ArchiveSeptember 2015

Where did Jews stand the best chance of surviving the Holocaust?

DB: You claim that the breakdown of states and institutions is what, on a practical level, enabled the mass extermination of Jews. Does that mean part of the answer is to shore up the nation-state system? Because in many parts of the world today, the nation-state is under attack. TS: If we look at it statistically, we see that in places where the state was destroyed, Jews had a 1 in 20 chance of...

Concise summary of commands for using complex samples

Ever wondered how to correctly take into account the complex sampling design of a national survey? The good folks at RTI put together a nice appendix for common statistical packages:
Table K1
From the 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12) Data File Documentation, Appendix K.

When discrimination is baked into algorithms

A recent ProPublica analysis of The Princeton Review’s prices for online SAT tutoring shows that customers in areas with a high density of Asian residents are often charged more. When presented with this finding, The Princeton Review called it an “incidental” result of its geographic pricing scheme. The case illustrates how even a seemingly neutral price model could potentially lead to...

Pension crisis at public universities

While massive state- and city-pension debts across the country have gotten anxious scrutiny from lawmakers and the public, their effect on public universities and colleges has gone largely unnoticed. But an independent board that oversees state and local accounting standards nationwide has recently put into effect new rules, requiring more disclosure of how much the government owes to...

Contingent faculty are better teachers than tenure track faculty

This study makes use of detailed student-level data from eight cohorts of first-year students at Northwestern University to investigate the relative effects of tenure track/tenured versus contingent faculty on student learning. We focus on classes taken during a student’s first term at Northwestern and employ an identification strategy in which we control for both student-level fixed effects and...

Ashley Madison data analysis: lots of fake women

After searching through the Ashley Madison database and private email last week, I reported that there might be roughly 12,000 real women active on Ashley Madison. Now, after looking at the company’s source code, it’s clear that I arrived at that low number based in part on a misunderstanding of the evidence. Equally clear is new evidence that Ashley Madison created more than 70,000 female bots...

Psychology is broken

Now, a painstaking yearslong effort to reproduce 100 studies published in three leading psychology journals has found that more than half of the findings did not hold up when retested. The analysis was done by research psychologists, many of whom volunteered their time to double-check what they considered important work. Their conclusions, reported Thursday in the journal Science, have confirmed...

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Professor and quant guy. Libertarian turned populist Republican. Trying to learn Japanese and play Spanish Baroque music on the ukulele.

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