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Archive of posts filed under the Economics category.

Individual and aggregate patterns in the Equality of Opportunity research project

Dale Lehman writes: I’ve been looking at the work of the Equality of Opportunity Project and noticed that you had commented on some of their work. Since you are somewhat familiar with the work, and since they do not respond to my queries, I thought I’d ask you about something that is bothering me. I, […]

Josh Miller hot hand talks in NYC and Pittsburgh this week

Joshua Miller (the person who, with Adam Sanjurjo, discovered why the so-called “hot hand fallacy” is not really a fallacy) will be speaking on the topic this week. In New York, Thurs 17 Nov, 12:30pm, 19 W 4th St, room 517, Center for Experimental Social Science seminar. In Pittsburgh, Fri 18 Nov, 12pm, 4716 Posvsar […]

How effective (or counterproductive) is universal child care? Part 2

This is the second of a series of two posts. Yesterday we discussed the difficulties of learning from a small, noisy experiment, in the context of a longitudinal study conducted in Jamaica where researchers reported that an early-childhood intervention program caused a 42%, or 25%, gain in later earnings. I expressed skepticism. Today I want […]

How effective (or counterproductive) is universal child care? Part 1

This is the first of a series of two posts. We’ve talked before about various empirically-based claims of the effectiveness of early childhood intervention. In a much-publicized 2013 paper based on a study of 130 four-year-old children in Jamaica, Paul Gertler et al. claimed that a particular program caused a 42% increase in the participants’ […]

What is the chance that your vote will decide the election? Ask Stan!

I was impressed by Pierre-Antoine Kremp’s open-source poll aggregator and election forecaster (all in R and Stan with an automatic data feed!) so I wrote to Kremp: I was thinking it could be fun to compute probability of decisive vote by state, as in this paper. This can be done with some not difficult but […]

How to improve science reporting? Dan Vergano sez: It’s not about reality, it’s all about a salary

I happened to be looking up some things on cat-owner Dan Kahan’s blog and I came across this interesting comment from 2013 that I’d not noticed before. The comment came from science journalist Dan Vergano, and it was in response to a post of Kahan that discussed an article of mine that had given advice […]

Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences

Jamie Druckman and Jeremy Freese write: We are pleased to announce that Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) was renewed for another round of funding by National Science Foundation. TESS allows researchers to submit proposals for experiments to be conducted on a nationally-representative, probability-based survey research platform. Successful proposals are fielded at no cost […]

The problems are everywhere, once you know to look

Josh Miller writes: My friend and colleague Joachim Vosgerau (at Bocconi) sent me some papers from PNAS and they are right in your wheelhouse. Higher social class people behave more unethically. I can certainly vouch for the jerky behavior of people that drive BMWs and Mercedes in Italy (similar to Study 1&2 in Piff et […]

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 […]