Freakonomics Radio


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. 

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Recent Episodes
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Recent Reviews
  • Interested bystander
    Thaler is not cranky
    If you win the Prize, you get the right to be an unapologetic buffoon.
  • HayChicago
    Love it!
  • Andrew from Ohio
    I work in banking and love some conservative views on government, I also see more progressive ideals as relevant and helpful too. All the folks making this political need to relax and get over themselves. Thoughtful, open, and well produced, my top 5 favorite podcasts ever.
  • Jared the Intern
    Used to be good
    I really used to enjoy this show - but with every new episode, the content becomes more political and less engaging.
  • dirtnja
    Ben from Nv
    I’ve been listening to Freakonomics for quite a few years now. They have produced some of my favorite podcast episodes of all time. Over the last year they haven’t produced many shows that live up to the brand. Holding out hope things get better.
  • kristas379
    Dems, Socialists, and Reps Will Agree on This!
    Thank you so much for the entirely unbiased and relevant episode, “This Is Your Brain On Pollution.” No matter what your politics and ideologies are, you will agree that U.S. policies should be put into place across the boards PRIORITIZING the reduction of air pollution. Listen to it. It may even change your mind on coal. (Hint: It’s not an episode about climate change.)
  • Gildallas
    I absolutely love the originality of the podcast! Socioeconomic studies are profoundly influential and frequently an awakening!
  • FSU407
    The End of Integrity
    NPR accepting sponsorship from “Better Health” is on par with Greenpeace accepting funding from Star Kist. This is the end of journalistic integrity.
  • LordeFell
    Podcast has fallen off
    Really good when this podcast first started. Now the guests seem to be pay-to-play, promoting books with little substance. The spin off show with that economist is way better. This is no longer informative of anything substantive.
  • Okie1094
    Let me save you some time
    This podcast consists of two ivory-tower secular liberals talking to other ivory-tower secular liberals about how all the world’s problems could be solved if only everyone was an ivory-tower secular liberal. No thanks!!
  • HappiestFam
    Waste of precious time
    We gave this podcast a month and listened through several back episodes. Liberal nonsense front and center.
  • caitlins429
    Look forward to listening each week
    Extremely thought provoking and easy to follow. Content continues to be great!
  • My Nick name was taken.
    Excellent podcast
    Love this podcast, they present well rounded points backed up by data.
  • krisjewell
    Been a big fan for a long time, over 5 years. Dubner keeps it interesting and fresh, and his voice is like Malcolm Gladwell—a pleasure to listen to. I appreciate how the show is not overly political one way or the other. True journalism at its best with fascinating topics. Thanks, Stephen! Keep it up.
  • calimom39
    Charles Blow
    I totally lost respect for the host during this episode. The answer to racial divisions is ... segregation? Where’s your interesting questions and different take on things now? Really cowardly. You even said “how do you (black people) not just snap?” Guess you’re safe in your good neighborhood and don’t have to worry about starting a race war out here where the rest of us live.
  • Catertot
    Favorite Pod
    I have been listening to this for years and love it. This should be in your weekly rotation if it isn’t already. Universal wisdom and engaging conversations 🙂
  • zasxadcsdx
    Best episode
    The Cecilia Rouse episode was maybe the best you’ve put out. Your directed, important questions to her were perfect. Her insights, candor, forthrightness was enlightening and refreshing. More of the same please. Insight from people who are influencing broad American economic policy are wanted/needed.
  • bo-bashley
    Longtime Listener
    I believe this was the first podcast I ever subscribed to and it’s still one of my favorites. Nine years of Freakonomics has broadened my thinking, perspective, and analysis on so many issues, big and small. I have no doubt I view the world around me differently because of this podcast!
  • Tate T 23
    They make me sound really smart what I basically retell the entire episode to my parents.
  • sweetoeyes
    The truth
    Most people now days are ignorant no readers and gamers can’t concentrate Harvard did a study. It said that 250.000 die from doctor mistakes every year
  • maheshwari
    Very Impressive and interesting episode. But I wonder why go through the trouble of marathon or other event routes. Should not this difference in survival rate exist in let’s say Day -time and night-time heart attacks or traffic time and non-traffic time heart attacks. That analysis may give a scale that every minute added due to traffic delays causes x percentage increase in death due to delay. And then one can simply estimate how much delay is caused due to marathon or other events and extrapolate possible increase in the death rate. Or least this will help in triangulation of this study.
  • Lawyer Farmer
    This is my favorite podcast. But one suggestion: Try to stop ending your questions to quests with "yeah???" or "yes???" all the time. Thank you.
  • DC::
    The best
    Always interesting
  • Hard_Rain
    Economics Through the Fun House Looking Glass (and What Dubner Saw There)
    Over 150 years ago Karl Marx claimed that: “ To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But, for man, the root is man himself.” Marx believed philosophy had reached the end of its tether with GWF Hegel. There was no more blood to squeeze out of that stone. If humans wanted to gain greater insight into the truth of their nature and society, they would need to look somewhere else. Shortly after making this statement Marx would leave behind philosophy and take up economics. The exchange of disciplines is telling, but the hint is still ignored by philosophers, psychologists, and to a lesser degree, sociologists to this day. “Homo-economicos” as Arisotle said. Humans are at their root economic creatures. Creatures who primarily live to procure and use resources. Yes, humans are also creatures who make art, play, and love. But their ability to live creatively is contingent upon the essential resources they secure for themselves. And the quality of their play improves proportionally with the quality of those resources. Stephen Dubner is with Marx—to understand humans, one must understand economics. But Dubner is also with Groucho Marx who insisted: “I am not a Marxist.” That is what is so refreshing about the Freakonomics. In our age of polarization, fake news, and cancel culture, Dubner divests himself of all ideologies and allegiances. His only loyalty is to the science of econmomics. During The French Revolution politics split off from economics and became almost exclusively rhetoric and cultural critique. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was, after all, “a critique of political” economy. The leaders of the revolution deployed ideology in the absence of practical reasoning concerning the reconstruction of society. Since then ideology has continued to eclipse reason in the justification of social policy. As a result, political rhetoric and to some extent, the very policies that rhetoric articulates, bear almost no relationships to the realities they claim to address and modify. Stephen Dubner attempts to address this desperate situation with Freakonomics. Every episode is a deep dive in the behavioral economics that drive our ideologies. Dubner has his finger on the pulse of the excesses and maladies that plague our society, and he is willing to entertain any remedy offered to cure these ills provided it is practical, ethical, and efficient. Kant believed all philosophy could be boiled down to the three questions that served as the backbone of his three Critiques. Similarly, we could say of Dubner that he believes all economics are contained in the three questions: “Does it work? Is it right? Can it be sustained?” Dubner may have a complex religious background, but I don’t think he his trying to be a savior. He’s not starting any movements or singing any odes to future utopias. Like all great philosophers, his investigations turn up more questions than answers, But in an age where the problems themselves have become so obfuscated, it is easier to ignore them in spite of their urgency, the person who makes our problems clearer, might be the closest thing we have to a prophet.
  • 10134&
    Let’s Be Blunt, Marijuana for Older Workers
    I agree with the idea, but I fear the presenter is citing specious research. Nice that her findings show that older people feel better when they use marijuana. But I doubt that marijuana will have any effect on older people participating more in the work force. Agism confounds her finding: the rejection of folks over 60, regardless of their experience and training predominates in our culture. Experience and success counts for nothing. Older workers can’t find meaningful work-not because they are “depressed” but they are depressed because no one wants us. For those who must keep working, they are relegated to minimum wage jobs with impossible hours—next time you are Target realize that the old biddy that is helping you probably graduated from Columbia Business School and ran a few companies afterward. No doubt marijuana gives a lift, but it won’t help any of us get a job. Most older folks have to pay fees to find meaningful volunteer work. Or accept humiliation from the inflated millennial.
  • Marqueadean
    Episode duration
    Recent episodes have durations!
  • rahhha
    Andrew Yang 🇵🇸
    Don’t promote candidates who support ethnic cleansing
  • folk-fan
    Still one of the best
    I’ve been listening for years and it is still easily in my top 3. Rarely a truly dud episode.
  • pordftgy
    Brain exercise
    Freakonomica asks questions about how and why we’ve navigated to our status quo. Sometimes the “answers” of these questions range from freaky to anti-climactic. But thinking along with the podcast scratches the itch to keep learning and be willing to re-learn or unlearn common notions and practices. Favorite question that Dubner (the host) asks: “Because why?”
  • 1500 coins!
    Great show!
    Have listened for a few years, love the show
  • pghdadof4
    Great, thought-provoking show
    Listen if you like to use both sides of your brain
  • SuziSocal
    Andrew Yang 👎
    I had to tune out after first 10 minutes due to his uneasy weird laugh. Just like that of Kamala Harris, An anxious uneasy awkward laugh is distracting and a red flag!
  • zztoptops
    Best Argument Presented for All Sides
    This podcast is superb for presenting the very best and thorough arguments for each side of the debate allowing you to form your own opinion after hearing all the facts and opinions. I enjoy how non-partisan this show is.
  • raven symoen
    Great great great
    Love the book club episodes especially. Give Maria her own podcast!
  • javier m 132
    Awesome podcast very informative
    I listen to this podcast every week and always look forward to it. Stephen is a great speaker and always chooses interesting topics.
  • jeromepet
    so much so good so deep so weird
    Going to a frame of reference far far away. Deeply weird. Weirdly good. Getting underneath the under side.
  • carlosrubenx
    My favorite podcast!
    I'm always waiting for the next episode, as well as the other podcasts from Freakonomics Radio
  • worried nana
    This was such a good analysis of the issues with dialysis. You left out a couple of issues. First ‘EPO’ use by dialysis centers is problematic. Several years ago it Was revealed that higher EPO doses resulted in increased deaths - primarily from blood clots. EPO is one of the highest reimbursed drugs in our system. Higher hemoglobins may make patients feel better but at a cost. Secondly blood borne diseases like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and to a lesser extent HIV make home dialysis very attractive.... one would think ethically home dialysis is the way to go when possible as China has demonstrated. I have One correction regards the California initiative for physician presence in these dialysis centers. One has only to be present when a patient goes into cardiac arrest at a davita center to be convinced that at the very least a mandated level of licensure on site / be it RN or NP/PA or MD is vital. They will tell you there is always at least a RN but I doubt any center closes it’s doors to patients when he/ she calls in sick. The United States has a ridiculously priced health care system snd people are dying because of it.!
  • Perkcasso
    Always interesting
    Always interesting and entertaining.
  • DisneyAppSuckss
    Such a great array of interesting topics.
  • rsm9667
    Well made and reasonably unbiased but....
    As is often the case economists use statistics and calculations to relevant to moral decisions but statistics and calculations don’t make moral decisions. As Dostoevsky said, two times two is math. Policy making is a question of first principles more so than numbers. Not really a critique of the podcast as much as it is the field of economics.
  • nogoagain
    Neoliberal ideas to exploit an underclass
    Economics - who gets what and why. Nothing this show loves more than permanent poverty, an eroding middle class, & medical bankruptcy nipping at the heels of the upper middle class. The rapacious plutocrats won & this podcast does everything can to blame your problems on the poor.
  • Anul2000
    Best of the best
    Make me laugh and learn, the best combination of combinatorics from freakonomics
  • grand duchy
    Very good
  • mdb do
    Missed a huge point
    Missing the elephant in the room, at home dialysis! Walker R, Marshall MR, Morton RL, McFarlane P, Howard K. The cost-effectiveness of contemporary home haemodialysis modalities compared with facility haemodialysis: a systematic review of full economic evaluations. Nephrology (Carlton). 2014 Aug;19(8):459-70. doi: 10.1111/nep.12269. PMID: 24750559. Could be a podcast all by itself.
  • ~mana b
    Episode 457
    I really learned so much about the dialysis business during this podcast. Since so many of the patients get to this point from having diabetes, shouldn’t that be a starting point to help the end stage renal failure patients? I am in my 50s and diabetic my father had end stage renal failure and unfortunately passed away. I suspect much more can be done for diabetes patients but that industry is also profit driven and probably also has just as much corruption or problems. Thank you for educating me, I love the podcast!
  • HarryChowdhar
    Love it.
    These r great topics covered in right amount of details and research. I really like how Steven Dubner organizes each talk with his relevant comments and questions. I like his tone and the preciseness and timing of each of his comment and question. It makes the talk lot more enjoyable and easy to follow and understand. Cheers Steven. I am your big fan.
  • MongoOnlyPawnInGameOfLife
    Get new music!
    I love Freakonomics, but I am so, so, so sick of their background music. They keep playing the same goofy marimba riff over and over. It's unbearable.
  • disinterested77
    Take it easy with the de-esser!
    I love this podcast but your new engineer is hitting that de-esser so hard Stephen now has such a lisp I can’t listen anymore!
  • RR607
    Stupendous work
    I cannot express enough how elated I am that this podcast is diving deep into the horrendous US excuse for a healthcare system. Every podcast is enlightening, enthralling and overall a great listen. Thank you for your work!
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