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. What comedic Hollywood icon does Levitt quote regarding honesty in this chapter?

2. What is the central action of economics?

3. Paul Feldman makes his living delivering what to offices?

4. Which of the following is not a reason why crack was so appealing to urban gangs in the 1980s?

5. What is the average annual salary of a bottom-tier sumo wrestler?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the nature of discrimination on The Weakest Link?

2. Why would some winning sumo wrestlers throw a match?

3. What argument do the authors make about experts?

4. How does the inclusion of a small monetary compensation affect blood donation in the 1970s?

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

6. How does Venkatesh get his hands on JT's financial records?

7. How did the introduction of crack cocaine reverse a trajectory in American black culture?

8. How is the organizational structure of the Black Gangster Disciple Nation similar to McDonald's?

9. According to the authors, what motivates everyone?

10. What example do the authors use at the end of the chapter to show that people will cheat if they know they won't be caught?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of the book is dedicated to parenting and the ramifications of parental influence. Write an essay about parenting, in three parts:

Part 1) Dubner and Levitt link Roe V. Wade to the drop in crime in the 1990's. How are these two connected? What does this connection say about parental influence and how it relates to the choices as child will make in life?

Part 2) The Early Child Longitudinal Study offers a broad cross-section data regarding influences on children. What factors actually have a correlative effect on a child's performance? What do these factors have in common? Can parents alter their behavior to affect performance?

Part 3) The final chapter of FREAKONOMICS deals with one of the first decisions a parent makes regarding her child: the child's name. What are child names indicative of? Do they indicate where the child is headed or where she came from? What do they say about the parent?

Essay Topic 2

FREAKONOMICS is at heart a challenge to conventional wisdom. The authors regard conventional wisdom as something to be wary of and questioned. Write an essay on the subject of conventional wisdom in three parts:

Part 1) How did the term "conventional wisdom" enter the common lexicon? According to the authors, why is conventional wisdom comforting to people? What purpose does it serve?

Part 2) Why dot he authors deem it so important to challenge conventional wisdom? What does it add to the common discourse, and how does it illuminate the enigmatic world?

Part 3) Analyze one of the topics of any chapter in the book. What conventional wisdom are the authors challenging? How are they going about challenging it, and what conclusion do they reach?

Essay Topic 3

Dubner and Levitt regularly analyze "consumer patterns" in American culture. This allows them to see how trends shift from group to group - particularly between socioeconomic groups - and what this says about societal influences. Write an essay about consumer trends in two parts:

Part 1) How are nylon stockings similar to crack cocaine? To what extent is each a more affordable and mass-produced version of a luxury good? Explain in this section how both of these products represent a trend shift from high-end consumers to low-end consumers.

Part 2) How are child names a commodity that regularly move from one group to another? What are the driving forces behind the national trends regarding baby names? How do baby names shift from one group to another?

(see the answer keys)

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