We Need Your Questions

There is going to be a U.S. paperback edition of Freakonomics someday, and when there is, the publisher wishes to include a Q&A with the authors.

Such Q&A’s have great potential but often fail because of the canned and bland questions fed to the authors by the publishers — or, worse, fawning questions invented by the authors themselves.

So let’s put an end to that!

In the comments below, please pose some questions that you would like to see answered in the paperback Q&A. They can concern anything you’d like: material in the book, modes of collaboration, the price of tea in China, material in the upcoming SuperFreakonomics, etc. We will probably use 8 or 10 or 15, but the more we have to choose from, the better off we’ll be.



Which of the following do you view as your strongest competitor? Your weakest competitor?

Thomas Friedman, Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell


Comments on this site over time seem to be skewed with an anti-union point of view. Why?

Stephen S. Power

The thing I like best about "Freakonomics" is that on controversial topics it presents data and shows how conclusions were drawn from it, requiring anyone who would dispute your data to bring their own to the table and anyone who would dispute your conclusions to present a contrary reading of your data. This approach takes the political correctness and ignorant opinion out of topics, which is very refreshing.

My question, then, is this: what conflicting data and alternate readings of your data have you found most compelling, why, and how would you change your own conclusions as a result?

J. Plain

Tell us about the types of criticisms that you have received from your traditional/academic economics colleagues over your Freakonomics work. And how have you respnonded to such criticisms?

J. Plain

What types of unintended consequences have you seen arise from your Freakonomics work?


Why do you think that the US Mint is still producing pennies if the cost of physically producing a penny is much greater than the value of the resulting penny?

John K.

It seems that the traditional model for writing and publishing books is outdated, as the Internet should continue to force certain business models to adapt. When's the expiration date for traditional book publishers?


Since Freakanomics was first published, has additional research been done that refutes any claims in the book? if so, which claims and what does the research disclose?

This is guaranteed not to make the list fo questions. I don't see the publisher wanting to state pout front that the book is wrong.

VB in NV

Other than Levitt's horse racing picks, what articles do you wish you could take back.

John K.

It has been years since you first released Freakonomics. During this time, have any of your conclusions/assumptions changed because of new analysis? Would you have approached any parts differently?


Can you comment on the progress of the Pokernomics data analysis? Are any interesting patterns forming? Is there ever going to be a book?


Can you tell us about subjects that you researched that you didn't write about (possibly b/c the data didn't tell you anything, it was too controversial to write about, etc)? I'd like to hear what was left behind on the editing room floor.


Is the US economy, which is the single biggest player in the world economy, inherently unstable and unsustainable because of the high level of consumption?


I was about to post the same question as Mickey (comment #9) - I too would love to know more on this.


Of the stated "billions" we are spending in Iraq every day, week, month, etc., how much of that is being paid to US companies and what positive impact has that had on US GDP? If we pulled out of Iraq completely tomorrow, what impact would that have on US GDP?


Here in Wisconsin we have a lot of farms. Often on farms I see old junked cars and trucks in the yard or by the barn. Why do/did farmers just leave the car in the yard rather than trading it in? As a city dweller, I can't just leave me old car sitting in my yard, but I wouldn't because of the value of that car as a trade in or at least for scrap.


Since Freakonomics brought the abortion/crime debate to the mainstream, there has been an ongoing debate about this relationship. I wonder if there is something about the "opposition"'s opinion that has made you rethink about your previous statements (I'm not talking, obviously, about the corrections you made to the model once it was published)?


Because buying new cars is pretentious and farmers are not.
Trade-ins are a rip off.


What has been the craziest, most un-expected, or best goofball interaction that you had in regards to authoriing the book? The type of situation that made you either laugh hysterically, question the world's (or your) sanity, or feel for your cell phone in case you had to dial 911 to get assistance for either medical help or law enforcement intervention.

Such as a drug dealer approaching to dispute his profitability, a homeless person asking to get copy of the book signed that s/he obviously recovered out of the trash, a buxom female fan asking to have a body part signed, free offers to parachute out of a plane with the book, etc.

We want to know some of the wacky stuff.

Milton Recht

Why does the cost of living vary across the US? Why do rents and home prices vary as much as they do? Are their places in the US where lower costs of living offsets the lower pay so economically a worker is better off than living in a high pay, high cost of living area of the US?