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Freakonomics Radio

Author: ​Dubner Productions and Stitcher

Subscribed: 494,740Played: 2,854,455


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
The revolution in home DNA testing is giving consumers important, possibly life-changing information. It’s also building a gigantic database that could lead to medical breakthroughs. But how will you deal with upsetting news? What if your privacy is compromised? And are you prepared to have your DNA monetized? We speak with Anne Wojcicki, founder and C.E.O. of 23andMe.
As the cost of college skyrocketed, it created a debt burden that’s putting a drag on the economy. One possible solution: shifting the risk of debt away from students and onto investors looking for a cut of the graduates’ earning power.
Humans have been having kids forever, so why are modern parents so bewildered? The economist Emily Oster marshals the evidence on the most contentious topics — breastfeeding and sleep training, vaccines and screen time — and tells her fellow parents to calm the heck down.
Humans, it has long been thought, are the only animal to engage in economic activity. But what if we've had it exactly backward?
The banana used to be a luxury good. Now it’s the most popular fruit in the U.S. and elsewhere. But the production efficiencies that made it so cheap have also made it vulnerable to a deadly fungus that may wipe out the one variety most of us eat. Scientists do have a way to save it — but will Big Banana let them?
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?
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?
What your disgust level says about your politics, how Napoleon influenced opera, why New York City’s subways may finally run on time, and more. Five compelling guests tell Stephen Dubner, co-host Angela Duckworth, and fact-checker Jody Avirgan lots of things they didn’t know.
Kenji Lopez-Alt became a rock star of the food world by bringing science into the kitchen in a way that everyday cooks can appreciate. Then he dared to start his own restaurant — and discovered problems that even science can’t solve.
For years, Gary Cohn thought he’d be the next C.E.O. of Goldman Sachs. Instead, he became the “adult in the room” in a chaotic administration. Cohn talks about the fights he won, the fights he lost, and the fights he was no longer willing to have. Also: why he and Trump are still on speaking terms even after he reportedly called the president “a professional liar.”
Comments (94)

viji thomas

Missing all the episodes... Can only view 14. Bring them back!

May 18th

Arturo de la cruz

Towards the end Ann was talking about finding meaning through genetic belonging and grouping, that does not sound very good. I understand that this podcast does not give guests a hard time, good and incisive question yes, but in this instance it really felt a bit like an add. More discussion of the edgy ethics board thing would have been much appreciated or maybe another interviewee with different (although not necessarily opposing) views.

May 16th

Alixe Leclercq

for real? getting a talk about how eating behavior is hard to change interrupted by an advertisement about how Coke and other soda provide sugar free options ... can you get more sarcastic?

May 16th

Sarthak Aneja

Alixe Leclercq 👍

May 17th

Sai Vemula

What a PR stunt. Ek didn't directly answer a single question about equitable income for artists and did not directly address the issue about poor sustainability for upcoming artists.

May 9th



May 6th

Michael Anczak

at 22.49 he says seeds of the bananas....yet earlier he clearly states banas have no seeds...a cultivar

May 2nd

Patrick Sweeney

nice shot at the Christians there.... yeesh

May 1st


Patrick Sweeney seriously? that's what you came away with?

May 3rd

Dylan Ferri

a couple things stuck out to me in this podcast. 1. almond milk has been called milk since medival times. 2. the dairy industry just got in trouble from the truth in advertising commission because of their claims of no hormones (every animal has hormones) so them saying calling impossible burger meat is misleading is kind of funny. 3. you answered the question of why the impossible burger is more expensive at the beginning, subsidies.

Apr 30th

Amber Shelton

I found these burgers in my semi-small town's grocery store and local pancake house restaurant! Great to see options even in my town! I tested my family without telling them it was different. . . ..... 2 10yr old boys and a meat loving man..... . . . While they could tell it was a little different from normal, they LOVED IT!! My husband came home while it was grilling... I was nervous because it smelled DIFFERENT... but he said it smells DELICIOUS and after he ate it I told him what it was. We've changed our burger of choice from now on!! KEEP IT COMING!

Apr 13th

Nitin Jain

Interesting episode. India had independent music industry in 90s for short span. But I guess it didn't work out economically. Today probably, Punjab might only have visible independent music industry in India.

Apr 12th

Hari B

First time tuning into this podcast, and you have just got one more follower. Keep up the good work.

Apr 11th



Apr 9th

Philip-Alexander Jach

Talk about Austrian economics

Apr 6th

Philip-Alexander Jach

Andrew Yang is either a stupid Luddite with no conception of human progress or a conman, bent on populistic euphemisms.

Apr 6th

Jason Wilcox

Very interesting conversation. I wasn't aware of the number of job openings out there being about a million higher than the number of unemployed.

Mar 15th


Gee, have an opinion on Trump much? So damn biased...and I didn't even vote for the guy. Come on.

Mar 14th

Austin Peek

It's my honor to have this comment listed as Comment #69 under the Freakonomics podcast. It's a moment I will not ever forget & one I can't wait to share with my unborn son. This was for you, Baby Joey. I hope Daddy made you proud. 😎👌💯👏

Mar 7th

Brian Copanas

Just listened to 'The Future of Meat' .. great balanced story. What is missing from it is details for what other markets were impacted in the 40's as a result of the new textiles, the story of hemp and cannabis. This could be another part of the story that changed the landscape of textiles, the explosion of hemp propaganda and the laws inacted as a result.

Feb 16th

Matthew Mendez

they need to have on Robert Murphy or Peter Schiff

Feb 11th


"Confidence is a choice." Brilliant

Feb 7th
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