Stephen J. Dubner of Freakonomics fame thinks the United States would benefit from a National Firearms Safety Administration to collate firearms data, similar to how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration handles transportation data.
There's arguably no more contentious debate in today's America than the one raging over firearms and gun control. Freakonomics author Stephen J. Dubner explains that the lack of good data on national gun trends is a major contributor to this contention. Dubner thinks the United States would benefit from a National Firearms Safety Administration to collate firearms data, similar to how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration handles transportation data.
"The more we know about how every accident happens, the better we can do at preventing. Similarly with something like guns the more we know about how guns are used, how they get in the hands of the people who use them for crime."
As for the gun control debate itself, it's too often dominated by extremists from each side shouting emotional arguments at each other without pointing toward empirical evidence... again, because there's a major hole currently where a whole lot of useful data could be. And if you've ever read a Freakonomics book, you know that data is the key to understanding trends, incentives, and best practices for a better society.
"Data can be a kind of different tool in the arsenal when you’re trying to make better policy or public policy because otherwise you’re just kind of shouting at each other with your ideology rather than understanding how people actually behave."
Author Stephen J. Dubner analyzes the economics of drug dealing in the most Freakonomics way possible, comparing the capitalist tendencies of Walgreens with your friendly neighborhood gang of crack dealers.
Author Stephen J. Dubner analyzes the economics of drug dealing in the most Freakonomics way possible, comparing the capitalist tendencies of Walgreens with your friendly neighborhood gang of crack dealers. He also explains how drug stores like Walgreens are able to get away with marking up their generic drugs as much as 1,000 percent, exploiting informational asymmetry to rip off those who don't know any better. Dubner's latest book, co-authored by Steven D. Levitt, is called When to Rob a Bank.
Never a stranger to offbeat or unconventional wisdom, Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner explains why it's beneficial to pay politicians a high amount of money to encourage good behavior.
If we treated politics more like a real profession, we would all be a lot better off, explains Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner. Never a stranger to offbeat or unconventional wisdom, Dubner argues in favor of paying very high salaries to politicians in order to encourage stronger candidates to enter the market.
No, Stephen J. Dubner doesn't actually endorse bank robbery. What he does endorse is amusing deconstructions of cultural acts or items — robbing banks, for instance — and analyzing data to stumble upon intriguing observations.
No, Stephen J. Dubner doesn't actually endorse bank robbery. What he does endorse is amusing deconstructions of cultural acts or items — robbing banks, for instance — and analyzing data to stumble upon intriguing observations. Such is the perspective he shares with Freakonomics co-author Steven D. Levitt in their new book, When to Rob a Bank... In this video, Dubner wittily reveals how bank robbers can maximize their return on investment (spoiler alert: by not robbing banks) and how one bank robber's experience helped police learn to better pinpoint embezzlers.
Stephen J. Dubner is an award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality. He is best-known for writing, along with the economist Steven D. Levitt, Freakonomics (2005) and SuperFreakonomics (2009), which have sold more than 5 million copies in 35 languages. Their latest books are When to Rob a Bank... and Think Like a Freak (2014).
Dubner is also the author of Turbulent Souls/Choosing My Religion (1998), Confessions of a Hero-Worshiper (2003), and the children's book The Boy With Two Belly Buttons (2007). His journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time, and elsewhere, and has been anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Crime Writing, and others.
Freakonomics, published in April 2005, was an instant international best-seller and cultural phenomenon. It made numerous "books of the year" lists, a few "books of the decade" lists, and won a variety of awards, including the inaugural Quill Award, a BookSense Book of the Year Award, and a Visionary Award from the National Council on Economic Education. It was also named a Notable Book by the New York Times. SuperFreakonomics, published in 2009, was published to similar acclaim, and also became an international best-seller.
The Freakonomics enterprise also includes an award-winning blog, a high-profile documentary film, and a public-radio project called Freakonomics Radio, which Dubner hosts. He has also appeared widely on television, including a three-year stint on ABC News as a Freakonomics contributor. He also appeared on the reality show Beauty and the Geek. Alas, he played neither beauty nor geek.
Dubner's first book, Turbulent Souls, was also named a Notable Book, and was a finalist for the Koret National Jewish Book Award. It was republished in 2006 under a new title, Choosing My Religion, and is currently being developed as a film.
The eighth and last child of an upstate New York newspaperman, Dubner has been writing since he was a child. (His first published work appeared in Highlights magazine.) As an undergraduate at Appalachian State University, he started a rock band that was signed to Arista Records, which landed him in New York City. He ultimately quit playing music to earn an M.F.A. in writing at Columbia University, where he also taught in the English Department. He was an editor and writer at New York magazine and The New York Times before quitting to write books. He is happy he did so.
He lives in New York with his wife, the documentary photographer Ellen Binder, and their two delicious children.