Freakonomics

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When people think of economics they often regard it as the study of dry, untrusting Financial trends and market developments, but Steven D. Levitt's freakonomics is groundbreaking in the economic field shows that economic research can be used as the basis to study relationships that underlie the events and problems we encounter about every day. In Freakonomics, Levitt and his co-author, journalist Stephen Dubner, give the reader his take on some of the most interesting research topics they have tackled during their career as Rogue Economist.

The authors define economics simply as the study of incentives and how they are pursued, often a particular set of incentives that are so irresistible that people are driven to attain them through unscrupulous behavior. As an example, the authors study several prominent instances of cheating, and in each, Levitt devises a way to analyze the data to detect some of the patterns and incentives that served to compel the cheaters to act unethically. This includes Chicago public school teachers who changed student’s answers on high-stakes standardized test and japanese sumo wrestlers who have conspired to throw certain matches.

Another theme would be of information and the way that certain individuals, organizations, and businesses sometimes exploit their access to crucial information at the expense of others. For example, a journalist known as Stetson Kennedy exploited information to bring about the downfall of the Ku Klux Klan. Another example offers a unique perspective of the actions of a real estate agent, in which the data found through Levitt’s research suggest that they act quite differently when the homes they are selling are their own. Both the Klan and real estate agent hoards information that others cannot access. “Experts” will commonly lie or exaggerate to support their claims. For example feminist will often cite claims that 1/3 of all women will be raped or face attempted rape in their lifetimes, when...
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