Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Stephenson assessing in-home HIV testing and counseling for male couples

Thompson says mass incarceration causes collapse of Detroit neighborhoods

Liberal-conservative gap by education level growing in U.S.

Highlights

Maggie Levenstein named director of ISR's Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

Arline Geronimus receives 2016 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award

PSC spring 2016 newsletter: Kristin Seefeldt, Brady West, newly funded projects, ISR Runs for Bob, and more

AAUP reports on faculty compensation by category, affiliation, and academic rank

Next Brown Bag

PSC Brown Bags
will resume fall 2016

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.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next