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51 minutes | Jan 13, 2022
490. What Do Broken-Hearted Knitters, Urinating Goalkeepers, and the C.I.A. Have in Common?
Curses and other superstitions may have no basis in reality, but that doesn’t stop us from believing.
36 minutes | Jan 6, 2022
489. Is “Toxic Positivity” a Thing?
In this special episode of No Stupid Questions, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discuss the consequences of seeing every glass as at least half-full.
56 minutes | Dec 30, 2021
488. Does Death Have to Be a Death Sentence?
In this special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt speaks with the palliative physician B.J. Miller about modern medicine’s goal of “protecting a pulse at all costs.” Is there a better, even beautiful way to think about death and dying?
35 minutes | Dec 23, 2021
487. Is It Okay to Have a Party Yet?
In this special episode of Freakonomics, M.D., host Bapu Jena looks at data from birthday parties, March Madness parties, and a Freakonomics Radio holiday party to help us all manage our risk of Covid-19 exposure.
46 minutes | Dec 16, 2021
486. “The Art Market Is in Massive Disruption.”
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.”)
46 minutes | Dec 9, 2021
485. “I’ve Been Working My Ass Off for You to Make that Profit?”
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.”)
57 minutes | Dec 2, 2021
484. “A Fascinating, Sexy, Intellectually Compelling, Unregulated Global Market.”
The art market is so opaque and illiquid that it barely functions like a market at all. A handful of big names get all the headlines (and most of the dollars). Beneath the surface is a tangled web of dealers, curators, auction houses, speculators — and, of course, artists. In the first episode of a three-part series, we meet the key players and learn how an obscure, long-dead American painter suddenly became a superstar. (Part 1 of “The Hidden Side of the Art Market.”)
57 minutes | Nov 25, 2021
How Do You Cure a Compassion Crisis? (Ep. 444 Replay)
Patients in the U.S. healthcare system often feel they’re treated with a lack of empathy. Doctors and nurses have tragically high levels of burnout. Could fixing the first problem solve the second? And does the rest of society need more compassion too?
49 minutes | Nov 18, 2021
483. What’s Wrong With Shortcuts?
You know the saying: “There are no shortcuts in life.” What if that saying is just wrong? In his new book Thinking Better: The Art of the Shortcut in Math and Life, the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy argues that shortcuts can be applied to practically anything: music, psychotherapy, even politics. Our latest installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club.
50 minutes | Nov 11, 2021
482. Is Venture Capital the Secret Sauce of the American Economy?
The U.S. is home to seven of the world’s 10 biggest companies. How did that happen? The answer may come down to two little letters: V.C. Is venture capital good for society, or does it just help the rich get richer? Stephen Dubner invests the time to find out.
59 minutes | Nov 4, 2021
481. Is the U.S. Really Less Corrupt Than China?
A new book by an unorthodox political scientist argues that the two rivals have more in common than we’d like to admit. It’s just that most American corruption is essentially legal.
59 minutes | Oct 28, 2021
480. How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy?
Evidence from Nazi Germany and 1940’s 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.
56 minutes | Oct 21, 2021
479. The Economist’s Guide to Parenting: 10 Years Later
In one of the earliest Freakonomics Radio episodes (No. 39!), we asked a bunch of economists with young kids how they approached child-rearing. Now the kids are old enough to talk — and they have a lot to say. We hear about nature vs. nurture, capitalism vs. Marxism, and why you sometimes don’t tell your friends that your father is an economist.
47 minutes | Oct 14, 2021
478. How Can We Break Our Addiction to Contempt?
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?
52 minutes | Oct 7, 2021
477. Why Is U.S. Media So Negative?
Breaking news! Sources say American journalism exploits our negativity bias to maximize profits, and social media algorithms add fuel to the fire. Stephen Dubner investigates.
25 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
That’s a Great Question! (Ep. 192 Rebroadcast)
Verbal tic or strategic rejoinder? Whatever the case: it’s rare to come across an interview these days where at least one question isn’t a “great” one.
37 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
“This Didn't End the Way It’s Supposed to End.” (Bonus)
The N.B.A. superstar Chris Bosh was still competing at the highest level when a blood clot abruptly ended his career. In his new book, Letters to a Young Athlete, Bosh covers the highlights and the struggles. In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, he talks with guest host Angela Duckworth.
50 minutes | Sep 23, 2021
476. What Are the Police for, Anyway?
The U.S. is an outlier when it comes to policing, as evidenced by more than 1,000 fatal shootings by police each year. But we’re an outlier in other ways too: a heavily-armed populace, a fragile mental-health system, and the fact that we spend so much time in our cars. Add in a history of racism and it’s no surprise that barely half of all Americans have a lot of confidence in the police. So what if we start to think about policing as … philanthropy?
54 minutes | Sep 16, 2021
475. Why Does the Richest Country in the World Have So Many Poor Kids?
Among O.E.C.D. nations, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty. How can that be? To find out, Stephen Dubner speaks with a Republican senator, a Democratic mayor, and a large cast of econo-nerds. Along the way, we hear some surprisingly good news: Washington is finally ready to attack the problem head-on.
64 minutes | Sep 9, 2021
474. All You Need Is Nudge
When Richard Thaler published Nudge in 2008 (with co-author Cass Sunstein), the world was just starting to believe in his brand of behavioral economics. How did nudge theory hold up in the face of a global financial meltdown, a pandemic, and other existential crises? With the publication of a new, radically updated edition, Thaler tries to persuade Stephen Dubner that nudging is more relevant today than ever.
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