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What is a good short summary of "Freakonomics"?

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Quick Answer

"Freakonomics," written Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, is a nonfiction book published in 2005. The subtitle of the book "A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything" refers to the fact that the authors delve into the economics of how the world functions. In particular, the authors explore non-traditional subjects that are not usually covered by economists.

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Full Answer

The authors apply economic theory to unconventional subjects from drug dealers to sumo wrestlers. The premise is that incentives play a key role in many areas of life. The authors postulate that the way people benefit from activities modifies their behavior patterns, sometimes causing people to cheat.

Another premise the authors explore is the role of information as an economic tool. Suppressing certain information or widely and purposefully disseminating it can affect the functioning of industries.

Critics have deemed some of the authors' conclusions as faulty or, at best, skewed. Critics also contend that the book is not about economics but about sociology. The authors were also criticized for their conclusion that legalizing abortion in the 70s resulted in a decline of crime in the 90s. "Freakonomics" was very popular and sold over four million copies by 2009, just four years after it was first published.

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