By Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
Review by Aliyyah (PPE)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, before studying PPE at Univ. My interest in behavioural economics was catalysed by reading about the significance of incentives and my love for economics as a whole was expanded by the unique approach taken by the authors. I enjoyed the fact that the book asked atypical questions to what I was used to in studying A-level economics and I was drawn by the captivating storytelling and ability to link bizarre circumstances to economic analysis. The chapter regarding the impact that Roe v Wade has on violent crime in America was eye-opening for me as I found the link between the revolutionary judicial alteration and crime in America were two things I would have never connected with before reading the book. Furthermore, I found reading, the chapter regarding how much parents matter, very intriguing. It discussed the impact of children’s names. Levitt and Dubner discuss the fact that a child’s name can act as an indicator of their race and social economic standing. An interesting example was used regarding two children who didn’t live up to their names- Loser and Winner, I found this example quite comical as the children’s life outcomes greatly paralleled their names. Additionally, the book referenced that data suggests that, women with typically “black” names tend to have a more disadvantaged future. I found it extremely interesting how two distinctive characteristics (a name and an individual’s life outcome) can be correlated. I also felt that it was extremely topical as an ongoing conversation in society is the fact that having a more distinctively ‘black’ name can disadvantages individuals, particularly in regards to applying for jobs. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book as it encouraged me to be more analytical when thinking about the impact of human decisions.
Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
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Published: 9 January 2023