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Freakonomics Radio

Author: Freakonomics Radio

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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.”
32 Episodes
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Congress just passed the biggest aid package in modern history. We ask six former White House economic advisors and one U.S. Senator: Will it actually work? What are its best and worst features? Where does $2 trillion come from, and what are the long-term effects of all that government spending?
There are a lot of upsides to urban density — but viral contagion is not one of them. Also: a nationwide lockdown will show if familiarity really breeds contempt. And: how to help your neighbor.
In just a few weeks, the novel coronavirus has undone a century’s worth of our economic and social habits. What consequences will this have on our future — and is there a silver lining in this very black pandemic cloud?
As cities become ever-more expensive, politicians and housing advocates keep calling for rent control. Economists think that’s a terrible idea. They say it helps a small (albeit noisy) group of renters, but keeps overall rents artificially high by disincentivizing new construction. So what happens next?
Trump says it would destroy us. Sanders says it will save us. The majority of millennials would like it to replace capitalism. But what is “it”? We bring in the economists to sort things out and tell us what the U.S. can learn from the good (and bad) experiences of other (supposedly) socialist countries.
That’s what some health officials are saying, but the data aren’t so clear. We look into what’s known (and not known) about the prevalence and effects of loneliness — including the possible upsides.
406. Can You Hear Me Now?

406. Can You Hear Me Now?

2020-02-2050:2520

When he became chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai announced that he was going to take a “weed whacker” to Obama-era regulations. So far, he’s kept his promise, and earned the internet’s ire for reversing the agency’s position on net neutrality. Pai defends his actions and explains how the U.S. can “win” everything from the 5G race to the war on robocalls.
Why do so many promising solutions — in education, medicine, criminal justice, etc. — fail to scale up into great policy? And can a new breed of “implementation scientists” crack the code?
We asked this same question nearly a decade ago. The answer then: probably not. But a lot has changed since then, and we’re three years into one of the most anomalous presidencies in American history. So once again we try to sort out presidential signal from noise. What we hear from legal and policy experts may leave you surprised, befuddled — and maybe infuriated.
One of the most storied (and valuable) sports franchises in the world had fallen far. So they decided to do a full reboot — and it worked: this week, they are headed back to the Super Bowl. Before the 2018 season, we sat down with the team’s owner, head coach, general manager, and players as they were plotting their turnaround. Here’s an update of that episode.
One prescription drug is keeping some addicts from dying. So why isn’t it more widespread? A story of regulation, stigma, and the potentially fatal faith in abstinence.
How pharma greed, government subsidies, and a push to make pain the “fifth vital sign” kicked off a crisis that costs $80 billion a year and has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.
In a special holiday episode, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth take turns asking each other questions about charisma, wealth vs. intellect, and (of course) grit.
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.
What happens when tens of millions of fantasy-sports players are suddenly able to bet real money on real games? We’re about to find out. A recent Supreme Court decision has cleared the way to bring an estimated $300 billion in black-market sports betting into the light. We sort out the winners and losers.
Aisle upon aisle of fresh produce, cheap meat, and sugary cereal — a delicious embodiment of free-market capitalism, right? Not quite. The supermarket was in fact the endpoint of the U.S. government’s battle for agricultural abundance against the U.S.S.R. Our farm policies were built to dominate, not necessarily to nourish — and we are still living with the consequences.
The controversial theory linking Roe v. Wade to a massive crime drop is back in the spotlight as several states introduce abortion restrictions. Steve Levitt and John Donohue discuss their original research, the challenges to its legitimacy, and their updated analysis. Also: what this means for abortion policy, crime policy, and having intelligent conversations about contentious topics.
There is strong evidence that exercise is wildly beneficial. There is even stronger evidence that most people hate to exercise. So if a pill could mimic the effects of working out, why wouldn’t we want to take it?
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?
Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail?
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Comments (350)

Paul Lacapruccia

Good luck getting past contempt. As you both admit, it's just about impossible to stop feeling contempt for contemptible people.

Mar 28th
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Andy G

Sorry, one of the least logical presentations from what is usually a fantastic site. this ok be id's Swiss cheese. It was fun exploring the holes though .

Mar 27th
Reply

AK47

Love the podcast. Would really appreciate it if you could list all the references, studies, and experts you mention on the podcast.

Mar 27th
Reply

Sean DAgnolo

great episode overall

Mar 26th
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Sean DAgnolo

regarding the relationships: surprised to not hear more about the practice of meditation and it's role in your ability to navigate the psychosis you blame others for.

Mar 26th
Reply

Susanna L. Hedger

Hell yes! knowone can brainwash me! All of the accusations pointed at him, nobody never, ever had evidence or facts backing their statements! common sense of whsts really going on. alot of paid hands, puppets, followers for dems that want him out. I dont want him out plus dems. better get used to the idea that Pres.Trump Will Win 2020!!☆●☆●☆●●☆●☆●☆●☆●☆●

Mar 25th
Reply

km

Yeah, #YangWasRight. Get that #EmergencyUBI going.

Mar 23rd
Reply

Franscine Garcia

Stretch Goal: Draw and Read 1. Limit Comparison Calculus 2. Read AMSCO Chapter 25 3. Read Mendelian Genetics 4. Call Mama 5. Meditate

Mar 21st
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Luka Prisunjak

great episode. I would like to hear more coverage on day to day covid19 effects

Mar 20th
Reply

Tommy Karimi

This is the stupidest site I've ever heard. Highly considering unfollowing cause od the straight idiocy

Mar 19th
Reply (1)

Dave Smulders

it's okay to ask experts questions about things they have expertise in but the two economists in this interview don't know anything about remote learning. so their answers are intelligent but uninformed.

Mar 19th
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Sharon McKinnon

This is the best explanation I've listened to yet.

Mar 11th
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Dylan Schueren

Sweet, let me go get some gluten so i can build the next Coliseum. We needed gluten to force ourselves into this current society of abundance. Now that we are here and have choice from abundance i choose no gluten.

Mar 10th
Reply

Pogla

So he's for competition except when he's not. He wants to protect consumers but goes out of his way to hang them out to dry. He wants a robust, public network, but doesn't want to support it in any way. He's so crooked that he can't even walk straight.

Mar 10th
Reply

Art Thomas

Well done. The truth is that there are gray areas everywhere. We should all be listening to the actual policies and taking part in a reasoned debate about them. This of course would never happen.

Mar 9th
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Swapnil Jadhav

The more government interferes in the economy, the more socialist it is.

Mar 6th
Reply

Paul Lacapruccia

Posner's take on the economy is, frankly, laughable. I'm a middle-class person who has seen my IRA more than double during the Trump Administration, precisely because I invested in corporations like Microsoft and Apple who were able to repatriate hundreds of billions of dollars thanks to President Trump. the trade war with China has led to a phase 1 agreement and a more honest and open relationship with Beijing than this country has ever had. not the least of which, is recognition that they've been stealing our intellectual property for 20 years. talk about a liberal dog sawing some bones here. geesh, what a clown.

Mar 1st
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Paul Lacapruccia

Excellent point. Congress has lost some of its Authority due to its own inability to agree within its own Chambers upon legislation. Because our elected representatives cannot come up with solutions to the problems American people have had for at least three decades now other branches have filled the vacuum the legislature created for itself

Mar 1st
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Paul Lacapruccia

The President's power is increased only as long as he has a favorable Senate in the context you discussed with appointments. Also,I've been calling Trump's Bully Pulpit the Twitter Trumpet for years. He's a master messager and cheerleader for the U.S. economy and foreign policy.

Mar 1st
Reply

Paul Lacapruccia

"Donald Trump is perhaps our most divisive president ever." We fought a civil war in the immediate aftermath of our 16th President. Please try to realize history didn't begin with, nor will it end with, Donald Trump. TDS lots and lots of TDS.

Mar 1st
Reply
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