Where Have All The Criminals Gone Essay

Where Have All The Criminals Gone Essay-10
A controlled experiment to test the truth of this theory is obviously out of the question.

A controlled experiment to test the truth of this theory is obviously out of the question.

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Some Americans feel so strongly about their Fourth Amendment rights that they're willing to demonstrate dramatically in favor of them. Due process means that laws must be applied fairly and equally to all people, especially to a citizen accused of a crime.

Pat Barber of Texas was ordered by the state to destroy this sign on his ranch, an order he is appealing on First Amendment grounds. The Constitution uses the phrase in the 5th and 14th Amendments, declaring that the government shall not deprive anyone of "life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..." The 5th Amendment protects people from actions of the federal government, and the 14th protects them from actions by state and local governments.

Such everyday riddles are fair game for the economist, Levitt contends, because their solution involves understanding how people react to incentives. In 2003, Levitt was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, bestowed every two years on the most accomplished American economist under 40."Freakonomics," written with the help of the journalist Stephen J. For one thing, it proudly boasts that it has no unifying theme.

For another, each chapter begins with a quotation from the under-author (Dubner) telling us how great the over-author (Levitt) is: a "master of the simple, clever solution," a "noetic butterfly" (! Yet a little self-indulgence can be tolerated in a book as instructive and entertaining as this one. He finds a parallel in the world of real estate, where brokers employ code words in advertisements to let potential buyers know that an apartment can be bought for less than its listing price.

To insulate himself from the charge that he is advocating abortion as the cure for crime, Levitt does a little cost-benefit calculation.

Where Have All The Criminals Gone Essay George Bush Essays

Suppose, for the sake of argument, we say a fetus is worth one one-hundredth of a person.

Economics is supposed to be about price elasticities and interest rates and diminishing marginal utilities, not abortion and crime.

What Levitt and his co-author claimed, specifically, was that the sharp drop in the United States crime rate during the 1990's -- commonly attributed to factors like better policing, stiffer gun laws and an aging population -- was in fact largely due to the Roe v. The logic was simple: unwanted children are more likely to grow up to become criminals; legalized abortion leads to less unwantedness; therefore, abortion leads to less crime. Conservatives were outraged that abortion was seemingly being promoted as a solution to crime. Besides, what business did this callow economist have trespassing on the territory of the criminologist?

But on the evidence of "Freakonomics," the presumption is earned.

Jim Holt reviews books for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, among other publications.

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