Freakonomics Essay

811 WordsMar 20, 20124 Pages
Freakonomics Book Report In chapter 1, Levitt and Dubner describe how many people in different cultures and walks of life, which are otherwise inclined to be honest, find subtle ways of cheating to advance their position or increase monetary awards when incentives are strong enough. The authors define an incentive as “a means of urging people to do more of a good thing or less of a bad thing,” and identify three varieties of incentives. Economic incentives are those, which a person responds to in the marketplace. Social incentives motivate people to respond in a certain way because they care or are worried about how they will be viewed by others. Moral incentives appeal to a person’s sense of right versus wrong. Three case studies of the…show more content…
Experts in a field often create conventional wisdom. They make observations and draw conclusions without resorting to the facts. In chapter 4 the chapter considers a variety of possible explanations for the significant drop in crime and crime rates that occurred in the 1990s. Based on articles that appeared in the country’s largest newspapers, the authors compile a list of the leading, commonly offered explanations. The next step is to systematically examine each explanation and consider whether available data support the explanation. What the authors, in fact, demonstrate is that in all but three cases–increased reliance on prisons, increased number of police, and changes in illegal drug markets–correlation was erroneously interpreted as causation and in some cases, the correlation wasn’t even that strong. In chapter 5 the author summarizes the results of studies by his coauthors, as well as other studies, that examine the influence demographic, cultural and other variables have on the performance of school-age children on standardized tests. In a now familiar theme, the results are plangently counterintuitive. Based on a mountain of school children’s test scores, a successful child appears to be more “made” than nurtured, more mused than molded. The chapter begins by reviewing how many parents get educated on raising their children and how parenting experts swing from one extreme
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