Freakonomics and incentives

Email Cheating at American universities may be reaching epidemic levels, with reports of scandals at colleges ranging from elite schools such as Harvard to public universities like Florida State. There are two reasons why some students turn to cheating, according to a new paper from "Freakonomics" author and University of Chicago economics professor Steven Levitt and fellow researcher Ming-Jen Lin at National Taiwan University's economics department. The students have "strong incentives" to cheat -- such as getting good grades and securing internships or jobs as a result -- while the likelihood of getting caught is low, they noted. The pair, however, has come up with a clever way to catch the cheaters, and put their plan into practice.

Freakonomics and incentives

The book spawned a blog [1]a documentary-style movie [2] and a podcast. The points explored therein deal with cheating and its incentives using Sumo wrestling, American teachers and a DC bagel shop to make its point that when given the opportunity and a desperate situation, people will cheat.

The Sumo and teacher examples are the more interesting arguments here for our purposes: The teaching one is more curious and contains some interesting data to show that school teachers will cheat on behalf of their students in order to boost their grades and get access to desperately-needed funding.

The fact that the idea of drug dealers making bank off of the misery of others precludes information such as most dealers being at a very low-level of a larger criminal operation and having to pay dues to their higher-ups is not a surprise to the initiated in criminology.

It is however a little unsettling to learn that instead of being super wealthy crime lords, most dealers in the sampled city barely make minimum wage. They present the case that even having good parents cannot reduce certain behavioral patterns that are genetic.

Abortion as Crime Deterrent[ edit ] In a spectacular Freakonomics and incentives of confusing correlation for causationthe authors assert in Chapter 4 that the reduction in violent crime experienced near the end of the 20th century was due to Roe v.

Wade and that all those at-risk children that would've ended up becoming violent criminals never came to be because they were aborted. The wingnut response to this point was as predictable, pointless and irrelevant as you would expect, but many academics were skeptical of the claims made by the Steves.

Even when they're wrong, the Steves aren't totally off base, they show their work and they're not afraid to answer questions or admit errors that they make - basically, they make like good academics.

To top it off, the book is rife with a peculiar sense of dark humour worthy of Yoram Bauman spliced within the math, stats and lines of argument.

Again though, there is an issue throughout with equating correlation with causation, so don't take their words for granted. SuperFreakonomics[ edit ] Despite the academic controversies unleashed by the first or perhaps because of themthe Steves wrote a sequel to their first book.

As the first book, SuperFreakonomics makes some interesting insights but also some horrifically controversial arguments. The Good[ edit ] In the first chapter, the book provides an economic rationale for legalizing prostitution and cites examples of how well it has worked in polities that have legalized it, making a strong case for small government in the most politically- liberal sense.

Other nifty points include discussions of altruism as well as the bystander and observer effects in Chapter 3 using the murder of Kitty Genovese as an example for the former and experimental economics as an example for the latter.

Chapter 4 yet again highlights the necessity of data mining, this time using the examples of Ignaz Semmelweis combating Puerperal fever and Robert S.

McNamara's yes, that one time at Ford Motor Company and his contributions to vehicle safety seat belts, in particular.

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Lastly, the final chapter shows that humans aren't the only ones that respond to incentives, with lab monkeys being trained to use currency and even inventing a crude system of prostitution. However, the Steves go on to trump the controversy in their last book Global Cooling[ edit ] This is not to say that the authors endorse the idea of global cooling or that they do not accept anthropogenic climate changebut the fifth chapter tries to make a case for geo-engineering as a means to combat global warming and climate change.

Being good academics, the Steves made sure to use research by an actual climate scientist, but in the book they managed to misrepresent his research.

If you liked the matharguments and humour of the first one, you'll like this one. The controversial points really do highlight that when it comes to factual accuracy even in the social sciencespopular publishing is no match for peer review.

Whatever applies to the first book applies to this one.Read the excerpt from Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s Freakonomics. The incentive scheme that rules sumo is intricate and extraordinarily powerful.

The New York Times bestselling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling more than 4 million copies in 35 languages, and changing the way we look at the world. Authors Steven D.

Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner followed it up withSuperFreakonomics, a Freakquel that hardcore fans and newcomers alike have found to be even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first.

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FREAKONOMICS is a fascinating and largely entertaining documentary analyzing the theories of University of Chicago economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist . Freakonomics and the Tax Gap: An Applied Perspective Abstract Over the past thirty years, a significant amount of research from a variety of social science disciplines has.

“Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life” There are three basic types of incentives - economic, social and moral. An example given was incentives not to smoke.

Freakonomics and incentives

Freakonomics lists three varieties of incentives: social, moral, and financial. Can you think of others? Can you think of others? Freakonomics shows how the conventional wisdom is often shoddily formed.

MyPreferences Blog: The Freakonomics of Preference Management