Posts tagged "measurement"

Government bureaucracies, as opposed to casual friendships, are seldom in danger from too much information. That is why a new initiative by the New York City comptroller, Scott Stringer, to use copious amounts of data to save money and solve problems, makes such intuitive sense.

Called ClaimStat, it seeks to collect and analyze information on the thousands of lawsuits and claims filed each year against the city. By identifying patterns in payouts and trouble-prone agencies and neighborhoods, the program is supposed to reduce the cost of claims the way CompStat, the fabled data-tracking program pioneered by the New York Police Department, reduces crime.

Better Governing Through Data -
Is the VoSL working? The results of cost-benefit analyses seem to say so. Is the figure in the right ballpark? Based on international evidence, yes. In 2014, is it accurate? Probably not. Putting a price on life is a messy science – especially given that the priorities and values of the public are at the heart of it.
Working out the value of a life - Value - The Wireless
This paper argues that growth data submitted to international agencies are overstated by authoritarian regimes compared to democracies. If true, it calls into question the estimated relationship between government type and economic growth found in the literature. To measure the degree to which each government’s official growth statistics are overstated, the economic growth rates reported in the World Bank’s World Development Indicators are compared to a new measure of economic growth based on satellite imaging of nighttime lights. This comparison reveals whether or not dictators exaggerate their true growth rates and by how much. Annual GDP growth rates are estimated to be overstated by 0.5–1.5 percentage points in the statistics that dictatorships report to the World Bank.
Reconsidering Regime Type and Growth: Lies, Dictatorships, and Statistics - Magee - 2014 - International Studies Quarterly - Wiley Online Library

Language Log » The inclusion epidemic (a technical must-read on obesity rates)


Language Log » The inclusion epidemic (a technical must-read on obesity rates)

Comparing the way the Hagopian et al. survey has been presented, and the way the Roberts et al. 2004 Lancet survey was presented is also interesting. In both cases you have a central estimate of excess deaths with almost comical uncertainty surrounding it. For Roberts et al. this was an estimate of 98,000 with a confidence interval of 8,000 to 194,000. Then there is a public relations campaign that erases the uncertainty, leaving behind just the central estimate - 100,000 for Roberts et al. and 400,000 for Hagopian et al. Finally, the central estimate is promoted as a sort of minimum, with the “likely” number being even higher than their central estimate. Actually, Hagopian et al. went one step further, inflating up by another 100,000 before declaring a minimum of 500,000.
MUSINGS ON IRAQ: Questioning The Lancet, PLOS, And Other Surveys On Iraqi Deaths, An Interview With Univ. of London Professor Michael Spagat

“Seeing is believing,” Deyo says. “And gosh! We can actually see degenerated discs, we can see bulging discs. We can see all kinds of things that are alarming.”

That is, they look alarming. But they’re most likely not the cause of the pain.

The dangers of better measurement | Stats Chat
By Angus Deaton, via Richard Horton on Twitter. Excellent bits on the measurement of poverty.

By Angus Deaton, via Richard Horton on Twitter. Excellent bits on the measurement of poverty.

This paper is interesting in two ways. First, it recasts the discussion away from monadic attributes — GDP share, say — towards global categories — market share of American multinational corporations. Second, it suggests that the old “relative power” discussions, which tend to be cast in dyadic terms, is also inappropriate. Instead we need to think globally. If China increases its GDP share relative to the U.S. but does so by importing American technology, adding a small amount of value, then exporting a finished product, the statistics will show a big GDP boost from exports but can we really say China has gained on the U.S. in any meaningful way? As Susan Strange once wrote, becoming a blue collar worker in service to American white collar management does not make you more powerful than the Americans. The old dependency theorists understood this quite well even if they got some other things wrong. Add to this Benjamin Cohen’s recent work (with Tabitha Benney) showing that the US dollar has not slipped in importance in the monetary system (recent events have demonstrated this), and my dissertation (recently defended) showing that American prominence in global banking has increased since the crisis, and the overall picture looks clear: relative to recent history, the U.S.’s power position has not changed and has in some ways improved.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
This analysis suggests that the cross-national declines in military expenditures and force sizes have less to do with political demilitarization, and more to do with the increasing technological efficiencies of defense markets. It is worth noting this distinction before making pacifistic inferences about the international security climate, particularly given turmoil in the Middle East and Asia.
A Phantom Decline in Militaries? — The Monkey Cage
“You can think of rape and sexual assault as the darkest of the dark figure of crime,” said Candace Kruttschnitt, a sociologist at the University of Toronto who is co-chairing a panel of researchers who are advising the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics on its victimization surveys.
Rape: the Darkest Dark Figure of Crime - The Numbers Guy - WSJ

Uncounted in the official tallies are the hundreds of thousands of crimes that take place in the country’s prison system, a vast and growing residential network whose forsaken tenants increasingly bear the brunt of America’s propensity for anger and violence.

Crime has not fallen in the United States—it’s been shifted.

n 1: Raise the Crime Rate
You have to look at the GDP/GNI adjusted for purchasing power parity but not per capita to see the US and China as “close.” So, straight-up GDP I think is done at exchange rates. GDP/capita is obviously not the right question here (since we are interested in “size of the economy” not “standard of living”). Whether or not exchange-rate or PPP is the right measure for “size of the economy” depends on what you think you are measuring, but in any rate, if you look at the WDI series for “Gross National Income in PPP dollars”, you’ll see the US and China are “closer” , at least closer than the US being double (instead, the US is about a quarter ahead, as Milanovic said). In this case, it’s the wildly different PPP estimates that are doing a lot of the work of producing uncertainty around the largest economy.
What is the Largest Economy? | A (Budding) Sociologist’s Commonplace Book