The SuperFreakonomics Debacle: An Overview

This has turned into quite the explosive debate.  Since I havn’t read the chapter yet, and refuse to –considering Brad Delong has posted it here — until it comes out, I figure I might as well try and aggregate every angle of the battle here since I really enjoyed the first book and am now…a bit worried about the new one.

First, the criticism that started it all, Joseph Romm’s venom originally on  I read his first post on the, following others including David Roberts and  Melanie Fitzpatrick.  Romm has followed up on climate progress in five parts, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 as well as a debunking Levitt’s and Dubner’s damage control.

Second, the blogosphere is all over this with heavy weights like Brad Delong and Paul Krugman.  Mark Thoma effectively highlights most of the conversation, but if you want the whole story…Krugman tries to get on the bandwagon but instead just leaves it at a “what it all means” post.  Brad Delong pulls out all the stops to the point of self proclaiming that his brain matter now encompasses his entire room.  Considering that he has so many posts to follow, I am going to just link them as a story: The beginning,  then solar panels, on Ezra Klein destroying the credibility of the whole book, correspondence, the freaks freak out, 6 questions for the freaks, HT to Krugman, some Global Warming data, (part of the debate? might as well) the defenders, do over?, William Connolley, one more, and the last, no wait…this is the last.

Speaking of the defenders…we have Tim Harford, Bryan Caplan, Robert Waldmann and Joshua Gans.  Some neutral players include Tim Haab and Tyler CowenBrad Johnson on Caldiera.  Even the stand-up economist.

And since I am out of breath…Left as an exercise has everybody else, including non-economists and climatologists on the Freakonomics Fail.

Will give my input once I read the book.

That is all.

UPDATE: Free Exchange has a great post too on how this may damage Levitt’s reputation, who in my mind, is going to be the worst one off from this…

UPDATE (10/20): Nathan Myhrvold defends against Romm’s accusations of black solar panels on Freakonomics. (here)  The book was just released.

UPDATE (10/21): This is the best compilation of all sides against the issue. (here)

Side note: My previous, naive post was deleted. I don’t want to take sides just yet until I read it…and that will be the whole book so it will take some time…

4 responses to “The SuperFreakonomics Debacle: An Overview

  1. Thanks for the tag.

    I was missing some of these, and I want to expand my section on the defense of Superfreakonomics anyway. I’ll update the list tomorrow with some of these.

    FWIW, I have read the chapter (I got it when Romm put it up; the file is apparently the same one DeLong is hosting, which puts some of the Freakonomics defenders out in the rain (some were saying “Romm wasn’t using the final draft”)), but obviously not in the context of the entire book.

  2. Pingback: Superfreakonomic-expialidocious “I did not deny climate change with that woman!” « Greenfyre’s

  3. Pingback: FAIL: Superfreakonomics « Left as an Exercise

  4. Pingback: Myth of Cooling Globe shattered by AP-sponsored ‘blind’ test

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