Steven Levitt

Topics: Freakonomics, Steven Levitt, SuperFreakonomics Pages: 4 (1103 words) Published: January 26, 2014

Freakonomics Theme Analysis

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner shows that in life, everything has a hidden side. The book also discusses many topics, such as: incentives are the cornerstones of modern life, the conventional wisdom is frequently wrong, dramatic effects often have distant causes, “experts” often use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda, and knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes a complicated world much less so.

(Levitt & Dubner 12). In this essay, I will be focusing on how incentives are the cornerstones of modern life, conventional wisdom is often wrong, and how “experts” often use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda.

“An incentive is always a tiny object with astonishing power to change a situation.” (Levitt and Dubner 17) All incentives can be categorized by three types of incentives: moral, social, and economic. Some of which, may have adverse effects, such as with daycare in Israel decided to start charging people a $3 fine per child for anyone that was more than ten minutes late. One would assume that in response to this, parents would be more likely to pick up their kids in a timely fashion, but instead, the opposite happens. The amount of late pick-ups increase dramatically. The logic behind this is parents were able to pay off their guilt for being late. In other words, they saw paying the extra $60 a month as a way to substitute a moral incentive.


(Levitt & Dubner 19-20). These adversaries, nevertheless, can be predicted and used to the advantages of others. In illegal drug-dealing countries, such as Brazil, the government is legalizing all drug use and treating it as an addiction problem, rather than a crime. Surprisingly, this has lowered the amount of drug-related matters. In the United States, we try to crack down on drug use with strict laws and police enforcement. Consequently, this has caused the amount of drug-related...

Cited: "Latin American Drug Legalization." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 Mar. 2014.
Web. 15 Jan. 2014.
Levitt, Steven D., and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores
the Hidden Side of Everything. New York: William Morrow, 2005. Print.
M, Jo. "Jo 's Economics." : Freakonomics: Chapter 3. Jo 's Economics, 17 May 2011.
Web. 15 Jan. 2014.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay on Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner Is Based on These Fundamental Ideas: Incentives, Conventional Wisdom,...
  • Essay about Steven Levitt and Conventional Wisdom
  • Marketing Myopia: Theodore Levitt Essay
  • Steven Spielberg's JAWS Essay
  • Steven Truscott: Miscarriage of Justice Essay
  • Sufjan Stevens Essay
  • Steven Truscott Essay
  • Steven Spielberg Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free