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Interesting Questions in Freakonomics

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  • John DiNardo

Abstract

Freakonomics is more about "entertainment" than it is a serious attempt at popularization. Consequently, rather than conduct a comprehensive fact check, I use the book as a springboard for a broader inquiry into social science research and take issue with the book's surprising premise that "Economics is a science with excellent tools for gaining answers but a serious shortage of interesting questions." Using examples from Freakonomics , I argue that some of the questions the book addresses are "uninteresting" because it is impossible to even imagine what a good answer would look like. I conclude with some thoughts about the role of economic theory in generating interesting questions and/or answers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 45 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 973-1000

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:45:y:2007:i:4:p:973-1000

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.45.4.973
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Cited by:
  1. Theodore J. Joyce, 2009. "Abortion and Crime: A Review," NBER Working Papers 15098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Peter Spiegler, . "The Unbearable Lightness of the Economics-Made-Fun Genre," Working Papers 12, University of Massachusetts Boston, Economics Department.
  3. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-72, Summer.
  4. John Dinardo & Jason Winfree, 2010. "The Law Of Genius And Home Runs Refuted," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 51-64, 01.

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