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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Can anyone guess what went wrong here?

OK, here’s a puzzle for all of you. I received the following email: Dear Professor Gelman: The editor of ** asked me to write to see if you would be willing to review MS ** entitled ** We are hoping for a review within the next 2-3 weeks if possible. I would appreciate if you […]

Are Ivy League schools overrated?

I won’t actually answer the above question, as I am offering neither a rating of these schools nor a measure of how others rate them (which would be necessary to calibrate the “overrated” claim). What I am doing is responding to an email from Mark Palko, who wrote: I [Palko] am in broad agreement with […]

Six quotes from Kaiser Fung

You may think you have all of the data. You don’t. One of the biggest myth of Big Data is that data alone produce complete answers. Their “data” have done no arguing; it is the humans who are making this claim. Before getting into the methodological issues, one needs to ask the most basic question. […]

“It’s as if you went into a bathroom in a bar and saw a guy pissing on his shoes, and instead of thinking he has some problem with his aim, you suppose he has a positive utility for getting his shoes wet”

The notion of a geocentric universe has come under criticism from Copernican astronomy. . . . A couple months ago in a discussion of differences between econometrics and statistics, I alluded to the well-known fact that everyday uncertainty aversion can’t be explained by a declining marginal utility of money. What really bothers me—it’s been bothering […]

My talk at the Simons Foundation this Wed 5pm

Anti-Abortion Democrats, Jimmy Carter Republicans, and the Missing Leap Day Babies: Living with Uncertainty but Still Learning To learn about the human world, we should accept uncertainty and embrace variation. We illustrate this concept with various examples from our recent research (the above examples are with Yair Ghitza and Aki Vehtari) and discuss more generally […]

Bad Statistics: Ignore or Call Out?

Evelyn Lamb adds to the conversation that Jeff Leek and I had a few months ago. It’s a topic that’s worth returning to, in light of our continuing discussions regarding the crisis of criticism in science.

Avoiding model selection in Bayesian social research

One of my favorites, from 1995. Don Rubin and I argue with Adrian Raftery. Here’s how we begin: Raftery’s paper addresses two important problems in the statistical analysis of social science data: (1) choosing an appropriate model when so much data are available that standard P-values reject all parsimonious models; and (2) making estimates and […]

When we talk about the “file drawer,” let’s not assume that an experiment can easily be characterized as producing strong, mixed, or weak results

Neil Malhotra: I thought you might be interested in our paper [the paper is by Annie Franco, Neil Malhotra, and Gabor Simonovits, and the link is to a news article by Jeffrey Mervis], forthcoming in Science, about publication bias in the social sciences given your interest and work on research transparency. Basic summary: We examined […]

Replication Wiki for economics

Jan Hoeffler of the University of Gottingen writes: I have been working on a replication project funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking during the last two years and read several of your blog posts that touched the topic. We developed a wiki website that serves as a database of empirical studies, the availability […]

The field is a fractal

In a blog comment, Winston Lin points to this quote from Bill Thurston: There is a real joy in doing mathematics, in learning ways of thinking that explain and organize and simplify. One can feel this joy discovering new mathematics, rediscovering old mathematics, learning a way of thinking from a person or text, or finding […]