Category Archives: Economics

Via Slate: A Map That Should Panic the Obama Campaign

Looks like we should all move to North Dakota: A Map That Should Panic the Obama Campaign.


Mortgages, banks, and Jensen’s inequality

Mortgages, banks, and Jensen’s inequality



The US Has the Highest Share of Employees in Low Wage Work

The US Has the Highest Share of Employees in Low Wage Work


An interesting debate: Gelman vs Freakonomics

An interesting debate between Andrew Gelman (and Kaiser Fung) and the Freakonomics authors, Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt.
It also appears that a good way to get mentioned on the Freakonomics blog is to accuse them of plagiarism (a very serious accusation).  So I’m going to accuse them of plagiarism, but only for the blog hits it might generate…….and now I’m going to retract my accusation of plagiarism an issue an apology to Dubner and Levitt:  I’d like to apologize to Dubner and Levitt for accusing them of plagiarism.  Please accept my apology.
P.S. Just to be super clear about this: That was a joke.  I am not actually accusing anyone of plagiarism.
P.P.S.  It was a joke.

European Debt: Graphically viewed as piles of Euros

The European Super Highway of Debt via


Super Bowl Squares

I received an email this morning from a friend: “Is there any sort of a statistical breakdown for which are the best numbers to have in a Super Bowl squares pool (for entertainment purposes only)?”

Now, if my friend were going to use this information to gamble, it would be highly unethical.  However, since he clearly stated that it was for “entertainment purposes only,” I feel that I can conduct a study with a clear conscience.

If he had wanted to gamble on it, here is a quick explanation of how that usually takes place.  (According to that website: “Basically, if you are at a party where you don’t have betting squares you are a Communist.”)

Anyway, using data from I created a ten by ten frequency table (using R, of course) of exactly how many times each outcome has occurred in the history of the NFL.  You can find the graph here.

Somethings to note:

  • 2-2 is the worst square by far.  It’s only happened 5 times in the history of the league.  The fair odds for this square are over 2800-to-1.
  • The best squares are, no surprise, 7-0 and 0-7, occurring 581 and 577 times, respectively.
  • The other great squares to have are in order, 0-3, 0-4, 4-7, and 7-4.  All of these have occurred over 480 times each.
  • These 6 outcomes (7-0, 0-7, 0-3, 0-4, 4-7, and 7-4) account for almost 23% of all the NFL games ever played.


Stock Market (in the wild)

This article is about Andrew Patton from Duke (which was tweeted by NISSSAMSI had this interesting tidbit about the stock market in it:

“‘Unfortunately, stock prices are almost impossible to predict,’ Patton said. ‘But what we can look at are things like risk and correlation.

‘For instance, it is well known that a given bundle of stocks often decline in value together, but those very same stocks rarely increase in value together,’ he said. ‘In other words, there’s something very different going on in a bear market than in a bull market, and my research tries to capture that difference.'”

I’m pretty sure that is really interesting.


Media coverage and the Dow Jones average (in the wild)

I was driving home tonight, and I was listening to Kai Ryssdal (my boy) on Marketplace. As he closed the show, he mentioned a graph about the relationship between the Dow Jones average and the media coverage that the economy receives put out by the Pew Research Center. They found that as the economy tanks media coverage increases. Likewise, as the economy recovers, the media is spending less time covering it. The graph is here.