Monthly Archive for September, 2014

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.