Freakonomics Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Steven Levitt
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to James Alan Fox in 1995, what is the minimum rise in violent crime to be expected in the next decade?

2. What condition did Listerine claim to treat in 1920, increasing its sales dramatically?

3. How long did JT run the Black Gangster Disciple Nation before being promoted to the Board of Directors?

4. In what year did the Chicago Public School system begin widespread standardized testing?

5. On average, how many more days does a real estate agent generally keep her own house on the market as opposed to someone else's?

Short Essay Questions

1. How is a sumo wrestler's life affected by his ranking?

2. How did Sudhir Venkatesh become acquainted with the Black Gangster Disciple Nation?

3. Why is a real estate agent inclined to keep her own house on the market longer than her client's?

4. What mindset do the authors ask the reader to take at the end of the introduction?

5. To what extent is the winning of a conventional wisdom battle key to achieving public success?

6. How do the authors show that money spent does not affect election results?

7. According to the authors, what motivates everyone?

8. What tactics do researchers use to determine if CPS teachers are cheating on standardized tests?

9. What is important to women on dating sites?

10. How have attitudes toward public bigotry changed in recent years?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Even though FREAKONOMICS is a work of nonfiction, it has two heroic characters: Sudhir Venkatesh and Roland G. Fryer, Jr. These two men both took unusual roads to a life of intellectual excellence. Write an essay about these men, focusing on their power as subjects as well as sources. What do their stories have in common? How are their exceptional stories juxtapositions to research that effectively argues that humanity is the slave of trends?

Essay Topic 2

In the world as analyzed by Dubner and Levitt in FREAKONOMICS, information is a tangible commodity. From it derives power and influence over others, and many groups primarily derive their power from information. Write an essay on information as a commodity, in three parts:

Part 1) Information asymmetry is the purposeful consolidation of information by a group for the sake of greater influence. How is this an effective technique in controlling others? What examples exist of information asymmetry exist in our culture?

Part 2) To what extent did the Ku Klux Klan's power derive from its secrecy? As such, how were Stetson Kennedy's techniques against the Klan particularly effective at disempowering them?

Part 3) The authors state that the advent of the internet was a boon for a society held hostage to information asymmetry. What businesses were affected adversely by this new freedom of information? How were they affected?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay on the subject of honesty. What drives human beings either to act honestly or to cheat, according to the authors of FREAKONOMICS? What systems do they study in order to uncover trends and motivations behind honesty and deception? How do these systems create a dynamic in which cheating is incentivized?

(see the answer keys)

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