Freakonomics - Review of the Book


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This is a review of the book Freakonomics. Enjoy!

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Freakonomics - Review of the Book

  1. 1. Freakonomics – Review of the Book Sheikh Shaer Hassan
  2. 2. The Book
  3. 3. The Author <ul><li>Steven D. Lavitt: teaches economics in University of Chicago </li></ul><ul><li>Stephen J. Dubner: writes in NYT and New Yorker </li></ul>
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION: The Hidden Side of Everything <ul><li>People would like the world to work, then economics shows how it actually does work </li></ul><ul><li>Conventional wisdom so often wrong. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Experts”—from criminologists to real-estate agents to political scientists—bend the facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowing what to measure, and how to measure it, is the key to understanding modern life. </li></ul>
  5. 5. We will discuss <ul><li>What do the school teachers and sumo wrestlers in common </li></ul><ul><li>How is Ku Klux Klan like a group of Real-Estate Agents? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? </li></ul><ul><li>Where have all criminal gone? </li></ul><ul><li>What makes a perfect parent? </li></ul><ul><li>Perfect Parenting Part 2:Would a Roshanda by any other name smell as sweet? </li></ul><ul><li>Two Paths to Harvard </li></ul>
  6. 6. What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Com mon? <ul><li>The beauty of incentives, as well as their dark side—cheating </li></ul><ul><li>Economists believe every problem has a solution with the right system in place </li></ul><ul><li>Israeli Day Care Center: </li></ul><ul><li>Scenario 1: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A day care center, 4 pm pick up time. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Result: Anxious students and at least one teacher waiting till 4:30 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scenario 2: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$3 fine for a day of late. Added to $380 monthly fees. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Result: Twenty late per week. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Commo n? <ul><li>Who cheats? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Just about everyone. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The sudden disappearance of seven million American children </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tax evaders submitted name fictitious dependents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cheating schoolteachers in Chicago </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make the students get a hire grade </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Could sumo wrestling, the national sport of Japan, be corrupt? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They are most revered, but the statistic show they can be corrupt, too. Match fixing! </li></ul></ul>What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have in Com mon?
  9. 9. How Is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real-Estate Agents? <ul><li>Nothing is more powerful than information, especially when its power is abused. </li></ul><ul><li>Going undercover in the Ku Klux Klan </li></ul><ul><li>Experts of every kind in the perfect position to exploit you: think about motor mechanic or doctors for example in Bangladesh. Don’t you think they often earn on information that they don’t reveal? </li></ul>
  10. 10. How Is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real-Estate Agents? <ul><li>Internet made the information power of agents much obsolete. </li></ul><ul><li>Why is a new car suddenly worth so much less the moment it leaves the lot? </li></ul><ul><li>Breaking the real-estate agent code: what “well maintained” really means. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Moms? <ul><li>T he conventional wisdom is often found to be a web of fabrication, self-interest, and convenience. </li></ul><ul><li>Sudhir Venkatesh’s long, strange trip into the crack den </li></ul><ul><li>What a drug dealer, a high-school quarterback, and an editorial assistant have in common </li></ul><ul><li>How the invention of crack cocaine mirrored the invention of nylon stockings? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Where Have All the Criminals Gone? <ul><li>Why capital punishment doesn’t deter criminals </li></ul><ul><li>Do police actually lower crime rates? </li></ul><ul><li>Prisons, prisons everywhere </li></ul><ul><li>Seeing through the New York City police “miracle” </li></ul><ul><li>What is a gun, really? </li></ul><ul><li>Why were early crack dealers like Microsoft millionaires and later crack dealers were like </li></ul><ul><li>Crime stopper: how the legalization of abortion changed everything. </li></ul>
  13. 13. What Makes a Perfect Parent? <ul><li>D o parents really matte r? </li></ul><ul><li>The conversion of parenting from an art to a science </li></ul><ul><li>Why do parenting experts like to scare parents to deat h? </li></ul><ul><li>Which is more dangerous: a gun or a swimming poo l? </li></ul><ul><li>The economics of fear </li></ul><ul><li>Obsessive parents and the nature-nurture quagmire </li></ul><ul><li>Why isn’t a good school as good as you might thin k? </li></ul><ul><li>The black-white test gap and “acting white” </li></ul><ul><li>Eight things that make a child do better in school and eight that don’t </li></ul>
  14. 14. What affects test scores? <ul><li>What about parents? Can parents do things to improve outcomes for their children? </li></ul><ul><li>16 factors that might affect children’s school performance: </li></ul>*Highly educated parents *High socioeconomic status *Mother 30+ at time of first birth *Low birthweight *Parents speak English in home *Child is adopted *Parents involved in PTA *Child has many books in home *Family intact *Parents recently moved to better neighborhood *Mother doesn’t work between birth and kindergarten *Attends Head Start *Parents take child to museums *Child regularly spanked *Child frequently watches TV *Parents read to child nearly every day Matter Don’t Matter
  15. 15. Perfect Parenting, Part II; or: Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet? <ul><li>The importance of a parent’s first official act—naming the baby </li></ul><ul><li>A boy named Winner and his brother, Loser </li></ul><ul><li>The blackest names and the whitest names </li></ul><ul><li>The segregation of culture: why Seinfeld never made the top fifty among black viewers </li></ul><ul><li>If you have a really bad name, should you just change it? </li></ul><ul><li>High-end names and low-end names (and how one becomes the other) </li></ul><ul><li>Britney Spears: a symptom, not a cause </li></ul><ul><li>What your parents were telling the world when they gave you your name </li></ul>
  16. 16. Freakonomics: What affects test scores? <ul><li>“ But this is not to say that parents don’t matter. Plainly they matter a great deal. Here is the conundrum: by the time most people pick up a parenting book, it is far too late. Most of the things that matter were decided long ago—who you are, whom you married, what kind of life you lead…it isn’t so much a matter of what you do as a parent; it’s who you are.” (p. 175) </li></ul>
  17. 17. EPILOGUE: Two Paths to Harvard <ul><li>The dependability of data meets the randomness of life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Roland G. Fryer Jr. – studying black underachievement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ted Kaczynski </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. My Take <ul><li>Revealing </li></ul><ul><li>Economists can do more than predicting the unpredictable Macro </li></ul><ul><li>Some data (e.g. parents) are taken form survey, where people tend to bend truth. </li></ul><ul><li>Not just Bangladesh is corrupted. Our failure lies in not developing a working system. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Thank you