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Week 2:

1. Packback Featured Discussion Topics (Choose one Featured Question from the questions below to answer), then

2. GO TO PACKBACK to write the answer, then

3. Write your OWN open-ended question (with one source only) in Packback.

· Q1. In Think Like a Freak Chapter 1, how does emotion keep people from believing research results or acting on them?  Have your seen this behavior? Why or how did this happen?

·  Q2. In the introduction to Freakonomics, there are several discussions of how correlations are mistaken for causation in social issues.  Have you seen current examples of correlation being mistaken for causation in reported events?  How did it happen and what were the results?

· Q3: In 5 Life Decisions Chapter 1, a good choice reflects your values, your preferences, your capabilities, and you available opportunities.  Do you think one of these is more important than the others?  Why (or how) or why not?

· Q4.  In the Thaler rebroadcast on Freakonomics.com,
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/thaler-rebroadcast/
Thaler talks about budgeting and spending his Nobel prize money and says,” The proceeds of that money, half of which will end up in the U.S. Treasury, are sitting in some account at Vanguard. And if I go out for a fancy dinner, there’s no way for me to label that “Nobel money.”  If you won a big money prize, would you think of it as a separate thing from the rest of your money and spending or would you combine them (as economists usually say to do) in one big pot?  Why or why not?  

Week 3:

· Q1. In Freakonomics Chapter 5, there are 8 factors that DO show a strong correlations with children’s performance in school and 8 factors that DON’T show a strong correlation with children’s performance in school, even though it seems as though they should. Choose one and explain why or how this happens and in what situation(s) you have seen this occur. (Put the factor you are discussing in the title of your post as well as Q1).

· Q2.  In TF Chapter 3, the story Kobayashi and competitive hot dot eating contests describes how he did not accept a limit, instead calling it an “artificial barrier”.  Have you identified an artificial barrier and gone right past it (or seen this happen)?  How did you do it and how did it work out?

· Q3.  In 5LD Chapter 2, the author argues that, while borrowing money to pay for college is “worth it” if you finish, it is not a good financial decision of you do not finish the degree, and not all degrees pay as high a premium future salary.  Should this impact how college students decide their school choice, borrowing, and college majors?   Why or why not?

· Q4. 
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/marijuana-pepsi/
   and the Freakonomics videos  (links below) on Cause and Effect–how much does your name matter?  What about other characteristics?  How can we tell?

· Q5.  Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 4:

In 5 Life Decisions Chapter 5, the economic aspects of parenting are explained with 8 major economics concepts:

· Q1.  Choice,

· Q2. Opportunity Cost,

· Q3. Human Capital,

· Q4.  Investment,

· Q5. Present-Future,

· Q6.  Externalities,

· Q7. Principal-Agent, and

· Q8. Uncertainty.

Choose one or a combination of these concepts and explain why and/or how it contributes (or the several concepts work) to the explain good parenting.  Include a description of a situation where it occurs.

· Q9.  Parents are given conflicting advice by experts, and it changes unpredictably as well.  How can people, who want their children to succeed and be happy, figure out what is best?
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/parenting/
  Data-driven sane parenting.

· Q10.  Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 5:

PACKBACK  FEATURED Discussion Topics (Choose one to answer and go to Packback)

Chapters 1 and 2, the authors use economics to explain the similar behaviors of several different situations.  Choose one of these situations below where you have seen something similar and explain why or how this happens and in what situation(s) you have seen this occur.  Put the situation you are discussing in the title of your post.

· Q1. School teachers and sumo wrestlers

· Q2. Real estate agents and the KKK

· Q3.  Job interviews and first dates

· Q4. Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 6:

Discussion Topics Featured in Packback (Choose one to answer)

· Q1.   In Think Like a Freak Chapter 2,  the authors highlight how people try to answer questions they can only pretend to answer.  Has this happened to you?  What did you do, and how did it work out?

· Q2.   In Think Like a Freak Chapter 3, Kobayashi redefines the problem in the hot-dog-eating contest and blasted right through previous records.  Have you redefined a problem and tricked yourself into improving your performance?  What did you do, and how did it work out?

· Q3.  In the podcast for this week: 
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/math-curriculum/
Levitt asks these questions about high-school math: 

· a.  Why are we teaching kids these things?

· b.  Does anyone actually use the math we are teaching in their daily life?

· c.  Is there any benefit at all to learning this stuff?

· d.  And are there not more interesting and useful things we could be teaching them?   

· How do the curriculum he describes compare to your high-school-level math courses?  Have they been useful?  How/Why or why not?  What changes would your recommend?

· Q4. Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 7:

Discussion Topics (Go to Packback.  Choose one to answer)

· Q1.   In 5 Life Decisions Chapter 3, the term “comparative advantage” is very important for choosing the right career for you.  What is YOUR comparative advantage?  How do you know?  What jobs or careers does this comparative advantage indicate you should explore?  Do you plan to go in this direction or a different one?  Why?

· Q2.  In Freakonomics Chapter 3, Sudhir Venkatesh embeds in a housing project in Chicago and learns about the lives of drug dealers,  gang members, and their families.  What surprised you the most (or least) in his observations?  Describe how or why.  

· Q3.  The podcasts 
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/opioids-part-1/ 
and 
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/opioids-part-2/
  describe the rise in the opioid epidemic.  What surprised you?  What solution(s) would you recommend, and why? 

· Q4. Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 8:

Discussion Topics (Choose one to answer)

· Q1: in Freakonomics Chapter 4, the authors talk about different potential causes for increased crime, and come to the conclusion that abortion, seemingly unrelated, was “one of the greatest crime-lowering factors in American history”.  Do they convince you?  Why or why not?

· Q2: In 5 Life Decisions Chapter 4, the “marketplace for partners” and the “production” of family life take economics and busines models an apply them to family life.  Use the vocabulary of supply and demand (or production if you prefer) to describe the marketplace for partners for students in Chicago and/or at UIC.  How does this way to frame the relationships give you a different focus?

· Q3. 
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/abortion
The controversial abortion/crime link holds up with the new data over the last 20 years, according to Donoghue and Levitt.  Why do people have such difficulty with this result?  Do you find the critics or the researchers more convincing?  How/why?

· Q4. Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 9:

Discussion Topics (Choose one to answer)

· Q1.  In 5 Life Decisions, the concepts of “health production” and the effects of scarcity are discussed.   Find and describe a specific example of this production and how scarcity affects it.  Does thinking about it as “production” provide useful insights?  Why or why not?

· Q2.  Do you think the Protestant Work Ethic is  “real”?  Why or why not? What evidence have you seen?

· Q3. 
 https://freakonomics.com/podcast/nsq-ambition-habituation/
  Do you think ambitious people are inherently selfish?  Why or why not?

· Q4. Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 10:

Discussion Topics (Choose one to answer)

· Q1.   In Think Like a Freak Chapters 4 and 5, the authors describe big changes from the “usual” way people look at solving problems and give some examples.  Explain how their cases work and whether the insights are really valuable or not.  How have these types of solutions been missed so often?

· Q2.   In Think Like a Freak Chapters 4 and 5, the authors describe big changes from the “usual” way people look at solving problems and give some examples.  Suggest another situation that also might be “solved” by changing perspective.  How have these types of solutions been missed so often?

· Q3.  In 
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/christina-romer/ 
Prof. Romer talks about potential U.S, states courting real financial trouble (not being able to repay debt, for example) after the pandemic.  Do you think Illinois will be in that position?  Why or why not?  Should that change Illinois policies now?  If so, how?

· Q4. Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 11:

Discussion Topics (Choose one to answer)

· Q1.  In Think Like a Freak Chapter 6, the author talks about how rewarding some behaviors can backfire.  What is an example that you have seen (or heard reported) of incentives backfiring.  How could you fix it?

· Q2.  Do you think the pandemic will make the wage gaps between groups narrower or wider?  Why or why not?

· Q3.  in the podcast 
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/what-can-uber-teach-us-about-the-gender-pay-gap/
the algorithm is not biased but the drivers’ results are.  Should this be corrected in some way, and if so, why (or why not) and how?

· Q4. Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 12:

Discussion Topics (Go to Packback.com Choose one of these Featured Questions to answer, then post your own question and comment on 2 other students’ questions)

· Q1.  In Think Like a Freak Chapter 7, the concepts of a “garden that weeds itself” is explained.  Describe a situation where you could set up a “garden that weeds itself” for you or your family.  How do you think they would like it?

· Q2.   
https://freakonomics.com/podcast/covid-19-college/
       This podcast from last May discussed college this fall.  What did they get right or wrong, and how do you see college working in the spring and next year?  What is working, what is not working, and how can we improve things?

· Q3.  Choose your own question.  What is one burning question you have that is relevant to what we’ve learned during this week?

Week 13: TBA

Week 14: TBA

Week 15: TBA