Steven Levitt

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Freakonomics Characters

Minor Characters
Norma McGorvey
Lead plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the United States.
Arne Duncan
The CEO of the Chicago Public School system in the early 2000s, notable for his attempts to crack down on cheating on federal tests.
Paul Feldman
Former government researcher who founded his own bagel-delivery company.
Adam Smith
18th century Scottish economist whose works The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments are still widely studied.
Ancient Greek philosopher, whose Platonic Dialogues are often regarded as cornerstones of Western thought.
Stetson Kennedy
Southerner who, during the 1940s, launched a highly effective initiative to reduce the influence of the Ku Klux Klan.
A close friend of the authors, who learned some sobering realities about the real estate business.
Rudolph Giuliani
Mayor of New York City during the mid to late 1990s, whose policing methods, using the “broken window theory” of criminology, are sometimes credited with “cleaning up” the city.
David Dinkins
Mayor of New York City in the early 1990s, and a frequent political opponent of Rudolph Giuliani.
John Kenneth Galbraith
Influential 20th century economist whose works, including The Affluent Society (1958), are credited with popularizing ideas and terms such as “conventional wisdom.”
Sudhir Venkatesh
Economic researcher who conducted a monumental study of the crack cocaine epidemic in Chicago.
Drug dealer and leader of a drug gang in Chicago—the subject of Sudhir Venkatesh’s academic research.
A member of J.T.’s gang, who supplies Sudhir Venkatesh with detailed records of the gang’s economic transactions.
Nicolae Ceauşescu
Communist dictator of Romania until 1989.
John Lott
Influential proponent of “right-to-carry” gun laws.
Robert Lane
Father of Winner Lane and Loser Lane.
Winner Lane
Son of Robert Lane, and, despite his name, a repeat offender who spent much of his life in jail.
Loser Lane
Son of Robert Lane and, in spite of his name, a successful detective for the NYPD.
Roland Fryer
Harvard economist who overcame his impoverished, abusive childhood to become a successful professor and writer, cited many times in the book.
David Duke
Notorious white supremacist and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Ted Kaczynski
American terrorist and anarchist who, in spite of his privileged childhood and tremendous academic success, became the Unabomber, one of the deadliest terrorists in American history.