freakonomics - Aamani Chava Statistics 12 Freakonomics...

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Aamani Chava January 10, 2007 Statistics 12 Freakonomics: Where Have All The Criminals Gone? Before Freakonomics , who could have thought that a decrease in crime would have a direct correlation with the legalization of abortion? Most definitely, not me. The United States experienced a high crime rate in the 1980s ranging from crimes like burglary and auto theft to crimes like rapes, murders, and homicides. But, suddenly, in the 1990s, the crime rate took a drastic drop leaving economists and criminologists wondering what factors attributed to the incredible decrease. Many different explanations were given and some came very close to clarifying the phenomenon, but none came as close as the one developed by Levitt and Dubner. As well as stating their own theory, Levitt and Dubner introduce us to the seven “universally” accepted views concerning the decrease in crime rate. A fairly common assumption would be a strong economy discourages crime. However, a strong economy might have decreased crime such as robbery due to an increase in employment, but other popular crimes like murder and rape were still present. So, the next explanation could be an increase in the use of prisons. Now, many of us would think that this makes sense since harsher punishment laws would lead to more prisoners, therefore leading to less crime committed. However, Levitt and Dubner prove us wrong and show us that experts in the field overruled this idea and the costs of keep the prisoners were also burdening to the country. So, they took it one step further and investigated the increase in capital punishment with laws like the death penalty. But, apparently, these punishments are rarely carried out due to their extremity and when they are, they make no real significance change in the statistics. As they investigated further into this “mystery”, it
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2008 for the course STAT 101 taught by Professor Na during the Spring '08 term at Skidmore.

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freakonomics - Aamani Chava Statistics 12 Freakonomics...

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