6 Stories

1920s Klan Was Actually a Big Pyramid Scheme

Group leaders made money off own members selling robes, imposing fees

(Newser) - Even during its 1920s heyday, the Ku Klux Klan wasn't a very effective hate group, according to an analysis by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer and Steven D. Levitt, the latter of Freakonomics fame. However, the Klan was a "wildly successful" pyramid scheme, according to a Priceonomics blog... More »

Freakonomics Author Busts Cheating Kids via Algorithm

Four of the 12 that his algorithm deemed highly suspicious have confessed

(Newser) - When a professor at an anonymous "top American university" recently suspected cheating in a class, no student would admit to it, so he called in a big gun: Freakonomics author and University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt. Levitt and Ming-Jen Lin, of National Taiwan University, devised an algorithm to... More »

Freakonomics: Poker Is Skill, Not Luck

Pros have drastically better return on investment

(Newser) - With the US cracking down on online poker , Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt has published a study demonstrating that it’s a game of skill, not a game of chance. That’s a major distinction, because games of chance are forbidden as gambling under state and federal laws, whereas games of... More »

Freakonomics Guys Freak Out Climate Acolytes

The Church of Gore doesn't want to hear simple solutions

(Newser) - Wouldn't it be great to make global warming disappear with a helium balloon, a few miles of garden hose, and a stream of sulfur dioxide? “Maybe, but not if you’re Al Gore or one of his little helpers,” writes Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal. Steven... More »

Winter Babies' Real Problem? Less-Educated Mothers

Accidental find shines light on old conundrum

(Newser) - For years, economists have been trying to explain why winter babies have it so tough. In study after study, those born in winter consistently perform worse in school, earn less, and are less healthy than peers born at other times of year. Now Notre Dame economists Kasey Buckles and Daniel... More »

For Sale: My Seat in Class

Wharton's auction system among solutions to overenrollment in popular courses

(Newser) - It beats sleeping overnight outside a professor's office—as some do at Stanford—but should students buy their way into popular classes? The University of Chicago thought not, removing one student's ad hawking a slot in Freakonomics author Steven Levitt's course. Penn's Wharton School has a more capitalistic view, the... More »

6 Stories