Accounting - Economics Freakonomics an Term Paper

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He also says that it is common to exaggerate information in anything from house ads to resumes.

Why do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms?

This chapter deals with conventional wisdom and when to question it, such as the idea that all drug dealers are wealthy, when if fact, many still live at home. The premise of this chapter is on how to find the right data to prove or disprove a theory, and how difficult that can be. To answer this question, Levitt found a researcher who had spent a long period of time with a black gang in Chicago, and learned how to ask the right questions to generate data about the gang. He finally showed that most gang drug dealing is only profitable for a very few upper echelon gang members, and most make little from their efforts.

Where Have all the Criminals Gone?

Levitt maintains that higher prison populations have helped deter crime, and that other things, like policing, gun control, and the economy and unemployment have not. He uses the theory that legalized abortion in 1973 actually caused the crime rate to go down, and cites Romania as an example, who outlawed abortion in 1966. Studies show that women denied abortions in Romania were less likely to provide a good home for the unwanted child, and the same could be said for women in America. More wanted babies were born, and the crime rate went down.

What Makes a Perfect Parent?

Levitt notes that parenting is difficult, and that parenting advice is often contradictory and confusing. He maintains that parenting experts, like others, instill fear in parents to gain their own self-serving incentives. Parents, operating out of fear for their children and being good parents, are not always the best risk assessors, and they rely on information that can be confusing at best, often provided by marketers and experts who hope to gain from the information and products they offer.
Again, he researches the right data to find out what influences children, and discovers school choice does not matter, traditional family does not matter, neighborhood, and both parents working does not matter, and more. What matters is the background and educational level of the parents, and other qualities that most low-income children do not enjoy. Parenting matters, but so do socio-economic influences.

Perfect Parenting Part II: Or Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?

Next, Levitt tackles names, particularly ethnic names that may put a child at a disadvantage. He says blacks and whites tend to name their children differently, and that often these different black names are not understood by the parents. In fact, some of the unusual black names seem not to be accepted in society, and may actually hinder the child's career choices in the future. In fact, Levitt maintains these names show how the parents view themselves and the opportunities open to their children. Again, education and income level are strongly related, and the more money a person makes, black or white, the more common and "normal" their children's names will be. He uses tables and charts to show popular white and black names, and speculate on what they will be in the future. Names may not make a difference in life, but the odder the name; the more the parent may be influencing how successful their child is by placing their own expectations on the child.

Epilogue: Two Paths to Harvard

Finally, the author discusses thinking "sensibly" about real people in the real world. He urges skepticism with accepted wisdom, and looking underneath a layer of society to discover the truth.


Levitt, Steven D. And Dubner, Stephen J. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of….....

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