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Archive of posts filed under the Economics category.

Tony nominations mean nothing

Someone writes: I searched up *Tony nominations mean nothing* and I found nothing. So I had to write this. There are currently 41 theaters that the Tony awards accept when nominating their choices. If we are being as generous as possible, we could say that every one of those theaters will be hosting a performance […]

Vigorous data-handling tied to publication in top journals among public heath researchers

Gur Huberman points us to this news article by Nicholas Bakalar, “Vigorous Exercise Tied to Macular Degeneration in Men,” which begins: A new study suggests that vigorous physical activity may increase the risk for vision loss, a finding that has surprised and puzzled researchers. Using questionnaires, Korean researchers evaluated physical activity among 211,960 men and […]

Did blind orchestra auditions really benefit women?

You’re blind! And you can’t see You need to wear some glasses Like D.M.C. Someone pointed me to this post, “Orchestrating false beliefs about gender discrimination,” by Jonatan Pallesen criticizing a famous paper from 2000, “Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of ‘Blind’ Auditions on Female Musicians,” by Claudia Goldin and Cecilia Rouse. We’ve all heard the […]

Gremlin time: “distant future, faraway lands, and remote probabilities”

Chris Wilson writes: It appears that Richard Tol is still publishing these data, only now fitting a piecewise linear function to the same data-points. https://academic.oup.com/reep/article/12/1/4/4804315#110883819 Also still looks like counting 0 as positive, “Moreover, the 11 estimates for warming of 2.5°C indicate that researchers disagree on the sign of the net impact: 3 estimates are […]

Do regression structures affect research capital? The case of pronoun drop. (also an opportunity to quote Bertrand Russell: This is one of those views which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.)

A linguist pointed me with incredulity to this article by Horst Feldmann, “Do Linguistic Structures Affect Human Capital? The Case of Pronoun Drop,” which begins: This paper empirically studies the human capital effects of grammatical rules that permit speakers to drop a personal pronoun when used as a subject of a sentence. By de‐emphasizing the […]

Conditioning on post-treatment variables when you expect self-selection

Sadish Dhakal writes: I am struggling with the problem of conditioning on post-treatment variables. I was hoping you could provide some guidance. Note that I have repeated cross sections, NOT panel data. Here is the problem simplified: There are two programs. A policy introduced some changes in one of the programs, which I call the […]

“Incentives to Learn”: How to interpret this estimate of a varying treatment effect?

Germán Jeremias Reyes writes: I am currently taking a course on Applied Econometrics and would like to ask you about how you would interpret a particular piece of evidence. Some background: In 2009, Michael Kremer et al. published an article called “Incentives to learn.” This is from the abstract (emphasis is mine): We study a […]

Parliamentary Constituency Factsheet for Indicators of Nutrition, Health and Development in India

S. V. Subramanian writes: In India, data on key developmental indicators that formulate policies and interventions are routinely available for the administrative units of districts but not for the political units of Parliamentary Constituencies (PC). Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Lok Sabha, each representing 543 PCs as per the 2014 India map, are the […]

State-space models in Stan

Michael Ziedalski writes: For the past few months I have been delving into Bayesian statistics and have (without hyperbole) finally found statistics intuitive and exciting. Recently I have gone into Bayesian time series methods; however, I have found no libraries to use that can implement those models. Happily, I found Stan because it seemed among […]

All statistical conclusions require assumptions.

Mark Palko points us to this 2009 article by Itzhak Gilboa, Andrew Postlewaite, and David Schmeidler, which begins: This note argues that, under some circumstances, it is more rational not to behave in accordance with a Bayesian prior than to do so. The starting point is that in the absence of information, choosing a prior […]

“Heckman curve” update: The data don’t seem to support the claim that human capital investments are most effective when targeted at younger ages.

David Rea and Tony Burton write: The Heckman Curve describes the rate of return to public investments in human capital for the disadvantaged as rapidly diminishing with age. Investments early in the life course are characterised as providing significantly higher rates of return compared to investments targeted at young people and adults. This paper uses […]

“The Long-Run Effects of America’s First Paid Maternity Leave Policy”: I need that trail of breadcrumbs.

Tyler Cowen links to a research article by Brenden Timpe, “The Long-Run Effects of America’s First Paid Maternity Leave Policy,” that begins as follows: This paper provides the first evidence of the effect of a U.S. paid maternity leave policy on the long-run outcomes of children. I exploit variation in access to paid leave that […]

Most Americans like big businesses.

Tyler Cowen asks: Why is there so much suspicion of big business? Perhaps in part because we cannot do without business, so many people hate or resent business, and they love to criticize it, mock it, and lower its status. Business just bugs them. . . . The short answer is, No, I don’t think […]

Raghuram Rajan: “The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind”

A few months ago I receive a copy of the book, “The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State Leave the Community Behind,” by economist Raghuram Rajan. The topic is important and the book is full of interesting thoughts. It’s hard for me to evaluate Rajan’s economics and policy advice, so I’ll leave that to […]

Moneyball for evaluating community colleges

From an interesting statistics-laden piece by “Dean Dad”: Far more community college students transfer prior to completing the Associate’s degree than actually complete first. According to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, about 350,000 transfer before completion, compared to about 60,000 who complete first. That matters in several ways. Most basically, […]

This is one offer I can refuse

OK, so this came in the email today: Dear Contributor, ADVANCES IN POLITICAL METHODOLOGY [978 1 78347 485 1] Regular price: $455.00 Special Contributor price: $113.75 (plus shipping) We are pleased to announce the publication of the above title. Due to the limited print run of this collection and the high number of contributing authors, […]

Zak David expresses critical views of some published research in empirical quantitative finance

In honor of Ebenezer Scrooge, what better time than Christmas Eve to discuss the topic of liquidity in capital markets . . . A journalist asked, “I just wanted to know how bad the problem of data mining is in capital markets compared to other fields, and whether the reasons for false postives in finance […]

“When Both Men and Women Drop Out of the Labor Force, Why Do Economists Only Ask About Men?”

Dean Baker points to this column, where Gregory Mankiw writes: With unemployment at 3.8 percent, its lowest level in many years, the labor market seems healthy. But that number hides a perplexing anomaly: The percentage of men who are neither working nor looking for work has risen substantially over the past several decades. . . […]

Oh, I hate it when work is criticized (or, in this case, fails in attempted replications) and then the original researchers don’t even consider the possibility that maybe in their original work they were inadvertently just finding patterns in noise.

I have a sad story for you today. Jason Collins tells it: In The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, Dan Ariely describes an experiment to determine how much people cheat . . . The question then becomes how to reduce cheating. Ariely describes one idea: We took a group of 450 participants and split them into […]

$ vs. votes

Carlos Cruz writes: Here’s an economics joke. Two economists are walking along when they happen to end up in front of a Tesla showroom. One economist points to a shiny new car and says, “I want that!” The other economist replies, “You’re lying.” The premise of this joke is that if the one economist had […]