Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Summary

The SQUEEZE: Economics, in general, is not a glamorous subject. Although Nobel Peace Prize winners are honored for their valuable contributions to the field, no one would be fascinated by the everyday application of economics. However, Steven D. Levitt (and Stephen J. Dubner) is the exception. In Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, Levitt argues that there is a connection between economics and the events of everyday life. Levitt specifically suggests that everyday life isn’t much of a mystery. By asking questions, any one person will discover the connections between economics and life and how they have an impact on different types of decisions. For example, in “Freakonomics,” Levitt draws a connection between legalized abortion and crime. Using the Roe v. Wade decision as a basis for his discussion, Levitt concludes that a drop in criminals contributes to a drop in the rate of violent crime. Levitt’s book highlights connections between Chicago drug-dealing gangs and the McDonald’s corporate structure and enlightens the reader about the dangers of having a backyard swimming pool versus having a gun. Levitt’s book is a must-read for economics researchers as well as for pop culture enthusiasts.

Notable Endorsement: “If Indiana Jones were an economist, he’d be Steven Levitt… Criticizing Freakonomics would be like criticizing a hot fudge sundae.” (Wall Street Journal )

Common Q’s Answered by this Book:

  • What is “freakonomics”?
  • What are examples of information control?
  • What are the economics of drug dealing?
  • How has legalized abortion influenced the reduction of crime?
  • What are the negligible effects of good parenting?


About the Author: Steven D. Levitt is an American economist. Levitt is particularly known for developing the theory (Donohue-Levitt hypothesis) that legal abortion reduces the impact of crime. A winner of the John Bates Clark Medal, Levitt currently serves as the William B. Ogden Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. Levitt is also the director of the Becker Center at the university’s business school. Levitt co-edited the Journal of Political Economy and authored an additional book with Dubner titled Superfreakonomics (2009). Levitt graduated with both a B.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University (1989) and MIT (1994). Stephen J. Dubner is an American journalist. Writer of five books, Dubner is best known for his collaboration with Levitt on the subject of “pop-economics.” Dubner grew up in a devout Roman Catholic Family, practiced Judaism as an adult, and published his first work in a children’s magazine called Highlights for Children. Dubner later published Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son’s Return to His Jewish Family (1998) and Confessions of a Hero-Worshipper (2003).  After receiving a scholarship to attend Appalachian State University in North Carolina, Dubner went on to receive a master’s degree from Columbia University. For more information on Levitt and Dubner, visit:


Book Vitals:

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 2005)

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