Quotes from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)

Steven D. Levitt ·  320 pages

Rating: (568.2K votes)


“Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work, wheareas economics represents how it actually does work.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“The conventional wisdom is often wrong.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“Information is a beacon, a cudgel, an olive branch, a deterrent--all depending on who wields it and how.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“As W.C. Fields once said: a thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“After all, your chances of winning a lottery and of affecting an election are pretty similar. From a financial perspective, playing the lottery is a bad investment. But it's fun and relatively cheap: for the price of a ticket, you buy the right to fantasize how you'd spend the winnings - much as you get to fantasize that your vote will have some impact on policy.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)



“An incentive is a bullet, a key: an often tiny object with astonishing power to change a situation”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“Social scientists sometimes talk about the concept of "identity". It is the idea that you have a particular vision of the kind of person you are, and you feel awful when you do things that are out of line with that vision.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“If you both own a gun and a swimming pool in your backyard, the swimming pool is about 100 times more likely to kill a child than the gun is.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“When a woman does not want to have a child, she usually has good reason. She may be unmarried or in a bad marriage. She may consider herself too poor to raise a child. She may think her life is too unstable or unhappy, or she may think that her drinking or drug use will damage the baby’s health. She may believe that she is too young or hasn’t yet received enough education. She may want a child badly but in a few years, not now. For any of a hundred reasons, she may feel that she cannot provide a home environment that is conducive to raising a healthy and productive child.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)



“Levitt admits to having the reading interests of a tweener girl, the Twilight series and Harry Potter in particular.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“An expert must be BOLD if he hopes to alchemize his homespun theory into
conventional wisdom.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“But as incentives go, commissions are tricky. First of all, a 6 percent real-estate commission is typically split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s. Each agent then kicks back roughly half of her take to the agency. Which means that only 1.5 percent of the purchase price goes directly into your agent’s pocket. So on the sale of your $300,000 house, her personal take of the $18,000 commission is $4,500. Still not bad, you say. But what if the house was actually worth more than $300,000? What if, with a little more effort and patience and a few more newspaper ads, she could have sold it for $310,000? After the commission, that puts an additional $9,400 in your pocket. But the agent’s additional share—her personal 1.5 percent of the extra $10,000—is a mere $150. If you earn $9,400 while she earns only $150, maybe your incentives aren’t aligned after all.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“The swimming pool is almost 100 times more likely to kill a child than the gun is.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“As we suggested near the beginning of this book, if morality represents an ideal world, then economics represents the actual world.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)



“The ECLS data do show, for instance, that a child with a lot of books in his home tends to test higher than a child with no books.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“But in both instances, the dissemination of the information diluted its power. As Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis once wrote, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“Since the science of economics is primarily a set of tools, as opposed to a subject matter, then no subject, however offbeat, need be beyond its reach.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“It is well and good to opine or theorize about a subject, as humankind is wont to do, but when moral posturing is replaced by an honest assessment of the data, the result is often a new, surprising insight.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“Turns out that a real-estate agent keeps her own home on the market an average of ten days longer and sells it for an extra 3-plus percent, or $10,000 on a $300,000 house.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)



“Congress passed legislation requiring a five-year mandatory sentence for selling just five grams of crack; you would have to sell 500 grams of powder cocaine to get an equivalent sentence. This disparity has often been called racist, since it disproportionately imprisons blacks.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“Experts depend on the fact that you don’t have the information they do. Or that you are so befuddled by the complexity of their operation that you wouldn’t know what to do with the information if you had it. Or that you are so in awe of their expertise that you wouldn’t dare challenge them.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“And while it sounds bad to hear that Americans underpay their taxes by nearly one-fifth, the tax economist Joel Slemrod estimates that the U.S. is easily within the upper tier of worldwide compliance rates.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“When moral posturing is replaced by an honest assessment of the data, the result is often a new, surprising insight.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“la economía como ciencia consiste fundamentalmente en un conjunto de herramientas, más que una cuestión de contenido, ningún tema se halla fuera de su alcance.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)



“There are three basic flavors of incentive: economic, social, and moral. Very often a single incentive scheme will include all three varieties. Think about the anti-smoking campaign of recent years. The addition of a $3-per-pack “sin tax” is a strong economic incentive against buying cigarettes. The banning of cigarettes in restaurants and bars is a powerful social incentive. And when the U.S. government asserts that terrorists raise money by selling black-market cigarettes, that acts as a rather jarring moral incentive.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“But one need not oppose abortion on moral or religious grounds to feel shaken by the notion of a private sadness being converted into a public good.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“It was Klan custom, for instance, to append a Kl to many words. (Thus would two Klansmen hold a Klonversation in the local Klavern.)”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“A woman's income appeal is a bell-shaped curve: men do not want to date low-earning women, but once a woman starts earning too much, they seem to be scared off.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)


“The fear created by commercial experts may not quite rival the fear created by terrorists like the Ku Klux Klan, but the principle is the same.”
― Steven D. Levitt, quote from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Freakonomics, #1)



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About the author

Steven D. Levitt
Born place: in The United States
Born date May 29, 1967
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