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 portion of the full commission does the seller's real estate agent generally get to keep?

2. In his introduction, what does Levitt say he wants to replace with honest assessment?

3. According to the authors, what euphemism means that a house is largely dilapidated?

4. What do obstetricians in lower birth-rate areas do more often?

5. Which President spoke to the House of Representatives early about the dangers of the Ku Klux Klan?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What is important to women on dating sites?

4. What argument do the authors make about experts?

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

6. What are the defining characteristics of conventional wisdom?

7. What unorthodox theory do the authors offer regarding the drop in crime in the late 1990s?

8. Why is information crime so difficult to catch?

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

10. What happens to the day-cares of Haifa, Israel when a late-pickup fee is introduced?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Roland G. Fryer, Jr., is a Harvard-educated researcher who focuses on the socio-economic separations between black and white Americans. Write an essay covering three ways in which this separation manifests itself. How do these examples detail a separate cultural identity and an achievement gap? What are some of the origins of this separation? What conclusions do Levitt and Dubner draw from Fryer's research into these schisms?

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

Throughout FREAKONOMICS, Levitt and Dubner regularly offer apologias to the reader, explaining that they understand that the conclusions they reach may be upsetting or offensive to some. Write an essay examining these apologias. With what findings are they associated? Why do you think the authors deem it necessary to offer an aesthetic caveat to these decisions? To what extent is the final moment of the book a final apologia to the reader?

(see the answer keys)

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