Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Walked along Brighton’s superchilledout seafront to the Corn Exchange to hear an illustrated talk by journalist Stephen Dubner, half of the team behind the books Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics, which have sold 4 million copies worldwide. freako 9780141019017 The talk was entertaining and well received by the near-capacity crowd (I hadn’t realised there were so many economists in Brighton. Which might explain a lot). Freakonomics hinged on data mining by “rogue economist” Steven Levitt, deployed to uncover the frequently counter-intuitive truths behind common phenomena: like, why street drug dealers live with their mothers (they don’t make much money), and whether the name your parents chose for you affects your life chances (it doesn’t). I don't think they cover why so many people choose to own a car, in spite of all the evidence that it's often a bad idea. What struck me about Dubner’s talk was that, touching on areas like loss aversion, altruism and behaviour change, this was nearly a lecture on behavioural economics. superfreako 9780141030708 I have read Freako, but not yet Superfreako (so many books, so little time. And to be honest, I was put off by their advocacy of a scheme to combat climate change by geo-engineering a giant pipe to spray sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere to reduce solar radiation: whatever the impact on the stratosphere, Dubner and Levitt ignited the blogosphere, and not in a good way - “superfreakingwrong” according to one comment). So, it seems unlikely that the next volume is going to be about climate change. Any bets on Superfreakobehaviouraleconomics?

No comments:

Post a Comment