Monday, May 30, 2005

Summer Reading - Freakonomics

Since the Unknown Wife and Unknown Daughter have skipped town and left me with The Lad for the week, I finally got around to reading Freakonomics (I finally gave up on trying to write SAS code when the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is playing in the background...). I'll write more on the book later, but in the meanwhile, here are a few quick observations:
  1. The book seems to have two themes that finance folks will find interesting - information and incentives.
  2. He's amazingly clever at "torturing" his data. Many of the questions he examines have a large number of counfounding factors that make testing hypotheses extremely difficult. Part of his genius seems to be in the way he slices his data in such a way that he can control for many of the confounding factors
  3. It's very well written
  4. It's got lots of provocative findings that will be great for "water cooler" talk -in particular, his hypothesis that the liberalization of abortion following Roe v. Wade led to the decrease in crime in the 90s.
All in all, a great read, particularly for the non-economist. I now have a lot more examples to use in my classes.

Ah well, it's off to Home Depot, and then we grill... (guys will cook when there's Fire and Danger involved..)

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