fri, Feb 02, 2018


    We assembled a panel of smart dudes -- a two-time Super Bowl champ; a couple of N.F.L. linemen, including one who's getting a math Ph.D. at MIT; and our resident economist -- to tell you what to watch for, whether you're a football fanatic or a total newbie.

  • “I Wasn’t Stupid Enough to Say This Could Be Done Overnight”
    Wed, Jan 31, 2018


    Indra Nooyi became C.E.O. of PepsiCo just in time for a global financial meltdown. She also had a portfolio full of junk food just as the world decided that junk food is borderline toxic. Here's the story of how she overhauled that portfolio, stared down activist investors, and learned to "leave the crown in the garage." (Part 3 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s")

  • How to Become a C.E.O.
    Wed, Jan 24, 2018


    Mark Zuckerberg's dentist dad was an early adopter of digital x-rays. Jack Welch blew the roof off a factory. Carol Bartz was a Wisconsin farm girl who got into computers. No two C.E.O.'s have the same origin story — so we tell them all! How the leaders of Facebook, G.E., Yahoo!, PepsiCo, Microsoft, Virgin, the Carlyle Group, Reddit, and Bridgewater Associates made it to the top. (Part 2 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")

  • What Does a C.E.O. Actually Do?
    Wed, Jan 17, 2018


    They're paid a fortune — but for what, exactly? What makes a good C.E.O. — and how can you even tell? Is "leadership science" a real thing — or just airport-bookstore mumbo jumbo? We put these questions to Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Indra Nooyi, Satya Nadella, Jack Welch, Ray Dalio, Carol Bartz, David Rubenstein, and Ellen Pao. (Part 1 of a special series, "The Secret Life of C.E.O.'s.")

  • How to Be a Modern Democrat — and Win
    Wed, Jan 10, 2018


    Gina Raimondo, the governor of tiny Rhode Island, has taken on unions, boosted big business, and made friends with Republicans. She is also one of just 15 Democratic governors in the country. Would there be more of them if there were more like her?

  • Why Is My Life So Hard? (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Jan 03, 2018


    Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?

  • Trust Me (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Dec 27, 2017


    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?

  • Make Me a Match (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Dec 20, 2017


    Sure, markets generally work well. But for some transactions — like school admissions and organ transplants — money alone can't solve the problem. That's when you need a market-design wizard like Al Roth.

  • Not Your Grandmother’s I.M.F.
    Wed, Dec 13, 2017


    The International Monetary Fund has long been the "lender of last resort" for economies in crisis. Christine Lagarde, who runs the institution, would like to prevent those crises from ever happening. She tells us her plans.

  • Why Is the Live-Event Ticket Market So Screwed Up?
    Wed, Dec 06, 2017


    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.

  • Are We Running Out of Ideas?
    Wed, Nov 29, 2017


    Economists have a hard time explaining why productivity growth has been shrinking. One theory: true innovation has gotten much harder – and much more expensive. So what should we do next?

  • Is America Ready for a “No-Lose Lottery”? (Update)
    Wed, Nov 22, 2017


    Most people don't enjoy the simple, boring act of putting money in a savings account. But we do love to play the lottery. So what if you combine the two, creating a new kind of savings account with a lottery payout?

  • Nurses to the Rescue!
    Wed, Nov 15, 2017


    They are the most-trusted profession in America (and with good reason). They are critical to patient outcomes (especially in primary care). Could the growing army of nurse practitioners be an answer to the doctor shortage? The data say yes but —  big surprise — doctors' associations say no.

  • How Can I Do the Most Social Good With $100? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions
    Wed, Nov 08, 2017


    Dubner and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answer your questions about crime, traffic, real-estate agents, the Ph.D. glut, and how to not get eaten by a bear.

  • Why Is There So Much Ground Beef in the World? (Special Feature)
    Mon, Nov 06, 2017


    In this live episode of "Tell Me Something I Don't Know," you'll learn about carcass balancing, teen sleeping, and brand naming. Joining Stephen J. Dubner as co-host is Alex Wagner (CBS This Morning Saturday); author A.J. Jacobs (It's All Relative) is the live fact-checker.

  • Thinking Is Expensive. Who’s Supposed to Pay for It?
    Wed, Nov 01, 2017


    Corporations and rich people donate billions to their favorite think tanks and foundations. Should we be grateful for their generosity — or suspicious of their motives?

  • How to Launch a Behavior-Change Revolution
    Wed, Oct 25, 2017


    Academic studies are nice, and so are Nobel Prizes. But to truly prove the value of a new idea, you have to unleash it to the masses. That's what a dream team of social scientists is doing — and we sat in as they drew up their game plan.

  • The Demonization of Gluten
    Wed, Oct 18, 2017


    Celiac disease is thought to affect roughly one percent of the population. The good news: it can be treated by quitting gluten. The bad news: many celiac patients haven't been diagnosed. The weird news: millions of people without celiac disease have quit gluten – which may be a big mistake.

  • What Are the Secrets of the German Economy — and Should We Steal Them?
    Wed, Oct 11, 2017


    Smart government policies, good industrial relations, and high-end products have helped German manufacturing beat back the threats of globalization.

  • Time to Take Back the Toilet (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Oct 04, 2017


    Public bathrooms are noisy, poorly designed, and often nonexistent. What to do?

  • “Tell Me Something I Don't Know” on the topic of Behavior Change (Special Feature)
    Sat, Sep 30, 2017


    Stephen J. Dubner hosts an episode full of the world's most renowned behavior change experts, including Colin Camerer, Ayelet Fishbach, David Laibson, Max Bazerman, Katy Milkman, and Kevin Volpp. Angela Duckworth (psychologist and author of Grit) is our special guest co-host, with Mike Maughan (head of global insights at Qualtrics) as real-time fact-checker.

  • Why Larry Summers Is the Economist Everyone Hates to Love
    Wed, Sep 27, 2017


    He's been U.S. Treasury Secretary, a chief economist for the Obama White House and the World Bank, and president of Harvard. He's one of the most brilliant economists of his generation (and perhaps the most irascible). And he thinks the Trump Administration is wrong on just about everything.

  • Why Learn Esperanto? (Special Feature)
    Mon, Sep 25, 2017


    A language invented in the 19th century, and meant to be universal, it never really caught on. So why does a group of Esperantists from around the world gather once a year to celebrate their bond?

  • What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)
    Wed, Sep 20, 2017


    We explore votes for English, Indonesian, and … Esperanto! The search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in translation. Will technology finally solve that?

  • Why Don’t We All Speak the Same Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)
    Wed, Sep 13, 2017


    There are 7,000 languages spoken on Earth. What are the costs — and benefits — of our modern-day Tower of Babel?

  • "How Much Brain Damage Do I Have?"
    Wed, Sep 06, 2017


    John Urschel was the only player in the N.F.L. simultaneously getting a math Ph.D. at M.I.T. But after a new study came out linking football to brain damage, he abruptly retired. Here's the inside story — and a look at how we make decisions in the face of risk versus uncertainty.

  • Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Aug 30, 2017


    By some estimates, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. How can that be? And what's to be done? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.

  • Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Aug 23, 2017


    How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on "dream patients" who aren't representative of a larger population. On the other hand, sometimes the only thing worse than being excluded from a drug trial is being included.

  • Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6 (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Aug 16, 2017


    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.

  • What Are You Waiting For? (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Aug 09, 2017


    Standing in line represents a particularly sloppy — and frustrating — way for supply and demand to meet. Why haven't we found a better way to get what we want? Is it possible that we secretly enjoy waiting in line? And might it even be (gulp) good for us?

  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask)
    Wed, Aug 02, 2017


    The bad news: roughly 70 percent of Americans are financially illiterate. The good news: all the important stuff can fit on one index card. Here's how to become your own financial superhero.

  • The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money
    Wed, Jul 26, 2017


    It's hard enough to save for a house, tuition, or retirement. So why are we willing to pay big fees for subpar investment returns? Enter the low-cost index fund. The revolution will not be monetized.

  • These Shoes Are Killing Me!
    Wed, Jul 19, 2017


    The human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece, far more functional than we give it credit for. So why do we encase it in "a coffin" (as one foot scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability — and may create more problems than it solves?

  • When Helping Hurts
    Wed, Jul 12, 2017


    Good intentions are nice, but with so many resources poured into social programs, wouldn't it be even nicer to know what actually works?

  • The Fracking Boom, a Baby Boom, and the Retreat From Marriage
    Wed, Jul 05, 2017


    Over 40 percent of U.S. births are to unmarried mothers, and the numbers are especially high among the less-educated. Why? One argument is that the decline in good manufacturing jobs led to a decline in "marriageable" men. Surely the fracking boom reversed that trend, right?

  • The Harvard President Will See You Now (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Jun 28, 2017


    How a pain-in-the-neck girl from rural Virginia came to run the most powerful university in the world.

  • Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 2)
    Thu, Jun 22, 2017


    Charles Koch, the mega-billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and half of the infamous political machine, sees himself as a classical liberal. So why do most Democrats hate him so much? In a rare series of interviews, he explains his political awakening, his management philosophy, and why he supports legislation that goes against his self-interest.

  • Why Hate the Koch Brothers? (Part 1)
    Wed, Jun 21, 2017


    Charles Koch, the mega-billionaire CEO of Koch Industries and half of the infamous political machine, sees himself as a classical liberal. So why do most Democrats hate him so much? In a rare series of interviews, he explains his political awakening, his management philosophy and why he supports legislation that goes against his self-interest.

  • "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" on the topic of Rivalry
    Mon, Jun 19, 2017


    Steve Levitt, Scott Turow and Bridget Gainer are panelists. For the "Freakonomics" co-author, the attorney and novelist, and the Cook County commissioner it's "game on!" as they tackle competition of all kinds: athletic, sexual, geopolitical, and the little-known battle between butter and margarine that landed in the Supreme Court. WBEZ's Tricia Bobeda, co-host of the "Nerdette" podcast, is fact-checker.

  • Evolution, Accelerated
    Wed, Jun 14, 2017


    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?

    Help us meet the Freakonomics Radio listener challenge. If 500 of you become sustaining members at just $7/month before June 30th we'll unlock an additional $25,000 from the Tow Foundation. Become a member now!

  • He’s One of the Most Famous Political Operatives in America. America Just Doesn’t Know It Yet.
    Wed, Jun 07, 2017


    Steve Hilton was the man behind David Cameron's push to remake British politics. Things didn't work out so well there. Now he's trying to launch a new political revolution – from sunny California.

  • How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?
    Wed, May 31, 2017


    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?

  • Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?
    Wed, May 24, 2017


    A series of academic studies suggest that the wealthy are, to put it bluntly, selfish jerks. It's an easy narrative to swallow — but is it true? A trio of economists set out to test the theory. All it took was a Dutch postal worker's uniform, some envelopes stuffed with cash, and a slight sense of the absurd.

  • Hoopers! Hoopers! Hoopers!
    Wed, May 17, 2017


    As CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer was famous for over-the-top enthusiasm. Now he's brought that same passion to the N.B.A. -- and to a pet project called USAFacts, which performs a sort of fiscal colonoscopy on the American government.

  • How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google)
    Wed, May 10, 2017


    On the Internet, people say all kinds of things they'd never say aloud -- about sex and race, about their true wants and fears. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz has spent years parsing the data. His conclusion: our online searches are the reflection of our true selves. In the real world, everybody lies.

  • Food + Science = Victory! (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, May 03, 2017


    A kitchen wizard and a nutrition detective talk about the perfect hamburger, getting the most out of garlic, and why you should use vodka in just about everything.

  • There’s a War on Sugar. Is It Justified?
    Wed, Apr 26, 2017


    Some people argue that sugar should be regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, on the grounds that it's addictive and toxic. How much sense does that make? We hear from a regulatory advocate, an evidence-based skeptic, a former FDA commissioner — and the organizers of Milktoberfest.

  • Is Income Inequality Inevitable? (Earth 2.0 Series)
    Wed, Apr 19, 2017


    In pursuit of a more perfect economy, we discuss the future of work; the toxic remnants of colonization; and whether giving everyone a basic income would be genius -- or maybe the worst idea ever.

  • What Would Our Economy Look Like? (Earth 2.0 Series)
    Wed, Apr 12, 2017


    If we could reboot the planet and create new systems and institutions from scratch, would they be any better than what we've blundered our way into through trial and error? This is the first of a series of episodes that we'll release over several months. Today we start with — what else? — economics. You'll hear from Nobel laureate Angus Deaton, the poverty-fighting superhero Jeff Sachs; and many others.

  • Could Solving This One Problem Solve All the Others?
    Wed, Apr 05, 2017


    The biggest problem with humanity is humans themselves. Too often, we make choices — what we eat, how we spend our money and time — that undermine our well-being. An all-star team of academic researchers thinks it has the solution: perfecting the science of behavior change. Will it work?

  • Big Returns from Thinking Small
    Wed, Mar 29, 2017


    By day, two leaders of Britain's famous Nudge Unit use behavioral tricks to make better government policy. By night, they repurpose those tricks to improve their personal lives. They want to help you do the same.

  • “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” on the topic of Collections.
    Mon, Mar 27, 2017


    Hear live journalism wrapped in a game show package and hosted by Stephen J. Dubner. In this episode, Tim Ferriss, Eugene Mirman and Anne Pasternak are panelists. The self-help guru, the comedian and the Brooklyn Museum director talk about brainwaves, sugar, stars and — thanks to fact-checker AJ Jacobs — barf bags.

  • How Safe Is Your Job? (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Mar 22, 2017


    Economists preach the gospel of "creative destruction," whereby new industries -- and jobs -- replace the old ones. But has creative destruction become too destructive?

  • Why Is My Life So Hard?
    Wed, Mar 15, 2017


    Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?

  • March 2017 Freakonomics Flyaway to NYC Contest Rules
    Thu, Mar 09, 2017


    OFFICIAL RULES

    HOW TO ENTER: No purchase or pledge necessary.  Entries may be made by going to Freakonomics.com/donate, texting our pledge line or by responding to an email between the hours of 12am March 16th, 2017 and 12pm April 16th, 2017 Eastern Standard Time. WNYC, WQXR, and New Jersey Public Radio Monthly Sustainers are automatically entered into the giveaway.

    ELIGIBILITY: Anyone 18 years of age or older can enter the 2017 Freakonomics Flyaway to New York City contest except employees of New York Public Radio and its related organizations, their immediate family or persons living in the same household.  Void where prohibited by law.

     

    PRIZE: The winner will receive all of the following:

    • $3,000 in travel vouchers that can be used for booking round trip airfare to New York City for two, and a night's hotel accommodations in New York City.
    • A guided tour of the Freakonomics studios (to be scheduled during a time and date that is approved by New York Public Radio).
    • Lunch with Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics (to be scheduled during a time and date that is approved by New York Public Radio). Approximate value: $75

    Total value:  $3,075

     

    SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION OF WINNER:  One winner and three back up names will be selected by random drawing no later than May 1st, 2017. Winner will be notified by telephone or mail.  If the winner is unable to be contacted or to collect their prize, the unawarded prize will go to the first back-up and subsequent back-ups thereof until prize is awarded. Winner must provide their social security number. The chances of winning are dependent upon the number of entries. The winner’s name will be kept on file at New York Public Radio and will be available by writing WNYC Listener Services, 160 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013.

     

    GENERAL:  By participating in the 2017 Freakonomics Flyaway to New York City contest, participants agree to these Official Rules, and that New York Public Radio, its agents and employees will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind resulting from their use of the prize or their participation in the giveaway. Prize is nontransferable and cannot be exchanged for cash. There can be no substitutions for a prize. New York Public Radio may use winner’s name for publicity purposes without further compensation.  Taxes and expenses as a result of winning this prize are the responsibility of the winner. Winner will receive a 1099 with the above stated value.

     

    RESTRICTIONS:  Restrictions may apply. By participating in the 2017 Freakonomics Flyaway to New York City contest, a participant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules, and by all decisions of the contest judges. One entry per person.  Anyone who enters multiple times will be disqualified.

  • Chuck E. Cheese’s: Where a Kid Can Learn Price Theory
    Wed, Mar 08, 2017


    The pizza-and-gaming emporium prides itself on affordability, which means its arcade games are really cheap to play. Does that lead to kids hogging the best games — and parents starting those infamous YouTube brawls?

  • The Taboo Trifecta
    Wed, Mar 01, 2017


    The serial entrepreneur Miki Agrawal loves to talk about the bodily functions that make most people flinch. That's why she's building a business around the three P's: periods, pee, and poop.

  • No Hollywood Ending for the Visual-Effects Industry
    Wed, Feb 22, 2017


    In their chase for a global audience, American movie studios spend billions to make their films look amazing. But almost none of those dollars stay in America. What would it take to bring those jobs back -- and would it be worth it?

  • Professor Hendryx vs. Big Coal
    Wed, Feb 15, 2017


    What happens when a public-health researcher deep in coal country argues that mountaintop mining endangers the entire community? Hint: it doesn't go very well.

  • How to Get More Grit in Your Life (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Feb 08, 2017


    The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person's level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn't something you're born with -- it can be learned. Here's how.

  • An Egghead’s Guide to the Super Bowl
    Wed, Feb 01, 2017


    We assembled a panel of smart dudes -- a two-time Super Bowl champ; a couple of NFL linemen, including one who's getting a math Ph.D. at MIT; and our resident economist -- to tell you what to watch for, whether you're a football fanatic or a total newbie.

  • Did China Eat America’s Jobs?
    Wed, Jan 25, 2017


    For years, economists promised that global free trade would be mostly win-win. Now they admit the pace of change has been "traumatic." This has already led to a political insurrection -- so what's next?

  • Is the American Dream Really Dead?
    Wed, Jan 18, 2017


    Just a few decades ago, more than 90 percent of 30-year-olds earned more than their parents had earned at the same age. Now it's only about 50 percent. What happened -- and what can be done about it?

  • Trevor Noah Has a Lot to Say
    Wed, Jan 11, 2017


    The Daily Show host grew up as a poor, mixed-race South African kid going to three churches every Sunday. So he has a sui generis view of America -- especially on race, politics, and religion -- and he's not afraid to speak his mind.

  • The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution
    Wed, Jan 04, 2017


    Starting in the late 1960s, the Israeli psychologists Amos Tversky and Danny Kahneman began to redefine how the human mind actually works. Michael Lewis's new book The Undoing Project explains how the movement they started -- now known as behavioral economics -- has had such a profound effect on academia, governments, and society at large.

  • How to Become Great at Just About Anything (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Dec 28, 2016


    What if the thing we call "talent" is grotesquely overrated? And what if deliberate practice is the secret to excellence? Those are the claims of the research psychologist Anders Ericsson, who has been studying the science of expertise for decades. He tells us everything he's learned.

  • How to Be More Productive (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Dec 21, 2016


    In this busy time of year, we could all use some tips on how to get more done in less time. First, however, a warning: there's a big difference between being busy and being productive.

  • Bad Medicine, Part 3: Death by Diagnosis
    Wed, Dec 14, 2016


    By some estimates, medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. How can that be? And what's to be done? Our third and final episode in this series offers some encouraging answers.

  • Bad Medicine, Part 2: (Drug) Trials and Tribulations
    Wed, Dec 07, 2016


    How do so many ineffective and even dangerous drugs make it to market? One reason is that clinical trials are often run on "dream patients" who aren't representative of a larger population. On the other hand, sometimes the only thing worse than being excluded from a drug trial is being included.

  • Bad Medicine, Part 1: The Story of 98.6
    Wed, Nov 30, 2016


    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 No-Tipping Point (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Nov 23, 2016


    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.

  • How to Make a Bad Decision
    Wed, Nov 16, 2016


    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.

  • Introducing Stephen J. Dubner's new podcast, "Tell Me Something I Don't Know"
    Mon, Nov 14, 2016


    "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.

  • Trust Me
    Thu, Nov 10, 2016


    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?

  • How Much Does the President Really Matter? (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Nov 09, 2016


    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.

  • The White House Gets Into the Nudge Business
    Wed, Nov 02, 2016


    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.

  • In Praise of Incrementalism
    Wed, Oct 26, 2016


    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.

  • In Praise of Maintenance
    Wed, Oct 19, 2016


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

  • This Is Your Brain on Podcasts
    Wed, Oct 12, 2016


    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.

  • How To Win A Nobel Prize (Rebroadcast)
    Wed, Oct 05, 2016


    The process is famously secretive (and conducted in Swedish!) but we pry the lid off at least a little bit.

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