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Steven D. Levitt

Autor(a) de Freakonomics

19 Works 33,421 Membros 684 Reviews 13 Favorited

About the Author

Steven D. Levitt received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1989 and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1994. He is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago where he has been teaching since 1997. He was awarded the 2003 John Bates Clark Medal, an award that recognizes the most outstanding mostrar mais economist in America under the age of 40. He is the coauthor, with Stephen J. Dubner, of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. It won the inaugural Quill Award for best business book and a Visionary Award from the National Council on Economic Education. He also wrote SuperFreakonomics, Think Like a Freak and When to Rob a Bank:...And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants with Stephen J. Dubner. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
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Obras de Steven D. Levitt


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Conhecimento Comum



Why do people act the way they do? It's a question that has been debated by societies for what we can only assume is basically the entirety of human existence. Astrology has been used to try to explain it, as has the balances of humors in the blood. In modern times, there's an entire scientific field that studies human behavior and what causes it. Psychology, though, tends to focus on the bigger, more 40,000 foot view of why people behave in particular ways. It doesn't answer, for example, why crack dealers often live with their mothers. In Freakonomics, economist Steven D. Levitt (with co-writer Stephen J. Dubner) attempt to answer that and various other questions about human quirks. Some of these are relatively light-hearted (tracking how baby names move down through social classes over time), and some have much more serious implications (tying Roe v. Wade/more widespread access to abortion with decreasing crime rates).

Levitt and Dubner put all their faith into a field usually called behavioral economics. It posits that humans are rational actors, and when they appear not to be, it's because the incentives that drive their choices aren't obvious. How much you go along with their theories depends on how much stock you put into behavioral economics, and for me, it's honestly a mixed bag. The most interesting portion of the book, in my eyes, was the chapter on abortion and crime. It's more of a purely statistical dive, and the underlying assumption that he uses, that women are good judges of when they shouldn't bring children into the world because they won't be able to devote sufficient resources (money, of course, but time and energy too) to their raising, is one that makes sense to me. The children that might otherwise have been brought into the kind of poor home environments that correlate with (but don't necessarily cause) criminality simply weren't born and therefore can't be in the world, committing crimes. It's a bold hypothesis, and unsurprisingly turned out to be one of the most controversial. Since I had the revised/expanded edition of the book, they actually included an appendix chapter doing a deep dive into their statistical analysis. I've got some very basic grounding in statistics, but it was beyond my ability to actually comprehend, so I just have to trust that they did their homework correctly.

There are some other interesting tidbits, including one about charter/magnet schools and their effect on student achievement, but I found myself often skeptical of their breezy assurance of their own correctness and faith in their data. After the massive statistical analysis failure of the 2016 election, it's more obvious than ever that data isn't always all-knowing...it needs careful parsing and tweaking to accurately reflect reality.
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ghneumann | outras 456 resenhas | Jun 14, 2024 |
This was good, but worse than the first. I didn't like a lot of the sections (some of them were entirely not illuminating). The section on Global Cooling, surprisingly, was the best part. I'm not sure if it was true, but it's comforting to know that there are a significant number of ways that are being considered away from the public eye for solving our greenhouse gas issues.

Overall, worth reading, but don't expect anything better than the original Freakonomics
mrbearbooks | outras 131 resenhas | Apr 22, 2024 |
Good point: This book turned out to be mostly about data mining.
Bad point: I was hoping to read a book about economy for dummies.
Good point: It was fun to read, with lots of silly factoids.
Bad point: the factoids were not all that interesting for people outside of the USA.
Good point: It gave me nice ideas for data mining projects.
Bad point: the cheese. It was everywhere.
Bad point: the ending of each chapter contained at least one paragraph singing praise of Mr. Levitt. Really. I don't care if he's child prodigy / genius / revolutionary. I'm interested in his work, not his person. It's not bloody Bertrand Russell. Let his brilliancy speak for itself.
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jd7h | outras 456 resenhas | Feb 18, 2024 |
Very interesting look at the world around us and the numbers that we THINK affect our world and its trends.
dlinnen | outras 456 resenhas | Feb 3, 2024 |



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