Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a
Bobscopatz

Jul 16, 2007

added it

 · 
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
People who know data

Yes, zero stars.

There is one segment of this book that reports use of a dataset I know very well — the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data. From what details they put into the book, it’s fairly clear that the researchers did not research the reliability of the data elements they chose to use from FARS. In particular, their analysis rests on the ability to identify uninjured children in vehicles that were involved in fatal crashes. FARS has data elements for this, but the reliability

There is one segment of this book that reports use of a dataset I know very well — the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data. From what details they put into the book, it’s fairly clear that the researchers did not research the reliability of the data elements they chose to use from FARS. In particular, their analysis rests on the ability to identify uninjured children in vehicles that were involved in fatal crashes. FARS has data elements for this, but the reliability of the data in those data elements is suspect at best. If you go back beyond around 2002’s data, you are missing quite a bit of data. And the data errors are not randomly distributed. In other words, it’s not a usable dataset for the purpose it was put to.

It’s a rookie mistake. We all make them from time to time. But, when you are going out on a limb and finding results that directly contradict the “prevailing wisdom” I believe you have a responsibility to check your work thoroughly and not just rely on peer review — especially if you submit your work to publications where the reviewers are likely to share your ignorance on a particular data set.

In short, the way the child safety seat data were handled in this body of work makes me suspect that the entire work is similarly filled with errors that are understandable in a novice, but inexcusable in someone promoting himself as a “rogue” anything.


…more

Rachel

Jul 09, 2007

rated it
it was ok

 · 
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction

Sure, this book was a compelling read that offered us all some great amo for cocktail party conversation. But ultimately I think most of what Leavitt claims is crap.

He dodges accoutability with the disclaimer about his book NOT being a scholarly work, but then goes on to drop statistics, theories and expert opinions. These assertions laid, he doesn’t provide readers with enough information to critically examine his perspectives.

Ultimately I have a problem with the unquestioned, unaccoutable rol

He dodges accoutability with the disclaimer about his book NOT being a scholarly work, but then goes on to drop statistics, theories and expert opinions. These assertions laid, he doesn’t provide readers with enough information to critically examine his perspectives.

Ultimately I have a problem with the unquestioned, unaccoutable role of the public intellectual. Leavitt dances around with his PhD on his sleeve, but is never subject to peer review or any sort of academic criticism. I think it’s irresponsible.
…more