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Archive of posts filed under the Economics category.

Andrew Gelman is not the plagiarism police because there is no such thing as the plagiarism police.

The title of this post is a line that Thomas Basbøll wrote a couple years ago. Before I go on, let me say that the fact that I have not investigated this case in detail is not meant to imply that it’s not important or that it’s not worth investigating. It’s just not something that […]

Multicollinearity causing risk and uncertainty

Alexia Gaudeul writes: Maybe you will find this interesting / amusing / frightening, but the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty recently published a paper with a rather obvious multicollinearity problem. The issue does not come up that often in the published literature, so I thought you might find it interesting for your blog. The paper […]

Exploration vs. exploitation tradeoff

Alon Levy (link from Palko) looks into “Hyperloop, a loopy intercity rail transit idea proposed by Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk, an entrepreneur who hopes to make a living some day building cars,” and writes: There is a belief within American media that a successful person can succeed at anything. He (and it’s invariably he) is […]

In Bayesian regression, it’s easy to account for measurement error

Mikhail Balyasin writes: I have come across this paper by Jacob Westfall and Tal Yarkoni, “Statistically Controlling for Confounding Constructs Is Harder than You Think.” I think it talks about very similar issues you raise on your blog, but in this case they advise to use SEM [structural equation models] to control for confounding constructs. […]

Participate in this cool experiment about online privacy

Sharad Goel writes: We just launched an experiment about online privacy, and I was wondering if you could post this on your blog. In a nutshell, people upload their browsing history, which we then fingerprint and compare to the profiles of 100s of millions of Twitter users to find a match. Browsing history is something […]

Birthdays and heat waves

I mentioned the birthdays example in a talk the other day, and Hal Varian pointed me to some research by David Lam and Jeffrey Miron, papers from the 1990s with titles like Seasonality of Births in Human Populations, The Effect of Temperature on Human Fertility, and Modeling Seasonality in Fecundability, Conceptions, and Births. Aki and […]

Who owns your code and text and who can use it legally? Copyright and licensing basics for open-source

I am not a lawyer (“IANAL” in web-speak); but even if I were, you should take this with a grain of salt (same way you take everything you hear from anyone). If you want the straight dope for U.S. law, see the U.S. government Copyright FAQ; it’s surprisingly clear for government legalese. What is copyrighted? […]

Oooh, it burns me up

If any of you are members of the Marketing Research Association, could you please contact them and ask them to change their position on this issue: I have a feeling they won’t mind if you call them at home. With an autodialer. “Pollsters now must hand-dial cellphones, at great expense,” indeed. It’s that expensive to […]

Hey pollsters! Poststratify on party ID, or we’re all gonna have to do it for you.

Alan Abramowitz writes: In five days, Clinton’s lead increased from 5 points to 12 points. And Democratic party ID margin increased from 3 points to 10 points. No, I don’t think millions of voters switched to the Democratic party. I think Democrats are were just more likely to respond in that second poll. And, remember, […]

Balancing bias and variance in the design of behavioral studies: The importance of careful measurement in randomized experiments

At Bank Underground: When studying the effects of interventions on individual behavior, the experimental research template is typically: Gather a bunch of people who are willing to participate in an experiment, randomly divide them into two groups, assign one treatment to group A and the other to group B, then measure the outcomes. If you […]

Michael Porter as new pincushion

Some great comments on this post about Ted talk visionary Michael Porter. Most rewarding was this from Howard Edwards: New Zealand seems to score well on his index so perhaps I shouldn’t complain, but Michael Porter was well known in this part of the world 25 years ago when our government commissioned him to write […]

Calorie labeling reduces obesity Obesity increased more slowly in California, Seattle, Portland (Oregon), and NYC, compared to some other places in the west coast and northeast that didn’t have calorie labeling

Ted Kyle writes: I wonder if you might have some perspective to offer on this analysis by Partha Deb and Carmen Vargas regarding restaurant calorie counts. [Thin columnist] Cass Sunstein says it proves “that calorie labels have had a large and beneficial effect on those who most need them.” I wonder about the impact of […]

Guy Fieri wants your help! For a TV show on statistical models for real estate

I got the following email from David Mulholland: I’m a producer at Citizen Pictures where we produce Food Network’s “Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins” and Bravo’s digital series, “Going Off The Menu,” among others. A major network is working with us to develop a show that pits “data” against a traditional real estate agent to see […]

Bigmilk strikes again

About that claim that police are less likely to shoot blacks than whites

Josh Miller writes: Did you see this splashy NYT headline, “Surprising New Evidence Shows Bias in Police Use of Force but Not in Shootings”? It’s actually looks like a cool study overall, with granular data, and a ton of leg work, and rich set of results that extend beyond the attention grabbing headline that is […]

Of polls and prediction markets: More on #BrexitFail

David “Xbox poll” Rothschild and I wrote an article for Slate on how political prediction markets can get things wrong. The short story is that in settings where direct information is not easily available (for example, in elections where polls are not viewed as trustworthy forecasts, whether because of problems in polling or anticipated volatility […]

Causal and predictive inference in policy research

Todd Rogers pointed me to a paper by Jon Kleinberg, Jens Ludwig, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Ziad Obermeyer that begins: Empirical policy research often focuses on causal inference. Since policy choices seem to depend on understanding the counterfactual—what happens with and without a policy—this tight link of causality and policy seems natural. While this link holds […]

Causal mediation

Judea Pearl points me to this discussion with Kosuke Imai at a conference on causal mediation. I continue to think that the most useful way to think about mediation is in terms of a joint or multivariate outcome, and I continue to think that if we want to understand mediation, we need to think about […]

“I would like to share some sad stories from economics related to these issues”

Per Pettersson-Lidbom from the Department of Economics at Stockholm University writes: I have followed your discussions about replication, criticism, and the self-correcting process of science. I would like to share some sad stories from economics related to these issues. It is the stories about three papers published in highly respected journals, i.e., the study by […]

Why experimental economics might well be doing better than social psychology when it comes to replication

There’s a new paper, “Evaluating replicability of laboratory experiments in economics,” by Colin Camerer, Anna Dreber, Eskil Forsell, Teck-Hua Ho, Jürgen Huber, Magnus Johannesson, Michael Kirchler, Johan Almenberg, Adam Altmejd, Taizan Chan, Emma Heikensten, Felix Holzmeister, Taisuke Imai, Siri Isaksson, Gideon Nave, Thomas Pfeiffer, Michael Razen, Hang Wu, which three different people sent to me, […]