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  • “Beware of Populist Economics”

    Posted by Jonathan on July 9th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

    John R. Lott’s review of the latest Freakonomics book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Lott seems to have an ongoing personal quarrel with Levitt and Dubner. However, his critiques of their arguments seem reasonable. His review is worth reading.

     

    4 Responses to ““Beware of Populist Economics””

    1. TimL Says:

      I don’t know. The used car thing goes back to a paper by George Akerlof, http://wikisum.com/w/Akerlof:_The_market_for_lemons, which is by now pretty standard. I studied this paper in Graduate school micro theory, for example. That paper contained thoughts on corrections for the theoretical problem (asymmetric information) some of which have taken hold since then. I don’t necessarily endorse Freakonomics but it’s probably pretty harmless.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      I don’t know either. Lott argues that transferable warranties effectively address this problem. His counterargument on abortion and crime seems strong. Even if some of his arguments are wrong, his knowledgeable criticisms of Freakonomics arguments are better than the credulous responses of other reviewers.

    3. TimL Says:

      Another view which agrees with you: check the comments particularly.

      http://www.newmarksdoor.com/mainblog/2014/07/part-of-a-review-of-levitt-and-dubners-think-like-a-freak.html

    4. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks for the link.