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COSSA makes 10 suggestions to next Administration for supporting and using social science research

Thompson says US prison population is 'staggeringly high' at about 1.5 million, despite 2% drop for 2015

Levy et al. find Michigan's Medicaid expansion boosted state's economy while increasing number of insured

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2017 PAA Annual Meeting, April 27-29, Chicago

NIH funding opportunity: Etiology of Health Disparities and Health Advantages among Immigrant Populations (R01 and R21), open Jan 2017

Russell Sage 2017 Summer Institute in Computational Social Science, June 18-July 1. Application deadline Feb 17.

Russell Sage 2-week workshop on social science genomics, June 11-23, 2017, Santa Barbara

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Next Brown Bag

Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at noon:
Decline of cash assistance and child well-being, Luke Shaefer

The Law of Genius and Home Runs Refuted

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

DiNardo, John E., and Jason Winfree. 2010. "The Law of Genius and Home Runs Refuted." Economic Inquiry, 48(1): 51-64.

In a lively, provocative article, DeVany claims inter alia that the size distribution of home runs follows a continuous "power law" distribution which is nested in a larger class of "stable" statistical distributions characterized by an infinite variance. He uses this putative fact about the size distribution of home runs to argue that concern about the use of steroids to enhance home run ability is necessarily misplaced. In this article, we show that the initial claim is false and argue that the subsequent claim about the potential importance of steroid use does not follow from the first. We also show that the method used to establish that the size distribution of home runs is characterized by an infinite variance is unreliable and will find evidence "consistent" with infinite variance in all but the most trivial of data sets generated by processes with finite variance. Despite a large and growing literature that spans several fields and uses methods and arguments similar to DeVany's, we argue that mere inspection of the unconditional distribution of some human phenomenon is unlikely to yield much insight.

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