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Archive of posts filed under the Economics category.

Advice for a Young Economist at Heart

Shoumitro Chatterjee, who sent me that paper we discussed yesterday, writes: I [Chatterjee] recently finished my PhD in economics from Princeton and am starting as junior faculty at Penn State. I do applied work on development using observational and administrative data, and I have a few questions: 1. Is there a difference between multiple comparisons […]

The fallacy of the excluded rationality

Malcolm Bull writes: Thanks to the work of behavioural economists there is a lot of experimental evidence to show what many of us would have suspected anyway: that people are not the rational, utility-maximisers of neoclassical economics, but loss-averse sentimentalists who, faced with even the simplest cognitive problem, prefer dodgy short cuts to careful analysis. […]

The latest Perry Preschool analysis: Noisy data + noisy methods + flexible summarizing = Big claims

Dean Eckles writes: Since I know you’re interested in Heckman’s continued analysis of early childhood interventions, I thought I’d send this along: The intervention is so early, it is in their parents’ childhoods. See the “Perry Preschool Project Outcomes in the Next Generation” press release and the associated working paper. The estimated effects are huge: […]

Pocket Kings by Ted Heller

So. I’m most of the way through Pocket Kings by Ted Heller, author of the classic Slab Rat. And I keep thinking: Ted Heller is the same as Sam Lipsyte. Do these two guys know each other? They’re both sons of famous writers (OK, Heller’s dad is more famous than Lipsyte’s, but still). They write […]

How to get out of the credulity rut (regression discontinuity edition): Getting beyond whack-a-mole

This one’s buggin me. We’re in a situation now with forking paths in applied-statistics-being-done-by-economists where we were, about ten years ago, in applied-statistics-being-done-by-psychologists. (I was going to use the terms “econometrics” and “psychometrics” here, but that’s not quite right, because I think these mistakes are mostly being made, by applied researchers in economics and psychology, […]

Four projects in the intellectual history of quantitative social science

1. The rise and fall of game theory. My impression is that game theory peaked in the late 1950s. Two classics from that area are Philip K. Dick’s “Solar Lottery” and R. Duncan Luce and Howard Raiffa’s “Games and Decisions.” The latter is charming in its retro attitude that all that remained were some minor […]

No, I don’t think that this study offers good evidence that installing air filters in classrooms has surprisingly large educational benefits.

In a news article on Vox, entitled “Installing air filters in classrooms has surprisingly large educational benefits,” Matthew Yglesias writes: An emergency situation that turned out to be mostly a false alarm led a lot of schools in Los Angeles to install air filters, and something strange happened: Test scores went up. By a lot. […]

Royal Society spam & more

Just a rant about spam (and more spam) from pay-to-publish and closed-access journals. Nothing much to see here. The latest offender is from something called the “Royal Society.” I don’t even know to which king or queen this particular society owes allegiance, because they have a .org URL. Exercising their royal prerogative, they created an […]

Votes vs. $

Carlos Cruz writes:

External vs. internal validity of causal inference from natural experiments: The example of charter school lottery studies

Alex Hoffman writes: I recently was discussing/arguing about the value of charter schools lottery studies. I suggested that their validity was questionable because of all the data that they ignore. (1) They ignore all charter schools (and their students) that are not so oversubscribed that they need to use lotteries for admission. (2) They ignore […]

Macbook Pro (16″ 2019) quick review

I just upgraded yesterday to one of the new 2019 Macbook Pro 16″ models: Macbook Pro (16″, 2019), 3072 x 1920 pixel display, 2.4 GHz 8-core i9, 64GB 2667 MHz DDR4 memory, 2880 x 1800 pixel display, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU with 4GB of GDDR6 memory, 1 TB solid-state drive US$4120 list including Apple […]

“Deep Origins” and spatial correlations

Morgan Kelly writes: Back in 2013 you had a column in Chance magazine on the Ashraf-Galor “Out of Africa” paper which claims that genetic diversity determines modern income. That paper is part of a much large literature in economics on Persistence or “Deep Origins” that shows how medieval pogroms prefigure Nazi support, adoption of the […]

Econometrics postdoc and computational statistics postdoc openings here in the Stan group at Columbia

Andrew and I are looking to hire two postdocs to join the Stan group at Columbia starting January 2020. I want to emphasize that these are postdoc positions, not programmer positions. So while each position has a practical focus, our broader goal is to carry out high-impact, practical research that pushes the frontier of what’s […]

What happens when frauds are outed because of whistleblowing?

Ashwin Malshe: I would like to bring to your attention a recent controversy in accounting research. It relates to how extreme values may drive results in observational studies. However, this issue is more complex in this specific case because the event (corporate whistleblowing) is rather rare, showing up only about 20% of the time in […]

Stan saves Australians $20 billion

Jim Savage writes: Not sure if you knew, but Stan was used in the Australian Productivity Commission’s review of the Australian retirement savings system. Their review will likely affect the regulation on $2 trillion of retirement savings, possibly saving Australians around $20-50 billion in fees over the next decade. OK, we can now officially say […]

Dow Jones probability calculation

Here’s a cute one for your intro probability class. Karen Langley from the Wall Street Journal asks: What is the probability of the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing unchanged from the day before, as it did yesterday? To answer this question we need to know two things: 1. How much does the Dow Jones average […]

Participate in Brazilian Reproducibility Initiative—even if you don’t live in South America!

Anna Dreber writes: There’s a big reproducibility initiative in Brazil on biomedical research led by Olavo Amaral and others, which is an awesome project where they are replicating 60 studies in Brazilian biomedical research. We (as usual lots of collaborators) are having a prediction survey and prediction markets for these replications – would it be […]

When Prediction Markets Fail

A few years ago, David Rothschild and I wrote: Prediction markets have a strong track record and people trust them. And that actually may be the problem right now. . . . a trader can buy a contract on an outcome, such as the Democratic nominee to win the 2016 presidential election, and it will […]

Have prices have risen more quickly for people at the bottom of the income distribution than for those at the top? Lefty window-breakers wait impatiently while economists struggle to resolve this dispute.

Palko points us to this post by Mike Konczal pointing to this news article by Annie Lowrey reporting on research by Christopher Wimer, Sophie Collyer, and Xavier Jaravel finding that “prices have risen more quickly for people at the bottom of the income distribution than for those at the top.” This new result counters an […]

The dropout rate in his survey is over 60%. What should he do? I suggest MRP.

Alon Honig writes: I work for a cpg company that conducts longitudinal surveys for analysis of customer behavior. In particular they wanted to know how people are interacting with our product. Unfortunately the designers of these surveys put so many questions (100+) that the dropout rate (those that did not complete the survey) was over […]