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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Top 9 questions to ask a statistician

Someone writes in:

If a study is worth a mention, it’s worth a link

Gur Huberman points to this op-ed entitled “Are Good Doctors Bad for Your Health?” and writes: Can’t the NYT provide a link or an explicit reference to the JAMA Internal Medicine article underlying this OpEd? A reader could then access the original piece and judge its credibility for himself I replied: Yes, very tacky of […]

Asking the question is the most important step

In statistics, the glamour often comes to those who perform a challenging data analysis that extracts signal from noise, as in Aki Vehtari’s decomposition of the famous birthday data which led to the stunning graphs on the cover of BDA3. But, from a social-science point of view, the biggest credit has to go to whoever […]

Hanging Chad

It’s been awhile since I’ve linked to Laura Wattenberg’s excellent baby name blog. Here’s a fun recent item on how one man launched a generation of baby names. Wattenberg writes: Some more highlights from Willson’s roster of custom-named clients: Rad Fulton Cal Bolder Rand Saxon Race Gentry Chance Nesbitt Dack Rambo Van Williams Dare Harris […]

Death rates have been increasing for middle-aged white women, decreasing for men

Here’s the deal (data from CDC Wonder, age-standardized to a uniform distribution in the age range): Hoo boy. Looky here, something interesting: From 1999 to 2013, the death rate for middle-aged white women steadily increased. The death rate for middle-aged white men increased through 2005, then decreased. Since 2005, the death rate has been rising […]

What happened to mortality among 45-54-year-old white non-Hispanics? It declined from 1989 to 1999, increased from 1999 to 2005, and held steady after that.

The raw death rates for the group (which appeared in the Case-Deaton paper) are in red, and the age-adjusted death rates (weighting each year of age equally) are in black. So . . . the age-adjusted mortality in this group increased by 5% from 1999 to 2005 and has held steady thereafter. But if you […]

Age adjustment mortality update

Earlier today I discussed a paper by Anne Case and Angus Deaton in which they noted an increase in mortality rates among non-Hispanic white Americans from 1989 to 2013, a pattern that stood in sharp contrast to a decrease in several other rich countries and among U.S. Hispanics as well: Interpretation of this graph is […]

Correcting statistical biases in “Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century”: We need to adjust for the increase in average age of people in the 45-54 category

In a much-noticed paper, Anne Case and Angus Deaton write: This paper documents a marked increase in the all-cause mortality of middle-aged white non-Hispanic men and women in the United States between 1999 and 2013. This change reversed decades of progress in mortality and was unique to the United States; no other rich country saw […]

The Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology

Judy Tanur writes: The Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology recognizes students in the social sciences who incorporate visual analysis in their work. The contest is open worldwide to undergraduate and graduate students (majoring in any social science). It is named for Rachel Dorothy Tanur (1958–2002), an urban planner and lawyer who cared deeply […]

“How does peer review shape science?”

In a paper subtitled, “A simulation study of editors, reviewers, and the scientific publication process,” political scientist Justin Esarey writes: Under any system I study, a majority of accepted papers will be evaluated by the average reader as not meeting the standards of the journal. Moreover, all systems allow random chance to play a strong […]

3 postdoc opportunities you can’t miss—here in our group at Columbia! Apply NOW, don’t miss out!

Hey, just once, the Buzzfeed-style hype is appropriate. We have 3 amazing postdoc opportunities here, and you need to apply NOW. Here’s the deal: we’re working on some amazing projects. You know about Stan and associated exciting projects in computational statistics. There’s the virtual database query, which is the way I like to describe our […]

You’ll never guess what’s happening in the Columbia sociology department! Tune in at 2pm to find out.

I’ll be speaking 2pm, Thurs 15 Oct, at 509 Knox Hall (606 W 122 St) in the sociology department seminar. The political impact of social penumbras Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science The penumbra of a group is the set of people who know at least one person in that group. […]

Here’s a theoretical research project for you

We were having a listserv discussion on the replication project in psychology and someone asked about the rate of replication failures of stunning claims at top journals, compared to run-of-the-mill claims at lower-impact journals. E. J. wrote: Boring research is more likely to replicate. I have no data to back this up, so let’s just […]

Most successful blog post ever

Last month, I posted this on the sister blog at the Washington Post: Under the subject line, “My best friend from 1st grade wrote this article,” Joshua Vogelstein pointed me to pointed me to an article in the journal Marketing Science . . . written by Brett Gordon and Wesley Hartmann . . . Then […]

Flamebait: “Mathiness” in economics and political science

Political scientist Brian Silver points me to his post by economist Paul Romer, who writes: The style that I [Romer] am calling mathiness lets academic politics masquerade as science. Like mathematical theory, mathiness uses a mixture of words and symbols, but instead of making tight links, it leaves ample room for slippage between statements in […]

Low-power pose

“The samples were collected in privacy, using passive drool procedures, and frozen immediately.” Anna Dreber sends along a paper, “Assessing the Robustness of Power Posing: No Effect on Hormones and Risk Tolerance in a Large Sample of Men and Women,” which she published in Psychological Science with coauthors Eva Ranehill, Magnus Johannesson, Susanne Leiberg, Sunhae […]

The aching desire for regular scientific breakthroughs

This post didn’t come out the way I planned. Here’s what happened. I cruised over to the British Psychological Society Research Digest (formerly on our blogroll) and came across a press release entitled “Background positive music increases people’s willingness to do others harm.” Uh oh, I thought. This sounds like one of those flaky studies, […]

Why aren’t people sharing their data and code?

Joe Mienko writes: I made the following post on a couple of hours ago. It is still relatively uncommon for social scientists to share data or code as a part of the peer review process. I feel that this practice runs contrary to notions of replicability and reproducibility and have a desire to voice […]

Being polite vs. saying what we really think

We recently discussed an article by Isabel Scott and Nicholas Pound entitled, “Menstrual Cycle Phase Does Not Predict Political Conservatism,” in which Scott and Pound definitively shot down some research that was so ridiculous it never even deserved the dignity of being shot down. The trouble is, the original article, “The Fluctuating Female Vote: Politics, […]

A Psych Science reader-participation game: Name this blog post

In a discussion of yesterday’s post on studies that don’t replicate, Nick Brown did me the time-wasting disservice of pointing out a recent press release from Psychological Science which, as you might have heard, is “the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology.” The press release is called “Blue and Seeing Blue: Sadness May Impair Color […]