Economist smackdown tomorrow?

Economist smackdown tomorrow? Fans of the book Freakonomics (I was an early cultist) may want to observe how its authors respond on their blog (which, by the way, is an excellent role-model blog for book authors) to an article in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal (free) that focuses on an assertion of Christopher Foote, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Foote and a research associate claim they’ve found a flaw in the model used by economist Steven Levitt to develop his theory regarding the cause of a significant drop in the nation’s crime rate.

Nothing like feuding economists to liven up a post-vacation Monday.

Update: Steven Levitt responds and promises more. Also, Steve Sailer comments below with more Levitt doubts.

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  • Steve Sailer

    Ever since I debated Dr. Levitt in Slate.com in 1999 over his abortion-cut-crime theory ( http://www.slate.com/id/33569/entry/33571/) , people have been telling me that my simpleminded little graphs and ratios of national crime trends showing that Dr. Levitt hadn’t met the burden of proof couldn’t possibly be right because Dr. Levitt’s state-level evidence was so much more gloriously, glamorously, incomprehensibly complicated than mine, and Occam’s Butterknife says that the guy with the most convoluted argument wins.

    Well, now we now why Dr. Levitt’s abstruse state-level analysis didn’t match up with my straight-forward national-level analysis: because he made two big mistakes in his work.

    You can see the facts that Dr. Levitt left out of Freakonomics at http://www.iSteve.com/abortion.htm