Freakonomics | Study Guide

Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner's Freakonomics. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

Sources:, The Guardian, NPR Copyright © 2018 Course Hero, Inc. Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner, Chapter 1 n incentive is ... an often tiny object with astonishing power to change a situation. Crack Cocaine Epidemic The drug-dealing industry responds to the same kinds of incentives as any other business. High-Stakes Testing High-stakes testing gives schools incentives to perform better but puts intense pressure on teachers. Context Economics The field of economics involves theories about how people respond to social, moral, and economic incentives. Authors STEVEN D. LEVITT (BORN 1967) & STEPHEN J. DUBNER (BORN 1963) Dubner, a journalist, got to know Levitt, an award-winning economist, when he interviewed him for The New York Times Magazine. The interview ultimately led to a friendship and professional collaboration on Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics, a blog, and a radio show. Freakonomicsby the Numbers Year the theory of economic incentives appeared in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations 1776 Year the Freakonomics podcast debuted 2010 Years Freakonomics spent on the New York Times Best-Seller List >2 Names & Success Names reflect the circumstances into which people are born and thus correlate with success but don’t cause it. Perfect Parent? Parenting techniques might not matter as much as people think they do. Abortion & Dwindling Crime Legalized abortion may have led to decreasing crime rates in the late 20th century. Low-Wage Drug Dealers Dealing drugs isn’t as lucrative as people think, hence why so many dealers live with their moms. Ku Klux Klan & Real Estate Agents Learning how some groups manipulate information empowers people. Schoolteachers & Sumo Wrestlers Everyone’s behavior is influenced by economic, moral, and social incentives. Overview Principles of economics—the study of the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth—apply to almost any topic that has a cause and effect, from why people cheat to how parents impact their childrens’ success. Freakonomics examines how people react to incentives, how information empowers people, and how distant causes affect events. There’s a Hidden Side to Everything MAIN IDEAS Distant Causes with Dramatic Effects Causes and effects can be more nuanced and distant than people suspect. Errors of Conventional Wisdom Although more comforting and convenient to believe, conventional wisdom is often untrue. Understanding Incentives Every decision people make is guided by incentives, whether positive or negative. Advantage of Expert Information Experts can take advantage of people by suppressing or selectively using information. Causation vs. Correlation Occurrences are often connected but show no clear cause and effect. English Original Language 2005 Year Published Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner Authors Freakonomics Economics Nonfiction

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