Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries Tagged as 'Policy'

Ask Them About Their Neighbours – “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”, Sasha Issenberg

December 5th, 2012 · Comments Off on Ask Them About Their Neighbours – “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”, Sasha Issenberg · Electoralism, Multi-culturalism, Psychology

One night Binder asked, “Do you think your neighbors would be willing to vote for an African-American for president?” Some of the voters answered no, and Strasma watched them closely. Something in that response—perhaps a feeling of being liberated to publicly share an unpopular opinion—convinced him that the people who acknowledged their neighbors’ racism might […]

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The Origins of Statistical Inference – “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”, Sasha Issenberg

December 4th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Origins of Statistical Inference – “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”, Sasha Issenberg · Data, Policy, Statistical Inference, Statistics

Not far from Fisher, a young economist named Austin Bradford Hill was growing similarly impatient with the limits of statistics to account for cause and effect in health care. In 1923, for example, Hill received a grant from Britain’s Medical Research Council that sent him to the rural parts of Essex, east of London, to […]

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‘Baked In’ Voter Perceptions – “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”, Sasha Issenberg

December 3rd, 2012 · Comments Off on ‘Baked In’ Voter Perceptions – “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns”, Sasha Issenberg · Economics, Electoralism, Policy, Political Communication, Politics, Power

When a pollster asked if someone would be more or less likely to vote for a candidate in favor of shipping jobs overseas—a typical way of auditioning what was then a promising line of attack against Bush—they would often hear from voters across the board that it made them “less likely.” But when the AFL […]

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The Accuracy of Climate Models – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction” – Nate Silver

November 24th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Accuracy of Climate Models – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction” – Nate Silver · Environmental Policy, Policy, Politics, Prediction, Statistics

Emanuel’s concerns are actually quite common among the scientific community: climate scientists are in much broader agreement about some parts of the debate than others. A survey of climate scientists conducted in 2008 found that almost all (94 percent) were agreed that climate change is occurring now, and 84 percent were persuaded that it was […]

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Velocity Trading – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction” – Nate Silver

November 23rd, 2012 · Comments Off on Velocity Trading – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction” – Nate Silver · Economics, Policy

This furious velocity of trading is something fairly new. In the 1950s, the average share of common stock in an American company was held for about six years before being traded—consistent with the idea that stocks are a long-term investment. By the 2000s, the velocity of trading had increased roughly twelvefold. Instead of being held […]

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Bayes’ Theorem – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 21st, 2012 · Comments Off on Bayes’ Theorem – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Policy, Prediction, Statistics

Bayes’s theorem is concerned with conditional probability. That is, it tells us the probability that a theory or hypothesis is true if some event has happened. Suppose you are living with a partner and come home from a business trip to discover a strange pair of underwear in your dresser drawer. You will probably ask […]

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Markets for Predicting Macro-Economic Variables – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 20th, 2012 · Comments Off on Markets for Predicting Macro-Economic Variables – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Economics, Policy, Prediction

One of the most basic applications might simply be markets for predicting macroeconomic variables like GDP and unemployment. There are already a variety of direct and indirect ways to bet on things like inflation, interest rates, and commodities prices, but no high-volume market for GDP exists. There could be a captive audience for these markets: […]

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The Limitations of Economic Forecasts – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 19th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Limitations of Economic Forecasts – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Economics, Policy, quote

Instead, economic forecasts are blunt instruments at best, rarely being able to anticipate economic turning points more than a few months in advance. Fairly often, in fact, these forecasts have failed to “predict” recessions even once they were already under way: a majority of economists did not think we were in one when the three […]

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The Predictable Housing Bubble – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver

November 15th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Predictable Housing Bubble – “The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction”, Nate Silver · Data, Economics, ICT, Policy

Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize–winning economist, wrote of the bubble and its inevitable end in August 2005. “This was baked into the system,” Krugman later told me. “The housing crash was not a black swan. The housing crash was the elephant in the room.” Ordinary Americans were also concerned. Google searches on the term “housing […]

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Valuing Employment – “Gang leader for a day: a rogue sociologist takes to the streets”, Sudhir Venkatesh

November 4th, 2012 · Comments Off on Valuing Employment – “Gang leader for a day: a rogue sociologist takes to the streets”, Sudhir Venkatesh · Crime, Culture, Economics, Policy, Sociology

J.T. once asked me what sociologists had to say about gangs and inner-city poverty. I told him that some sociologists believed in a “culture of poverty”—that is, poor blacks didn’t work because they didn’t value employment as highly as other ethnic groups did, and they transmitted this attitude across generations. “So you want me to […]

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