Steven Levitt

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Steven Levitt, 2012

Steven David Levitt (born May 29, 1967 ) is an American economist . He has degrees from Harvard University (Bachelor, 1989) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD, 1994). He is currently a professor at the University of Chicago .

In 2002 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . In 2003 he was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal .

Levitt caused a sensation in the USA with an article published in 2000 "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime" (together with John Donohue III), in which he used multivariate statistical methods for the USA to establish a connection between the legalization of abortion in the middle of the United States 1970s and the decline in the crime rate in the early 1990s. The reason for the observation is: the legalization of abortion also gave those women the opportunity to have an abortion who could not offer their children a stable home, for example because they were addicted to drugs or lived in a criminal environment. Children from such homes are more likely to become criminals. The decline in the US crime rate in the 1990s thus came about when that generation would have come of age. Levitt emphasizes that he does not see this connection as a justification for abortion. According to Christopher Foote and Christopher Goetz, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the effect of abortion has been significantly overestimated due to the lack of control variables.

In 1999 he received a scholarship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation ( Sloan Research Fellow ).


  • Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain (with Stephen Dubner), William Morrow 2014 - German edition: Think like a Freak: Different thinkers achieve more in life , Riemann 2014.
  • Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance (with Stephen Dubner), Harper Collins 2009 - German edition: SuperFreakonomics - Nothing is as it seems: About earth cooling, patriotic prostitutes and suicide bombers with Life insurance , Riemann 2010.
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (with Stephen Dubner), Harper Collins 2005 - German edition: Freakonomics: Surprising Answers to Everyday Life Questions , Riemann 2006.
  • (with John Donohue) "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime" . Quarterly Journal of Economics , v116, n2 (May 2001): 379-420.
  • An Economic Analysis of a Drug-Selling Gang's Finances. Quarterly Journal of Economics 115 (August 2000): 755-789. (with Sudhir Venkatesh ).
  • (with Mark Duggan): "Winning isn't Everything: Corruption in Sumo Wrestling". American Economic Review .
  • "The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation". 1996. Quarterly Journal of Economics 111: 319-352.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Abortion, crime and econometrics. The Economist, December 1, 2005.