The fairest of them all

In the 2006 CCES, respondents were asked, “Which network do you think provides the fairest coverage of national news?”. Here’s a plot of proportions of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents thinking so about some of the news channels. Compare the results with Perceived media ideology of some news sources Read more →

Sampling on M-Turk

In many of the studies that use M-Turk, there appears to be little strategy to sampling. A study is posted (and reposted) on M-Turk till a particular number of respondents take the study. If the pool of respondents reflects true population proportions, if people arrive in no particular order, and all kinds of people find the monetary incentive equally attractive,… Read more →

On balance, let there be imbalance on observables

For whatever reason, some people are concerned with imbalance when analyzing data from randomized experiments. The concern may be more general, but its fixes devolve into reducing imbalance on observables. Such fixes may fix things or break things. More generally, it is important to keep in mind what one experiment can show. If randomization is done properly, and other assumptions… Read more →

Bad Weather: Getting weather data by zip and date

High quality weather data are public. But they aren’t easy to make use of. Here below, is some advice, and some scripts for finding out the weather in a particular zip code on a particular day (or a set of dates). Some brief ground clearing before we begin. Weather data come from weather stations, which can belong to any of… Read more →

Why were the polls so accurate?

The Quant. Interwebs have overflowed with joy since the election. Poll aggregation works. And so indeed does polling, though you won’t hear as much about it on the news, which is likely biased towards celebrity intellects, than the hardworking many. But why were the polls so accurate? One potential explanation: because they do some things badly. For instance, most fail… Read more →

Raising money for causes

Four teenagers, at the cusp of adulthood, and eminently well to do, were out on the pavement raising money for children struck with cancer. They had been out raising money for a couple of hours, and from a glance at their tin pot, I estimated that they had raised about $30 odd dollars, likely less. Assuming donation rate stays below… Read more →

Random redistricting (a bit more efficiently)

In a forthcoming article, Chen and Rodden estimate the effect of ‘Unintentional gerrymandering’ on number of seats that go to a particular party. To do so they pick a precinct at random, and then add (randomly chosen) adjacent precincts to it till the district is of a certain size (decided by total number of districts one wants to create). Then… Read more →