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Archive of posts filed under the Decision Theory category.

On deck this week

Mon: Bob Carpenter’s favorite books on GUI design and programming Tues: Bayesian inference: The advantages and the risks Wed: Objects of the class “Foghorn Leghorn” Thurs: “Physical Models of Living Systems” Fri: Creativity is the ability to see relationships where none exist Sat: Kaiser’s beef Sun: Chess + statistics + plagiarism, again!

My talk at MIT this Thursday

When I was a student at MIT, there was no statistics department. I took a statistics course from Stephan Morgenthaler and liked it. (I’d already taken probability and stochastic processes back at the University of Maryland; my instructor in the latter class was Prof. Grace Yang, who was super-nice. I couldn’t follow half of what […]

There’s No Such Thing As Unbiased Estimation. And It’s a Good Thing, Too.

Following our recent post on econometricians’ traditional privileging of unbiased estimates, there were a bunch of comments echoing the challenge of teaching this topic, as students as well as practitioners often seem to want the comfort of an absolute standard such as best linear unbiased estimate or whatever. Commenters also discussed the tradeoff between bias […]

On deck this week

Mon: There’s No Such Thing As Unbiased Estimation. And It’s a Good Thing, Too. Tues: There’s something about humans Wed: Humility needed in decision-making Thurs: The connection between varying treatment effects and the well-known optimism of published research findings Fri: I actually think this infographic is ok Sat: Apology to George A. Romero Sun: “Do […]

Collaborative filtering, hierarchical modeling, and . . . speed dating

Jonah Sinick posted a few things on the famous speed-dating dataset and writes: The main element that I seem to have been missing is principal component analysis of the different rating types. The basic situation is that the first PC is something that people are roughly equally responsive to, while people vary a lot with […]

What I got wrong (and right) about econometrics and unbiasedness

Yesterday I spoke at the Princeton economics department. The title of my talk was: “Unbiasedness”: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. The talk went all right—people seemed ok with what I was saying—but I didn’t see a lot of audience involvement. It was a bit […]

On deck this week

Mon: A causal-inference version of a statistics problem: If you fit a regression model with interactions, and the underlying process has an interaction, your coefficients won’t be directly interpretable. Tues: He’s looking for probability puzzles Wed: In criticism of criticism of criticism Thurs: A question about physics-types models for flows in economics Fri: What I […]

On deck this month

A causal-inference version of a statistics problem: If you fit a regression model with interactions, and the underlying process has an interaction, your coefficients won’t be directly interpretable. He’s looking for probability puzzles In criticism of criticism of criticism A question about physics-types models for flows in economics What I got wrong (and right) about […]

On deck this week

Mon: Eccentric mathematician Tues: What’s the most important thing in statistics that’s not in the textbooks? Wed: Carl Morris: Man Out of Time [reflections on empirical Bayes] Thurs: “The general problem I have with noninformatively-derived Bayesian probabilities is that they tend to be too strong.” Fri: Good, mediocre, and bad p-values Sat: Which of these […]

Online predictions from ipredict

Following up on our post on PredictWise, Richard Barker points to this fun site of market-based predictions. It’s subtitled, “Buy and sell stocks in future political and economic events.” It’s based in New Zealand so you can bet on wacky propositions such as, “David Carter to be next High Commissioner from New Zealand to the […]

On deck this week

Mon: New book on Bayesian analysis in ecology using Stan Tues: The feather, the bathroom scale, and the kangaroo Wed: Instead of worrying about multiple hypothesis correction, just fit a hierarchical model. Thurs: Political Attitudes in Social Environments Fri: Statistical significance, practical significance, and interactions Sat: Statistical analysis on a dataset that consists of a […]

Gigerenzer on logical rationality vs. ecological rationality

I sent my post about the political implication of behavioral economics, embodied cognition, etc., to Gerd Gigerenzer, who commented as follows: The “half-empty” versus “half-full” explanation of the differences between Kahneman and us misses the essential point: the difference is about the nature of the glass of rationality, not the level of the water. For […]

A message I just sent to my class

I wanted to add some context to what we talked about in class today. Part of the message I was sending was that there are some stupid things that get published and you should be careful about that: don’t necessarily believe something, just cos it’s statistically significant and published in a top journal. And, sure, […]

Another stylized fact bites the dust

According to economist Henry Farber (link from Dan Goldstein): In a seminal paper, Camerer, Babcock, Loewenstein, and Thaler (1997) find that the wage elasticity of daily hours of work New York City (NYC) taxi drivers is negative and conclude that their labor supply behavior is consistent with target earning (having reference dependent preferences). I replicate […]

Mistaken identity

Someone I know sent me the following email: The person XX [pseudonym redacted] who posts on your blog is almost certainly YY [name redacted]. So he is referencing his own work and trying to make it sound like it is a third party endorsing it. Not sure why but it bugs me. He is an […]

And . . . our featured 2015 seminar speaker is . . . Thomas HOBBES!!!!!

Just in case you’ve forgotten where this all came from: This came in the departmental email awhile ago: CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: LATOUR SEMINAR — DUE DATE AUGUST 11 (extended) The Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Alliance (Columbia University, École Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and Panthéon-Sorbonne University), The Center for Science and Society, and The Faculty of […]

The championship! Thomas Hobbes vs. Philip K. Dick

OK, since this is the final round, you’re allowed to make as many Calvin and Hobbes jokes and as many dick jokes as you want. These two guys have been through a lot together. To get here, Hobbes defeated, in order, Larry David, Leo Tolstoy, Chris Rock, Ed Wood, and Miguel de Cervantes; while Dick […]

Philip K. Dick (2) vs. George Carlin (2); Hobbes advances

For yesterday’s semifinal, I was all ready to go with this argument by Zbicyclist in favor of Cervantes: For someone who wasn’t writing in English, he’s credited with a fair number of English catchphrases. Let’s bring the old guy back to life and see what else he’s got. When thou art at Rome, do as […]

The Final Four: Cervantes, Hobbes, Dick, Carlin! Today’s semifinal: Miguel de Cervantes (2) vs. Thomas Hobbes

We’re nearing the end! Yesterday‘s winner was decided based on several Carlin quotes. From Paul, a great line on Muhammad Ali: He said, ‘No, that’s where I draw the line. I’ll beat ‘em up, but I don’t want to kill ‘em.’ And the government said, ‘Well, if you won’t kill people, we won’t let you […]

John Updike vs. George Carlin (2); Hobbes and Dick advance

Yesterday‘s winners were determined by Zbicylist’s comment: Nasty, brutish and short — and not necessarily human. Pretty good, but now that Hobbes has made it into the Final Four, the competition’s stiffer. He’ll need something better than “nasty, brutish, and short” to get past Cervantes and make it into the final. And today we fill […]