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Freakonomics Radio

Author: ​Dubner Productions and Stitcher

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Discover the hidden side of everything with Stephen J. Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books. Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn’t) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) — from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. Dubner speaks with Nobel laureates and provocateurs, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, and various other underachievers. Special features include series like “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.” as well as a live game show, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know.” 

13 Episodes
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Every year, Americans short the I.R.S. nearly half a trillion dollars. Most ideas to increase compliance are more stick than carrot — scary letters, audits, and penalties. But what if we gave taxpayers a chance to allocate how their money is spent, or even bribed them with a thank-you gift?
399. Honey, I Grew the Economy

399. Honey, I Grew the Economy

2019-12-0500:46:0330

Innovation experts have long overlooked where a lot of innovation actually happens. The personal computer, the mountain bike, the artificial pancreas — none of these came from some big R&D lab, but from users tinkering in their homes. Acknowledging this reality — and encouraging it — would be good for the economy (and the soul too).
There are a lot of barriers to changing your mind: ego, overconfidence, inertia — and cost. Politicians who flip-flop get mocked; family and friends who cross tribal borders are shunned. But shouldn’t we be encouraging people to change their minds? And how can we get better at it ourselves?
A recent outbreak of illness and death has gotten everyone’s attention — including late-to-the-game regulators. But would a ban on e-cigarettes do more harm than good? We smoke out the facts.
For nearly a decade, governments have been using behavioral nudges to solve problems — and the strategy is catching on in healthcare, firefighting, and policing. But is that thinking too small? Could nudging be used to fight income inequality and achieve world peace? Recorded live in London, with commentary from Andy Zaltzman (The Bugle).
It’s an acutely haphazard way of paying workers, and yet it keeps expanding. We dig into the data to find out why.
Do economic sanctions work? Are big democracies any good at spreading democracy? What is the root cause of terrorism? It turns out that data analysis can help answer all these questions — and make better foreign-policy decisions. Guests include former Department of Defense officials Chuck Hagel and Michèle Flournoy and Chicago Project on Security and Threats researchers Robert Pape and Paul Poast. Recorded live in Chicago; Steve Levitt is co-host.
For decades, there’s been a huge gender disparity both on-screen and behind the scenes. But it seems like cold, hard data — with an assist from the actor Geena Davis — may finally be moving the needle.
It used to be a global capital of innovation, invention, and exploration. Now it’s best known for its messy European divorce. We visit London to see if the British spirit of discovery is still alive. Guests include the mayor of London, undersea explorers, a time-use researcher, and a theoretical physicist who helped Liverpool win the Champions League. Dan Schreiber from No Such Thing as a Fish rides shotgun.
In 2016, David Cameron held a referendum on whether the U.K. should stay in the European Union. A longtime Euroskeptic, he nevertheless led the Remain campaign. So what did Cameron really want? We ask him that and much more — including why he left office as soon as his side lost and what he’d do differently if given another chance. (Hint: not much.)
Most high-school math classes are still preparing students for the Sputnik era. Steve Levitt wants to get rid of the “geometry sandwich” and instead have kids learn what they really need in the modern era: data fluency.
390. Fed Up

390. Fed Up

2019-09-2600:43:4645

Mary Daly rose from high-school dropout to president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She thinks the central bank needs an upgrade too. It starts with recognizing that the economy is made up of actual humans.
In the U.S. alone, we hold 55 million meetings a day. Most of them are woefully unproductive, and tyrannize our offices. The revolution begins now — with better agendas, smaller invite lists, and an embrace of healthy conflict.
Comments (276)

gabriela sanchez

what if your a procastonator? all that is said is b.s.

Dec 9th
Reply

gabriela sanchez

all you have to do is zone out and focus to the task at hand.

Dec 9th
Reply

Tim Adams

boring. just two friends talking

Nov 21st
Reply (1)

James Power

The research on Europe as a project and the issues around Brexit is very poor. I recommend the podcast Brexit Republic. Glaring wild claims by Cameron go unchallenged, from the ability to change the rules around free movement to the standing alone in WW2 fantasies. Suggestion of Germany leaving the EU is worse than nonsense, embarrassing I would say.

Nov 11th
Reply

c bickel

good

Nov 9th
Reply

Christine Hallet

making meetings less terrible was a much needed listen for me as a new committee chair. I think I'll have many less meetings and that will be good.

Nov 7th
Reply (1)

Christine Hallet

I having my committee team listen to this. I'm in the process of double checking if there really is a need for a meeting this month or if a newsletter would suffice. Validation to not hold a meeting and how to recognize a meeting is needed. Awesomeness. Thank you.

Nov 6th
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Maxwell Smart

I read the Comments before listening to episode. I found all 3 persons interviewed to be informative and interesting. didn't agree w EVERY statement each person made, but these people were incredibly well informed. I learned lot from this episode.

Nov 3rd
Reply

Paul Lacapruccia

13 minutes in and I hear Barack Obama's foreign policy, while not perfect, was close to it. And then, of course, the commenter conveniently forgets to name one single foreign policy success of Barack Obama's disastrous 8 years. Other than killing Osama Bin Laden, I can't think of one. Would any of the following major foreign policy decisions in the Obama Administration be considered success: Taking out Khadafi for no reason whatsoever? Sticking a knife in the back of Hosni Mubarek and then supporting another military dictatorship in Egypt? Forgetting about Ukraine when Vladimir Putin rolled his tanks into their country? The red line of idiocy in Syria? I would love to hear how anyone can consider Barack Obama's foreign policy near-perfect.

Nov 3rd
Reply (2)

Carson Chiu

lindsay Ellis has great videos essays on why Disney fails at putting feminism in their remakes (putting in new elements that doesn't affect the plot at all, the whole 'mother died of plague element' doesn't lead to anything etc) and how Disney also glosses over other awful elements of their past film (ie removing the racist crows from dumbo completely rather than tackling why its wrong) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xU1ffHa47YY https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vpUx9DnQUkA&t=18s

Oct 28th
Reply

Vika Tkachenko

Why I can see only 13 episodes?

Oct 27th
Reply (1)

Game DayDog

Man... your daughter is smart, articulate & forward thinking.. Fantastic episode.

Oct 26th
Reply

Katy Hess McCowen

What a badd a** young woman!

Oct 25th
Reply

Bruno AP

brexit is the best thing that happened in the recent history of GB, hope more countries do the same!

Oct 14th
Reply (1)

lzk222

Cameron 2020 plz

Oct 11th
Reply

Sir NelsonG

You already had special position on EU, and economy was great. He just admitted is that internal policies failed not UE. You where just plain greedy. Now everything is more expensive, companies are failing the pound is weak well done.

Oct 11th
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Ben Snow

Please mention the pigs head incident.....

Oct 10th
Reply

Amir Reisi

dj aligator

Oct 8th
Reply

milind kamble

At ValueLabs, we have our meeting guidelines scribbled on the entrance walls. Priority is given to shorter meetings with an agenda. One more aspect that the speakers missed out was the MOMs. Minutes of the meetings should pave way to the next action item, ownership and upcoming meeting.

Oct 8th
Reply

jr jr

I liked it. Great subject, very well broken down but one sided. I know "based on the data" you can inherently pick the side of progressive however I found the freakanomic brand allowed you, the viewer to pick the side. As opposed to this podcast where it was chosen.

Oct 8th
Reply
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