If you pay a kid to do better in school, will he? Yes.
Why did the crime rate drop in the ’90s? Roe v. Wade.
Can a girl’s name alter her life? Yes.
What sport is most like Bernie Madoff? Sumo wrestling.
Says who? Freakonomics.
Why do we do what we do?
At its core, that’s the essential tenet of economics. It’s the study of incentives—what motivates us. Except economic study is normally limited to the realm of goods and services and how those incentives affect their exchange.
Until a University of Chicago economics professor and New York Times journalist had their say.
Steven Leavitt and Stephen J. Dubner decided to take economic theory and apply it to things like sumo wrestling, baby names, and the Klu Klux Klan. Their end product, Freakonomics, became a New York Times bestseller that spawned its own cottage industry—a blog, countless TV appearances, a radio show, a second book, and a movie.
Freakonomics the movie is the subject of this week’s Doc Talks.
Produced by Seth Gordon, the film takes a look at some of the problems that Leavitt and Dubner tried to split open. Gordon recruited four documentary directors—including Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me and Academy Award winner Alex Gibney—to delve into different Freakonomics-type problems in their own way. The four sections are tied together with pithy commentary from Leavitt and Dubner.
The Documentary Channel (DOC) is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week television network dedicated exclusively to airing the works of independent documentary filmmakers. By bringing these authentic stories to television viewers nationwide, the Documentary Channel hopes to inspire, motivate, educate, and entertain.
You can watch Documentary Channel on DISH Network/Channel 197, and DIRECTV/Channel 267. Or call your local cable operator to request DOC.