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589. Why Has the Opioid Crisis Lasted So Long?

Most epidemics flare up, do their damage, and fade away. This one has been raging for almost 30 years. To find out why, it's time to ask some uncomfortable questions. (Part one of a two-part series.) SOURCES: David Cutler, professor of economics at Harvard University. Travis Donahoe, professor of health policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University. Stephen Loyd, chief medical officer of Cedar Recovery and chair of the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council. RESOURCES: "Thick Market Externalities and the Persistence of the Opioid Epidemic," by David Cutler and J. Travis Donahoe (NBER Working Paper, 2024). "Responding to the Opioid Crisis in North America and Beyond: Recommendations of the Stanford-Lancet Commission," by Keith Humphreys, Chelsea L. Shover, Christine Timko, et al. (The Lancet, 2022). "When Innovation Goes Wrong: Technological Regress and the Opioid Epidemic," by David Cutler and Edward Glaeser (Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2021). EXTRAS: "Nuclear Power Isn't Perfect. Is It Good Enough?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022). "The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2: 'It's Not a Death Sentence,'" by Freakonomics Radio (2020). "The Opioid Tragedy, Part 1: 'We've Addicted an Entire Generation,'" by Freakonomics Radio (2020).

Extra: Car Colors & Storage Units

Presenting two stories from The Economics of Everyday Things: Why does it seem like every car is black, white, or gray these days? And: How self-storage took over America. SOURCES: Tom Crockett, classic car enthusiast. Zachary Dickens, executive vice president and chief investment officer of Extra Space Storage. Mark Gutjahr, global head of design at BASF. Kara Kolodziej, self-storage unit tenant. Anne Mari DeCoster, self-storage consultant. Nikkie Riedel, carline planning manager at Subaru of America. RESOURCES: "A Fifth Of Americans Rent Self Storage, With Millennials Overtaking Gen Xers In Generational Storage Wars," by Francis Chantree (Storage Cafe, 2024). "Lessors of Mini Warehouses and Self-Storage Units Show Significant Financial Gains During COVID-19 Pandemic," by Ben Chandler and Robin Enlow (United States Census Bureau, 2024). BASF Color Report 2023 for Automotive OEM Coatings, (2023). "The Fate of Oversupplied Self-Storage Markets and How to Pull Back From the Brink," by Frank DeSalvo and David Perlleshi (Inside Self Storage, 2023). "A Pandemic Space Race: Self-Storage Roars Back," by Ellen Rosen (The New York Times, 2021). "Beige on an S.U.V. Will Cost You, but for Pickups It's Golden," by Roy Furchgott (The New York Times, 2021). "A Brief History Of Car Colors — And Why Are We So Boring Now?" (Consumer Reports, 2018). "The Link Between the Colour of Cars and the Economy," (The Economist, 2018). "Need to Store That? Booming Self-Storage Industry Says No Problem," by Liam Pleven (The Wall Street Journal, 2015). EXTRAS: "Car Washes," by The Economics of Everyday Things (2023). Storage Wars, TV series (2010-present). Auction Hunters, TV series (2010-2015).

588. Confessions of a Black Conservative

The economist and social critic Glenn Loury has led a remarkably turbulent life, both professionally and personally. In a new memoir, he has chosen to reveal just about everything. Why? SOURCE: Glenn Loury, professor of economics at Brown University and host of The Glenn Show. RESOURCES: Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative, by Glenn Loury (2024). "Amy Wax – The DEI Witch Hunt at Penn Law," by Glenn Loury (The Glenn Show, 2024). "The Conservative Line on Race," by Glenn Loury (The Atlantic, 1997). "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?" by Stephen Coate and Glenn Loury (The American Economic Review, 1993). EXTRAS: "Roland Fryer Refuses to Lie to Black America," by Freakonomics Radio (2022). "How Much Does Discrimination Hurt the Economy?" by Freakonomics Radio (2021). "The Pros and Cons of Reparations," by Freakonomics Radio (2020).

587. Should Companies Be Owned by Their Workers?

The employee ownership movement is growing, and one of its biggest champions is also a private equity heavyweight. Is this meaningful change, or just window dressing? SOURCES: Marjorie Kelly, distinguished senior fellow at The Democracy Collaborative. Corey Rosen, founder and senior staff member of the National Center for Employee Ownership. Pete Stavros, co-head of Global Private Equity at KKR. RESOURCES: "Private Equity Is Starting to Share With Workers, Without Taking a Financial Hit," by Lydia DePillis (The New York Times, 2024). "Private Equity Heavyweight Pushing Employee Ownership," (60 Minutes, 2024). "Ownership Works: Scaling a Profitable Social Mission," by Ethan Rouen, Dennis Campbell, and Andrew Robinson (HBS Case Collection, 2023). "Research on Employee Ownership," by the National Center for Employee Ownership (2023). Wealth Supremacy: How the Extractive Economy and the Biased Rules of Capitalism Drive Today's Crises, by Marjorie Kelly (2023). "Is Private Equity Joining — or Co-Opting—the Employee Ownership Movement?" by Marjorie Kelly and Karen Kahn (Fast Company, 2022). "How Well Is Employee Ownership Working?" by Corey Rosen and Michael Quarrey (Harvard Business Review, 1987). EXTRAS: "Are Private Equity Firms Plundering the U.S. Economy?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023). "Do You Know Who Owns Your Vet?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023). "Should You Trust Private Equity to Take Care of Your Dog?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023).

586. How Does the Lost World of Vienna Still Shape Our Lives?

From politics and economics to psychology and the arts, many of the modern ideas we take for granted emerged a century ago from a single European capital. In this episode of the Freakonomics Radio Book Club, the historian Richard Cockett explores all those ideas — and how the arrival of fascism can ruin in a few years what took generations to build. SOURCE: Richard Cockett, author and senior editor at The Economist. RESOURCES: Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World, by Richard Cockett (2023). "Birth, Death and Shopping," (The Economist, 2007). The Hidden Persuaders, by Vance Packard (1957). "An Economist's View of 'Planning,'" by Henry Hazlitt (The New York Times, 1944). The World of Yesterday: Memoires of a European, by Stefan Zweig (1942). EXTRA: "Arnold Schwarzenegger Has Some Advice for You," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2024).

Extra: Why Is 23andMe Going Under? (Update)

Five years ago, we published an episode about the boom in home DNA testing kits, focusing on the high-flying firm 23andMe and its C.E.O. Anne Wojcicki. Their flight has been extremely bumpy since then. This update includes an additional interview with the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been investigating the firm's collapse. SOURCES: Rolfe Winkler, reporter at The Wall Street Journal. Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and C.E.O. of 23andMe. RESOURCES: "23andMe's Fall From $6 Billion to Nearly $0," by Rolfe Winkler (The Wall Street Journal, 2024). "23andMe User Data Stolen in Targeted Attack on Ashkenazi Jews," by Lily Hay Newman (Wired, 2023). Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, by Dani Shapiro (2019). How To Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results, by Esther Wojcicki (2019). "Diet and exercise changes following direct-to-consumer personal genomic testing," by Daiva Elena Nielsen, Deanna Alexis Carere, Catharine Wang, J. Scott Roberts, and Robert C. Green (BMC Medical Genomics, 2016). "The impact of communicating genetic risks of disease on risk-reducing health behaviour: systematic review with meta-analysis," Gareth J Hollands, David P. French, Simon J. Griffin, A. Toby Prevost, Stephen Sutton, Sarah King, Theresa M. Marteau (The British Medical Journal, 2016). EXTRAS: "Does Your DNA Determine Your Weight?" by No Stupid Questions (2023). "What's Stopping Us From Curing Rare Diseases?" by Freakonomics, M.D. (2023). "We Can Play God Now," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2022). "Susan Wojcicki: 'Hey, Let's Go Buy YouTube!'" by People I (Mostly) Admire (2020).

585. A Social Activist in Prime Minister's Clothing

Justin Trudeau, facing record-low approval numbers, is doubling down on his progressive agenda. But he is so upbeat (and Canada-polite) that it's easy to miss just how radical his vision is. Can he make it work? SOURCE: Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. RESOURCES: 2024 Canadian Federal Budget. "Canada to Set First-Ever Cap on Temporary Residents," by Nadine Yousif (BBC News, 2023). Common Ground, by Justin Trudeau (2014). EXTRAS: "Why Is Everyone Moving to Canada?" by Freakonomics Radio (2024).

584. How to Pave the Road to Hell

So you want to help people? That's great — but beware the law of unintended consequences. Three stories from the modern workplace. SOURCES: Joshua Angrist, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zoe Cullen, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. Marina Gertsberg, senior lecturer in finance at the University of Melbourne. RESOURCES: "Is Pay Transparency Good?" by Zoë Cullen (Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2024). "DP18969 Economics Coauthorships in the Aftermath of MeToo," by Noriko Amano-Patino, Elisa Faraglia, and Chryssi Giannitsarou (CEPR Discussion Paper, 2024). "The Underground Economy of Company Reviews," by Shikhar Sachdev (Career Fair, 2023). "Why Did Gender Wage Convergence in the United States Stall?" by Peter Q. Blair and Benjamin Posmanick (NBER Working Paper, 2023). "The Unintended Consequences of #MeToo: Evidence from Research Collaborations," by Marina Gertsberg (SSRN, 2022). "Outsourcing Tasks Online: Matching Supply and Demand on Peer-to-Peer Internet Platforms," by Zoë Cullen and Chiara Farronato (Management Science, 2021). "Equilibrium Effects of Pay Transparency," by Zoe B. Cullen and Bobak Pakzad-Hurson (NBER Working Paper, 2021). "How Much Does Your Boss Make? The Effects of Salary Comparisons," by Zoë Cullen and Ricardo Perez-Truglia (NBER Working Paper, 2018). "Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost," by Gillian Tan and Katia Porzecanski (Bloomberg, 2018). "A Comprehensive Analysis of the Effects of US Disability Discrimination Laws on the Employment of the Disabled Population," by Patrick Button, Philip Armour, and Simon Hollands (NBER Working Paper, 2016). "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," by Daron Acemoglu and Joshua Angrist (Journal of Political Economy, 2001).

Extra: The Men Who Started a Thinking Revolution (Update)

The psychologist Daniel Kahneman — a Nobel laureate and the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow — recently died at age 90. Along with his collaborator Amos Tversky, he changed how we all think about decision-making. The journalist Michael Lewis told the Kahneman-Tversky story in a 2016 book called The Undoing Project. In this episode, Lewis explains why they had such a profound influence. SOURCE: Michael Lewis, writer. RESOURCES: The Undoing Project, by Michael Lewis (2016). Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman (2011). The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis (2010). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (2009). Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis (2004). "Who's On First," by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (New Republic, 2003). "The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice," by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Science, 1981). "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk," by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Econometrica, 1979). "Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases," by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Science, 1974). "Subjective Probability: A Judgment of Representativeness," by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Cognitive Psychology, 1972). EXTRAS: "Remembering Daniel Kahneman," by People I (Mostly) Admire (2024). "Why Are People So Mad at Michael Lewis?" by Freakonomics Radio (2023). "Did Michael Lewis Just Get Lucky with 'Moneyball'?" by Freakonomics Radio (2022).

Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? (Update)

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. SOURCES: Nick Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University. Katie Johnson, freelance data and analytics coach. Kelly Shue, professor of finance at the Yale University School of Management. Steve Tadelis, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business. RESOURCES: "People Management Skills, Employee Attrition, and Manager Rewards: An Empirical Analysis," by Mitchell Hoffman and Steven Tadelis (Journal of Political Economy, 2021). "Promotions and the Peter Principle," by Alan Benson, Danielle Li, and Kelly Shue (The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2019). "Bosses Matter: The Effects of Managers on Workers' Performance," by Kathryn L. Shaw (IZA World of Labor, 2019). "The Value of Bosses," by Edward P. Lazear, Kathryn L. Shaw, and Christopher T. Stanton (Journal of Labor Economics, 2015). The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong, by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull (1969). EXTRAS: "The Secret Life of C.E.O.s" series by Freakonomics Radio. "What Does a C.E.O. Actually Do?" by Freakonomics Radio (2018).