544. Ari Emanuel Is Never Indifferent
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.
Make Me a Match (Ep. 209 Update)
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.”)
542. Is a Museum Just a Trophy Case?
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.”)
541. The Case of the $4 Million Gold Coffin
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.”)
Why Your Projects Are Always Late — and What to Do About It (Ep. 323 Replay)
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.
540. Swearing Is More Important Than You Think
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.
539. Why Does One Tiny State Set the Rules for Everyone?
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.
538. A Radically Simple Way to Boost a Neighborhood
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.
How to Hate Taxes a Little Bit Less (Ep. 400 Replay)
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?
537. “Insurance Is Sexy.” Discuss.
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?
Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Ep. 495 Replay)
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.
536. Is Your Plane Ticket Too Expensive — or Too Cheap?
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.”)
535. Why Is Flying Safer Than Driving?
Thanks to decades of work by airlines and regulators, plane crashes are nearly a thing of the past. Can we do the same for cars? (Part 2 of “Freakonomics Radio Takes to the Skies.”)
534. Air Travel Is a Miracle. Why Do We Hate It?
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.”)
Why Does the Most Monotonous Job in the World Pay $1 Million? (Ep. 493 Update)
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.
The Economics of Everyday Things: Used Hotel Soaps
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.
533. Will the Democrats “Make America Great Again”?
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?
The Economics of Everyday Things: “My Sharona”
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.
Is Economic Growth the Wrong Goal? (Ep. 429 Update)
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?
Author Stephen J. Dubner