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Archive of posts filed under the Economics category.

“Why IT Fumbles Analytics Projects”

Someone pointed me to this Harvard Business Review article by Donald Marchand and Joe Peppard, “Why IT Fumbles Analytics,” which begins as follows: In their quest to extract insights from the massive amounts of data now available from internal and external sources, many companies are spending heavily on IT tools and hiring data scientists. Yet […]

2 new reasons not to trust published p-values: You won’t believe what this rogue economist has to say.

Political scientist Anselm Rink points me to this paper by economist Alwyn Young which is entitled, “Channelling Fisher: Randomization Tests and the Statistical Insignificance of Seemingly Significant Experimental Results,” and begins, I [Young] follow R.A. Fisher’s The Design of Experiments, using randomization statistical inference to test the null hypothesis of no treatment effect in a […]

My namesake doesn’t seem to understand the principles of decision analysis

It says “Never miss another deadline.” But if you really could never miss your deadlines, you’d just set your deadlines earlier, no? It’s statics vs. dynamics all over again. That said, this advice seems reasonable: The author has also developed a foolproof method of structuring your writing, so that you make effective use of your […]

MTA sucks

They had a sign on the wall promoting this Easy Pay express metrocard that would auto-refill and I was like, cool, so when I got to the ofc I looked it up, found the sign-up page, gave my information and chose the EasyPayXpress PayPerRide Plan, clicked on lu et endendu or whatever they call it, […]

“Earlier you had waxed nostalgic for the days when people sent you bad graphs . . .”

Nadia Hassan writes: Earlier you had waxed nostalgic for the days when people sent you bad graphs. This [from Javier Zarracina] is not a stand-out on that front, but it is far from ideal: A lot of buzz in recent years about data journalism or quantitative journalism. There is a lot of issues to be […]

Vitamin pill shocker: “A complex web of vested interests promote calcium and vitamin D for osteoporosis, despite lack of evidence”

Paul Alper points us to this scary news article by Susan Perry: Calcium and vitamin D supplements have been shown repeatedly to have no beneficial effect on preventing or treating osteoporosis . . . In fact, the evidence has not only demonstrated that calcium and vitamin D supplements do not reduce the risk of bone […]

Citation shocker: “The lifecycle of scholarly articles across fields of economic research”

David Backus writes: Check esp fig 2 here. He was pointing me to a post by Sebastian Galiani, Ramiro Galvez, and Maria Victoria Anauati called The lifecycle of scholarly articles across fields of economic research. And here’s fig 2: And, as usual, I duck all the interesting questions and move toward triviality: This should be […]

There are 6 ways to get fired from Johnson & Johnson: (1) theft, (2) sexual harassment, (3) running an experiment without a control group, (4) keeping a gambling addict away from the casino, (5) chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, and (6) not covering up records of side effects of a drug you’re marketing to kids

Paul Alper writes: Gorsky, it seems to me, dwarfs the villains you often write about. Here’s the background, from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof: Risperdal is a billion-dollar antipsychotic medicine with real benefits — and a few unfortunate side effects. It can cause strokes among the elderly. And it can cause boys to grow […]

You’ll never guess how we answer this question: “Am I doing myself a disservice by being too idealistic in a corporate environment?”

A student writes: I’m an undergrad, going into my 4th year. Over the course of my Business-Economics major and Gerontology minor, I’ve developed a burning interest in modeling and analysis and a smoldering distrust of most everything else in the field. I’m just finishing a summer internship I’ve spent the summer in the new Predictive […]

Death of a statistician

It’s not often that one of our profession earns an obituary in the New York Times: Lawrence R. Herkimer, who elevated cheerleading into an aspirational goal for generations of youths and a highly successful business for himself, organizing camps for would-be cheerleaders and selling the clothing and gear they would need, died on Wednesday in […]

A Replication in Economics: Does “Genetic Distance” to the US Predict Development?

Douglas Campbell writes: A new study finding that more than half of psychology studies failed to replicate is a very positive step forward for social science. Could a similar study be undertaken in economics, and what would it find? Most empirical economics research is non-experimental, and thus I suspect that most studies would replicate in the sense […]

Bayesian decision analysis for the drug-approval process (NSFW)

Bill Jefferys points me to a paper, “Is the FDA Too Conservative or Too Aggressive?: A Bayesian Decision Analysis of Clinical Trial Design,” by Vahid Montazerhodjat and Andrew Lo. Here’s the abstract: Implicit in the drug-approval process is a trade-off between Type I and Type II error. We propose using Bayesian decision analysis (BDA) to […]

Why I decided not to enter the $100,000 global warming time-series challenge

tl;dr: Negative expected return. Long version: I received the following email the other day from Tom Daula: Interesting applied project for your students, or as a warning for decisions under uncertainty / statistical significance. Real money on the line so the length of time and number of entries required to get a winner may be […]

“iPredict to close after Govt refuses anti-money laundering law exemption”

Richard Barker points us to an update on ipredict, the New Zealand political prediction market. From the news article by Hamish Rutherford: The site, run by Victoria University of Wellington’s commercialisation arm, VicLink, issued a statement to its website and on Twitter on Thursday. According to the iPredict statement, Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges refused […]

Why is it so hard for them to acknowledge a correction?

Anne Case (as quoted by Jesse Singal): We spent a year working on this paper, sweating out every number, sweating out over what we were doing, and then to see people blogging about it in real time — that’s not the way science really gets done. . . . And so it’s a little hard […]

Inference from an intervention with many outcomes, not using “statistical significance”

Kate Casey writes: I have been reading your papers “Type S error rates for classical…” and “Why We (Usually) Don’t Have to Worry…” with great interest and would be grateful for your views on the appropriateness of a potentially related application. I have a non-hierarchical dataset of 28 individuals who participated in a randomized control […]

Taleb’s Precautionary Principle: Should we be scared of GMOs?

Skyler Johnson writes: I was wondering if you could (or had already) weigh(ed) in on Nassim Taleb’s Precautionary Principle as it applies to GMOs? I’ve attached his working paper with Rupert Read, Raphael Douady, Joseph Norman and,Yaneer Bar-Yam. It can also be found at his site, See also his response to a critique from […]

“Using prediction markets to estimate the reproducibility of scientific research”

A reporter sent me this new paper by Anna Dreber, Thomas Pfeiffer, Johan Almenberg, Siri Isaksson, Brad Wilson, Yiling Chen, Brian Nosek, and Magnus Johannesson, which begins: Concerns about a lack of reproducibility of statistically significant results have recently been raised in many fields, and it has been argued that this lack comes at substantial […]

Econometrics: Instrument locally, extrapolate globally

Rajeev Dehejia sends along two papers, one with James Bisbee, Cristian Pop-Eleches, and Cyrus Samii on extrapolating estimated local average treatment effects to new settings, and one with Cristian Pop-Eleches and Cyrus Samii on external validity in natural experiments. This is important stuff, and they work it out in real examples.

Workshop on replication in economics

Jan Hoffler sends along this information: YSI workshop with Richard Ball, Johannes Pfeifer, Edward Miguel, Jan H. Höffler, and Thomas Herndon January 6 – 7, San Francisco, Mozilla Science Lab The workshop will take place right after the Annual Meeting of the American Social Sciences Associations, which includes the Annual Meeting of the American Economic […]