Freakonomics research isn’t all about revealing the darker side of human behavior. Consider this analysis of Paul Feldman’s bagel business. Feldman was an economist in Washington, DC, who got a job analyzing weapons costs. As a senior manager, when his group won a large contract, he’d bring them bagels.
Then he started bringing bagels and cream cheese on Fridays. When word spread throughout the building, he ended up bringing in 15 dozen bagels a week. To cover his costs, he put out a basket with the price per bagel. As an economist, he tracked his costs and “revenues,” finding that 95% of the people who took bagels paid for them.