By Levitt S.D., Dubner S.J.
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Extra info for Freakonomics
S. Navy. This was in 1962. For the next twenty-odd years, he did further analytic work in Washington. He held seniorlevel jobs and earned good money, but he wasn’t always recognized for his best work. ” The bagels had begun as a casual gesture: a boss treating his employees whenever they won a research contract. Then he made it a habit. Every Friday, he would bring in some bagels, a serrated knife, and cream cheese. When employees from neighboring ﬂoors heard about the bagels, they wanted some too.
He got this idea after delivering for years to one company spread out over three ﬂoors—an executive ﬂoor on top and two lower ﬂoors with sales, service, and administrative employees. (Feldman wondered if perhaps the executives cheated out of an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. ) If morality represents the way we would like the world to work and economics represents how it actually does work, then the story of Feldman’s bagel business lies at the very intersection of morality and economics. Yes, a lot of people steal from him, but the vast majority, even though no one is watching over them, do not.
Each wrestler has ﬁfteen bouts per tournament, one per day over ﬁfteen consecutive days. If he ﬁnishes the tournament with a winning record (eight victories or better), his ranking will rise. If he has a losing record, his ranking falls. If it falls far enough, he is booted from the elite rank entirely. The eighth victory in any tournament is therefore critical, the difference between promotion and demotion; it is roughly four times as valuable in the rankings as the typical victory. So a wrestler entering the ﬁnal day of a tournament on the bubble, with a 7–7 record, has far more to gain from a victory than an opponent with a record of 8–6 has to lose.