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Freakonomics Radio

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Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner uncovers the hidden side of everything. Why is it safer to fly in an airplane than drive a car? How do we decide whom to marry? Why is the media so full of bad news? Also: things you never knew you wanted to know about wolves, bananas, pollution, search engines, and the quirks of human behavior. Join the Freakonomics Radio Plus membership program for weekly member-only episodes of Freakonomics Radio. You’ll also get every show in our network without a ...
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From the podcast that explores the hidden side of everything, hear authors like you’ve never heard them before. Stephen Dubner and a stable of Freakonomics friends talk with the writers of mind-bending books, and we hear the best excerpts as well. You’ll learn about skill versus chance, the American discomfort with death, the secret life of dogs, and much more. Join the Freakonomics Radio Plus membership program for weekly member-only episodes of Freakonomics Radio. You’ll also get every sho ...
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In policing, as in most vocations, the best employees are often promoted into leadership without much training. One economist thinks he can address this problem — and, with it, America’s gun violence. SOURCES Kenneth Corey, director of outreach and engagement for the Policing Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago and retired chief of depa…
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It boosts economic opportunity and social mobility. It’s good for the environment. So why do we charge people to use it? The short answer: it’s complicated. Also: We talk to the man who gets half the nation’s mass-transit riders where they want to go (most of the time). SOURCES: Marcus Finbom, traffic planner in Stockholm, Sweden. Robbie Makinen, f…
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Most industries have become more productive over time. But not construction! We identify the causes — and possible solutions. (Can you say ... “prefab”?) RESOURCES: "The Strange and Awful Path of Productivity in the US Construction Sector," by Austan Goolsbee and Chad Syverson (BFI Working Paper, 2023). "Infrastructure Costs," by Leah Brooks and Za…
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Pro footballer and star podcaster Jason Kelce is ubiquitous right now (almost as ubiquitous as his brother and co-host Travis, who's been in the limelight for his relationship with Taylor Swift). After you hear this wide-ranging interview, you might want even more Kelce in your life. RESOURCES: “N.F.L. Player Team Report Cards,” by the National Foo…
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They say they make companies more efficient through savvy management. Critics say they bend the rules to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers and employees. Can they both be right? (Probably not.) RESOURCES: Plunder: Private Equity's Plan to Pillage America, by Brendan Ballou (2023). Two and Twenty: How the Masters of Private Equity Always…
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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. RESOURCES: "Discrimination, Managers, and Firm Performa…
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Everyone makes mistakes. How do you learn from them? Lessons from the classroom, the Air Force, and the world’s deadliest infectious disease. RESOURCES: Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well, by Amy Edmondson (2023). "You Think Failure Is Hard? So Is Learning From It," by Lauren Eskreis-Winkler and Ayelet Fishbach (Perspectives on Psycho…
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Giving up can be painful. That's why we need to talk about it. Today: stories about glitchy apps, leaky paint cans, broken sculptures — and a quest for the perfect bowl of ramen. RESOURCES "Data Snapshot: Tenure and Contingency in US Higher Education," by Glenn Colby (American Association of University Professors, 2023). Grit: The Power of Passion …
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In medicine, failure can be catastrophic. It can also produce discoveries that save millions of lives. Tales from the front line, the lab, and the I.T. department. RESOURCES: Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well, by Amy Edmondson (2023). "Reconsidering the Application of Systems Thinking in Healthcare: The RaDonda Vaught Case," by Conno…
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We tend to think of tragedies as a single terrible moment, rather than the result of multiple bad decisions. Can this pattern be reversed? We try — with stories about wildfires, school shootings, and love. RESOURCES Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well, by Amy Edmondson (2023). "Michigan School Shooter Is Found Eligible for Life Sentenc…
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