University Professor's Joke Paper On AC/DC Takes On Life Of Its Own

August 22, 2007

Deborah Tetley of the Calgary Herald reports: It's a battle for the ages — who was the better frontman for the Australian rock band AC/DC? The late Bon Scott or his replacement, Brian Johnson?

University of Calgary economics professor Rob Oxoby couldn't care less.

So when his mock discussion paper on the effectiveness of AC/DC's music on students' financial decision-making was picked up and mocked mercilessly in the Los Angeles Times by noted economist and author Steven Levitt, the professor was mortified.

Once he's unleashed a string of expletives unsuitable for publication, Oxoby settles down and agrees to an interview with the Herald.

"It was a joke. A damn joke. Steven Levitt was taken in by a joke and now the whole world has noticed me for writing a flaky paper," says Oxoby, director of the university's behavioural and experimental economics lab.

"Damn. I do important research here and it's a shame that he chose to deride and malign me for a paper I banged out in a Vancouver airport bar."

On Monday, Levitt, co-author of the best-selling book "Freakonomics", posted an article on his L.A. Times blog entitled: "This Is What Happens to People When They Listen to Too Much AC/DC," with a link to Oxoby's recent paper.

"I hope for this guy's sake he has tenure," Levitt commented.

The article sparked a range of debate by Times readers, from the professor's study skills, to his taste in music and even suggestions that the study results might have been different if the subjects had been American.

Read the entire article at this location.

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