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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

A whole fleet of Wansinks: is “evidence-based design” a pseudoscience that’s supporting a trillion-dollar industry?

Following a recent post that mentioned

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) […]

My proposal for JASA: “Journal” = review reports + editors’ recommendations + links to the original paper and updates + post-publication comments

[cat picture] Whenever they’ve asked me to edit a statistics journal, I say no thank you because I think I can make more of a contribution through this blog. I’ve said no enough times that they’ve stopped asking me. But I’ve had an idea for awhile and now I want to do it. I think […]

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 […]

Crack Shot

Raghu Parthasarathy writes: You might find this interesting, an article (and related essay) on the steadily declining percentage of NIH awards going to mid-career scientists and the steadily increasing percentage going to older researchers. The key figure is below. The part that may be of particular interest to you, since you’ve written about age-adjustment in demographic work: does […]

No-op: The case of Case and Deaton

In responding to some recent blog comments I noticed an overlap among our two most recent posts: 1. Mortality rate trends by age, ethnicity, sex, and state 2. When does research have active opposition?

When does research have active opposition?

[cat picture] A reporter was asking me the other day about the Brian Wansink “pizzagate” scandal. The whole thing is embarrassing for journalists and bloggers who’ve been reporting on this guy’s claims entirely uncritically for years. See here, for example. Or here and here. Or here, here, here, and here. Or here. Or here, here, […]

Mortality rate trends by age, ethnicity, sex, and state (link fixed)

There continues to be a lot of discussion on the purported increase in mortality rates among middle-aged white people in America. Actually an increase among women and not much change among men but you don’t hear so much about this as it contradicts the “struggling white men” story that we hear so much about in […]

Clarke’s Law: Any sufficiently crappy research is indistinguishable from fraud (Pizzagate edition)

[cat picture] This recent Pizzagate post by Nick Brown reminds me of our discussion of Clarke’s Law last year. P.S. I watched a couple more episodes of Game of Thrones on the plane the other day. It was pretty good! And so I continue to think this watching GoT is more valuable than writing error-ridden […]

Dark Angel

Chris Kavanagh writes: I know you are all too frequently coming across defensive, special pleading-laced responses to failed replications so I thought I would just point out a recent a very admirable response from Will Gervais posted on his blog. He not only commends the replicators but acknowledges that the original finding was likely a […]

Hey, we’re hiring a postdoc! To work on survey weighting! And imputation!

Here’s the ad: The Center on Poverty and Social Policy at the Columbia University School of Social Work and the Columbia Population Research Center are seeking a postdoctoral scholar with a PhD in economics, statistics, public policy, demography, social work, sociology, or a related discipline, to lead the development of survey weights and missing data imputations for the New York City […]

Postdoc in Montclair, N.J., on research and evaluation of youth programs

Miriam Linver sends along this job posting: The Post-Doctoral Researcher will conduct independent research as a member of the Research on Evaluation and Developmental Systems Science (REDSS) Lab at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ, under the supervision of co-Directors Dr. Jennifer Urban & Dr. Miriam Linver ( The Post-Doctoral Researcher will work on the […]

How is preregistration like random sampling and controlled experimentation

image In the discussion following my talk yesterday, someone asked about preregistration and I gave an answer that I really liked, something I’d never thought of before. I started with my usual story that preregistration is great in two settings: (a) replicating your own exploratory work (as in the 50 shades of gray paper), and […]

Hey! Can you guess the 3 goofy tricks that this new journal is trying to improve peer review?

Rob Bloomfield writes: I [Bloomfield] am a new editor of a new Journal of Financial Reporting, and we’re trying to make some changes to peer review in our field.  I’d be very interested to hear your and your readers’ thoughts on whether our approach will help address the types of problems often discussed on your […]

Theoretical statistics is the theory of applied statistics: how to think about what we do (My talk Wednesday—today!—4:15pm at the Harvard statistics dept)

Theoretical statistics is the theory of applied statistics: how to think about what we do Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University Working scientists and engineers commonly feel that philosophy is a waste of time. But theoretical and philosophical principles can guide practice, so it makes sense for us to […]

Ethics and the Replication Crisis and Science (my talk Tues 6pm)

I’ll be speaking on Ethics and the Replication Crisis and Science tomorrow (Tues 28 Feb) 6-7:30pm at room 411 Fayerweather Hall, Columbia University. I don’t plan to speak for 90 minutes; I assume there will be lots of time for discussion. Here’s the abstract that I whipped up: Busy scientists sometimes view ethics and philosophy […]

Eurostat microdata conference

Heike Wirth writes:

Division of labor and a Pizzagate solution

[cat picture] I firmly believe that the general principles of social science can improve our understanding of the world. Today I want to talk about two principles—division of labor from economics, and roles from sociology—and their relevance to the Pizzagate scandal involving Brian Wansink, the Cornell University business school professor and self-described “world-renowned eating behavior […]

Cloak and dagger

[cat picture] Elan B. writes: I saw this JAMA Pediatrics article [by Julia Raifman, Ellen Moscoe, and S. Bryn Austin] getting a lot of press for claiming that LGBT suicide attempts went down 14% after gay marriage was legalized. The heart of the study is comparing suicide attempt rates (in last 12 months) before and after exposure — gay […]

Clay pigeon

Sam Harper writes: Not that you are collecting these kinds of things, but I wanted to point to (yet) another benefit of the American Economic Association’s requirement of including replication datasets (unless there are confidentiality constraints) and code in order to publish in most of their journals—certainly for the top-tier ones like Am Econ Review: […]