Latest articles

“Causal Impact of Masks, Policies, Behavior on Early Covid-19 Pandemic in the U.S”: Chernozhukov et al. respond to Lemoine’s critique

Victor Chernozhukov writes: Two months ago your blog featured Philip Lemoine’s critique “Lockdowns, econometrics and the art of putting lipstick on a pig” of our paper “Causal Impact of Masks, Policies, Behavior on Early Covid-19 Pandemic in the US” (ArXiv, June 2020, published in Journal of Econometrics). The paper found mitigating effects of masks...

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny

It’s a novel, not a statistics book, and actually the novel has nothing to do with statistics, but that’s fine, I didn’t read the book because of its title, I read it because it was mentioned on the radio. Anyway, I liked the book. It reminded me a lot of Anne Tyler, and that’s not a bad thing. The one thing that struck me about Heiny’s book more...

I have some skepticism about this “Future Directions for Applying Behavioral Economics to Policy” project

Kevin Lewis points to this announcement: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is undertaking a study to review the evidence regarding the application of insights from behavioral economics to key public policy objectives (e.g., related to public health, multiple areas of chronic illness . . . economic well-being, responses to...

Why are goods stacking up at U.S. ports?

This post is by Phil Price, not Andrew. I keep seeing articles that say U.S. ports are all backed up, hundreds of ships can’t even offload because there’s no place to put their cargo, etc. And then the news articles will quote some people saying ‘this is a global problem’, ‘there is no single solution’, and so on. I find this a bit perplexing, although...

As Seung-Whan Choi explains: Just about any dataset worth analyzing is worth reanalyzing. (The story of when I was “canceled” by Perspectives on Politics. OK, not really.)

The book is by Seung-Whan Choi and my review is here. I’ll repost it in a moment, but first I’ll share the strange story of how this review came to be and why it was never published. Back in 2017 I received an email from the journal Perspectives on Politics to review this book. I was kinda surprised because I don’t know anything about international...

Can the “Dunning-Kruger effect” be explained as a misunderstanding of regression to the mean?

The above (without the question mark) is the title of a news article, “The Dunning-Kruger Effect Is Probably Not Real,” by Jonathan Jarry, sent to me by Herman Carstens. Jarry’s article is interesting, but I don’t like its title I don’t like the framing of this sort of effect as “real” or “not real.” I think that all these sorts of effects are real,...

Comments on a Nobel prize in economics for causal inference

A reporter contacted me to ask my thoughts on the recent Nobel prize in economics. I didn’t know that this had happened so I googled *nobel prize economics* and found the heading, “David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens Win Nobel in Economics.” Hey—I know two of these people! Fortunately for you, our blog readers, I’d written something a few...

Learning by confronting the contradictions in our statements/actions/beliefs (and how come the notorious Stanford covid contrarians can’t do it?)

The fundamental principle of Neumann/Morgenstern decision theory is coherence. You can start with utilities and probabilities and deduce decision recommendations, or you can start with decisions and use these to deduce utilities and probabilities. More realistically, you can move back and forth: start with utilities and probabilities and deduce decision...

Oooh, I hate it when people call me “disingenuous”:

This has happened before. I hate it when someone describes me as “disingenuous,” which according to the dictionary, means “not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does.” I feel like responding, truly, that I was being candid and sincere! But of course once someone accuses you of being insincere,...

Fun example of an observational study: Effect of crowd noise on home-field advantage in sports

Kevin Quealy and Ben Shpigel offer “Four Reasons the N.F.L. Shattered Its Scoring Record in 2020”: No. 1: No fans meant (essentially) no home-field advantage With fans either barred or permitted at diminished numbers because of public-health concerns, the normal in-game din dropped to a murmur or — at some stadiums — to a near silence. That functionally...

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