Freakonomics Test | Final 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. Which of the following factors is revealed not to have a correlative effect on a child's school performance?

2. What is the number one white girl name that indicates low education in a parent?

3. What term did James Alan Fox use to describe the spike in crime he predicted in the mid 1990s?

4. Who does Levitt point out has a nearly quadrupled likelihood of dying every year than a death row inmate has of being executed?

5. What does the ECLS show about the black-white achievement gap for students just entering school?

Short Essay Questions

1. How do the authors address the moral outrage their theories may elicit?

2. How do the authors explain the correlation between number of books and achievement?

3. Why did the influence of crack cocaine decline in the 1990s?

4. To what extent does every chapter in FREAKONOMICS involve a closed system?

5. How does Robert Lane's child-naming scheme work out?

6. What theory guided Rudolph Giuliani and William Bratton in their policing strategies of the Nineties?

7. How is the quality of life of an aborted child different from one that is born?

8. By what rational do Levitt and Dubner reason that even a cynical person would not consider abortion a reasonable deterrent to crime?

9. What point to Dubner and Levitt make regarding guns and swimming pools?

10. In what two ways do larger prisons affect less crime in a community?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Commiserate with the inherent distrust of conventional wisdom in FREAKONOMICS is a distrust of experts. Levitt and Dubner explain that experts, far from being disinterest gurus, are guided by the same personal agendas that guide the rest of us. Write an essay on the self-interest of experts, focusing on three types of experts. What does each have to gain from his or her knowledge? What trust do many people put in these experts?

Part 1) Real Estate Agents.

Part 2) Homelessness advocates.

Part 3) Life insurance salesmen.

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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