U.S. marriage rates have plummeted. But the babies keep coming, and the U.S. now leads the world in single-parent households. In her new book The Two-Parent Privilege, the economist Melissa Kearney says this is a huge problem, and that it?s time for liberals to face the facts. Plus: our friends at Atlas Obscura explore just how many parents a kid can have.
The union that represents N.F.L. players conducted their first-ever survey of workplace conditions, and issued a report card to all 32 teams. What did the survey reveal? Clogged showers, rats in the locker room ? and some helpful insights for those of us who don?t play pro football.
For show notes, visit freakonomics.com/podcast/when-is-a-superstar-just-another-employee/
Artificial intelligence, we?ve been told, will destroy humankind. No, wait ? it will usher in a new age of human flourishing! Guest host Adam Davidson (co-founder of Planet Money) sorts through the big claims about A.I.'s future by exploring its past and present ? and whether it has a sense of humor. (Part 1 of "How to Think About A.I.")
The famously profane politician and operative is now U.S. ambassador to Japan, where he?s trying to rewrite the rules of diplomacy. But don?t worry: When it comes to China, he?s every bit as combative as you?d expect.
Americans are so accustomed to the standard intersection that we rarely consider how dangerous it can be ? as well as costly, time-wasting, and polluting. Is it time to embrace the lowly, lovely roundabout?
In three stories from our newest podcast, host Zachary Crockett digs into sports mascots, cashmere sweaters, and dinosaur skeletons.
For years, whale oil was used as lighting fuel, industrial lubricant, and the main ingredient in (yum!) margarine. Whale meat was also on a few menus. But today, demand for whale products is at a historic low. And yet some countries still have a whaling industry. We find out why. (Part 2 of ?Everything You Never Knew About Whaling.?)
Whaling was, in the words of one scholar, ?early capitalism unleashed on the high seas.? How did the U.S. come to dominate the whale market? Why did whale hunting die out here ? and continue to grow elsewhere? And is that whale vomit in your perfume? (Part 1 of ?Everything You Never Knew About Whaling.?)
Actually, the reasons are pretty clear. The harder question is: Will we ever care enough to stop?
Sure, you were ?in love.? But economists ? using evidence from Bridgerton to Tinder ? point to what?s called ?assortative mating.? And it has some unpleasant consequences for society.
But as C.E.O. of the resurgent Microsoft, he is firmly at the center of the A.I. revolution. We speak with him about the perils and blessings of A.I., Google vs. Bing, the Microsoft succession plan ? and why his favorite use of ChatGPT is translating poetry.
Probably not. The economist Kelly Shue argues that E.S.G. investing just gives more money to firms that are already green while depriving polluting firms of the financing they need to get greener. But she has a solution.
Gun control, abortion rights, drug legalization ? it seems like every argument these days claims that if X happens, then Y will follow, and we?ll all be doomed to Z. Is the slippery-slope argument a valid logical construction or just a game of feelingsball?
He turned a small Hollywood talent agency into a massive sports-and-entertainment empire. In a freewheeling conversation, he explains how he did it and why it nearly killed him.
Sure, markets work well in general. But for some transactions ? like school admissions and organ transplants ? money alone can?t solve the problem. That?s when you need a market-design wizard like Al Roth. Plus: We hear from a listener who, inspired by this episode, made a remarkable decision.
Museums are purging their collections of looted treasures. Can they also get something in return? And what does it mean to be a museum in the 21st century? (Part 3 of ?Stealing Art Is Easy. Giving It Back Is Hard.?)
The world?s great museums are full of art and artifacts that were plundered during an era when plunder was the norm. Now there?s a push to return these works to their rightful owners. Sounds simple, right? It's not. (Part 2 of ?Stealing Art Is Easy. Giving It Back Is Hard.?)
How did a freshly looted Egyptian antiquity end up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Why did it take Kim Kardashian to crack the case? And how much of what you see in any museum is stolen? (Part 1 of ?Stealing Art Is Easy. Giving It Back Is Hard.?)
Whether it?s a giant infrastructure plan or a humble kitchen renovation, it?ll inevitably take way too long and cost way too much. That?s because you suffer from ?the planning fallacy.? (You also have an ?optimism bias? and a bad case of overconfidence.) But don?t worry: we?ve got the solution.
Every language has its taboo words (which many people use all the time). But the list of forbidden words is always changing ? and those changes tell us some surprising things about ourselves. Note: The swear words in this episode have been bleeped out. To hear a version of this episode without the bleeps, go to freakonomics.com.
Delaware is beloved by corporations, bankruptcy lawyers, tax avoiders, and money launderers. Critics say the Delaware ?franchise? is undemocratic and corrupt. Insiders say it?s wildly efficient. We say: they?re both right.
Many companies say they want to create more opportunities for Black Americans. One company is doing something concrete about it. We visit the South Side of Chicago to see how it?s working out.
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?
In this installment of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, the economist Amy Finkelstein explains why insurance markets are broken and how to fix them. Also: why can?t you buy divorce insurance?
People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they?re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers ? and why that?s unlikely to change.
Most travelers want the cheapest flight they can find. Airlines, meanwhile, need to manage volatile fuel costs, a pricey workforce, and complex logistics. So how do they make money ? and how did America?s grubbiest airport suddenly turn into a palace? (Part 3 of ?Freakonomics Radio Takes to the Skies.?)
It?s an unnatural activity that has become normal. You?re stuck in a metal tube with hundreds of strangers (and strange smells), defying gravity and racing through the sky. But oh, the places you?ll go! We visit the world?s busiest airport to see how it all comes together. (Part 1 of ?Freakonomics Radio Takes to the Skies.?)
Adam Smith famously argued that specialization is the key to prosperity. In the N.F.L., the long snapper is proof of that argument. Here?s everything there is to know about a job that didn?t used to exist.
Hotel guests adore those cute little soaps, but is it just a one-night stand? In our fourth episode of The Economics of Everyday Things, Zachary Crockett discovers what happens to those soaps when we love ?em and leave ?em.
For decades, the U.S. let globalization run its course and hoped China would be an ally. Now the Biden administration is spending billions to bring high-tech manufacturing back home. Is this the beginning of a new industrial policy ? or just another round of corporate welfare?
Can a hit single from four decades ago still pay the bills? Zachary Crockett f-f-f-finds out in the third episode of our newest podcast, The Economics of Everyday Things.
The economist Kate Raworth says the aggressive pursuit of G.D.P. is trashing the planet and shortchanging too many people. She has proposed an alternative ? and the city of Amsterdam is giving it a try. How's it going?
How does America's cutest sales force get billions of Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs into our hands every year? Zachary Crockett finds out in the second episode of our newest podcast, The Economics of Everyday Things.
When small businesses get bought by big investors, the name may stay the same ? but customers and employees can feel the difference. (Part 2 of 2.)
A new podcast hosted by Zachary Crockett. In the first episode: Gas stations. When gas prices skyrocket, do station owners get a windfall? And where do their profits really come from?
Big investors are buying up local veterinary practices (and pretty much everything else). What does this mean for scruffy little Max* ? and for the U.S. economy? (Part 1 of 2.)
*The most popular dog name in the U.S. in 2022.
And with her book "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat," she succeeded. Now she's not so sure how to feel about all the attention.
We tend to look down on artists who can't match their breakthrough success. Should we be celebrating them instead?
In a special episode of No Stupid Questions, Stephen Dubner and Angela Duckworth discuss classroom design, open offices, and cognitive drift.
In this special episode of People I (Mostly) Admire, Steve Levitt talks to the best-selling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus about finding the profound in the obvious.
Economists and politicians have turned him into a mascot for free-market ideology. Some on the left say the right has badly misread him. Prepare for a very Smithy tug of war. (Part 2 of ?In Search of the Real Adam Smith.?)
A sneak peek at an upcoming series ? and a call for would-be radio reporters.
How did an affable 18th-century ?moral philosopher? become the patron saint of cutthroat capitalism? Does ?the invisible hand? mean what everyone thinks it does? We travel to Smith?s hometown in Scotland to uncover the man behind the myth. (Part 1 of a series.)
In this special episode of Freakonomics, M.D., host Bapu Jena looks at a clever new study that could help answer one of parenting?s most contentious questions.