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. In 1964, what was a hauntingly simple cause of infant death in the American black community?

2. What is the central action of economics?

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

4. Which of the following is not affected by the rank of a sumo wrestler?

5. What conservative American politician does Levitt cite as an example of a victim of the country's changing attitudes toward bigotry?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. According to the authors, what motivates everyone?

6. 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?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

The authors of FREAKONOMICS begin the book with five precepts that guided their writing, as opposed to a single subject. Write an essay about any one of these precepts. Why do Levitt and Dubner consider this rule central to their process? Choose three chapters from the book. How does the research done in these chapters reflect your chosen precept?

Essay Topic 3

Much of the early section of FREAKONOMICS is dedicated to the idea of honesty in society. Write an essay about three of the analyzed systems and what they say about honesty. What incentives does each person in the system have either to act truthfully or cheat? How does this create a system in which cheating is common? How do arbiters attempt to affect the dynamic to stop cheating? Is it successful?

Part 1) The Sumo wrestling leagues of Japan.

Part 2) The Chicago Public School System.

Part 3) Paul Feldman's bagel business.

(see the answer keys)

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