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A different perspective on economics

May 27, 2009

One book I’d been meaning to read since I first heard about it a couple of years back is Freakonomics, by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner. When I saw it in a bookstore a few weeks ago, I bought it.

It’s an interesting read — and makes you wonder about possible cause/effect relationships for all sorts of apparently dissimilar things.

The most fascinating chapter for me was Chapter 4 where they linked the drop in the crime rate in the 1990s to the legalization of abortion in many US states after the outcome of the Roe v Wade case. Compelling stuff that makes you think.

The other chapter that intrigued me was about how much parental influence affects how a child will turn out. The answer — which has no doubt surprised many people, especially parents — is ‘Not a lot’. Adding further ‘food for thought’ was the effect of a person’s first name on their job and life prospects.

Freakonomics is a light, entertaining read that makes you think, without getting bogged down in the more mathematical and statistical sides of economics.

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