A couple weeks ago, Uri Gneezy and John List asked our blog readers to come up with titles for their new book. And our readers did not disappoint! There were over 400 suggestions, many of them brilliant.
The authors and their editors have now narrowed it down to five choices, and they once again are asking for your help in deciding on the final title. There is no better way to solicit that input than — you guessed it — a field experiment. To get you interested, they are putting up another $1,000 in prizes to participants.
The rules are simple: You go here and answer two simple questions.
First, you will be asked to choose which of the five titles you think will be the most popular among all the respondents. They don’t want to know your favorite title, they want to know the title you think other people will like best. Read More »
My close friend, colleague, and frequent co-author John List has written a popular (non-academic) book with another economist, Uri Gneezy. John and Uri are pioneers in the area of “field experiments” which bring the power of randomized experiments into real-world settings. In my opinion, field experiments are the future of empirical economics. We’ve written at length in our books and on our blog about the amazing work these two have been doing. I’ve had the chance to read John and Uri’s book, and I loved it.
The thing they can’t figure out, however, is what to call the book! If only my sister Linda – the greatest namer of things the world has ever known — were still around, she would figure out a great title for sure. In her absence, they’ve asked if I could mobilize the collective genius of you, the Freakonomics blog readers.
Okay, so here is the deal. Below, I’ve provided some information on the book and links to some materials that might prove useful to you in coming up with a name. You have two days to generate great titles for the book, which you can submit as comments on this blog post. Read More »
We are excited to the announce the winner of The Knockoff Economy contest for best photo of a knockoff. In fact, we are excited to announce that we have two winners (we had a lot of great entries, but these two jumped out). And, since they kind of go together in an odd way, we decided to award them both the prize. Winners receive a signed copy of The Knockoff Economy plus a copy of the new album Just Tell Me That You Want Me, featuring covers (i.e., legal knockoffs) of Fleetwood Mac songs by artists like Karen Elson, Lykke Li, and The New Pornographers.
Our congratulations to Donna Ivanisevic for the Louis Vuitton condom (originally created and sold, ever so briefly, for World AIDS Day) and to Terry Stedman (disclosure: a former student of Kal’s) for the Louis Vuitton Virgin Mary: Read More »
My friend Jack Hitt has a funny piece in The New Yorker listing misstatements about American history by conservative politicians, beginning with these doozies:
1500s: The American Revolutionary War begins: “The reason we fought the revolution in the sixteenth century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown.”—Rick Perry
1607: First welfare state collapses: “Jamestown colony, when it was first founded as a socialist venture, dang near failed with everybody dead and dying in the snow.”—Dick Armey
1619-1808: Africans set sail for America in search of freedom: “Other than Native Americans, who were here, all of us have the same story.”—Michele Bachmann
1775: Paul Revere “warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms, by ringing those bells and making sure as he was riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.”—Sarah Palin
1775: New Hampshire starts the American Revolution: “What I love about New Hampshire… You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world.”—Michele Bachmann
[Ed. note: One of these claims seems much closer to being true: see page 1336-38 of Property in Land].
Freakonomics Nation: can we produce an analogous list of historical misstatements by liberal pols? We’ll give out some Freakonomics swag to a clear winner or two.
Earlier this week I posed a quiz to blog readers: what happened twice to me in the last few days that had never once happened to me in the first 45 years of my life.
Well, it turns out that the answers readers posted turned out to be a pretty interesting data for analysis. At the time that my researcher Sara Kuse crunched the numbers, there were 280 guesses (some commenters guessed more than once, and we counted all their guesses) that fell into roughly 110 different categories.
The most commonly made guesses were getting robbed or mugged, making a hole in one, getting recognized/asked for an autograph, winning a prize, losing something like a wallet being in a car accident, and being stung by a bee. Over 30 percent of all the guesses were one of those items. None of those would qualify, however, because they’ve all happened to me at least once before. Getting robbed and a hole in one were two great guesses – both have happened to me exactly once in my life. Read More »
Last week something that has never happened to me before in my life, occurred twice, independently, in two days.
What was it? First correct answer in the comments section gets Freakonomics swag.
Although that is a meager set of hints, I’ve found that no matter how hard the quiz, Freakonomics blog readers can answer just about any question within an hour. I’ll be curious to see what happens on this one. Read More »
The results are in from the nudge photo contest we posted on Monday. Thirty-six out of 103 responses got it exactly right: to stop folks from urinating on the wall. Many also wrote that it was to prevent grafitti, so close but not (as I’ve been told) the exact motivation.
The first to answer correctly was, Skyjo, whose response was third overall.
Of the 36 correct answers, we randomly chose comment #63 by ann, “So that people won’t urinate on the wall as a sign of respect.”
Nudges aren’t just for humans. Here is a photo, also from Jan Chipchase, of a similar nudge with the same exact goal of reducing public urination. This time the target is dogs, not humans.
What may not be super obvious to everyone out there is the meaning of the graphic above. So let’s play name that reference and throw in some swag for good measure!
We haven’t forgotten that your preferred method of giveaway is “random,” and we’ve had a contest before on this blog where the prize is contingent on your comment number. So here’s how it’s going to work this time: the 42nd comment will win if it bears the correct answer. If comment 42 has the wrong answer, the winning number doubles and the 84th comment will win — but again, only if the answer is correct. The winning number will triple, quadruple, etc. until we get a winner.
So tell us, what does 42 signify and where is it from? Hint: the title of this post.