With Ariel Young The impact of the coronavirus is steadily growing to become the most devastating disaster in a half century, in terms of the cost to human life as well as the economic and social impact it has had around the world. In just nine months since the outbreak began in January 2020, at… Continue reading Natural experiments and the Coronavirus: a dose of methodological caution
The covid-19 pandemic is a fact. While different countries have adopted different mitigation or containment strategies, there are also things we can do as individuals to help make the effects less terrible. So how do we act in accordance with the common good at a time like this? What do altruistic deeds look like when… Continue reading How to be a Decent Person During a Pandemic
When we’re trying to statistically work out whether a correlation, effect or treatment outcome is particularly strong (or even whether the sign varies) among certain types of units or is dependent on some other variable, we typically use interaction models – and more specifically, multiplicative interaction terms in some linear regression framework. Interaction models, like… Continue reading Avoid these mistakes with interaction models
This post marks the start of a short series of posts connected to the subject of my PhD dissertation – vaccines and vaccination policy. I will touch on several disparate aspects of the issues. In this first installment, I will have a look at vaccines and infant mortality – and as it happens, dramatically turn… Continue reading Vaccination uptake and infant mortality – turning the tables
Measures of self-reported health status are generally considered fairly accurate measures of underlying “real” health status (measures of self-rated health (SRH) are, for example, predictive of subsequent mortality). Typical SRH items will ask a respondent something along the lines of “In general, how is the state of your health these days?” with a Likert response… Continue reading Be careful with cross-country variation in self-rated health.
Empathy is one of those concepts that are often quite sloppily thrown around and generally used to denote something fuzzy and warm and – usually – unequivocally good. When asked about what the word actually means, people tend to gravitate to vague definitions involving caring, acting prosocially or being emotionally involved in someone else’s state… Continue reading What is empathy, exactly?
There is currently massive media coverage of the health status of the two American presidential candidates. Hillary Clinton contracting pneumonia and appearing weak at the 911 memorial ceremony, and Donald Trump revealing doctor’s documents showing that he is bordering on obese and takes cholesterol-lowering drugs, have almost completely overshadowed more substantial political issues in the… Continue reading Would Clinton and Trump have been better off running in the 18th century?
I’ve been digging into some (actually, lots of) data on ballot layout and preference voting from the Swedish electoral authority, Valmyndigheten, recently, mainly as a way of practicing my RDD-skills. In the process I’ve come across some funky results that I have a hard time getting my head around, which has led me to contemplate:… Continue reading Are Swedish authorities sloppy when designing ballot papers? Evidence from an RDD.
Here is a generic version of a conversation I’ve had a few too many times: Person 1: “Hey look what I found! My favourite theory is consistent with this correlation. This thing is positively related to that thing.” Person 2: “Good for you! Correlation doesn’t imply causation, though, right?” Person 1: “Of course not, don’t… Continue reading No – the sign of your correlation doesn’t mean anything either
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ll occasionally be posting old things I’ve found in the dark corners of my hard drives. Here is another thing I excavated. About two years ago, philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris announced an essay contest based on his book The Moral Landscape, in which he argues that science… Continue reading Excavation 2: Sam Harris’ moral landscape challenge