Abortion/Crime: Where Do Ideas Come From?

Video It’s always interesting to see where smart people get their ideas. Often, especially in the creative arts, it’s impossible to trace an idea down to its roots. But it’s easier in the social sciences. I, for one, believe that Steve Levitt has had an awful lot of good research ideas, and it’s good to […]

The Decision to Abort When Faced with a Down Syndrome Diagnosis

The New York Times had an interesting article the other day, by Amy Harmon, on how more advanced and widespread testing for Down Syndrome is leading to a shrinking population of babies born with this condition. As evidence, the article cites research finding that 90% of parents choose to abort when they are given a […]

Abortion and Anti-Poverty in Mexico

We have blogged in the past about an anti-poverty program in Chicago that gave cash and prizes to poor families who paid their rent on time, got their kids to school, and looked for work. But Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, has gone even further than Chicago to suss out an anti-poverty program […]

$500 not to have an abortion?

A Texas State Senator has been ridiculed for his proposal to pay women $500 if they show up at an abortion clinic, elect not to have an abortion, and then give the baby up for adoption. Honestly, though, is it really such a bad idea? What if he left out the part about visiting an […]

Back to the drawing board for our latest critics…and also the Wall Street Journal and (Oops!) the Economist.

Thanks to articles in the Wall Street Journal and the Economist, a working paper by Chris Foote and Chris Goetz that is sharply critical of John Donohue and me has gotten an enormous amount of attention. In that working paper Foote and Goetz criticized the analysis underlying one of the tables in our original article […]

Everything in Freakonomics is wrong!

Or at least that is the impression you might get if you read this article in today’s Wall Street Journal. I will post a longer blog entry once I have had time to fully digest the working paper by Foote and Goetz which is the basis for the article. For now, I will say just […]

Cite “Freakonomics,” Get Kicked Out of Class

A few days ago, we asked whether blogging is perhaps dangerous to professors seeking tenure. Here is proof that citing Freakonomics can be dangerous to your academic health as well. A reader sent in this e-mail the other day, which we now reprint in full — minus the young man’s name and college, for obvious […]

The downside of blogs

To all who enjoy this blog, I apologize for the onslaught of comments from Steve Sailer and the various pseudonyms he operates under. Apparently he believes that if he says the same thing over and over it will turn into the truth, or at least direct some traffic to his website. As far as I […]

The New York Times examines why crime fell in New York City

In yesterday’s New York Times, Mike McIntyre writes about the reasons crime has fallen in New York City. Most of the article is about how Mayor Bloomberg claims credit for his police department. The article then goes on to say: Academic experts cite several plausible contributors to the nationwide trend, including an aging population (young […]

Bill Bennett and Freakonomics

Bill Bennett and I have a fair amount in common. We’ve both written about crime (his “superpredator” theory gets a quick discussion in Freakonomics), we have both thought a lot about illegal drugs and education (he was the original “drug czar” and is a former Secretary of Education), and we both love to gamble (although […]