Steven Levitt is an American economist who has made significant contributions to the field of economics. He is widely recognized as one of the most innovative thinkers in the world and has been named one of the "100 People Who Shape Our World" by Time Magazine. Levitt's unique approach to economics has made him a sought-after speaker and consultant for businesses and governments around the world.
Levitt's education played a crucial role in shaping his career as an economist. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in economics in 1989, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1994. After working as a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows for three years, he joined the department of economics at the University of Chicago. Levitt's academic background has given him a solid foundation in economic theory, which he has used to develop his innovative approach to economics.
Despite his impressive academic credentials, Levitt is known for his ability to communicate complex economic concepts in a clear and engaging way. His best-selling book, "Freakonomics," co-authored with journalist Stephen Dubner, has been translated into more than 40 languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide. Levitt's ability to make economics accessible to a wide audience has made him a popular speaker and commentator on economic issues in the media.
Early Life and Education
Steven Levitt was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1967. He grew up alongside his sister named Linda Jines. Levitt attended St. Paul Academy and Summit School in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he excelled academically.
In 1989, Levitt graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics summa cum laude. He wrote his senior thesis on rational bubbles in horse breeding. Levitt's time at Harvard helped shape his interest in economics and his future career.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
After graduating from Harvard, Levitt pursued a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1994, he received his doctorate from MIT. Levitt's thesis was titled "Essays in Empirical Law and Economics."
Levitt's time at MIT allowed him to delve deeper into his interest in economics and develop his analytical skills. Levitt's education at both Harvard and MIT helped shape his future career as an economist and researcher.
Levitt's education has been an important part of his success as an economist. His academic achievements at both Harvard and MIT have helped him become one of the most respected economists of his generation.
University of Chicago
Steven Levitt started his academic career at the University of Chicago after receiving his PhD in economics from MIT in 1994. He joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1997 and has been a professor of economics since 2000. Levitt has been affiliated with several research centers at the University of Chicago, including the Becker Center for Price Theory and the Center for the Economics of Human Development.
William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics
Levitt currently holds the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics position at the University of Chicago. This is a prestigious position that is awarded to faculty members who have made significant contributions to their field of study. Levitt's research has been influential in many social science disciplines, including political economy, sociology, political science, the economics of crime, and the study of law.
Journal of Political Economy
Levitt has also been involved with the Journal of Political Economy, a peer-reviewed academic journal published by the University of Chicago Press. He has served as an editor for the journal and has published several articles in it. The Journal of Political Economy is one of the oldest and most respected economics journals in the world, and Levitt's involvement with it is a testament to his expertise in the field of economics.
Overall, Steven Levitt's academic career has been marked by significant contributions to the field of economics. His work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the John Bates Clark Medal in 2003. Levitt's position as the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago is a testament to his expertise and influence in the field.
Contributions to Economics
Steven Levitt's contributions to economics are vast and varied. One of his most significant contributions is his emphasis on empirical analysis. Levitt believes that economic theory should be based on empirical evidence rather than on conventional wisdom or assumptions. He has used this approach to challenge many long-held beliefs in economics. For example, Levitt's research on the economics of crime showed that the death penalty does not deter crime as much as many people believe. Instead, he found that the certainty of punishment is a more significant deterrent than the severity of the punishment.
Another area where Levitt has made significant contributions is in the study of incentives. Levitt believes that incentives are everything in economics. He has shown that incentives can explain many seemingly irrational behaviors. For example, Levitt's research on cheating in schools found that students are more likely to cheat when the incentives to do so are high. Levitt has also studied the incentives of politicians and found that they are more likely to be corrupt when they face weak opposition.
Median Voter Theorem
Levitt has also contributed to the development of economic theory. He has challenged the conventional wisdom on many economic issues. For example, Levitt's research on the median voter theorem showed that politicians do not always pander to the middle of the political spectrum. Instead, they often cater to the extremes of their party's base. This finding has important implications for our understanding of political polarization.
Finally, Levitt has made significant contributions to our understanding of campaign spending. He has shown that campaign spending does not have as much of an impact on election outcomes as many people believe. Instead, Levitt has found that other factors, such as incumbency and the state of the economy, are more important determinants of election outcomes.
In summary, Steven Levitt has made significant contributions to economics through his emphasis on empirical analysis, his focus on incentives, his challenge to conventional wisdom, and his work on campaign spending. His research has challenged many long-held beliefs in economics and has provided new insights into the behavior of individuals and institutions.
Freakonomics and Its Impact
Steven Levitt's book Freakonomics, co-authored with Stephen J. Dubner, has had a significant impact on the world of economics and beyond. The book is a collection of articles that apply economic theory to diverse subjects not usually covered by traditional economists.
The sequel to Freakonomics, Superfreakonomics, continues in the same vein as the original book, applying economic theory to subjects such as tech, data, legalized abortion, politics, voting, and sociology. One notable chapter in Superfreakonomics discusses the impact of seatbelt laws on mortality rates. The book was also controversial for its discussion of global warming and its suggestion that geoengineering could be a viable solution to the problem.
Think Like a Freak
Think Like a Freak, the third book in the Freakonomics series, focuses on how to think more creatively and critically. The authors argue that the key to solving problems is to think like a child, who is not afraid to ask questions and challenge assumptions. The book covers topics such as health, reading, corruption, and influential economists.
Overall, Freakonomics and its sequels have had a significant impact on the field of economics and beyond. Levitt and Dubner's unique approach to applying economic theory to unconventional subjects has challenged traditional thinking and sparked new conversations. The books have been widely read and discussed, and Levitt and Dubner have been featured in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times Magazine. While the books have not been without controversy, they have undoubtedly influenced the way many people think about economics and the world around them.
Current Endeavors and Affiliations
Steven Levitt is a highly regarded economist who has contributed significantly to the field of economics and social science. In addition to his academic work, he is involved in several organizations and initiatives that aim to promote innovation and social change.
Center for Radical Innovation for Social Change
Levitt is a member of the advisory board for the Center for Radical Innovation for Social Change, a nonprofit organization that seeks to drive social change through innovation. The center works to identify and support innovative ideas and projects that have the potential to create positive social impact.
Data Science for Everyone Coalition
Levitt is also involved with the Data Science for Everyone Coalition, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote data literacy and data science education. The coalition seeks to make data science accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or level of expertise. Levitt's involvement with this organization reflects his interest in promoting the use of data and technology to drive social change.
Levitt is a partner at TGG Group, a consulting firm that specializes in data analytics and strategy. The firm works with clients in a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, and technology, to help them use data and analytics to make better business decisions. Levitt's work with TGG Group reflects his expertise in data and his interest in using data to drive innovation and change.
Levitt's involvement with these organizations and initiatives demonstrates his commitment to promoting innovation and social change through data and technology. His work with the Center for Radical Innovation for Social Change, the Data Science for Everyone Coalition, and TGG Group reflects his expertise in economics, data analytics, and strategy, and his dedication to using these skills to make a positive impact on society.
Influence and Recognition
Steven Levitt has had a significant impact on the field of economics. He is widely recognized as one of the most influential economists of his generation, having been included in Time Magazine's list of the "100 People Who Shape Our World."
Levitt's work has been praised by many prominent economists, including Paul Krugman, Greg Mankiw, and Daron Acemoglu. He is known for his innovative use of data and his ability to apply economic principles to a wide range of topics, from crime to education.
Levitt's book "Freakonomics," which he co-authored with journalist Stephen Dubner, was a bestseller and helped to popularize the field of behavioral economics. The book was praised for its accessible writing style and its ability to make economics interesting and relevant to a wider audience.
Levitt's contributions to the field of economics have been recognized with numerous awards and honors. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received the John Bates Clark Medal, which is awarded to the most promising economist under the age of 40.
Overall, Steven Levitt's influence and recognition in the field of economics are a testament to his innovative thinking and his ability to apply economic principles to real-world problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of Steven Levitt's notable achievements?
Steven Levitt is an American economist who has made significant contributions to the field of social science. He is best known for his work in the economics of crime, where he has used data analysis to uncover patterns and insights that have challenged conventional wisdom. Levitt was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal in 2003, which is given every two years to the most promising economist under the age of 40.
What is the Freakonomics podcast and how is Steven Levitt involved?
The Freakonomics podcast is a popular show that explores the hidden side of everything, from economics to pop culture. Steven Levitt is one of the co-authors of the book "Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything," which inspired the podcast. Levitt is a frequent guest on the show and often discusses his research and insights into various topics.
Who is Steven Dubner and how is he related to Steven Levitt?
Steven Dubner is an American author and journalist who is best known for his work with Steven Levitt on the "Freakonomics" book and podcast. Dubner is the co-author of several books with Levitt, including "SuperFreakonomics" and "Think Like a Freak." He is also a regular contributor to The New York Times and has written for numerous other publications.
Can you recommend any books written by Steven Levitt?
In addition to "Freakonomics," Steven Levitt has written several other books that are worth reading. These include "SuperFreakonomics," which explores a range of topics from global warming to prostitution, and "Think Like a Freak," which offers insights into how to think more creatively and solve problems more effectively.
Where did Steven Levitt grow up and attend school?
Steven Levitt was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1967. He grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and attended high school at St. Paul Academy. Levitt received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Does Steven Levitt still actively teach or work in academia?
Steven Levitt is currently the William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he has been on the faculty since 1997. He is also the director of the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the university. While he is still active in academia, Levitt has also become a popular speaker and consultant, and has worked with a range of organizations and companies to apply his insights to real-world problems.