chapter journal questions

Response Questions:
Introduction and Chapter One: What do Schoolteachers and Sumo Wrestlers have in common?
According to Freakonomics, economics is the study of incentives. Briefly describe what the authors mean by
the word “incentive” as it is used in economic analysis. Also, how do moral incentives differ from an economic
incentive? Give examples from the book to illustrate your answer. You may cite your examples by putting the
page number it is found on in parentheses.
Chapter Two: How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of Real Estate Agents?
How did the exposure of the Ku Klux Klan’s secrets significantly diminish the Klan’s presence and influence in
society? Keeping that in mind, what does the exposure of secret or hard to find information do to the
institution that had maintained that informational advantage? Provide another example.
Chapter Three: Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?
Briefly describe a “tournament market” Also, according to Levitt and Dubner, the organizational structure of
the Black Gangster Disciple Nation is extremely similar to that of McDonald’s. Describe the relevant
similarities between the two organizations and explain how the organizational structure affects the incentives
workers at the lower levels face.
Chapter Four: Where have all the Criminals Gone?
Explain, using economic concepts, why capital punishment has not had a measureable effect on the amount of
crime in the United States. Also, explain how the competition among crack dealers contributed to the decrease
in crime that occurred in the 1990s.
Chapter Five: What makes a Perfect Parent?
According to the ECLS data discussed by Levitt and Dubner, which is a more important indicator of a child’s
success on standardized tests; having lots of books at home or having a parent who reads those books every day
to his or her child? What does this suggest about the marginal benefit of reading to one’s child in so far as
success on standardized tests is concerned? Considering only the measurement of a child’s performance on
standardized tests, which is statistically more important: what a parent does for a child or what the parent is?
Chapter Six: Perfect Parenting Part II: or, would a Roshanda by any Other Name Smell as Sweet?
Evaluate this statement; “The name a parent gives his or her child will have a significant effect on the child’s
success. After all, the data show that certain names are associated with increased income.” And, according to
the data in Freakonomics, what happens over time to the names of children who grow up to be successful?
Conclusion: Freakonomics incorporates a theme which shows that economics is, at root, the study of
incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.
This final question is twofold: (1) How do you believe incentives influence our Government, ultimately affecting
our economy? And (2) If you were to create a chapter in this book, what would you title it and how would you
incorporate the books’ theme throughout the focus of chapter?