Within its 300 or so pages, Freakonomics manages to cover a vast scope of topics that typically wouldn’t be seen as related at all, let alone bound within the same two covers of a best-selling book. From sumo wrestlers to real-estate agents to drug dealers, Levitt and Dubner delve into these and many other unconventional topics in a way that shines a new light on all of them--in a way that an economist would look at them.
Levitt and Dubner have a unique way of connecting two seemingly unrelated subjects by using data to compare economic ideas. Data from standardized tests and wrestling tournaments show how schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers, respectively, resort to cheating in order to maximize their utility. Another strange comparison between …show more content…
A suggested theory of why crime dropped was that there was a change in the cocaine market. Leading up the 1990s, the crack market exhibited positive economic profits for firms in the market which attracted new sellers to join the market. The increase of firms led to an increase in supply which means a decrease in price. The decrease in the price of crack would erode the amount of profit the sellers would make, and soon the crack market just wasn’t as appealing, and the profits being made weren’t enough to balance the risks that came along with selling the drugs. The idea was that because of the economic aspect of the drug market in America, less people were getting involved in violence like turf wars which decreased crime …show more content…
I went into it thinking it would be some lame book trying to convince kids that economics is cool, but the quirky topics and the humor sprinkled throughout the book won me over in the end. The economic aspects of Freakonomics were also much more subtle and less “in your face” than I expected, and I have to admit blending economics into the topics not only helped to make them more factually sound, but they actually made the book more interesting. Levitt’s knowledge and the amount of research he did into each subject he covered was obvious in the book’s content, and Dubner’s ability to present such a large amount of information in both an understandable and entertaining way made this a book a winner on all
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Levitt next examines the incentives that cause people to cheat. The first example of cheating is a story of teachers cheating in Chicago public schools. To avoid the risk of getting fired or getting penalty by the government for low test scores, many teachers chose to cheat and inflate their students ' scores. They cheated by allowing the students to have more time during test, giving away answers, and even by changing students’ answers by themselves. In this case, we can see that the schoolteachers are driven by economic incentives. For them, moral and social incentives are not as strong as economic incentives. Similar cheating can be seen in sumo wrestling. In Japan, sumo wrestling is a very popular sports and the high-ranked wrestlers get great honor. Also, among sumo wrestlers, their rank determines their salary, reputation, how they are treated, and even how much he gets to eat and sleep. Because they are so desperate for higher rank, the incentive for cheating is very powerful. In the crucial matches that determines sumo wrestler’s ranking, they cheat by
“An incentive is a bullet, a key: an often tiny object with astonishing power to change a situation” (Levitt & Dubner 16). Freakonomics is a book written in 2005 by award winning economist Steven Levitt and former New York Times journalist Stephen Dubner while they both resided in different states. The use of simple diction makes it so a larger audience can be reached; readers vary from everyday people to students to economists. In order to better explain economics, Levitt and Dubner appeal to their audience by forgoing economic jargon and using simpler terms to ensure that the readers understand and relate to what is being explained throughout the passages. The authors also appeal to the readers through their credible background and logically by using statistics, researches, facts and parallelism.
The third factor is the expansion and contraction of the urban crack market (Rosenfeld, 2011). Homicides and robberies increased in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, this was attributable to the rise of killings and delinquency of juveniles and young people under the age of 24 (Rosenfeld, 2011). The killings were due to the sudden rise of urban crack markets and the growing use of handguns which became a way of life for those involved. Since cocaine was very expensive and crack was fairly easy to make and cheaper to buy, it became the drug to sell for the common street dealer. In essence, as older dealers were being incarcerated, violence among the younger inner city drug dealers increased, younger dealers on the streets were more apt to be quicker on the draw than their older predecessors (Rosenfeld, 2011).
Freakonomics is a humorous and intriguing book about taking off the top layer of a situation and understanding what is happening underneath. Through everyday examples Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner take perspectives that are unheard of in any other writing while simultaneously comparing the most unique and uncommon ideas to each other. As they study everyday life, readers see insight to the ways in which the world really functions and runs. As they study the world the authors continue to ask questions, thus continuing to challenge the reader to seek for a deeper answer. Through these highly untypical questions, Levitt and Dubner are able to display that the root of economics itself is incentives.
Economics can be applied in many situations where you wouldn’t normally expect it found. In “Freakonomics”, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, the authors attempt to reveal what is happening behind the curtain of modern day life by comparing what you would think are two completely different people or subjects, and they relate these seemingly uncommon topics to more sophisticated economic concepts. The authors initially claimed that there was no theme, but after reading the book I have realized that there are many misunderstandings in the standard wisdom that we know due to the fact that people usually do not look into the motives of a given situation to uncover the truth.
Imagine a perfectly ripe Granny Smith apple. Famished, you bite into it, expecting a crisp, juicy crunch. Instead, it's soggy. Acidic. Different. Confused, you reel back to view the apple's interior: it's not an opaque, light green, it's a glistening orange. The fruit, at least on the inside, is an orange. Your bite, the act of diving into the fruit, revealed a deeper layer, something not expected, something that simply staring at the surface could have never revealed. That is how Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner work. That is Freakonomics.
At one point, crime in America grew 13 times faster than population. Between 1965 and 1980s, crimes in every category rose to a record high in New York. Burglary related crimes rose from 183,443 to 360,925. Larceny-theft rose from 253,353 to 535. Vehicle theft rose from 58,452 to 171,007. Assault rose from 27,464 to 91,571. Murder rose from 836 to 2,228. However, during the 1990s, crime in New York crime tipped. Crime fell to a record low. Murder rates, burglary, larceny-theft, vehicle theft, assault, and rape all fell suddenly. Homicide rates plunged 43 percent reaching the lowest levels in 35 years. The crack epidemic along with the election of a new governor both contributed to the drop in crime not the “broken window theory”. Many
Looking back to 1960 we can notice that violent crime rates always vary. In 1960 murder was at 824, but the 1961 it dropped to 788, then goes back up to 983 in 1966. There is no real pattern to how it varies. Many might think that with increased population we will have increased crimes, but that isn’t the case. In 1975 the population was an approximate 12,237,000 and violent crime was at 1,639. In 1976 the population grew to 12,487,000 but the violent crime dropped to 1,519. (4)
Freakonomics was one of the best novels that I have ever read! I am truly amazed at how Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner compared their study and research to the economy that we live in today. Out of all of the chapters in Freakonomics, Chapter 3: Conventional Wisdom, is the one that stood out the most. This particular topic relates to the world in many different ways.
Parenting is an excellent system in how we raise children, but much pressure is added in raising them to live a successful life. Can it be done, and what should a parent do? These are some of the questions that Steven Levitt attempts to give reasons to in his book Freakonomics, and with it are there arguments and theories on how a parent can accomplish this. Levitt makes a good argument in how economic status of the parents affects the success of future children, but I would reevaluate his argument concerning the importance of how you treat your children, and the way his inferences are concrete.
Incentives can either encourage or discourage certain behavior and through various case studies in the novel Freakonomics by Steven Levitt, proves that majority of people act in their own self-interest. Although distinguished through the use of economic, social and moral incentives no matter the stimulation the result is always self-beneficial. Therefore it can be determined that the benefit of self-interest virtually explains all behavior.
1.In the book, Freakonomics, the authors discuss about a group called the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK was very popular in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the article “27 Important Facts Everyone Should Know About The Black Panthers” by The Huffington Post, a group called the Black Panthers was also popular in the twentieth century. The Black Panthers differ from the KKK in many ways, for example the Black Panthers wore black leather jackets and black berets, opposed to the KKK white sheets and hoods. A major difference between the two group was that while the KKK was hunting down black people, the Black Panthers were trying to protect the black community.Another notable difference between the two groups is that the KKK was aided by the
In the eyes of the authors, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, economics is not seen as a monetary subject but rather a subject with the ability to gain answers through the utilization of interesting, yet out of the ordinary questions. These “out of the ordinary questions” can be seen as the backbone from which the collaboration was written. Levitt and Dubner structured the novel in this way to explore and reveal “the hidden side of everything.” They focus on the incentives behind people’s motives in all different aspects of society—from sumo wrestlers to crack dealers—and connect the surprising similarities with each other. After reading what Levitt and Dubner had to say, I established that the authors’ goal in creating such a novel was
What is Freakonomics? Freakonomics is an interesting book that evokes a thoughtful and provocative analysis of human motivation and modern living. It shows you a common world through a totally different pair of lens. The author uses the raw data of economics to ask imaginative questions while it forces the reader to think cleverly and divertingly of the answers. His approach to economics was done in a very unconventional way- as a smart, curious explorer parallel to Christopher Columbus when he discovered the Americas.
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.