freakonomics review


Following up on the ongoing discussion about Freakonomics, my review of the book just came out in Sociological Forum, and I think it overlaps a bit with some of the things Omar was saying in the comments to Fabio’s post. (A layout issue in headline makes it look as though I’m the author of the book and Levitt and Dubner are reviewing it. Sadly for my bank manager, this is not the case.)

As it happens, this essay started out life as a blog post I wrote for Crooked Timber’s Seminar on the book. In a further twist, a revised version of Steve Levitt’s response to the seminar contributions now appears as part of the revised and expanded edition of Freakonomics issued in late December. So, in effect, the book incorporates a response to my review before the review itself appeared in print. Not quite Doug Hofstader’s idea of a book called _Reviews of this Book_ (which would containing nothing except cross-referenced reviews of itself), but still appropriately freaky.

Written by Kieran

April 28, 2007 at 9:35 pm

Posted in books, economics, sociology

3 Responses

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  1. Explorations in Data-Driven Econometric Methods for Plausibly Inferring Causal Mechanisms in Many Social Contexts? I love it already. Where can I trade my copy of Freakonomics for it? (I’m sure that readers that would buy that non-existent book also bought Hedstrom and Swedberg’s Social Mechanisms and Blossfeld and Prein’s Rational Choice Theory and Large Scale Data Analysis).



    April 29, 2007 at 3:59 am

  2. […] From this review of Freakonomics by Kieran Healy (pdf): via Orgtheory. […]


  3. It should be said that Levitt’s tales of mathematical incompetence are slightly untrue. After all, he has published several contract theory papers:

    Click to access LevittIncentiveCompatibilityConstraints1997.pdf

    Click to access LevittSnyder1997.pdf

    Click to access LevittOptimalIncentiveScheme1995.pdf



    May 5, 2007 at 8:18 pm

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