Areas of Expertise
William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor in Economics and the College
Steven Levitt is one of the nation's leading micro-economists and has done pioneering and influential work on natural experiments in economics. He studies a wide range of topics including the economic aspects of crime, corruption and education. Levitt, editor of the Journal of Political Economy, has authored several recent articles about crime, including "Legalized Abortion as an Explanation for the Decline in Crime" and "An Economic Analysis of a Drug-Selling Gang's Finances" in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and "Winning Isn't Everything: Corruption in Sumo Wrestling" in the American Economic Review.
He received the 2003 John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economics Association. Named in 2001 to the economics section of the American Academy of Sciences, Levitt received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation in 2000, and the University's Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 1998.
In August 2003, journalist Stephen J. Dubner wrote an extensive profile of Levitt for the New York Times Magazine. Since then, Dubner and Levitt have collaborated on various projects including Freakonomics, a wildly popular presentation of Levitt's research for a general audience. It has since spun off into a sequel (SuperFreakonomics) as well as a feature film. In 2014, they published Think Like a Freak: How to Think Smarter about Almost Everything. They also maintain a blog at the book's website and co-write a biweekly column for the New York Times Magazine.