Archive for the 'Data & Methods' Category

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Changes to NBER Working Paper E-Mails

Neil Irwin of NYTimes Upshot writes about why the the National Bureau of Economic Research decided to change the way working papers are presented in its weekly e-mail.

No editorial judgment goes into the sequence in which the working papers appear. It is random, based on the order in which the paper was submitted and in which the N.B.E.R. approval process was completed. In other words, there is no inherent reason to think that the first paper listed is more groundbreaking, important or interesting than the third or 17th.

But a lot more people read the first one listed. Showing up first in the email generated a 33 percent increase in the number of people who clicked on the working paper and a 29 percent increase in the number who downloaded it.

Police calls and blurry neighborhood boundaries

Here’s a great piece using a mix of administrative data (complaint calls to the police), on-line forums, spatial data, and traditional census data to see what happens in the transition zones across neighborhoods. The first link is to the easy-to-read version as reported in CityLab; the second is the original piece, with more details about the methodology.

When Racial Boundaries Are Blurry, Neighbors Take Complaints Straight to 311
Laura Bliss | CityLab
August 25, 2015
In NYC, calls about noise and blocked driveways are most frequent in zones between racially homogenous neighborhoods.

Contested Boundaries: Explaining Where Ethno-Racial Diversity Provokes Neighborhood Conflict
Joscha Legewie and Merlin Schaeffer | Presentated at the American Sociological Meetings
August 21, 2015

Many Psychology Findings Not as Strong as Claimed

The New York Times reports a study published in the latest issue of Science. “A┬ápainstaking yearslong effort to reproduce 100 studies published in three leading psychology journals has found that more than half of the findings did not hold up when retested.”

Many Psychology Findings not as Strong as Claimed.


Raster Analysis in R

Etienne Racine has published a Visual Raster Cheat Sheet in RPubs.

H/T Urban Demographics.

Rules for Charts

Nathan Yau of Flowing Data discusses the handful of rules for charts and data visualization which should never be broken. These include baselines, pie slices, and encodings.

New York City Census FactFinder

The NYC Planning Department’s American Community Survey update to the NYC Census Factfinder application has been released. It is now possible to get 2009-2013 ACS profiles for Neighborhood Tabulation Areas and user defined census tract aggregations, in addition to demographic profiles from the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

See the full press release.

H/T Data Detectives

Cleaning Data and Extracting Data from PDFs

Flowing Data points out two useful data resources:

  • Marc Bellemare, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, provides practical tips on cleaning data.
  • Tabula, which is available for both Windows and Mac, has an update which makes it easier to extract data from PDF documents.

Using Probability in Criminal Sentencing

FlowingData extracts a statistics lesson on probability from a piece in FiveThirtyEight about risk assessment and criminal sentencing.

New Book From the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative

The Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative published a book on Multidimensional Poverty Measurement & Analysis:

Multidimensional poverty measurement and analysis is evolving rapidly. Quite recently, a particular counting approach to multidimensional poverty measurement, developed by Sabina Alkire and James Foster, has created considerable interest. Notably, it has informed the publication of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) estimates in the Human Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme since 2010, and the release of national poverty measures in Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Bhutan and the Philippines. The academic response has been similarly swift, with related articles published in both theoretical and applied journals.

The high and insistent demand for in-depth and precise accounts of multidimensional poverty measurement motivates this book, which is aimed at graduate students in quantitative social sciences, researchers of poverty measurement, and technical staff in governments and international agencies who create multidimensional poverty measures.

Draft chapters are available online.

Poll Results and Response Rates

Scott Keeter, Pew Research Center’s director of survey research, discusses declining response rates and what it means for survey reliability.