A Would-Be Freakonomist in Kyrgyzstan Needs Your Help




March 30, 2015

From a reader named John Keaney:

I just finished your book Think Like a Freak, and I’m trying to use the lessons in the book while I’m in Kyrgyzstan. I’m an undergraduate at University of South Carolina, and I’ve decided to pursue my very first, independent research project while I’m living in Kyrgyzstan on the effects of Kyrgyz accession to the Eurasian Economic Union on the Kyrgyz informal economy and, ultimately, Kyrgyzstan’s political stability.

I’m almost ready to go out to the bazaars and do my data collection, but I’ve been trying to pick the best possible questions to ask the people working in the stalls. Thus far I’ve been focusing on questions regarding past prices and what they expect in the future, what they feel the EEU’s effect will be on them, how much they depend on bazaar money, whether or not they have any sons that are migrant workers (and if they’ll be returning home soon), etc.

I’ve been struggling to come up with a good Freakonometric for the questionnaire, but I’ve been struggling to find an unusual, but important, common thread between the EEU, bazaars, household income, etc. and was wondering if you would have any advice for this filthy undergrad.

Who can give John a good suggestion or two?




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