Author Archive for ljridley

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Bayesian Statistics in the New York Times

By: F. D. Flam

The method was invented in the 18th century by an English Presbyterian minister named Thomas Bayes — by some accounts to calculate the probability of God’s existence. In this century, Bayesian statistics has grown vastly more useful because of the kind of advanced computing power that didn’t exist even 20 years ago…

…Now Bayesian statistics are rippling through everything from physics to cancer research, ecology to psychology. Enthusiasts say they are allowing scientists to solve problems that would have been considered impossible just 20 years ago. And lately, they have been thrust into an intense debate over the reliability of research results.

Read the full article

UM Library Database Trial

The UM Library is running a 3-month trial of OpenEdition:


Portal for European open access humanities and social sciences journals, e-books, research blogs, and a calendar of events and announcements. Freemium version with downloadable PDFs of journal articles, entire books and single book chapters. Books can also be downloaded in an epub version.

Please contact Barbara Alvarez,, with questions and feedback.

Working Papers from the NBER

Within-Mother Estimates of the Effects of WIC on Birth Outcomes in New York City
by Janet Currie, Ishita Rajani #20400
Abstract; PDF

Why High-order Polynomials Should not be Used in Regression Discontinuity Designs
by Andrew Gelman, Guido Imbens #20405
Abstract; PDF

Methods of Identification in Social Networks
by Bryan S. Graham #20414
Abstract; PDF

Immigration and the Economy of Cities and Regions
by Ethan Lewis, Giovanni Peri #20428
Abstract; PDF

Experimental Evidence on Distributional Effects of Head Start
by Marianne P. Bitler, Hilary W. Hoynes, Thurston Domina #20434
Abstract; PDF

The Impact of Family Composition on Educational Achievement
by Stacey H. Chen, Yen-Chien Chen, Jin-Tan Liu #20443
Abstract; PDF

Is the ‘Quarter of Birth’ Endogenous? Evidence From One Million Siblings in Taiwan
by Elliott Fan, Jin-Tan Liu, Yen-Chien Chen #20444
Abstract; PDF

It’s Where You Work: Increases in Earnings Dispersion across Establishments and Individuals in the U.S.
by Erling Barth, Alex Bryson, James C. Davis, Richard Freeman #20447
Abstract; PDF

The Effects of Mortality on Fertility: Population Dynamics after a Natural Disaster
by Jenna Nobles, Elizabeth Frankenberg, Duncan Thomas #20448
Abstract; PDF

Long Workweeks and Strange Hours
by Daniel S. Hamermesh, Elena Stancanelli #20449
Abstract; PDF

Does Gifted Education Work? For Which Students?
by David Card, Laura Giuliano #20453
Abstract; PDF

The Price of Experience
by Hyeok Jeong, Yong Kim, Iourii Manovskii #20457
Abstract; PDF

New Working Papers from the NBER

Lead Exposure and Behavior: Effects on Antisocial and Risky Behavior among Children and Adolescents
by Jessica Wolpaw Reyes #20366
Abstract; PDF

The 9/11 Dust Cloud and Pregnancy Outcomes: A Reconsideration
by Janet Currie, Hannes Schwandt #20368
Abstract; PDF

Social Norms and the Enforcement of Laws
by Daron Acemoglu, Matthew O. Jackson #20369
Abstract; PDF

Spousal Labor Market Effects from Government Health Insurance: Evidence from a Veterans Affairs Expansion
by Melissa A. Boyle, Joanna N. Lahey #20371
Abstract; PDF

Spatial Errors in Count Data Regressions
by Marinho Bertanha, Petra Moser #20374
Abstract; PDF

Welfare Implications of Learning Through Solicitation versus Diversification in Health Care
by Anirban Basu #20376
Abstract; PDF

The Roots of Gender Inequality in Developing Countries
by Seema Jayachandran #20380
Abstract; PDF

Skill Gaps, Skill Shortages and Skill Mismatches: Evidence for the US
by Peter Cappelli #20382
Abstract; PDF

Does the Gender of Offspring Affect Parental Political Orientation?
by Byungkyu Lee, Dalton Conley #20384
Abstract; PDF

The Evolution of Rotation Group Bias: Will the Real Unemployment Rate Please Stand Up?
by Alan Krueger, Alexandre Mas, Xiaotong Niu #20396
Abstract; PDF

Affirmative Action and Human Capital Investment: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment
by Christopher Cotton, Brent R. Hickman, Joseph P. Price #20397
Abstract; PDF

Does Labor Legislation Benefit Workers? Well-Being after an Hours Reduction
by Daniel S. Hamermesh, Daiji Kawaguchi, Jungmin Lee #20398
Abstract; PDF

The Aging of Student Debt

Student-Loan Debt Skyrockets for Elderly, Government Report Says
By Max Lewontin
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

People over 65 make up a small percentage of borrowers with student loans, but the amount of debt held by older Americans has increased sixfold in less than a decade. Those borrowers held $2.8-billion in student-loan debt in 2005 and $18.2-billion in 2013, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office.

Read the full article
GAO Report Highlights; download PDF

Top Economically Diverse Colleges

Top Colleges That Enroll Rich, Middle Class and Poor
By: David Leonhardt
Source: New York Times

Vassar has taken steps to hold down spending on faculty and staff. Amherst and the University of Florida have raised new money specifically to spend on financial aid for low-income students. American University reallocated scholarships from well-off students to needy ones. Grinnell set a floor on the share of every freshman class – 15 percent – whose parents didn’t go to college.

Over the last decade, dozens of colleges have proclaimed that recruiting a more economically diverse student body was a top priority. Many of those colleges have not matched their words with actions. But some have.

Access the interactive graphic here.

Mexico’s Housing Shortage Solution

They Built It. People Came. Now They Go.
By: Victoria Burnett
Source: New York Times

A government program to solve Mexico’s chronic housing shortage produced huge developments without jobs or supporting services, forcing thousands of new owners to abandon their homes.

Working Papers From the NBER

Identifying Long-Run Risks: A Bayesian Mixed-Frequency Approach
by Frank Schorfheide, Dongho Song, Amir Yaron #20303
Abstract; PDF

The Persistence and Heterogeneity of Health among Older Americans
by Florian Heiss, Steven F. Venti, David A. Wise #20306
Abstract; PDF

The Micro and Macro of Disappearing Routine Jobs: A Flows Approach
by Guido Matias Cortes, Nir Jaimovich, Christopher J. Nekarda, Henry E. Siu #20307
Abstract; PDF

Expanding the School Breakfast Program: Impacts on Children’s Consumption, Nutrition and Health
by Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Mary Zaki #20308
Abstract; PDF

When Incentives Matter Too Much: Explaining Significant Responses to Irrelevant Information
by Thomas Ahn, Jacob L. Vigdor #20321
Abstract; PDF

Finite Population Causal Standard Errors
by Alberto Abadie, Susan Athey, Guido W. Imbens, Jeffrey M. Wooldridge #20325
Abstract; PDF

Should Student Employment Be Subsidized? Conditional Counterfactuals and the Outcomes of Work-Study Participation
by Judith Scott-Clayton, Veronica Minaya #20329
Abstract; PDF

Non-Adherence In Health Care: A Positive and Normative Analysis
by Mark Egan, Tomas J. Philipson #20330
Abstract; PDF

Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use
by D. Mark Anderson, Benjamin Hansen, Daniel I. Rees #20332
Abstract; PDF

Broken or Fixed Effects?
by Charles E. Gibbons, Juan Carlos Suarez Serrato, Michael B. Urbancic #20342
Abstract; PDF

How Does Family Health Care Use Respond to Economic Shocks? Realized and Anticipated Effects
by Alan C. Monheit, Irina Grafova, Rizie Kumar #20348
Abstract; PDF

Urban Vibrancy and Corporate Growth
by Casey Dougal, Christopher A. Parsons, Sheridan Titman #20350
Abstract; PDF

The Causal Effect of Environmental Catastrophe on Long-Run Economic Growth: Evidence From 6,700 Cyclones
by Solomon M. Hsiang, Amir S. Jina #20352
Abstract; PDF

Positive Externalities of Social Insurance: Unemployment Insurance and Consumer Credit
by Joanne W. Hsu, David A. Matsa, Brian T. Melzer #20353
Abstract; PDF

The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall
by Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt, Stephen J. Redding, Daniel M. Sturm, Nikolaus Wolf #20354
Abstract; PDF

Affirmative Action Bans and Black Admission Outcomes: Selection-Corrected Estimates from UC Law Schools
by Danny Yagan #20361
Abstract; PDF

Sage Stats and CQ Political Stats Trial

via Catherine Morse, UM library

We have trial access to two new sources for statistics: Sage Stats and CQ US Political Stats. Both trials are available for the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses until September 17, 2014.

SAGE Stats is a data visualization and research platform that currently hosts two collections State Stats and Local Stats. State Stats is a collection of data measures that span all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Local Stats is a collection of data measures that span all counties, cities, and metropolitan statistical areas. Dating back more than 20 years, each data series is displayed with detailed source information. Topics covered include the economy, education, crime, government finance, health, population, religion, social welfare, and transportation.

CQ US Political Stats is a separate platform that brings together data on the US Congress, the Supreme Court and the Presidency for comparison and visualizations. CQ US Political Stats contains data on a variety of topics such as Supreme Court outcomes and demographic data on members of Congress. The data comes from a variety of sources including: CQ Roll Call, Vital Statistics on the Presidency, Supreme Court Compendium, America Votes, and CQ Alamanac.

Please send any comments to

Where in America is there a ‘normal’ amount of immigration?

By: Steven Rich
Source: Washington Post

According to U.S. Census data, 12.9 percent of Americans were born in a foreign country. The nearly 40 million foreign-born people are not even distributed throughout the country.

View an interactive map showing where foreign-born Americans are concentrated. Washtenaw County is close at 11.4%.