Emmanuel S. Garcia
Land Bank of the Philippines
Freakonomics was a good way to introduce the basic concepts of economics applied in everyday living and what we can learn from that. It primary aim seems to open the eyes of the general public to the fact that economics should be a conscious part of our way of life. Generally, what it says is that economics is a good tool in understanding and eventually helping us decide important aspects of our day to day living. The innovative ideas presented in the various segments tries to alter a lot of perspectives on how we think. At the end of it all, it leaves one with the thought that "conventional wisdom" is not what we thought it was. For example, it was interesting to note how the principle "Rational people think at the margin" was discussed in the movie as a real estate example. Explained in layman's terms, agents tend to advice homeowners to sell their house even at a lower price if the marginal benefit for the agent is low. The documentary demonstrated the pervasiveness of incentives in society. I agree to Levitt and Dubner’s premise that it is commonly accepted that for most people, given the right price or the right incentive, 1. cheating will always be considered by the most affected people as an option 2. there will always be a desire to maximize the incentive 3. certain behaviors could be changed. The first premise was elaborated further on the portions of the documentary that analyzed Chicago public school test data for evidence of teachers cheating on standardized tests and allegations of cheating at sumo wrestling matches in Japan. For teachers in Chicago public schools, the incentive is high: get high scores or face losing funding or even your job. So is the situation in sumo wrestling: I scratch your back and you scratch my back later. What makes these portions of the documentary interesting and entertaining is the fact that...
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