Freakonomics fallacies

A decade ago, you may remember, the press was filled with stories about how the youth of America were disintegrating and that soon we would be awash in an unstoppable crimewave perpetrated by "superpredators" who were totally sociopathic. The experts were sure this was going to happen. Various explanations were tried:

Freakonomics fallacies

The Millennium Ethical Fallacy: Why Ignore Future Children? September 17, 9: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty. The quest began inwhen Sachs, who directs the Earth Institute at Columbia University, started an ambitious program called the Millennium Villages Project.

The idea was that these villages would show Africa — and the world — how the continent could loosen the grip that extreme poverty had on so many of its people. Sachs admirably raised millions, drew attention to efforts to alleviate poverty around the world, and launched Millennium Villages in several countries.

Freakonomics fallacies

These are powerful negative stories. Advocates of Millennium Villages tell powerful stories, too. How can we get past stories, and get to answers?

One frustrating fact is that for all the money spent, it is difficult to know how much better off the beneficiaries in these select group of villages are. As Nocera points out: Maybe people were worse off, but would have been even more worse off had it not been for the Millennium Villages?

What Sachs succumbs to is natural and human. You can see Singer posing these questions to Stephen Colbert here.

Why the different perception of ethics for these two scenarios? Two commonly heard retorts: But I can see the child in the lake, I cannot see the child in Uganda. This is hardly an argument of ethics, but rather captures the psychology behind how and why we do make the judgments we make, as humans.

He can see the child in the control group, and does not want to hold back giving that child a bednet.

We cannot, with current resources, give them all a bednet. Tough choices must be made. This does not imply that any randomized trial is ethical: Maybe the idea is bad.

This is where evaluation can make important headways — in reducing this uncertainty. This is, again, an ethical call to do more rigorous research, such as randomized control trials, in order to convince the skeptical altruist to support effective programs.

And to help the active altruist make the best choices. As a matter of fact, research shows that people become systematically less charitable when they see someone in need but with many other people around them maybe not in a case as extreme as a child drowning.

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Dean Karlan September 17, 4: There are other objections, FYI, but most just require then tweaking the hypotheticals, and the underlying dichotomy in our reaction typically stands. Jason September 17, 5: Shane L September 17, 2: Well I hope there will be future experiments run with proper control groups.

Freakonomics - Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis BC A fatal combination of youthful folly and an awakening conscience lead Bill Weasley back to the front steps of No.
What is a Logical Fallacy? If laws of economics and human action exist and are immutable, why do we find economists all over the board on matters of critical importance? Economist A champions a tax cut while Economist B favors a tax increase.
Slippery Slope The Millennium Ethical Fallacy:

Not only might an expensive intervention not work, as you say, it might have such unforeseen negative consequences that it has a net damaging effect and the control village may be better off.

One thing I wonder about with control villages, however, is that there could be shared effects: Brandon September 17, 2: They talked about the charity Give Directly, and compared them to the charity Heifer International.

The founders of Give Directly came from a business background, and wanted to do studies and analytical to see what the best way to alleviate poverty is.1.

Sachs doesn't like measurements. His ethical excuse is just that -- a copout. The Freakonomics books are full of examples where Levitt and Dubner used data mining of seemingly unrelated data to develop controls and draw conclusions or posit theories and solutions. Fallacies in Advertising According to Bassham et al.

(), a logical fallacy is “an argument that contains a mistake in reasoning” (p. ). There are two types of logical fallacies, fallacies of relevance, and fallacies of insufficient evidence. Fallacies of relevance happen when the premises are not logically relevant to the conclusion.

The most controversial claim of the book Freakonomics is that abortion appears to be a key factor in lowering the crime rate in recent years. A decade ago, you may remember, the press was filled with stories about how the youth of America were disintegrating and that soon we would be awash in an.

The Millennium Ethical Fallacy: Why Ignore Future Children? - Freakonomics Freakonomics

The fallacy of the short run. In a sense, this fallacy is a summary of the previous five. Some actions seem beneficial in the short run but produce disaster in the long run: drinking excessively, driving fast, spending blindly, and printing money, to name a few.

Freakonomics fallacies

Some of our most important decisions are shaped by something as random as the order in which we make them. The gambler’s fallacy, as it's known, affects loan officers, federal judges — and probably you too. How to avoid it? The first step is to admit just how fallible we all are.

Freakonomics, the pop-economics or pop-statistics genre has attracted a surge of interest, with more authors adopting an anecdotal, narrative style. As the authors of statistics-themed books for general audiences, we can attest that Levitt and Dubner’s success is not easily attained.

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