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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

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: […]

Unethical behavior vs. being a bad guy

[cat picture] I happened to come across this article and it reminded me of the general point that it’s possible to behave unethically without being a “bad guy.” The story in question involves some scientists who did some experiments about thirty years ago on the biological effects of low-frequency magnetic fields. They published their results […]

Should the Problems with Polls Make Us Worry about the Quality of Health Surveys? (my talk at CDC tomorrow)

My talk this Thursday at CDC, Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 12:00 noon, 2400 Century Center, Room 1015C: Should the Problems with Polls Make Us Worry about the Quality of Health Surveys? Response rates in public opinion polls have been steadily declining for more than half a century and are currently heading toward the 0% mark. […]

Workshop on German national educational panel study

Jutta von Maurice of the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories in Germany writes: In August this year, we plan to hold a user workshop in New York. We have data on educational processes and competence development from early childhood till late adulthood (n=60.000) and these data might be of special interest for international comparisons. Within […]

Cry of Alarm

[cat picture] Stan Liebowitz writes: Is it possible to respond to a paper that you are not allowed to discuss? The question above relates to some unusual behavior from a journal editor. As background, I [Liebowitz] have been engaged in a long running dispute regarding the analysis contained in an influential paper published in one […]

Identifying Neighborhood Effects

Dionissi Aliprantis writes: I have just published a paper (online here) on what we can learn about neighborhood effects from the results of the Moving to Opportunity housing mobility experiment. I wanted to suggest the paper (and/or the experiment more broadly) as a topic for your blog, as I am hoping the paper can start […]

Measurement error and the replication crisis

I was gonna write a post entitled, “Unlocking past collaboration: student use affects mood and happiness,” but it didn’t seem worth the bother

image Ivan Oransky points us to this hilarious story of a retracted paper in Psychological Science. The hilarious part is not the article itself (a dry-as-dust collection of small-N experiments with open-ended data-exclusion and data-analysis rules, accompanied by the usual scattering of statistically significant p-values in the garden) or even the reason for the retraction: