Economic lessons with juicy twists

Source: Business 2.0 :: What’s Next :: What the Economists Aren’t Telling You

Money can replace morals. To deter parents from picking kids up late, a day-care center fined them $3 per child for each infraction. But the number of latecomers doubled, because "parents could buy off their guilt," Levitt writes.

Legalizing abortion lessened crime. Levitt presents compelling evidence that Roe v. Wade — in reducing the number of potential criminals born — had a far greater impact on the early-1990s drop in crime than gun control, the strong economy, or improved police tactics.

Semantics sells. In real estate ads, specific words like "granite" and "gourmet" fetch higher home prices, while vague descriptors like "charming" and "great neighborhood" drive values down.

Drug dealing is harder than you think. A crack dealer earning a paltry $3.30 an hour has a higher chance of being killed (1 in 4) than a Texas death row inmate (1 in 20).