Freakonomics Q&A

Celebrating the paperback edition of Freakonomics, an author Q&A is available on the Freakonomics blog. I found the following question interesting and its answer amusing:

Q. Tell us about the criticism you have received from traditional/academic colleagues over Freakonomics. — J. Plain

A. Levitt’s academic colleagues tend to react in one of two ways. The majority of economists thought about it like economists: the success of Freakonomics probably increased the number of students wanting to take economics courses, and since the supply of economics teachers is fixed in the short run, the wages of academic economists should rise. That makes economists happy. A second group of economists decided that if Levitt could write a book that people would read, surely they could too. So there has been a flurry of “popular” books by economists — some good, some not so good. And then, inevitably, there are a handful of economists who feel that he violated the secret handshake of economics by showing the outside world that what economists do really isn’t that hard or complex. They will never forgive him.

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