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A Rogue Economist
Explores the Hidden
Side of Everything

Steven D. Levitt
and Stephen J. Dubner


In which the origins of this book are clarified.


INTRODUCTION: The HiddenSide of Everything
In which the book’s central idea is set forth: namely, if morality represents how people would like the world to work, then economics shows
how it actually does work.
Why the conventional wisdom is so often wrong . . . How “experts”—
from criminologists to real-estate agents to political scientists—bend the
facts . . . Why knowing what to measure, and how to measure it,is the key
to understanding modern life . . . What is “freakonomics,” anyway?
1. What Do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers Have
in Common?
In which we explore the beauty of incentives, as well as their dark


Who cheats? Just about everyone . . . How cheaters cheat, and how to
catch them . . . Stories from an Israeli day-care center . . . The suddendisappearance of seven million American children . . . Cheating schoolteachers
in Chicago . . . Why cheating to lose is worse than cheating to win . . .
Could sumo wrestling, the national sport of Japan, be corrupt? . . . What
the Bagel Man saw: mankind may be more honest than we think.
2. How Is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group
of Real-Estate Agents?
In which it is argued that nothing is morepowerful than information,
especially when its power is abused.
Going undercover in the Ku Klux Klan . . . Why experts of every kind
are in the perfect position to exploit you . . . The antidote to information
abuse: the Internet . . . Why a new car is suddenly worth so much less the
moment it leaves the lot . . . Breaking the real-estate agent code: what “well
maintained” really means . . . IsTrent Lott more racist than the average
Weakest Link contestant? . . . What do online daters lie about?
3. Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Moms?
In which the conventional wisdom is often found to be a web of fabrication, self-interest, and convenience.
Why experts routinely make up statistics; the invention of chronic halitosis . . . How to ask a good question . . . SudhirVenkatesh’s long, strange
trip into the crack den . . . Life is a tournament . . . Why prostitutes earn
more than architects . . . What a drug dealer, a high-school quarterback,
and an editorial assistant have in common . . . How the invention of crack
cocaine mirrored the invention of nylon stockings . . . Was crack the worst
thing to hit black Americans since Jim Crow?
4. Where Have All theCriminals Gone?
In which the facts of crime are sorted out from the fictions.
What Nicolae Ceausescu learned—the hard way—about abortion . . .


Why the 1960s were a great time to be a criminal . . . Think the roaring
1990s economy put a crimp on crime? Think again . . . Why capital punishment doesn’t deter criminals . . . Do police actually lower crime rates?
. . .Prisons, prisons everywhere . . . Seeing through the New York City police “miracle” . . . What is a gun, really? . . . Why early crack dealers were
like Microsoft millionaires and later crack dealers were like . . .
The superpredator versus the senior citizen . . . Jane Roe, crime stopper:
how the legalization of abortion changed everything.
5. What Makes a Perfect Parent?
In which weask, from a variety of angles, a pressing question: do parents really matter?
The conversion of parenting from an art to a science . . . Why parenting
experts like to scare parents to death . . . Which is more dangerous: a gun or
a swimming pool? . . . The economics of fear . . . Obsessive parents and the
nature-nurture quagmire . . . Why a good school isn’t as good as you might
think . ....
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