Re: guess the correlation

2004-12-16 Thread Dimitriy V. Masterov
I bet it close to zero. If income and education are correlated in the
way that I suspect they are, Kerry's support is high at the tails of the
income distribution, which means that it's a U-shaped relationship. Since
correlation measures a linear relationship, it's going to be zero.
However, this may not be if you don't weight the data by population.

Dimitriy V. Masterov

Center for Social Program Evaluation
1155 East 60th St. Room 038
Chicago, IL 60637

Re: lotteries and elections

2004-08-31 Thread Dimitriy V. Masterov
I don't have an answer for you, but it seems important to point out that
not all lotteries have a negative expected payoff. Large, multi-state
jackpots are often a fair bet, even after taxes.

The best economic analyses I've seen are Charles T. Clotfelter and Philip
J. Cook, Selling Hope: State Lotteries In America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1989), and Clotfelter, Charles T., and Philip J. Cook.
1990. On the Economics of State Lotteries. The Journal of Economic
Perspectives, 4(4): 105-119. These are mostly concerned with the taxation
aspect, but you might find something useful there.

Dimitriy V. Masterov

Re: spamonomics

2004-01-21 Thread Dimitriy V. Masterov
I guess the basic objection is that people will not talk about their
sexual behavior honestly. The usual assumption is that men will
exaggerate and women will understate their experiences. You can read
Edward Laumann's book about how the surveys are conducted. They spent a
lot of time designing the questionnaires and training the interviewers.
It's too much to summarize and explain here. I am not sure that I am
convinced entirely, but I think they reduced the bias significantly. The
citation is:

The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United
States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994. (With John H. Gagnon,
Robert T. Michael and Stuart Michaels.)

His recent work on China is really interesting for economists in that as
part of the survey they were able to get urine samples from most of the
participants. They found exceptionally low rates of STDs everywhere in
the population, except for businessmen, who had very high rates. It seem
that these men frequent brothels during their travels and engage in
unprotected sex. Laumann argues that this is very dangerous because the
economic elite of China has a sexual Achilles's heel, and that it is only
a matter of time before HIV becomes prevalent in this group.


On Wed, 21 Jan 2004, john hull wrote:

 I would. It happens all the time.

 So what are the methodologies of the auto-erotic
 reporting studies and how are they flawed?

 Do you Yahoo!?
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Dimitriy V. Masterov

Center for Social Program Evaluation
1155 East 60th St. Room 038
Chicago, IL 60637
Work: (773)256-6005
Fax: (773)256-6313

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Re: spamonomics

2004-01-20 Thread Dimitriy V. Masterov
I suspect the fact that many people use the internet to view pornography
makes contemporaneous v!agra spam fairly effective. If consumer decisions
are susceptible to situational cues and entrepreneurs exploit this feature
of preferences, aroused people will purchase large quantities of v!agra.
You might complain that porn is a substitute, and not a complement, to
sexual activity, but I don't think this is the case. Survey microdata
collected by Edward Laumann reveals that Americans do not
use pornography to compensate for lack of sexual contact. In fact,
autoerotic behavior (which lumps together everything from attending strip
clubs to phone sex to masturbation) is associated with higher levels of
partnered sexual activity. Both men and women who are highly autoerotic
are more likely to have multiple sexual partners in a short period of
time. Moreover, use of pornography is highly correlated with diversity of
sexual practices. All this suggests that such consumers might actually
require v!agra given their heightened sexual behavior.

Dimitriy V. Masterov

Re: How do I convince New Agers that not everybody should get the same wage?

2004-01-13 Thread Dimitriy V. Masterov
One line of reasoning is that people are simply different and these
differences are important economically. Some people are simply better at
doing certain things than others. For instance, Michael Jordan is a much
better ball player than I am, and the public is willing to pay him a lot
more than me to play ball. Michael Jordan is in some sense scarce, which
is what makes his playing valuable in an economic sense. Not a lot of
people have the ability to be excellent basketball players, but a lot of
people have the ability to be excellent plumbers. This is also why
diamonds cost more than pebbles. Note that this does not say anything
about MJ's worth as person, or his equality before the law, and so on.

The more important question, I think, is the source of the differences in
people. To become a doctor, you need to spend a lot of time, money and
effort. Most doctors I knew planned to be doctors when they were children,
and they made many sacrifices to accomplish that goal. They spent Saturday
nights studying when the rest of us were drinking beers. They were
working at the lab while the rest of us were taking the literature class.
Simply put, very few people would make the necessary investment to become
doctors if they were not compensated for it at the end. In any case, even
if the final wage-career distribution is mostly a matter of luck rather
than deliberate choices about education, it is unclear whether equalizing
wages is going to be a more fair arrangement. First, it's impossible to
speak about fairness in a system when outcomes are determined by chance
(at least as long as you admit that people have different abilities).
It may be likely that the rich are paid more than they deserve and the
poor less, but it is equally likely that the rich paid less than they
deserve and the poor more. This is a more nuanced philosophical point, and
much more open to debate.

Finally, I am not sure why anyone would object to inequality it itself.
Consider this scenario. You're at the bar with your buddies, and Bill
Gates walks in through the door. Obviously the distribution of wealth has
become more unequal. But do you really feel worse off?

Dimitriy V. Masterov

Re: Levitt article

2003-08-04 Thread Dimitriy V. Masterov

In an earlier message, William Sjostrom suggested that Levitt's research
is typical of the economics field. I am very curious about this statement,
because it is at odds with my casual empiricism, and I would like to see
it backed by some concrete evidence. Perhaps this reflects my own
ignorance of the literature, but I would like to know who
does such clever, but careful empirical work. If this is true, I'd like
to read it. Are there people out there that collect interesting data to
approach previously intractable questions from a new direction?

The best example of this that I can think of is a working paper that
estimated the scope of corruption in Indonesia by looking at how the stock
prices of companies that has close links to the Suharto government reacted
to news about his health. I can't seem to find this paper to provide you
with a citation.

Dimitriy V. Masterov

Dimitriy V. Masterov

Center for Social Program Evaluation
1155 East 60th St. Room 038
Chicago, IL 60637
Work: (773)256-6005
Fax: (773)256-6313