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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Freakonomics is one of those films that tries to make a complex subject accessible to a mainstream audience. Here, there subject in question is economics, and how it is everywhere. Although trying to reach a wider audience in a fun way we can relate to is admirable, it can't avoid a patronizing tone. Still, there are lots of interesting parts to this documentary. It's split into a number of sections, with each section helmed by a familiar documentary filmmaker. This allows for a number of fun and interesting style to be put on display. As we delve into the world of economics, this all feels like a few great bits in an overambitious whole. Each segment has a fascinating topic, and one that could be explored at full length. Corruption and murder in sumo wrestling, how our names affect our lives, and how abortion may have helped to reduce the crime rate. All great subjects that are handled with kid gloves. It has inspired me to look into further detail about some things, but I wonder if the ideas and thoughts provoked will last a long time.
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