Levitt states that the root of Economics is the study of incentives (Levitt 20) since scarcity causes Social-Darwinism by competition for resources that people want and need. But rather than presenting cases of incentives that serve their intend purposes Levitt displays cases in which incentives have failed and backfired. One example of such a case is when day-care centers in Haifa, Israel enacted a fine on parents who picked up their children late. They hope was to decrease the numbers of late parents but average of late parents actually doubled (Levitt 19-20). The reason was plain to see, the incentive was not big enough. The fine was only three dollars, less than that of a morning cup of coffee.
An unusual story involving incentives and morning cuisine is that of Levitt’s recalling of Paul Feldman who ran a bagel delivery service in Washington D.C. Feldman had brought in bagels to work every week while working at a research institute and in order to keep funding the bagels he had a collections b...
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...d G. Fryer Jr., himself an African-American, has studied the “Acting White/Black” phenomena and found it stems more from education, “White” referring towards higher level of education and “Black” referring to lower levels. When race is removed from the equation a prevalent pattern can be seen within races as socioeconomic status and naming trends (Levitt 190). The pattern is able to roughly measure the education of a child’s mother depending on the choice of name and the frequency of the name within social classes (Levitt 190-204). Over time Fryer could see the way names tended to move, down. As names become more used and common they will pass on lower to lower social classes (Levitt 201).
Levitt, Steven D., and Stephen J. Dubner. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York: Penguin Books Ltd, 2006. Print.
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