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Archive of posts filed under the Economics category.

Vizzy vizzy vizzy viz

Nadia Hassan points me to this post by Matthew Yglesias, who writes: Here’s a very cool data visualization from that took me a minute to figure out because it’s a little bit unorthodox. The way it works is that it visualizes the entire world’s economic output as a circle. That circle is then subdivided […]

“Soylent 1.5” < black beans and yoghurt

Mark Palko quotes Justin Fox: On Monday, software engineer Rob Rhinehart published an account of his new life without alternating electrical current — which he has undertaken because generating that current “produces 32 percent of all greenhouse gases, more than any other economic sector.” Connection to the power grid isn’t all Rhinehart has given up. […]

Macartan Humphreys on the Worm Wars

My Columbia political science colleague shares “What Has Been Learned from the Deworming Replications: A Nonpartisan View”: Last month there was another battle in a dispute between economists and epidemiologists over the merits of mass deworming.1 In brief, economists claim there is clear evidence that cheap deworming interventions have large effects on welfare via increased […]


The following bit of irrelevance appeared on the stan-users mailing list: On Jun 11, 2015, at 11:29 AM, Joanna Caldwell wrote: Webinar: Tips & Tricks to Improve Your Logistic Regression . . . Registration Link: . . . Abstract: Logistic regression is a commonly used tool to analyze binary classification problems. However, logistic regression still […]

Annals of Spam

I received the following email with subject line, “Andrew, just finished ‘Foreign language skills …’”: Andrew, Just finished This leads to the silliness of considering foreign language skills as a purely positional good or as a method for selecting students, while forgetting the direct benefits of being able to communicate in various ways with […]

Survey weighting and regression modeling

Yphtach Lelkes points us to a recent article on survey weighting by three economists, Gary Solon, Steven Haider, and Jeffrey Wooldridge, who write: We start by distinguishing two purposes of estimation: to estimate population descriptive statistics and to estimate causal effects. In the former type of research, weighting is called for when it is needed […]

Economists betting on replication

Mark Patterson writes: A bunch of folks are collaborating on a project to replicate 18 experimental studies published in prominent Econ journals (mostly American Economic Review, a few Quarterly Journal of Economics). This is already pretty exciting, but the really cool bit is they’re opening a market (with real money) to predict which studies will […]

In which a complete stranger offers me a bet

Piotr Mitros wrote to Deb and me: I read, with pleasure, your article about the impossibility of biasing a coin. I’m curious as to whether researchers believe what they write. Would you be willing to place some form of iterated bet? For example: I provide a two-sided coin and a table. The table looks like […]

Kaiser’s beef

The Numbersense guy writes in: Have you seen this? It has one of your pet peeves… let’s draw some data-driven line in the categorical variable and show significance. To make it worse, he adds a final paragraph saying essentially this is just a silly exercise that I hastily put together and don’t take it seriously! […]

Creativity is the ability to see relationships where none exist

Brent Goldfarb and Andrew King, in a paper to appear in the journal Strategic Management, write: In a recent issue of this journal, Bettis (2012) reports a conversation with a graduate student who forthrightly announced that he had been trained by faculty to “search for asterisks”. The student explained that he sifted through large databases […]

I actually think this infographic is ok

Under the heading, “bad charts,” Mark Duckenfield links to this display by Quoctrung Bui and writes: So much to go with here, but I [Duckenfield] would just highlight the bars as the most egregious problem as it is implied that the same number of people are in each category. Obviously that is not the case […]

The connection between varying treatment effects and the well-known optimism of published research findings

Jacob Hartog writes: I thought this article [by Hunt Allcott and Sendhil Mullainathan], although already a couple of years old, fits very well into the themes of your blog—in particular the idea that the “true” treatment effect is likely to vary a lot depending on all kinds of factors that we can and cannot observe, […]

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 […]

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 […]

A question about physics-types models for flows in economics

Phillip Middleton writes: I’ve been attempting to generate a set of visually (animated in fact) mappable models which represent measurable forces that demonstrate effects on localized economic (census block level) outcomes, which in turn affect and are affected by regional education dynamics, brick/mortar business development, etc… This is coming out of some reading and observation […]

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 […]

Go to PredictWise for forecast probabilities of events in the news

I like it. Clear, transparent, no mumbo jumbo about their secret sauce. But . . . what’s with the hyper-precision: C’mon. “27.4%”? Who are you kidding?? (See here for explication of this point.)

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 […]

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 […]