Steve Levitt’s Freakonomics

What five terms in a housing ad correlate with higher prices?

1. Granite

2. State-of-the-Art

3. Corian [read here, I didn’t know what it was either…]

4. Maple

5. Gourmet

And what correlates with lower prices?

1. Fantastic

2. Spacious

3. !

4. Charming

5. Great neighborhood

In economics language, it is the costly signals which carry real value.  You use general words when you have nothing better to say, and remember that for next Valentine’s Day.

The list is from the new Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything [you can pre-order, Amazon lists May 1 but it hits the stores April 12], by Steve Levitt and Steven Dubner.  Imagine the best of Levitt put into readable form by an excellent journalist.  When it comes to the popular exposition of contemporary economic research, this book is a milestone.  Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?  How do we know that sumo wrestlers cheat?  Here is Alex’s previous post on Levitt and names and race.  Here is my previous post on Levitt and teacher cheating. 

The bottom line in one sentence: "People lie, numbers don’t."


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