ne of the few books about economics to recently hit the New York Times bestseller’s list was Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner. The book was so popular they even made a movie about it. The specialty of Levitt and Dubner is applying economics to unconventional, controversial, or sometimes even downright bizarre topics. Some praise them for bringing economics to a wider audience, while others criticize them for not tackling serious issues or for delving into overly conversional areas.
So what’s all the fuss about? Take a look for yourself by viewing some of their videos from YouTube, including clips from their movie, or take a look at some articles at their blog. The links are below:
Choose one of the videos or blog articles that you find most interesting, and share the link with your classmates. Discuss some of the following issues based on what you have viewed or read:
- What did you find interesting about the video or article that you found?
- Did you find anything from any of the videos or articles that might help you understand some concepts from the class, or is their stuff too odd or far out there to be useful for this class?
- Overall, what is your impression of Levitt and Dubner? Silly? Interesting? Bizarre? Informative? Boring? Other?
Rubric Name: MBA/MSHRM/MSL Discussion Grading Rubric – Timeliness v1
CriteriaInitial posting reveals a clear understanding of all aspects of the threaded discussion question; uses factual and relevant information; and demonstrates
full development of concepts.Initial posting demonstrates legitimate reflection and answers most aspects of the threaded discussion question; full development of concepts is not evidenced.Initial posting demonstrates some reflection and answers some aspects of the threaded discussion question; Limited development of concepts is evident.Initial posting was not on topic; the response was unrelated to threaded discussion question; and post demonstrated only superficial thought and poor preparation.Responded to the required number of students and to the professor, if appropriate, for every discussion. Demonstrated analysis of others’ posts; extends meaningful discussions by building on previous peer posts and offering alternative perspectives.Responded to almost all of the required students and to the professor, if appropriate, for every discussion. Provided comments and new information to other posts; not all responses promote further discussion of the topic.Responded to some students and to the professor, if appropriate, for every discussion. Little depth in response; agreed or acknowledged one other classmate’s initial posting.Did not respond to any student or the professor.Refers to and properly cites either course and/or outside readings in both initial posting and responses to peers.Refers to and properly cites course and/or outside reading in initial posting only.Makes some reference to assigned readings with some citations or cites questionable sources.Makes no reference to assigned readings without citations or cites questionable sources.Demonstrates mastery conceptualizing the problem; viewpoints and assumptions of experts are analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated; and conclusions are logically presented with appropriate rationale.Demonstrates considerable proficiency conceptualizing the problem; viewpoints and assumptions of experts are analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated; and conclusions are presented with necessary rationale.Demonstrates partial proficiency conceptualizing the problem; viewpoints and assumptions of experts are analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated; and conclusions are somewhat consistent with the analysis and findings.Demonstrates limited or poor proficiency conceptualizing the problem; viewpoints and assumptions of experts are analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated; and conclusions are either absent or poorly conceived and supported.Initial post occurs in a timely manner (1 – 3 days into module) allowing ample time for classmates to respond and engage.Initial post occurs later (4 – 5 days into module) allowing limited time for classmates to respond and engage.Initial post occurs substantially late (6-7 days into module) allowing minimal to no time for classmates to respond and engage.Initial post occurs after the first week of the module.
The video that I will use as the basis of my discussion post is titled The Monkey Economy: Freakonomics Radio Live in St. Paul (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8449HgS3FM&index=8&list=PL5E9D4FB04FB17DB2).
1. I found the entire video to be interesting. Honestly, my first impression of this video was “This has to be some sort of joke.” However, as the video progressed, I started to become intrigued as Dubner explains the experiment conducted by Keith Chen, an economist from Yale University. This experiment involved teaching monkeys how to use a monetary system as a way to understand how people spend their money. It wasn’t until the end where Dubner talks about how the male monkey with a coin gives the coin to a second monkey which led to the monkeys grooming themselves before having sex. At that point, I lost almost all interest in the video and stopped taking the video seriously.
2. Because it was revolved around monkeys “participating” in an economic system, I found the video to be far out there to be useful for this class. According to PBS (n.d.), humans didn’t even evolve from monkeys (para. 1). Perhaps this next statement may come across as condescending, but I have absolutely no interest in learning more about how an animal’s brain activity works.
3. Overall, my impression is both silly and interesting. I will also give an honorable mention to informative. First of all, I believe that this video sounded like a fictional story that’d be read to pre-teens (sans the monkey sex part). I’m also curious if there’s video evidence of this experiment conducted by Mr. Chen.
FreakonomicsVideos. (2011, Oct. 11). The Monkey Economy: Freakonomics Radio Live in St. Paul [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8449HgS3FM&index=8&list=PL5E9D4FB04FB17DB2
Frequently Asked Questions bout Evolution. (n.d.). PBS. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/faq/cat02.html
Shannon Almero posted Apr 25, 2018 7:14 PM
I found a Freakonomics Video on how to find a good doctor. This is an interesting topic for me because I have had so many health problems over the years. It would be so nice to have an easier way to be able to find a doctor that is better suited for your care. In my case it took healthcare providers 7 years to identify a brain tumor.
In this video, Levitt and Dubner spoke about how to measure a doctor. One of the ways some might want to measure is by death rates. They spoke about how far along patients were when they went to these doctors. Patients might have waited and found the best provider at the very end. So, using death rates to measure a doctor is not the best way to find a good doctor.
I watched quite a few of the videos, I watched one on a woman who quit her job as computer programmer to become an escort. I watched a video on parenting and a video on teachers cheating for students. I think the videos are interesting and some are just for fun. I don’t think people need to know that it is safer to drive drunk than walk drunk home. But I think that some of it could be useful for this class.
FreakonomicsVideos. (2011, Oct. 11) How to find a good doctor. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8bmS9YxLOo&index=21&list=PLBD4E8D68EB4706F5