catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Lott vs Levitt in the courtroom?

with 5 comments

Via Steve Sailer, Freakonomics on trial:

A scholar known for his work on guns and crime filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt, co-author of the best-seller “Freakonomics.”

John Lott Jr. of Virginia, a former U. of C. visiting professor, alleges that Levitt defamed him in the book by claiming that other scholars had tried and failed to confirm Lott’s conclusion that allowing people to carry concealed weapons reduces crime. Publishers Weekly ranked “Freakonomics” eighth this week for non-fiction hardcover books.

According to Levitt’s book: “When other scholars have tried to replicate [Lott’s] results, they found that right-to-carry laws simply don’t bring down crime.”

But according to Lott’s lawsuit: “In fact, every time that an economist or other researcher has replicated Lott’s research, he or she has confirmed Lott’s conclusion.”

By suggesting that Lott’s results could not be replicated, Levitt is “alleging that Lott falsified his results,” the lawsuit says.

Lott is seeking a court order to block further sales of “Freakonomics” until the offending statements are retracted and changed. He is also seeking unspecified money damages.

I must admit that I’ve never been a great enthusiast for Levitt’s work, so I do agree with Sailer’s assessment of who is the more interesting columnist (Tyler Cowen – see Sailer’s take on this linked above). I find Levitt’s work (or to be more accurate, his much hyped book) rather boring and/or trivial. I’ve read Freakonomics but would’ve myself nominated David Friedman’s Law’s Order as a work more likely to inspire interest in economics.


Written by Admin

April 12, 2006 at 3:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. I wonder why Lott hasn’t sued Lambert.


    July 30, 2007 at 6:19 pm

  2. Because it’s a different country you dill.


    July 30, 2007 at 7:32 pm

  3. The Howard Government extradited an Australian citizen to the USA for a civil suit last year, dummy.

    Stick to what you know best Joey, that being currency trading and navel lint.


    July 30, 2007 at 8:24 pm

  4. Lambert writes his stuff here, mel.

    Libel law is easier here than it is in the US. Lott wouldn’t stand a chance in a US court. Don’t be silly.


    July 30, 2007 at 8:50 pm

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