Steven D. Levitt Quotes.

11. "The brilliant rationalist had encountered a central, frustrating tenet of human nature: behavior change is hard. The cleverest engineer or economist or politician or parent may come up with a cheap, simple solution to a problem, but if it requires people to change their behavior, it may not work. Every day, billions of people around the world engage in behaviors they know are bad for them—smoking cigarettes, gambling excessively, riding a motorcycle without a helmet. Why? Because they want to! They derive pleasure from it, or a thrill, or just a break from the daily humdrum. And getting them to change their behavior, even with a fiercely rational argument, isn’t easy."
- Steven D. Levitt, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling

12. "The data don’t lie: a Chicago street prostitute is more likely to have sex with a cop than to be arrested by one."
- Steven D. Levitt, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling

13. "Over time, some ideas do cross the repugnance barrier to become reality. Charging interest on loans. Selling human sperm and eggs. Profiting from a loved one’s premature death. This last example of course describes how life insurance works. Today it is standard practice to wager on your own death in order to provide for your family. Until the mid-nineteenth century, life insurance was considered a profanation, as the sociologist Viviana Zelizer writes, which transformed the sacred event of death into a vulgar commodity."
- Steven D. Levitt, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling

14. "kangaroo farts, as fate would have it, don’t contain methane."
- Steven D. Levitt, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling

15. "A pair of researchers named Kristen Schilt and Matthew Wiswall wanted to systematically examine what happens to the salaries of people who switched gender as adults. It is not quite the experiment we proposed above—after all, the set of folks who switch gender aren’t exactly a random sample, nor are they the typical woman or man before or after—but still, the results are intriguing. Schilt and Wiswall found that women who become men earn slightly more money after their gender transitions, while men who become women make, on average, nearly one-third less than their previous wage."
- Steven D. Levitt, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling

16. "For every extra year a young person was exposed to TV in his first 15 years, we see a 4 percent increase in the number of property-crime arrests later in life and a 2 percent increase in violent-crime arrests. According to our analysis, the total impact of TV on crime in the 1960s was an increase of 50 percent in property crimes and 25 percent in violent crimes. Why did TV have this dramatic effect? Our data offer no firm answers. The effect is largest for children who had extra TV exposure from birth to age four. Since most four-year-olds weren’t watching violent shows, it’s hard to argue that content was the problem. It may be that kids who watched a lot of TV never got properly socialized, or never learned to entertain themselves. Perhaps TV made the have-nots want the things the haves had, even if it meant stealing them. Or maybe it had nothing to do with the kids at all; maybe Mom and Dad became derelict when they discovered that watching TV was a lot more entertaining than taking care of the kids."
- Steven D. Levitt, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling

17. "The probability that an average American will die in a given year from a terrorist attack is roughly 1 in 5 million; he is 575 times more likely to commit suicide."
- Steven D. Levitt, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling

19. "It is understandable, therefore, that the movement to stop global warming has taken on the feel of a religion. The core belief is that humankind inherited a pristine Eden, has sinned greatly by polluting it, and must now suffer lest we all perish in a fiery apocalypse."
- Steven D. Levitt, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling

20. "When Al Gore urges the citizenry to sacrifice their plastic shopping bags, their air-conditioning, their extraneous travel, the agnostics grumble that human activity accounts for just 2 percent of global carbon-dioxide emissions, with the remainder generated"
- Steven D. Levitt, SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling

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