Finished Freakonomics last night. My computer is re - un- re - re - broken so I've been doing a lot of reading because I have no life and television is boring. I really enjoyed the book, it was very well written for something so academic, it was easy to understand and very interesting. Economics for the masses. I recommend it.
Apparently John Cole and Mark A. R. Kleiman haven't read it yet or they'd know that the crime rate drops might be attributed to legalized abortion or birth control. The book makes a strong case that the sudden drop in crime during the 1990's was due to the fact that children of low income families who would have been becoming criminals at that time had been aborted after Roe v. Wade. Horribly offensive, but possibly true. That might not be the case in 2003/2004, but it might be interesting to examine birth rates in low income areas during the mid eighties and see if there is a relationship to current crime levels.
The authors of this lovely book had an article in the NYT about the economics of monkeys. No, I'm not kidding. They taught monkeys that "coins" could be traded for food, and eventually they began saving, spending and even buying sex with their coins. Really interesting. (via Q and O)