Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Statistical theory and methods

A Category Archive (13 entries)

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 2009:...it 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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