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Archive of posts filed under the Economics category.

Try asking someone in the real estate business

This came in the email: Dear Professor Gelman, Hi. My name is ** and I am a 5th grade student at ** School in **, NY. I am in Mr. **’s class and we are working on our graduating project called Capstone! I am studying how how President Trump’s business life affects his job as […]

All the things we have to do that we don’t really need to do: The social cost of junk science

I’ve been thinking a lot about junk science lately. Some people have said it’s counterproductive or rude of me to keep talking about the same few examples (actually I think we have about 15 or so examples that come up again and again), so let me just speak generically about the sort of scientific claim […]

Mike Bostock graphs federal income tax brackets and tax rates, and I connect to some general principles of statistical graphics

Mike “d3” Bostock writes: Regarding the Vox graph on federal tax brackets, here is a quick-and-dirty visualization of effective tax rates for a given taxable income and year. However, there is a big caveat: estimating the effective tax rate based on actual income is much harder since it depends on the claimed deductions. This could […]

Taxes and data visualization

Nadia Hassan writes: Vox has a graph of tax rates over time. Their visualizations do convey that tax rates for high earners have declined over time and tax brackets are fewer now, but it seems like there are more appealing and intuitive ways to display that. I agree. This visualization reminds me a lot of […]

San Francisco housing debate: A yimby responds

Phil Price recently wrote two much-argued-about posts here and here on the yimby (“yes in my backyard”) movement in San Francisco. One of the people disagreeing with him is Sonja Trauss, who writes: Phil makes a pretty basic mistake of reasoning in his post, namely, that the high income residents of the proposed new housing […]

Take two on Laura Arnold’s TEDx talk.

This post is by Keith. In this post I try to be more concise and direct about what I found of value in Laura Arnold’s TEDx talk that I recently blogged about here. Primarily it was the disclosure from someone who could afford to buy good evidence (and experts to assess it) that they did not think good […]

NIMBYs and economic theories: Sorry / Not Sorry

This post is not by Andrew. This post is by Phil. A few days ago I posted What’s the deal with the YIMBYs?  In the rest of this post, I assume you have read that one. I plan to post a follow-up in a month or two when I have had time to learn more, […]

Higher credence for the masses: From a Ted talk?

The Four Most Dangerous Words? A New Study Shows | Laura Arnold | TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue I brought this link forward in some comments but wanted to promote it to a post as I think its important and I know many folks just do not read comments.

What’s the deal with the YIMBYs?

This post is not by Andrew. It is by Phil. There’s at least one thing people in San Francisco seem to agree on: the rent is too damn high. The median rent is between about $3000 and $3500 per month…for a one-bedroom apartment. High-tech workers and upper-echelon businesspeople can afford a place, but baristas and […]

Reality meets the DeLilloverse

From 2009: “They thought ASU’s brand was too strong to compete with. Incarnate Word is now part of the Communiversity @ Surprise, a newly opened one-stop learning center for higher education in the northwest Valley.” I guess my statistics textbooks probably read like parodies of statistics textbooks, so from that perspective it makes sense that […]

Can you account for this?

I’m speaking (remotely) to a roomful of accountants tomorrow. Exciting, huh? Actually, I don’t know if they’re accountants. They’re “accounting researchers,” whatever that means. . . . The title they gave to my talk is “A statistician’s thoughts on registered reports.” There’s no abstract (and, of course, no slides) but they sent me this list […]

“Everybody Lies” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz sent me his new book on learning from data. As is just about always the case for this sort of book, I’m a natural reviewer but I’m not really the intended audience. That’s why I gave Dan Ariely’s book to Juli Simon Thomas to review; I thought her perspective would be more relevant […]

Riddle me this

[cat picture] Paul Alper writes: From Susan Perry’s article based on Paul Hacker’s BMJ article: In 2015, the University of Colorado had to shut down its nonprofit Global Energy Balance Network after the organization was exposed as being essentially a “scientific” front for its funder, Coca-Cola. The University of Colorado School of Medicine returned […]

The Aristocrats!

[cat picture] I followed a link from Tyler Cowen to the book, “Inside Job: How Government Insiders Subvert the Public Interest,” by Mark Zupan (but not this Mark Zupan, I think). The link points to the book’s Amazon page, and here’s the very first blurb: ‘In the tradition of Parkinson’s Law, this fascinating and novel […]

“Data sleaze: Uber and beyond”

Interesting discussion from Kaiser Fung. I don’t have anything to add here; it’s just a good statistics topic. Scroll through Kaiser’s blog for more: Dispute over analysis of school quality and home prices shows social science is hard My pre-existing United boycott, and some musing on randomness and fairness etc.

Drug-funded profs push drugs

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes: I just read a long ProPublica article that I think your blog commenters might be interested in. It’s from February, but was linked to by the Mad Biologist today ( Here is a link to the article: In short, it’s about a group of professors (mainly economists) […]

Journals for insignificant results

Tom Daula writes: I know you’re not a fan of hypothesis testing, but the journals in this blog post are an interesting approach to the file drawer problem. I’ve never heard of them or their like. An alternative take (given academia standard practice) is “Journal for XYZ Discipline papers that p-hacking and forking paths could […]

Reputational incentives and post-publication review: two (partial) solutions to the misinformation problem

So. There are erroneous analyses published in scientific journals and in the news. Here I’m not talking not about outright propaganda, but about mistakes that happen to coincide with the preconceptions of their authors. We’ve seen lots of examples. Here are just a few: – Political scientist Larry Bartels is committed to a model of […]

Gilovich doubles down on hot hand denial

[cat picture] A correspondent pointed me to this Freaknomics radio interview with Thomas Gilovich, one of the authors of that famous “hot hand” paper from 1985, “Misperception of Chance Processes in Basketball.” Here’s the key bit from the Freakonomics interview: DUBNER: Right. The “hot-hand notion” or maybe the “hot-hand fallacy.” GILOVICH: Well, everyone who’s ever […]

Let’s accept the idea that treatment effects vary—not as something special but just as a matter of course

Tyler Cowen writes: Does knowing the price lower your enjoyment of goods and services? I [Cowen] don’t quite agree with this as stated, as the experience of enjoying a bargain can make it more pleasurable, or at least I have seen this for many people. Some in fact enjoy the bargain only, not the actual […]