The introduction talks about three different subjects, then it talks about the purpose of this book. First, it discusses how the court case Roe v Wade allowed the abortion of potential criminals, which is why the crime rate dropped so significantly, not because less people were committing crimes, but because there were less people to commit crimes. Then the subject becomes how a real estate agent might take advantage of his/her client to get as much out of selling a house as he/she could. Finally, the book switches to talking about politicians spending lots of money on a campaign, while the actual benefits of doing so are not actually that great. I suppose the overall "lesson" I learned from this is that there are often hidden sides to many ideas and events that people take for granted at the surface. It was especially enlightening to learn how abortion, no matter how controversial it might be, could actually benefit society in terms of crime. Also, reading about how an expert--such as a real estate agent--could try to help the client sell their house at the best value, but only to the extent that it still benefits the agent enough to be worth it. Anyway, I think this book is actually really interesting so far.
When reading the intro to Freakonomics, I was surprised by a few different things. The first of which being the fact that the enormous crime drop in the early 2000’s was caused by a single woman’s abortion; all because often times babies who are born to mothers who do not exactly want them can be criminals. I was also intrigued by how conventional wisdom tends to be incorrect, and economics challenges these theories. Finally I learned about how economics is more about measurement than anything else, and how the smallest things can influence society in a large way. I would like to delve deeper into the way that incentives drive people, and also how the economy can influence the world.
The introduction of the book explains how it will attempt to look at the hidden economics of life. The authors begin the book by explaining how the unexpected decrease in crime rates during the 1990's was mainly caused by the legalization of abortion, not by other factors like gun control laws or the growth in the economy. Then, they shift the subject to how real-estate agents use their advantage of information to maximize their money, even if it hurts the people they are working for. After discussing another few examples of misconceptions, the authors discuss the major ideas of their book, like how incentives are what guide the decisions of people in modern life. They end the introduction by comparing their ideas to Adam Smith, who believed in the notion that a free market economy guided decision-making. I am curious about the next chapter, which tries to draw a correlation between teachers and sumo wrestlers. I am also interested in the authors explaining how drinking 8 cups of water a day is a myth. Overall, I'm excited to read more of this book during the school year.
The introduction to Freakanomics views events in history through a different perspective than I have ever seen, or considered before. The author's ability to take two seemingly unrelated events and tie them together leads the reader to look at things through a whole new view. From this chapter, I learned how people acting in their own self interest can often have effects in places they could have never dreamed of, an example being the Jane Roe Supreme Court case leading to the decline in crime in the mid-90s. My curiosities for the rest of the book are to explore more situations similar to those in the introduction in order to see the causes and effects of events through a different perspective.
This chapter introduces the reader into what this book is about: looking at real life situations and why they happen the way they do. The intro discusses several situations (previous crime rates and how they relate to abortion, real estate brokers and why they sell their own houses for more than their clients, and how money really influences presidential campaigns) that we look at daily, but never really understand why they are the way they are until we look at the facts. It is introducing this book as one that will discuss things we see everyday, but don't exactly understand why they are the way they are. But, the intro is also giving us an understanding that the authors have collected a vast amount of evidence to back these ideas up. The name of the chapter is simply what I learned from it: "there is a hidden side to everything". This chapter spikes my curiosity to see what other hidden causes there are behind the events that occur in our day to day lives.
The central message of Freakanomics seems to be that often times, the truth to a matter is not found in some highly complex study, but often in a more simple fact or detail. In the examples of legalized abortion and campaign spending, Freakanomics emphasizes that in order to fully understand an issue, the entire picture must be seen. On pages twelve and thirteen, the author lists several ways in which economics can be approached that might not pop up in one’s mind immediately. A closer reading of these ideas reveals that they are all highly useful in analyzing economics through a “big picture” lens. Ultimately, Freakanomics calls the reader not to take a plain-and-simple approach to the world, but rather to carefully determine what comparisons are most useful in understanding human decisions and the world around us and expect the unexpected.
In the introduction, the authors (predictably) introduce a number of topics they will be further elaborating on in following chapters. They begin by introducing the idea that abortion was the cause of the decrease in crime in the mid 90s. Then they discuss how real estate agents do not have your best interest in mind when selling your house; they are more concerned with selling it quickly then getting you the best price. Following, they discuss how in reality spending a lot of money has very little to do with the likelihood a politician will be elected. More generally, the introduction describes economics as something far broader than the common perception; it is not the study of money, but rather the study of incentives, which is much further reaching. I learned that economics has many applications beyond what is commonly held in the realm of economic study, and economic tools can be used to analyse behaviors and interactions that would otherwise be difficult to study. The only concern I have about this book is that it didn't have any inline citations, and reads like a popular science book, so I'm not entirely convinced it is super true to reality.
SUMMARY: The introduction of Freakonomics is about how the court ruling of Roe v. Wade in 1973 led to a unprecedented crime drop in the mid-1990s, which was not theorized by anyone before. Then it is introduced how real estate agents are driven by incentives to sell customers' homes as fast as possible, because better deals have an extremely small impact on the amount gained by the agents in the long run. The final topic in the introduction is about how campaign finances have a microscopic effect on which candidate comes out on top. The author introduces the difference between morality and economics: Morality is the way people want the system to go, and economics is the study of how the world actually works. Then the author discusses how incentives drives the world and how the answer to economic questions is often hidden and unexpected.
One of the main ideas I learned from this introduction is how difficult it is to determine the unknown cause of a known effect. I never would have even thought of the decision in Roe v. Wade as being more than just a landmark decision in the abortion debate. I have also been highly skeptical of the impact of campaign finances on the results of elections, so I was glad to learn that I was right. I am curious to learn more about the hidden causes of large effects, like the impact of Roe v. Wade on crime rates. I am also curious to learn more about how experts can use their vast amounts of information in specialized subjects to their own advantage.
The Freakonomics introduction is mostly an overview of basic economics and an explanation of what certain statistics mean. It gave the readers an insight to different sides of the economy and why it is what it is today, laying a foundation for the rest of the book. The introduction taught me that there is always a cause for why the economy, or portions of the economy, is the way it is (i.e Roe v Wade). Something I'm curious about is whether or not the outcomes of events that happen by chance make more of an impact on the economy than the outcomes that happen as a result of intention?
The first chapter of Freakonomics made me approach the subject from a different, more humanistic angle. Rather than focusing on vocabulary terms that constitute the foundation of economics, the authors made a large and complex concept approachable by taking social issues and isolating variables in order to analyze historical trends and to differentiate between the decision making processes of individuals with varying incentives. I loved their explanation of the book, saying that it is really about “stripping a layer or two from the surface of modern life and seeing what is happening underneath”. Underneath the real world examples discussed in this chapter laid five main ideas; incentives are the cornerstones of modern life, conventional wisdom is often wrong, dramatic effects have distant, subtle causes, experts use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda, and knowing what to measure and how to measure makes a complicated world less so. What piques my interest the most among these lessons is that oftentimes, morality and economics contradict each other, yet the tools of economics are applied to moral issues in modern life all the time. I remain curious about how you can accurately measure and predict when an expert’s personal agenda will override their morality, and how this translates into inefficiency for non-experts.
This introduction to Freakanomics is quite interesting because it doesn't cover the idea of Economics very well. In fact, it barely touches on it at all, IF at all. Instead, it focuses on uncovering the true cause and effect behind famous events in history and in our society today. I feel as though the author will continue to use this cause and effect method to slowly explain economics. Although the intro is relatively short, the author uses multiple examples that seem completely unrelated thus giving the impression that there is a lot of material covered in the first 14 pages. I am curious as to whether or not he will revisit any of these points and explain how Economics is involved or if these examples (Abortions, Real Estate, etc.) were used simply for a smooth transition into the cause and effect system.
In the introduction to freakonomics I was taken aback about the drastic increase followed by a large decrease in crime beginning in the 1900s and leading into the 2000s. It was also brought to my attention the many ways that experts manipulate customers in order to boost their sales or money going into their company. Another topic that surprised me was the amount of money that is spent on political ad campaigns. It is kind of absurd the amount of dollars that one would pay for a thirty second commercial. I am interested to read more about how so many of these events and decisions that happen everyday are affected by money, whether it is making it or giving it up for something.
What I learned in this chapter confirmed the 3rd economic assumption, and that is everyone acts out of their own self interest. It was extremely interesting to learn about the difference of how real estate agents work in their own houses versus those of their clients. It makes me wonder what other professions act similarly. I had never thought of the crime drop as a an impact of the legalization of abortion. The book presents this as fact, and while it is logical and makes a lot of sense, it cannot be proved concretely. Just as the influence of gun control or new policing strategies can not be accurately labeled as the cause of the decrease.
The Introduction title - "The Hidden Side of Everything" - pretty much sums up the Introduction. Levitt and Dubner ask a series of what seems non-economic related and odd questions that they then answer with answers that seem odd. They mention what caused crime rates to finally decline, why real-estate people are not giving you their 100 percent, if money really buys elections or if elections by the money. These questions all connect back to the idea that oftentimes people who seem to benefit you - such as real estate agents - only work for their own greed, "professionals" - such as criminologists - are often wrong, and basically that the classic assumptions we are told have a hidden side. Levitt and Dubner end the introduction with some fundamental ideas: Incentives are the cornerstones of modern life, conventional wisdom is often wrong, dramatic effects often have distant causes, "experts" use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda, and knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes a complicated world much less so. The importance of viewing data with an honest mindset instead of with assumptions was also emphasized. They see economics as a representation of how the world actually does work, instead of how people would like it to work. I had a realization and learned the importance of looking at data with an honest assessment - the results and answers of their questions are true, people do act to their own benefits and conventional wisdom is often wrong. Due to modern bias and perspectives, it is often difficult to even view data honestly instead of assuming it is correct because it sounds right or someone important said it. I am really interested to see what other odd questions the authors will answer for us, and in particularlar, I am interested to see how many different ways economics ties into my own life, in ways I had not imagined.
The introduction of the book "Freakonomics" started off with a couple small examples that showed how this book is about the hidden side of everything. It felt extremely random at first but this randomness was clarified when the author talked about how this book "allows them to follow whatever freakish curiosities occur to them". The book is based on a few fundamental ideas that were stated in the intro and a couple of them have already been touched on in class, such as incentives and specialization. What I learned most from this chapter is not only the fundamental ideas behind this book but also the idea of how morality is the way that people would like the world to work and economics is how the world actually works. The main question that the intro leaves me wondering is, what do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
There are many aspects to Economics, ones not so obvious to the public eye. For example, while experts may be saying one thing about causes of a drastic change, it is often subtle past events that were the true contributors to the drastic change. All it takes to understand this is to understand “what to measure and how to measure.” It is also essential to realize, in a capitalist society everyone, from real-estate agent to doctor to mechanic, works for his or her own personal gain and they will use any method to gain an advantage.
The chapter starts out by explaining how intuitive ideas are oftentimes untrue. For example, the dropping crime rate has nothing to do with gun control or policing strategies, and everything to do with the SCOTUS case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion.
I'm curious as to how the book will prove that these connections are causation, not correlation. For example, how can it be proven that abortions, not gun control, are the solution to cutting crime? To me, it seems impossible to prove causation in complex real-world scenarios.
I've already read Freakonomics but I love the concept so much this introduction was still exciting. It might be because I'm the kind of person who likes to correct people, but the concept of commonly held beliefs about what caused major events being wrong is really enjoyable. I wonder how far economic theory can apply to everyday life. When atomic structures were being discovered normal physics didn't readily apply to them - I wonder if economics behaves in the same way.
The Introduction described the world of economics with, if I may say it, a freakish approach. You would never thought about abortion connecting to homocide rate, much less how it relates to economics. Every decision made is economics, whether important or unimportant. The authors made clear that every aspect of society has to do with economics. They have me wondering what other presumably entirely different things are so simply and obviously connected.
As an entrance into the larger idea of the book, it gave me 3 examples of different situations that have to do with economics. I learned most about how the book will be formatted with examples of different situations connecting with economics. The curiosities I have is how the book will connect a seemingly unrelated example with the bigger picture of economics. I'm excited to see how that unravels and to learn more about economic trends as I did this chapter.
I think that the introductory statistics on crime and who is most likely to become a criminal is very interesting. The tie in to real-estate from criminology seemed a bit abrupt (for 4 or 5 pages on it to set it up), but it made a lot of sense. Also, the statement "money buys elections" and then the examples of that were very accurate and well founded. The entirety of the intro seemed to set up a very broad range of topics that could be explored through the rest of the book.
The introduction of "Freakonomics" really intrigued me and allowed for me to become ready to delve deeper. I learned that despite all the simple to see answers that correlate to the problem, may not always be correct, there may be a third factor that explains it all. It also informed me of how ingrained human nature is in economics and how we will observe all people to have self-interest and personal incentives ahead of others. I don't have any lasting queries but look forward to learning and reading more about the past and current status of economics.
The introduction section mainly gave examples of the fundamentals that will be found later in the book. These fundamentals are: incentives are the cornerstone to modern life, the conventional wisdom is often wrong, dramatic effects often have distant, even subtle, causes, experts use their informational advantage to serve their own agenda, and knowing what to measure and how to measure it makes a complicated world less so. Some examples of these would be: political spending does not always win elections, the legalization of abortion caused a major crime drop in the late 1990's, and real-estate agents sell their houses at a higher price than they sell their clients houses. I learned that political spending does not have that big of an effect on elections because the amount of money spent by presidential candidates is always so publicized.
The part of this introduction that I found the most interesting was their justification for the sudden crime drop of the 1990's. Up until this point, I was told that this crime drop was many things, such as the product of successful anti-drug campaigns, as well as positive influence from government. Learning that the actual impact of this sudden change was from a court case more often discussed in US History was very interesting to me. I guess this should be a sign to pro-life supporters that abortion does more good than you might think.
I learned and found it rather interesting that the explanation for something can be very different than what is accepted as the answer, this first intro chapter almost sets up a contradiction to Occams Razor, saying the simplest option us usually right. If These examples followed Occams razor abortion wouldn't have decreased crime, and money could win you an election but by digging deeper we find the more complicated but also more right answer. I also am curious about what is wrong today what generalization or theories we have to day that seem to be right and are backed with solid evidence are wrong.
The thing that I learned most from this would have to be that everything is based upon incentives. As much as I and everyone else would like to think that we have morals and do things based on what we think is right, that is just simply not the case. Everyone can be persuaded for their own self interest. I thought this was most evident in the part about the house realtors and how they don't like the spend much time trying to sell your house and just want to get in the market, make some quick money and get out. The thing that I'm looking forward to most is seeing other examples of people doing selfish things based upon their own incentives that don't involve money.
I learnt that the solution to many real world problems are often rooted deep, and that the study of economics may help us reveal the answer. Economics is the explanation of human behavior and how the society is fundamentally statured.
I thought it was very interesting that the instinctive response to a situation seemed to be based on personal gain. Sometimes, even when ethics would lead someone to make a different choice, the initial reaction is to protect yourself first and foremost. As far as the rest of the book, I am interested to study examples that would otherwise be considered counterintuitive, but are made subconsciously for one reason or another.
The first chapter serves as an introduction to the book Freakonomics, where the authors introduce a concept of applying economic concepts to issues in every day life. Several issues that will be discussed later include the drop in crime during the 1990s, why crack dealers live with their moms, and what sumo wrestlers and teachers have in common. The authors also seem intent on displaying "the hidden side of everything" or uncovering a secret set of rules that dictate how people live their lives and how our modern world functions. By reading this introduction I am very excited to continue the novel.
In the beginning of this book it talks about incentives and how they make or don't make people do something. It talks about the crime rates and how they went down in the early 2000s and how people won't commit a crime because there is no incentive in it there's only the possibility of going to jail or getting in trouble. Morals also come into play when talking about committing a crime. Incentives show how human behavior will or won't do something. The example of the cheating teaches shows how someone will do something to keep their incentives. This chapter shows the study of human behavior in many different ways due to many different reasons.
Sorry for being so late Mr. Eizyks, I just remembered that I had to do this.
I was very interested in how the book presented incentives. Their examples were a bit acute, but they represented the intended message of the authors well. Over the past week I have found myself frequently making note of how incentives have influenced the world around me. The information about how sumo wrestling worked was new to me, which I suppose shows how the book offers more than just knowledge of Economics. I was also quite surprised to see how frequently teachers tended to cheat. This may be because I have been raised in the Lake Oswego school system, as opposed to a school system that isn't so highly regarded. I look forward to reading more from this book, I think that it is both very interesting and very informative which is an extremely powerful combination.
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