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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.”)
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.”)
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.
Labor exploitation! Corporate profiteering! Government corruption! The 21st century can look a lot like the 18th. In the final episode of a series, we turn to “the father of economics” for solutions. (Part 3 of “In Search of the Real Adam Smith.”)
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.
Comments (660)

Paula Sun

btw I always take the soap I used with me. they last me years.

Mar 14th
Reply (2)

Paula Sun

I thought this episode was a retold story of a hotel soap rebrand I read before. but this one is so much more, not only these soaps have their lives renewed , they also have a more meaningful life to save lives. I had a pretty stressful and depressing day, but listening to this story, with this guy's hopeful exciting voice, I feel uplifted and happy. thank you!

Mar 14th

Sharad Patel

Pretty basic information that most of us know already

Mar 11th

Jen Schang

One aspect of this story that was missed is the attempts to unionize after the private equity takeover of hospitals. There is absolutely a reason the staff of hospitals taken over by private equity have attempted to regain some power by unionizing.Take a look at what has happened in the Pacific Northwest, specifically in Seattle and Portland. Hospitals have actually been ruined and even destroyed by private equity acquisition due to the poor treatment of staff by new management.

Mar 5th

Barry Raymond

Dickens was correct in Great Expectations!

Mar 2nd

Mike Weiss

This podcast is a thinly veiled boomer corporate apologist-fest. CaPiTaLiSM sOlVeS evERyThiNg!

Feb 27th

Joe A. Finley II

Although "Flagpole Sitta" was Harvey Danger's only ORIGINAL hit, it's arguable that "Save it for Later" was an EXCELLENT cover that got nearly as much airplay in the late-1990s/early-2000s club and frat party scene. This brings up an interesting issue: can a well-done cover of a hit song ALSO be a hit? This is pretty arguable in the affirmative when you look at Marvin Gaye's and CCR's "Heard it Through the Grapevine." On the flip side of the proverbial cassette tape is this propensity to call EVERYTHING from "hit makers" like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé a "hit" "just because." Quality over quantity

Feb 11th

niloofar sah


Feb 10th

Moshe Wise

The US already tried prohibiting alcohol and found it a counterproductive policy.

Feb 3rd

Kim Hawko Vitiello

there is not a single industry that private equity firms are not determined to use to squeeze as many pennies out of the other 99% as possible.

Jan 30th

The Derstine

sad to hear such audio pollution (adverts) at 10 decibels louder than podcast 😰🫤 really annoying

Jan 27th

niloofar sah

👊🏽❤️👏🏽enjoyed it lot! she's so genuine and I loved it!

Jan 19th


these comments are an absolute mess 😭

Jan 17th


does the Catholic Church even acknowledge evolution? I don't feel like you can ask them about souls of Neanderthals and homosapiens if they don't believe that humans actually evolved

Jan 10th

Joe A. Finley II

Not a real environmentalist, sorry.

Jan 4th

Khalid Shamlan

Are you serious? The only famine is at Ukraine! Do you know what is going on?

Dec 29th

Petison Weriosin

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Dec 24th

Juan Diego Jimenez Serna

great podcast

Dec 18th

Joe A. Finley II

As an urbanist Progressive, two nonstandard takes: A) What a CLEAR case for the need to reduce car dependency. B) Even hunters should see the IRONY in complaining about wolves hunting as their NATURAL predatory habit versus protecting "their" billions-of-dollars "industry" --it's not the 1800s anymore.

Nov 17th


I haven't heard this yet but I am your BIGGEST FAN. I really appreciate you.

Nov 10th
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