The field of economics can study more than the workings of economies or businesses, it can also help explore human behavior in how it reacts to incentives. Economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner host an anthology of documentaries that examines how people react to opportunities to gain, wittingly or otherwise. The subjects include the possible role a person's name has for their success in life, why there is so much cheating in an honor bound sport like sumo wrestling, what helped reduce crime in the USA in the 1990s onward and we follow an school experiment to see if cash prizes can encourage struggling students to improve academically. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Steven Levitt - Author:
The closest thing to a worldview, I would say, in "Freakonomics," is that incentives matter. Not just financial incentives, but social incentives and moral incentives.
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University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen Dubner wrote the popular book taking an unconventional look at the world using the science of economics. This movie takes the ideas from the book into several different sections.
The vast variation does tend to make the movie somewhat meandering and disjointed. Some sections are more interesting than others. It's not a natural narrative that builds to a climax. It's basically one study case after another. The most controversial section is probably the abortion one. Although my personal favorite is the sumo wrestlers. What's there not to love about sumo wrestlers. Sometimes it's a little dumb down but other times it is fascinating.
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