Archives for

Why Bad Environmentalism Is Such An Easy Sell: Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Why Bad Environmentalism Is Such an Easy Sell.” [MUSIC: The Civil Tones, “Oddly Enough” (from: City Stoopin’)]   Stephen J. DUBNER: Please identify yourself, name, rank, serial number, whatever version of rank and serial number you wish to convey.   Edward GLAESER: I’m Ed Glaeser, the Fred […] Read More »

Is There a Glass Ceiling in Corporate Crime?

Our podcast “Women Are Not Men” looked at a variety of gender gaps, including the fact that the vast majority of violent crime is committed by men. A new paper by Darrell J. Steffensmeier, Jennifer Schwartz, and Michael Roche in the American Sociological Review finds that women are less likely to be involved in corporate crime as well:

Typically, women were not part of conspiracy groups. When women were involved, they had more minor roles and made less profit than their male co-conspirators. Two main pathways defined female involvement: relational (close personal relationship with a main male co-conspirator) and utility (occupied a financial-gateway corporate position). Paralleling gendered labor market segmentation processes that limit and shape women’s entry into economic roles, sex segregation in corporate criminality is pervasive, suggesting only subtle shifts in gender socialization and women’s opportunities for significant white-collar crimes. Our findings do not comport with images of highly placed or powerful white-collar female criminals.

“Men lead these conspiracies, and men generally prefer to work with men,” Steffensmeier told the Washington Post. “If they do use women, they use them because they have a certain utility or they have a personal relationship with that woman and they trust her.”

When the Store Gets Crowded, the Shopper Buys Safety

A new research paper (abstract; PDF) by Ahreum Maeng, Robin J. Tanner, and Dilip Soman looks at how a shopping environment affects buying patterns. From the press release:

New research by Ahreum Maeng, an assistant professor in the KU School of Business, finds that socially crowded environments lead consumers to be more conservative. Specifically, Maeng finds that consumers in crowded settings prefer safety-oriented options and are more receptive to prevention-framed messages than promotional messages — for example, preferring a toothpaste offering cavity protection over a toothpaste promising a whiter smile. Maeng also finds consumers in crowded settings are less willing to make risky investments. 

“Consumers in crowded environments get conservative and safety-focused,” Maeng said. “We believe this is because people in socially crowded settings activate an avoidance system that results in a more prevention-focused mindset. This, in turn, makes socially crowded individuals more likely to choose options that provide prevention-focused benefits.” 

Maeng points out that the research has important implications for retailers as well as policymakers.  “For example, our findings indicate a store would benefit by selling and marketing products differently on a crowded Saturday during the holidays versus a Tuesday morning in August,” she says. “And even within the same day, stores might consider changing their signage or product placement to account for different levels of crowding.”

The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat: Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat.” [MUSIC: The Diplomats of Solid Sound, “Pistol Alien” (from Let’s Cool One)]   Stephen J. Dubner: Hey podcast listeners: you are about to hear a new episode of Freakonomics Radio, called “The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat.” I think […] Read More »

How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast Full Transcript

[MUSIC: The Diplomats of Solid Sound, “Growin’ In It” (from Destination… Get Down!)]   Stephen J. DUBNER: Steve Levitt is my Freakonomics friend and co-author. He teaches at the University of Chicago.   DUBNER: Hey, Levitt so we are going to do something today that we’ve never done before on this program, which is beg. […] Read More »

The Long-Term Effects of Birth Control

A new working paper (PDF; abstract) by Martha J. Bailey, an economics professor at the University of Michigan, analyzes the effects of increased access to birth control in the 1960s and 1970s:

This paper assembles new evidence on some of the longer-term consequences of U.S. family planning policies, defined in this paper as those increasing legal or financial access to modern contraceptives. The analysis leverages two large policy changes that occurred during the 1960s and 1970s: first, the interaction of the birth control pill’s introduction with Comstock-era restrictions on the sale of contraceptives and the repeal of these laws after Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965; and second, the expansion of federal funding for local family planning programs from 1964 to 1973. Building on previous research that demonstrates both policies’ effects on fertility rates, I find suggestive evidence that individuals’ access to contraceptives increased their children’s college completion, labor force participation, wages, and family incomes decades later.

Predicting the End of the Government Shutdown

Flip Pidot, co-founder and CEO of the American Civics Exchange, writes to let us know that the exchange has recently added cash prizes to their political prediction markets and is currently running two parallel government shutdown prediction markets, allowing for an interesting experiment:

At American Civics Exchange, we’ve just begun to implement cash prizes in our political prediction market (a sort of interim maneuver on our way to regulated exchange-traded futures).

For the government shutdown, we’re running two parallel markets – one in which traders buy and sell different shutdown end dates (with play money), yielding an implied odds curve and consensus prediction (below), and another in which traders simply log their best guess as to exact date and time of resolution (with no visibility into others’ guesses), with the closest prediction winning the real-money pot.

Read More »

How to Think About Money, Choose Your Hometown, and Buy an Electric Toothbrush: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast Full Transcript

This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “How to Think About Money, Choose Your Hometown, and Buy an Electric Toothbrush.” [MUSIC: John Philip Sousa, “Manhattan Beach” (from J.P. Sousa’s Marches and Dances)]   Stephen J. DUBNER: Hey Levitt, what are your very favorite three letters in the English alphabet?   Steven D. LEVITT: I […] Read More »