Freakonomics

Discussion in 'Politics' started by B_starinvestor, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    Has anyone read this book?

    Pretty interesting - in short, the authors use statistical and regression analysis to explain relationships between variables.

    One in particular - that I thought was well suited to the Politics forum was the issue of teenage crime and abortion.

    In the 80's the escalation of teenage crime was a huge problem in our country - and was being address by the Clinton Administration as well as a number of political and social groups.

    Out of nowhere, there was a precipitous decline in teenage crime, which continued to decline year after year by staggering numbers.

    The authors concluded that this drop could be largely attributed to the Roe vs. Wade case. Basically, those that were aborted after Roe vs. Wade made up a huge percentage of the youths that ultimately went on to engage in criminal behavior.

    Before the ruling, mostly upper-middle class families were able to arrange for abortions. Pregnancies from low income, single-mother, and teenage mothers were not able to secure abortions. Many of these kids were born into high-risk environments, and went on to engage in crime.

    Afterwards - the abortions were highly concentrated in these high-risk areas, and consequently the huge drop in teenage crime.

    In any case - this was an interesting relationship; and the book examines a number of other subjects that have never been addressed or even entertained in my opinion. A great deal of the book is devoted to blacks and whites and statistical explanations and relationships that are very thought-provoking. I may post a few more examples because they are very interesting.
     
  2. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    Read, have signed copies, and hired Levitt to speak at an event. The book is 'ok', but the guy frankly... gets it.

     
  3. Cougar

    Cougar New Member

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    One of my favorite books!
     
  4. B_Mister Buildington

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    Doesn't he talk about global warming (or lack thereof) in his new book? I heard a bit of an interview with him about it.
     
  5. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    You mean, it couldn't have ANYTHING to do with the fact that there was more economic growth in poor, urban areas during the Clinton Administration? You know, since the most driving force behind criminal behavior tends to be survival, the fact that people in poorer areas in the 90s had more immediate and affordable access to necessities didn't make any difference whatsoever?

    Don't even play yourself and suggest that the desire to commit crime is hereditary, therefore twisting facts and making it seem as if the woman's right to choose was a contributing factor to declining crime rates. As if ANY woman would know, before they gave birth, if the child they're carrying was going to be a criminal?
     
  6. Qua

    Qua
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    You are jumping to conclusions about the causation/correlation relationship. He claimed a correlation exists. He never said it could be the only possible cause.
     
  7. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    That's not what I'm saying at all.

    Basically, the book statistically shows that kids born to single mothers, teenage mothers and low-income mothers are much more likely to be involved in crime - and those preganancies were being aborted to a large degree after Roe vs. Wade.

    At its height, there was 1 abortion for every 4 pregnancies. It was some serious shit.
     
  8. cdarro

    cdarro New Member

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    Very interesting book. One of the few I've actually bought in the last couple of years as it was always on reserve at the public library. He has a second book out now.
     
  9. D_Chaumbrelayne_Copprehead

    D_Chaumbrelayne_Copprehead Account Disabled

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    GREAT book. Really eye-opening, challenging stuff for any thinking person anywhere on the political spectrum. There's also a Freakonomics podcast available on iTunes now, too.
     
  10. Flashy

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    I do not know if it went in the book, but i know he wrote an article in the NYTimes magazine about these researchers at Yale who were teaching capuchin monkeys the value of money, and it was an awesome article one of my favorites...

    i highly recommend it...it is short, funny and interesting

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/05/magazine/05FREAK.html
     
  11. tripod

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    Don't forget the 70's too Star, inner city crime was out of control then too.

    That research data has been around since the mid nineties. I first read about it in Discover magazine (Scientific American maybe?) when I was taking a particularly good crap when I was in college. The study is one of the clear cut proofs that people need access to abortion services for the good of society.

    People who are pro choice aren't abortion enthusiasts (contrary to how we have been painted by the religious right), we just have used our intuition to figure out what Donohue and Levitt took years to write a book about.

    As long as abortions remain legal in this country, we will see a continuation of the gradual reduction in violent crime rates. The inner cities are the safest that they have ever been and will continue to become more safe.

    This is beyond a woman's right to choose what is right for her baby and her life. The baby is not the property of the state, it belongs to the mother. Life is a wholly female creation... as men, we just lend our sperm and genetics, the woman do EVERYTHING.

    If a woman feels that the circumstances in her life are such that her baby would grow up in a detrimental way in a particularly harsh environment, then she has every right to terminate the pregnancy. Timing is everything and human beings are VERY FRAGILE CREATURES FOR THE FIRST 2 YEARS OF THEIR LIFE. Much mental and psychic trauma that leads to future deviant or psychopathic behavior is experienced in those first two years. Drug addicts derive most of the emotional trauma that drives them to seek altered states of consciousness as adults.

    Children need to have happier childhoods in order for society to thrive and survive. An unhappy and insecure childhood is the perfect storm to create adults that find themselves the victims of drug addictions, with the subsequent crime that these addictions can create, ruining their lives and the lives of others. Most of the unhappy and insecure childhoods are experienced in lower income households. It's all about money. Wealthy families can use their income to protect their children from the underbelly of society. They can also simultaneously use their wealth to provide for the hyper development that the upper class children experience as compared to the usually sub par development that lower income children frequently experience.

    I am soooo glad that you are reading the book Star.
     
  12. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    I don't buy into it, at all.
    To suggest that there's some kind of mutual relationship between the number of abortions and the number of crimes in America paints a distorted, slighted image surrounding the woman's right to choose. It's a big stretch to connect the two, and doesn't really pay attention to the specifics.

    I now turn to findings provided by the Guttmacher Institute regarding abortion: Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States

    Here are some bullet points:
    • Fifty percent of U.S. women obtaining abortions are younger than 25: Women aged 20–24 obtain 33% of all abortions, and teenagers obtain 17%.

    • Thirty-seven percent of abortions occur to black women, 34% to non-Hispanic white women, 22% to Hispanic women and 8% to women of other races.

    • Forty-three percent of women obtaining abortions identify themselves as Protestant, and 27% as Catholic.

    • Women who have never married obtain two-thirds of all abortions.

    • About 60% of abortions are obtained by women who have one or more children.

    • The abortion rate among women living below the federal poverty level ($9,570 for a single woman with no children) is more than four times that of women above 300% of the poverty level (44 vs. 10 abortions per 1,000 women). This is partly because the rate of unintended pregnancies among poor women (below 100% of poverty) is nearly four times that of women above 200% of poverty

    • The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner.

    I think the bolded print paints a more vivid picture as to why women were getting abortions to begin with. On top of this, the Roe v. Wade decision was passed in 1973. Even with a woman's right to choose upheld, the number of abortions came close to doubling up till 1981. Since then, the number has been in steady decline. That's also reflected in a chart provided on the page I linked to earlier.

    As for the actual crimes?
    According to an article in Time Magazine printed in 1997, juvenile arrests for violent crimes rose 67% from 1985 to 1995. According to this source, juvenile crime statistics rates have steadily dropped since 1994 when crimes involving juveniles reached a record high. Since 1994, juvenile crime statistics have dropped by forty seven percent. By 1994, the abortion rate was already in a slow, yet steady decline. These statistics in its own right contradicts the notion that abortion played a factor in the decline of teenage crime, since the declining number of abortions didn't take affect till 1981.

    Also, more teenagers are being arrested for drug related crimes. According to the FBI, 11.7% of all people arrested for drug-related crimes are juveniles, and since 1994, over two million juveniles have been arrested. More than eighty percent, however, were arrested for possession of drugs, rather than the making or distribution of them. Overall, white teens accounted for 74.9% of arrests, black teens with 23.1%, and teens of Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent accounting for less than two percent.

    Drugscience.org also provides some interesting statistics. Marijuana arrests in the United States increased 3% annually from 1994 to 2005. The criminal justice system doubled its share of marijuana-related referrals for drug treatment services from 26.89% in 1992 to 52.28% in 2006. With the sole exception of 2002, the percentage referred by the criminal justice system has increased every year.

    So, what can we draw from this?
    Roughly 50% of all abortions are had by women 25 or younger, with only 17% of them accounting for teenagers. Teenage pregnancy, although a problem, is not that much of a factor here. The abortion rate was already in decline when the crime rate among teenagers was reaching its peak in 1994. Most of these crimes were for drug possession (primarily marijuana), which has increased even though abortion rates have decreased significantly since 1981. In short, the correlation between Roe v. Wade & teenage crime is practically insignificant, especially if you consider the financial & social struggles of the poor. With very little means to survive it make sense that many of these people would drop a 10-spot for a dime bag if it meant a few, brief moments of escapism, and perhaps if we legalized marijuana that would REALLY cut down the numbers of crimes altogether. Reversing Roe v. Wade would make matters even worse.
     
    #12 B_VinylBoy, Feb 15, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  13. tripod

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    Vinylboy, you're not getting it and are running around like a chicken with your head cut off getting data to support your theory.

    Read my earlier post. You "not getting" it is a bit disturbing and makes little sense because you are a very intuitive and intelligent individual.

    It's about the reduction in violent crimes, not crime in general. Although in your defense, a lot of the stuff written on the study does not differentiate between violent and general crime. Let me assure you that the studies were largely concerned with violent crime and murder specifically.
     
    #13 tripod, Feb 15, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  14. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    The facts you post here line right up with my argument. Ergo, an abortion in 1975 to a single mother in a poor neighborhood = one 18 year old in 1994 [9 month incubation] that would have been prone to crime had he/she not been aborted.

    I think you misinterpreted the OP.

     
  15. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    That does bring a little more insight to the table, even though I still think it's a stretch to link Roe V. Wade to it. Although I haven't read the book (yet), the OP didn't differentiate which is why I assumed he was referring to crime as a whole, not violent crimes/murder.
     
  16. Qua

    Qua
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    It's not saying WHY. You're assuming statistical data to make normative statements that it isn't. There is an inverse relationship between abortions and violent crime rates. FACTS TELL US THIS!

    It never says that there aren't other contextual things that may explain the violent crime decline, it simply notes that there IS a relationship. Whether it is straightforward or not is a whole diferent ballgame...one on which neither data nor author makes any statement.

    Are you really attacking proven statistical data? You're making arguments against conclusions that no one made.

    Causation/correlation fallacy. It's a big reason why a lot of relatively innocent research has people up in arms, people on either side commiting this fallacy left and right, drawing conclusions that weren't made and getting mad about it. It cost Larry Summers his Harvard job. Said studies showed a relative propensity toward quantitative analysis in the male brain, and everyone said he was being sexist and claiming men therefore make better scientists and he was being an apologist for the status quo of a male dominated field...when did he ever say that?

    You're smarter than this Vinyl. Be a cold scientist instead of a fired up politico
     
    #16 Qua, Feb 15, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  17. justasimpleguy

    justasimpleguy Active Member

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    I would like to point out that the author has taken major flak for his second book, Superfreakonomics, especially the section concerning global warming. His grasp of the science is crap and he messed up the numbers for things like the albedo of the surface of the earth horribly. I'd take anything he wrote/said with a grain of salt.
     
  18. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    Distorted facts tell us this, Qua.

    I already said earlier that I didn't realize the stats in the book referred to violent crime and not crime as a whole. Even so, it's still a major stretch to link Roe vs. Wade (or abortion) to the decline of violent crimes in America. That's essentially saying, the fewer people we have in our country, the fewer crimes will be committed. That's already misleading. Case in point, you can have two neighborhoods, one having 200 people and 20 violent crimes a year and another that has 100 people and 10 violent crimes a year. The second neighborhood may have less, but the rate is still the same.

    In some ways, yes...
    Something like this is not as rigid as Mathematics or Algebra.

    I'm just trying to fill in the empty spaces. Even you admit that the relationship between abortions & violent crime may not be straightforward. If that's the case, then what is wrong with trying to find out how the connections are made?

    It's part of my curious nature to investigate things, Qua. It's hard for me to willingly accept statistics that have some level of political or social agenda bubbling underneath. I can't help but view this correlation as a swipe at abortion rights, especially when you consider several of the recent threads on this board that have expressed reasoning to take away someone's rights.
     
  19. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    this can't be real -- I'm actually agreeing with the lib on this one

    I've seen too many statistical studies to readily accept the correlation

    while intuitive reasonable, the policy implications are too horrific to consider -- the liberal welfare state creates and sustains a huge unterklassen of the fatherless, who then go to populate our prisons (an observable result of the current welfare set-up)

    we then implement, to avoid those consequences, an intervention of destroying those embryos that but for that welfare state, would not have existed to begin with
     
  20. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    In simple terms, kids that are born into high risk homes are more likely to commit crime. If those kids don't exist due to abortions, the crime doesn't occur.

    Ipso facto.
     
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