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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Statistics and data science, again

Phillip Middleton writes in with two questions: (1) Is html markdown or some other formatting script usable in comments? If so, what are the tags I may use? (2) What are your views on the role of statistics in the evolution of the various folds of convergent science? For example, upon us there is this […]

Skepticism about a published claim regarding income inequality and happiness

Frank de Libero writes: I read your Chance article (disproving that no one reads Chance!) re communicating about flawed psychological research. And I know from your other writings of your continuing good fight against misleading quantitative work. I think you and your students might be interested on my recent critique of a 2011 paper published […]

Differences between econometrics and statistics: From varying treatment effects to utilities, economists seem to like models that are fixed in stone, while statisticians tend to be more comfortable with variation

I had an interesting discussion with Peter Dorman (whose work on assessing the value of a life we discussed in this space a few years ago). The conversation started when Peter wrote me about his recent success using hierarchical modeling for risk analysis. He wrote, “Where have they [hierarchical models] been all my life? In […]

“Building on theories used to describe magnets, scientists have put together a model that captures something very different . . .”

There’s a story that (some) physicists and science reporters seem to like, which is the idea that some clever mathematician or physicist can derive universal laws of social behavior. It’s time to tell you all: Hari Seldon never existed. Here’s what I think of these stories of physicists who discover the laws of society. I […]

Chicago alert: Mister P and Stan to be interviewed on WBEZ today (Fri) 3:15pm

Niala Boodho on the Afternoon Shift will be interviewing Yair and me about our age-period-cohort extravaganza which became widely-known after being featured in this cool interactive graph by Amanda Cox in the New York Times. And here’s the interview. The actual paper is called The Great Society, Reagan’s revolution, and generations of presidential voting and […]

“Who’s bigger”—the new book that ranks every human on Wikipedia—is more like Bill Simmons than Bill James

I received a copy of “Who’s Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank,” by Steven Skiena, a computer scientist at Stony Brook University, and Charles Ward, and engineer at Google. Here’s the blurb I gave the publisher: Skiena and Ward provide a numerical ranking for the every Wikipedia resident who’s ever lived. What a great idea! […]

Too Linear To Be True: The curious case of Jens Forster

Yup, another social psychology researcher from northwestern Europe who got results that people just don’t believe. I’m a fan of Retraction Watch but not a regular reader so I actually heard about this one indirectly, via this email from Baruch Eitam which contained the above link and the following note: Of the latest troubles in […]

Smullyan and the Randomistas

Steve Ziliak wrote in: I thought you might be interested in the following exchanges on randomized trials: Here are a few exchanges on the economics and ethics of randomized controlled trials, reacting to my [Zilliak's] study with Edward R. Teather-Posadas, “The Unprincipled Randomization Principle in Economics and Medicine”. Our study is forthcoming in the Oxford […]

Kristof/Brooks update: NYT columnists correct their mistakes!

Who will issue a correction first? Nicholas Kristof, who uncritically cited the hurricane/himmicane paper which appeared in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences but then was debunked in a stunning round of post-publication review? David Brooks, who botched some historical economic statistics and, in an unrelated incident, uncritically cited some education statistics […]

Bayes in the research conversation

Charlie Williams writes: As I get interested in Bayesian approaches to statistics, I have one question I wondered if you would find interesting to address at some point on the blog. What does Bayesian work look like in action across a field? From experience, I have some feeling for how ongoing debates evolve (or not) […]