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Archive of posts filed under the Decision Theory category.

Job opening at the U.S. Government Accountability Office

Sam Portnow writes: I am a statistician at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and we are hiring for a statistician. The full job announcement is below. Personally, I think our office is a really great place to do social science research within the federal government. ———————————————————————- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has two vacancies […]

Webinar: Theories of Inference for Data Interactions

This post is by Eric. This Thursday, at 12 pm ET, Jessica Hullman is stopping by to talk to us about theories of inference for data interactions. You can register here. Abstract Research and development in computer science and statistics have produced increasingly sophisticated software interfaces for interactive and exploratory analysis, optimized for easy pattern […]

Whassup with the FDA approval of that Alzheimer’s drug? A “disgraceful decision” or a good idea?

Andrew Klaassen writes: Any chance you’ll be weighing in on your blog on the apparently wobbly studies supporting the FDA’s approval of Aduhelm? I’m hearing angry things being said about it by the random people I know in medical research, but don’t know much beyond that. Here’s the one link on the story [by Beth […]

“ai-promised-to-revolutionize-radiology-but-so-far-its-failing”

Gary Smith points us to this news article: Geoffrey Hinton is a legendary computer scientist . . . Naturally, people paid attention when Hinton declared in 2016, “We should stop training radiologists now, it’s just completely obvious within five years deep learning is going to do better than radiologists.” The US Food and Drug Administration […]

Still cited only 3 times

I had occasion to refer to this post from a couple years ago on the anthropic principle in statistics. In that post, I wrote: I actually used the anthropic principle in my 2000 article, Should we take measurements at an intermediate design point? (a paper that I love; but I just looked it up and […]

A fun activity for your statistics class: One group of students comes up with a stochastic model for a decision process and simulates fake data from this model; another group of students takes this simulated dataset and tries to learn about the underlying process.

Benjamin Jarvis writes: I’m (re-)developing a course about discrete choice analysis, and I would like to build on data examples you use in your book with Jennifer Hill. In particular, I would like to include lessons about the conditional logistic regression model, aka McFadden’s multinomial logit. I was hoping students could extend the Bangladesh well-switching […]

New book coming out by Fischer Black!

Gur Huberman has the scoop. At first I was surprised to hear about this, but then I looked up Black on Wikipedia and, hey, he’s only 83, so why not write a book. He also got some prominent academics to promote it, so that’s cool.

When are Bayesian model probabilities overconfident?

Oscar Oelrich, Shutong Ding, Måns Magnusson, Aki Vehtari, and Mattias Villani write: Bayesian model comparison is often based on the posterior distribution over the set of compared models. This distribution is often observed to concentrate on a single model even when other measures of model fit or forecasting ability indicate no strong preference. Furthermore, a […]

Formalizing questions about feedback loops from model predictions

This is Jessica. Recently I asked a question about when a model developer should try to estimate the relationship between model predictions and the observed behavior that results when people have access to the model predictions. Kenneth Tay suggested a recent machine learning paper on Performative Prediction by Juan Perdomo Tijana Zrnic. Celestine Mendler-Dunner and […]

Raymond Smullyan on Ted Cruz, Al Sharpton, and those scary congressmembers

Palko shares this fun logic puzzle from the great Raymond Smullyan which also has obvious implications for modern politics: Inspector Craig of Scotland Yard was called to Transylvania to solve some cases of vampirism. Arriving there, he found the country inhabited both by vampires and humans. Vampires always lie and humans always tell the truth. […]

Open data and quality: two orthogonal factors of a study

It’s good for a study to have open data, and it’s good for the study to be high quality. If for simplicity we dichotomize these variables, we can find lots of examples in all four quadrants: – Unavailable data, low quality: The notorious ESP paper from 2011 and tons of papers published during that era […]

“Prediction Markets in a Polarized Society”

Rajiv Sethi writes about some weird things in election prediction markets, such as Donald Trump being given a one-in-eight chance of being the election winner . . . weeks after he’d lost the election. Sethi writes: There’s a position size limit of $850 dollars per contract in this market, which also happens to have hit […]

Which sorts of posts get more blog comments?

Paul Alper writes: Some of your blog postings elicit many responses and some, rather few. Have you ever thought of displaying some sort of statistical graph illustrating the years of data? For example, sports vs. politics, or responses for one year vs. another (time series), winter vs. summer, highly technical vs. breezy. I’ve not done […]

More on that credulity thing

I see five problems here that together form a feedback loop with bad consequences. Here are the problems: 1. Irrelevant or misunderstood statistical or econometric theory; 2. Poorly-executed research; 3. Other people in the field being loath to criticize, taking published or even preprinted claims as correct until proved otherwise; 4. Journalists taking published or […]

Rob Tibshirani, Yuling Yao, and Aki Vehtari on cross validation

Rob Tibshirani writes: About 9 years ago I emailed you about our new significance result for the lasso. You wrote about in your blog. For some reason I never saw that full blog until now. I do remember the Stanford-Berkeley Seminar in 1994 where I first presented the lasso and you asked that question. Anyway, […]

Relative vs. absolute risk reduction . . . 500 doctors want to know!

Some stranger writes: What are your thoughts on this paper? Especially the paragraph on page 6 “Similar to the critical appraisal ….. respectively”. There are many of us MD’s who are quite foxed. If you blog about it, please don’t mention my name and just say a doctor on a 500-member listserv asked you about […]

Understanding the value of bloc voting, using the Congressional Progressive Caucus as an example:

Daniel Stock writes: I’m a public policy PhD student, interested in economic policy and a bit of political science. I recently saw that the Congressional Progressive Caucus instituted bloc voting rules a few months ago: if at least two thirds of them agree on a bill or amendment, then all CPC members are bound to […]

Call for a moratorium on the use of the term “prisoner’s dilemma”

Palko writes: I’m not sure what the best way to get the ball rolling here would be (perhaps a kickstarter?) but we need to have a strictly enforced rule that no journalist or pundit is allowed to mention the prisoner’s dilemma for the next five or ten years, however long it takes to learn to […]

I have these great April Fools ideas but there’s no space for them in the margin of this blog

Not really. Actually I have no good April Fools ideas this year. Usually I write an April Fools post months in advance, but it’s been such an overwhelming year in so many ways with a pandemic, an attempted overthrow of the government, and lots more, that somehow the inspiration never came. Bu we should have […]

Many years ago, when he was a baby economist . . .

Jonathan Falk writes: Many years ago, when I was a baby economist, a fight broke out in my firm between two economists. There was a question as to whether a particular change in the telecommunications laws had spurred productivity improvements or not. There a trend of x% per year in productivity improvements that had gone […]

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