Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Hardcover)

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Everyone lies. Realtors lie to sell property faster. Holding out to sell
your home for an extra $10,000 only means $150 for the realtor, so
waiting for a better price isn’t always the priority they tell you it
is. Our law enforcement lie to create or hide “crises” when it serves
them to do so. In the run up to the Atlanta Olympics, law enforcement
grossly under reported violent crime to increase their chances of
winning the Olympic bid. They continue to do so; the Atlanta police
department “lost” more than 22,000 reports in 2002 alone! But guess
what? There is one thing that doesn’t lie: it’s the numbers
Steven D. Levitt, an economist with the University of Chicago, uses the
numbers to give greater definition to what many of us see as a very grey
world. He is not the kind of economist who is interested in the trade
deficit or inflation rates. No, he wants to know if drug dealers make so
much why do many still live at home or if naming your child “Loser”
will ruin his/her life. Levitt asks these questions and many more in his
new book, Freakonomics and lets the numbers do the answering. This is
the kind of book that will drive your friends and family crazy because
you won’t be able to shut up about it.

— Matt

Description


Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime?

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much heralded scholar who studies the stuff and riddles of everyday life-; from cheating and crime to sports and child rearing-; and whose conclusions regularly turn the conventional wisdom on its head. He usually begins with a mountain of data and a simple, unasked question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics.

Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives-; how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In "Freakonomics," they set out to explore the hidden side of ... well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.

What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a surfeit of obfuscation, complication, and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and-; if the right questions are asked-; is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking. Steven Levitt, through devilishly clever and clear-eyed thinking, shows how to seethrough all the clutter.

"Freakonomics" establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But "Freakonomics" can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780060731328
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Publication Date: May 2005
Pages: 256
 

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