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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A few of the issues addressed in the book are examined: cheating, paying students, crime.
The crime segment was interesting as statistics were actually used. I didn't quite understand how the percentages were developed for why crime decreased. I do find it interesting that Roe v. Wade is used to explain the reduction of crime in the late 1980s.
I guess I didn't quite follow the sumo controversy too carefully. That a match that doesn't much matter is "thrown" doesn't bother me. When an NFL team has secured a spot in the playoffs, it often doesn't play its stars in a meaningless end of season regular game. I liken the sumo situation to that.
Freakonomics is thought provoking. For that, it is recommended. Treat yourself to an interesting flick.
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