Monday, April 30, 2007

Listened to: "Freakonomics" by Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Listened to: Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything by Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, audio edition downloaded off

Very interesting. Wunderkind economist Levitt analyzes different topics by using statistical methods employed by economists. Did Roe v. Wade have the greatest effect on lowering crime than anything else in the 1990s? The corporate structure of the Vice Lords [I think it was the Vice Lords] in Chicago as related to the drug trade. Does a "black" name adversely affect a kid future when compared to a "white" name? Is gun control effective; what is more dangerous to children, a gun or a swimming pool? How are cheating teachers and Sumo wrestlers alike?

Well written and well narrated by the second co-author. Levitt lays out very convincing arguments. It would be interesting to hear any refutations of his arguments' A question I had: his argument that abortion had a huge effect on the crime-rate is partly based on comparison to the results of Romania's overnight banning of abortion and a resultant rise in crime. My first thought is, "How accurate are the Romanians' crime numbers?"

But, I'm way too lazy to look into argument's against Levitt's results. Besides, the topics he covers are controversial and encourage lying by opponents.

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