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Reading: Sudhir Ventakesh, Off the Books

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Sudhir Ventakesh

With a finite amount of time before Contracts starts, I decided my next read is going to be Sudhir Ventakesh‘s Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor. Ventakesh was a colleague of Steve Levitt‘s (Freakonomics) whom I’ve discussed here and here. Levitt and Dubner discussed Ventakesh’s work with Chicago gangs at length in Freakonomics, comparing the organization of a drug-selling gang to the franchising of McDonald’s. The gist of that research is available in a talk Levitt gave at the Technology Entertainment Design Conference (TED).

In Off the Books Ventakesh delves deeper into the Southside Chicago neighborhood to explore the economics of the everyday lives of its residents, who, often living on the edge of survival, struggle with “their desires to live a just life and their needs to make ends meet as best they can.”

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Category: freakin' economics, literary pretensions

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  1. [...] Tyler Cowan of Marginal Revolution has given an glowing review of – Thomas McGaw’s Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction – a book I’ll likely not have a chance to read in the near future. Law school means never having to say you don’t have anything to read. I’m still struggling to find time to put a dent in Sudhir Ventatesh’s excellent Off the Books. [...]

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