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Statistical theory and methods

A Category Archive (22 entries)

For Individual Liberty, Size Does Not Matter - or So It Seems

Politics and Economics
Contributing Guest
by Pierre Lemieux "... let's have a look at the empirical evidence. Do available data show a correlation between individual liberty and the size of a country? A positive or a negative one?" In a recent Econlog post, Alberto Mingardi... MORE

Risk of Death for Border Patrol Agents

Labor Market
David Henderson
Alex Nowrasteh has an excellent analysis of the risk of death of border patrol agents, something that has received a lot of attention in the last couple of weeks. Bottom line: the risk is very low. Alex finds that over... MORE

EconTalk host Russ Roberts has made no secret of his misgivings about high-level statistical analysis. So it's no surprise that his skepticism is brought to bear in his interview this week with Columbia University's Andrew Gelman. However, Roberts magnanimously... MORE

In 1996, U.K. statisticians estimated 10 recessions between 1955 and 1995. In 2012, other U.K. statisticians "disappeared" 3 of them. In 1966, the late Paul Samuelson stated that the stock market has predicted 9 of the last 5 recessions. That's... MORE

What's so bad about sugar?

Amy Willis
What's so bad about sugar? According to this week's EconTalk guest Gary Taubes, just about everything. Taubes's real concern is insulin resistance, which he argues is the trigger for most diseases that afflict the denizens of the Western world.... MORE

Perhaps you've grown accustomed to EconTalk host Russ Roberts bemoaning the limits of statistical analysis...Well fasten your seat belts and get ready for a data-driven ride in this week's episode with Stanford University's Susan Athey. Athey's research centers on... MORE

Sports Outcomes and Randomness

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
One thing I notice in most sports commentary about the game I love watching most on TV, NBA basketball, is how little awareness there seems to be about the role of randomness. The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers... MORE

Friedman and Reynolds on Saez and Zucman

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
This paper combines income tax returns with macroeconomic household balance sheets to estimate the distribution of wealth in the United States since 1913. We estimate wealth by capitalizing the incomes reported by individual taxpayers, accounting for assets that do not... MORE

Numeracy and the Paris Attacks

Economic Education
David Henderson
One of my pleasures in teaching is learning that students have taken things they've learned and passing them on to their colleagues, friends, and families. That happened recently in my distance learning class. A few weeks ago, in a 40-minute... MORE

Can a Positive Number Fall by over 100 Percent and Still be Positive?

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
Answer: No. But it has become increasingly common for people, even otherwise numerate analysts, to write as if it can. Consider a recent instance. In the Spring 2014 issue of Regulation, Sam Batkins and Mitch Boynton discuss a case in... MORE

Mark Perry: Food Prices Have not Risen Much

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
Annual increases in food prices over the last four years have averaged less than 2%, which is the lowest average food inflation rate over a 48-month period in almost 50 years. Although it might seem like food prices have been... MORE

F.A. Hayek would have been 114 years old today. To celebrate, here's a set of videos in which Hayek is interviewed by, among others, Axel Leijonhufvud (!), Armen Alchian (!!), and James Buchanan (!!!). Or, if you prefer the written... MORE

The new Econ Journal Watch piece by David Cushman checks this claim that Krugman made in March is right to expect high growth in future if the economy is depressed now. I'm not writing about that quote, since Cushman and... MORE

Wasteful Hiring: When Does It Cut Profits?

Statistical theory and methods
Garett Jones
The boss hires his worthless unemployed nephew for a summer job.  Does that raise GDP or lower it? To keep things simple think of this as ex nihilo hiring: if not for this hire, the person wouldn't have been hired... MORE

Alan Blinder left his position as a Princeton economist to serve as vice chairman of the Fed. After he went back to academia he wrote a great short book that I see as a crypto-memoir, Central Banking in Theory and... MORE

Overdetermination vs. Randomness

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
Here are the opening sentences from an article by San Jose Mercury News sports reporter Tim Kawakami: All the melodramatic twists, tweaks and breaks should've made the Giants virtually unbeatable on Saturday. They had their ace, Matt Cain, on the... MORE

BLS Data

Political Economy
Luigi Zingales
The Bureau of Labor Statistics had not finished releasing the surprisingly good September data that a number of commentators started raising doubts about the truthfulness of the data. There is no doubt that the data were a boost to President... MORE

It Lost 244% of Its Value? Impossible

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
In an otherwise good article in today's Wall Street Journal, "Just Say Nein to Eurobonds," Matthew Will writes: From 1980 to the launch of the euro in January 1999, the Italian lira and Portuguese escudo lost 108% and 244% of... MORE

Great Moments in Numeracy: LBJ's Odds of Becoming President

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
When it became clear to Johnson that he could not reach the top of the ticket, he began to consider the second spot. He had his staff look up how many presidents in the previous hundred years had died in... MORE

How Food Stamps Increase Measured Poverty

Income Distribution
David Henderson
The leading story in the Monterey County Herald this morning is titled, "Nearly half in U.S. near poverty or low-income." It is Hope Yen's Associated Press item, and the leading two paragraphs are: Squeezed by rising living costs, a record... MORE

NCAA Outcomes: Margins and Randomness

Statistical theory and methods
David Henderson
The outcomes so far in the NCAA men's basketball games have surprised most people. The biggest surprise is Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) beating the mighty Kansas, President Obama's choice to win the whole thing. VCU's wins are surprising. But it,... MORE

An AP Stats Lecture

Statistical theory and methods
Arnold Kling
Because yesterday's hearing ran so late, I missed my AP stats class. Here is the way I would explain what went on to my students.... MORE

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