HarperCollins is running a sale on the SuperFreakonomics e-book for the next few weeks, offering it via all digital vendors for $3.99. The book’s total worldwide sales are > 1 million.
This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “Our 100th Episode!” Stephen J. DUBNER: Oh, hang on. Why don’t you say, why don’t you pretend that you’re introducing the episode of the one-hundredth anniversary. So be, like, over the top radio guy. I’m Steve Levitt from Freakonomics and I want to welcome you to […] Read More »
A German court has ruled that poker is a game of skill, as Levitt has argued before (and which a U.S. court has recently confirmed). The ruling is in response to poker player Eduard Scharf‘s claims that his poker winnings shouldn’t be taxed because poker is a game of chance, and “anyone can win a game of poker.” The court disagreed, ruling that “[H]e had to pay income tax on his winnings saying they counted as commercial income as they were linked to his personal skills.” (HT: Sven Seuken)
This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “How to Maximize Your Halloween Candy Haul.” Kai RYSSDAL: Time now for a little Freakonomics Radio. It’s that moment every couple of weeks we talk to Stephen Dubner, co-author of the books and blog of the same name – it is “the hidden side of everything.” Dubner, […] Read More »
A Florida state task force on education has just released a recommendation to adjust tuition, by major.
“Tuition would be lower for students pursuing degrees most needed for Florida’s job market, including ones in science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as the STEM fields,” writes Scott Travis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Students in other majors — psychology and the performing arts, for example — would pay more. ”The purpose would not be to exterminate programs or keep students from pursuing them. There will always be a need for them,” Dale Brill, the task force chair, told Travis. “But you better really want to do it, because you may have to pay more.”
This is a transcript of the Freakonomics Radio podcast “We the Sheeple.” [AUDIO OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AND GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY] [MUSIC: Glenn Crytzer and his Syncopators - Witching Hour Blues] Stephen DUBNER: Bryan, do you vote in presidential elections? Bryan CAPLAN: I confess that I do not. DUBNER: Why not? […] Read More »
Humans run on a fuel called food. Yet economists and other social scientists rarely study what people eat. We provide simple evidence consistent with the existence of a link between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and high well-being. In cross-sectional data, happiness and mental health rise in an approximately dose-response way with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables. The pattern is remarkably robust to adjustment for a large number of other demographic, social and economic variables. Well-being peaks at approximately 7 portions per day. We document this relationship in three data sets, covering approximately 80,000 randomly selected British individuals, and for seven measures of well-being (life satisfaction, WEMWBS mental well-being, GHQ mental disorders, self-reported health, happiness, nervousness, and feeling low).
One major note: the researchers caution that reverse causality may be an issue. That is, rather than fruit and vegetables causing well-being, it may be that well-adjusted people prefer eating a lot of fruit and vegetables. The authors recommend additional “randomized trials to explore the consequences for mental health of different levels of fruit-and-vegetable consumption.”
A new working paper (abstract; PDF) by Ian Fillmore and Devin G. Pope examines whether “cognitive fatigue” has any impact on exam results. The researchers looked at the number of days students had between AP exams, and found that resting time matters:
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In many education and work environments, economic agents must perform several mental tasks in a short period of time. As with physical fatigue, it is likely that cognitive fatigue can occur and affect performance if a series of mental tasks are scheduled close together. In this paper, we identify the impact of time between cognitive tasks on performance in a particular context: the taking of Advanced Placement (AP) exams by high-school students. We exploit the fact that AP exam dates change from year to year, so that students who take two subject exams in one year may have a different number of days between the exams than students who take the same two exams in a different year. We find strong evidence that a shorter amount of time between exams is associated with lower scores, particularly on the second exam. Our estimates suggest that students who take exams with 10 days of separation are 8% more likely to pass both exams than students who take the same two exams with only 1 day of separation.