The young Dallas woman seeking an abortion who was the plaintiff in the Roe v. Wade case. Her name was disguised as Jane Roe.
James Alan Fox
The criminologist who, in 1995, proposed that the teenage crime and murder rate would more than double. Instead, the rate fell dramatically.
The Dallas County district attorney, who was the defendant in the Roe v. Wade case.
The CEO of Chicago Public Schools in the early 2000s, who pushed for identifying and getting rid of cheating teachers in the system.
An agricultural economist who began delivering bagels to over a hundred offices in Washington, D.C., and collecting money on the honor system for these bagels. This created an economic experiment about incentives, cheating, and stealing.
The Scottish moral philosopher who wrote The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations, two extremely important texts in the field of economics.
The man who infiltrated the 1940s Ku Klux Klan in Atlanta, posing as a Klansman and eventually releasing the Klan's inner secrets to a radio show.
University of Chicago PhD student who began living with the Black Disciples crack gang in order to learn more about its operation.
Leader of the branch of the Black Disciples crack gang that Venkatesh spent time studying. J.T. was a university-educated business major.
The communist dictator of Romania from 1965 to 1989. He banned abortion; as a result, crime rates rose drastically in the small nation.
William "Bill" Bratton
Police chief in New York City who instituted a novel approach to policing in the mid-1990s in order to fix the city's crime situation.
John R. Lott Jr.
Champion of the idea that putting more guns on the street in the hands of the right people will reduce crime.
An expert on risk, who analyzed the factors that contribute to the public's (often misguided) assessment of the risks of certain situations.
Judith Rich Harris
Author who wrote The Nurture Assumption, which argued that parents mattered less than people believed with regards to the outcomes of their children.
Roland G. Fryer
A young black Harvard economist who specializes in studying the achievement gap between blacks and whites.
Boy who was given the name "Winner" and who turned out to have an abominable crime record.
Brother of "Winner"; he turned out to be an immensely successful police officer in the NYPD.
Freakonomics Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Freakonomics is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Thomas Jefferson noted this while reflecting on the tiny incentive that led to the Boston Tea Party and, in turn, the American Revolution: "So inscrutable is the arrangement of causes and consequences in this world that a two-penny duty on tea,...