I read Freakonomics when it was first published. I thought it was generally interesting. But I was recently surprised to see another economist, John Lott, felt the need to write a book, Freedomnomics, to rebut Levitt’s work. Mainly because I didn’t recall any political agenda to Levitt’s book. Okay, he did say that legalized abortion may have caused a reduction in the crime rate (this was one of his positions that got a lot of attention when the book was published) but he also wrote that owning a gun is statistically much safer then owning a swimming pool and that selling drugs earns less than minimum wage for most dealers - so he’s not pushing some liberal agenda. And I don’t recall anything he wrote that argued against the free market.
I haven’t read Lott’s book. If anyone has can they outline what his positions are that he feels rebut Levitt’s? According to the book jacket, Lott’s positions include:
*How the free market creates incentives for people to behave honestly
*How political campaign restrictions keep incumbents in power
*Why legalized abortion leads to family breakdown, which creates more crime
*Why affirmative action in police departments leads to higher crime rates
*How women’s suffrage led to a massive increase in the size of government
*Why women become more conservative when they get married and more liberal when they get divorced
*How secret ballots reduce voter participation
*Why state-owned companies and government agencies are much more likely to engage in unfair predation than are private firms
*Why the controversial assertions made in the trendy book Freakonomics are almost entirely wrong
Some of these seem more like political positions rather than economic ones. But Levitt showed how economic factors could affect things that were not usually considered as economic issues, so I have no problem with Lott doing the same.