Friday, January 03, 2014

Comments Policy

I'm not sure we have ever stated a "comments policy."

Angus and I each police our own posts.  We delete comments that are spam.  Examples include links to URLs that are commercial (drugs, male enhancement, etc) and have no relation to the subject of the post.

Other than that, we use our judgment.  I don't think I have ever deleted a comment just because the person was offensive, because by that standard I'd have to delete most of my own posts.

But the "policy" is that this is our blog.  If we feel like deleting a comment, for any reason or for no reason at all, we can do that, without explanation.  If that's a problem, you can post whatever you want on YOUR blog.

Angus, anything to add?

UPDATE:  In response to a suggestion in a comment (ironically), the policy statement is amended to "It's our blog and we'll delete comments if we want to.  You would have, too, if it happened to you." Since the policy is intended to be legalistic, and lawsuits about comments have been specifically mentioned, I'm not sure why sounding "lawyerly" is a drawback.  But, fair enough.  This one is much more perky.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Cheap Networks are Large

Cheap insurance networks are large.

Unless making them large lets sick and expensive people select in.

In that case, it's better to go small.  But THIS small?  That's small.

The solution?  Let vet hospitals treat humans, for cuts and scrapes and broken bones.  You can get a two-fer-one deal, where Paco the pup and Angus the guy both get treated.  No waiting, adjacent exam rooms!

Nod to WH.

Bayes' Honeydew

An email from Zach Weiner:

Funny story I thought you might enjoy. Pretty typical kid story, I'm sure, but it was too perfect not to share. I was visiting ***** in Palo Alto. They have two kids: S** and J**. J** is about 3, and S** is about 6. 

We're eating breakfast, and J**'s meal comes with a slice of honeydew. He doesn't like honeydew and says so. His mom asks "Then can S** have it?" He says yes without giving it any thought. 

But S**'s eyes light up. She's very excited to have the honeydew. J** sees her face, immediately changes his opinion and declares he'd like the honeydew. J** then gives the honeydew a taste. J** decides once again he doesn't like honeydew, and now it makes its way to S**, where it is at last consumed. 

By these means I conclude J** is a Bayesian.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Markets NOT Capitalism?



Elasticity of Demand for Beer


Estimating the price elasticity of beer: Meta-analysis of data with heterogeneity, dependence, and publication bias
Jon Nelson 

Journal of Health Economics, January 2014, Pages 180–187 

Abstract: Precise estimates of price elasticities are important for alcohol tax policy. Using meta-analysis, this paper corrects average beer elasticities for heterogeneity, dependence, and publication selection bias. A sample of 191 estimates is obtained from 114 primary studies. Simple and weighted means are reported. Dependence is addressed by restricting number of estimates per study, author-restricted samples, and author-specific variables. Publication bias is addressed using funnel graph, trim-and-fill, and Egger's intercept model. Heterogeneity and selection bias are examined jointly in meta-regressions containing moderator variables for econometric methodology, primary data, and precision of estimates. Results for fixed- and random-effects regressions are reported. Country-specific effects and sample time periods are unimportant, but several methodology variables help explain the dispersion of estimates. In models that correct for selection bias and heterogeneity, the average beer price elasticity is about -0.20, which is less elastic by 50% compared to values commonly used in alcohol tax policy simulations. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday's Child Special: Year End Columns

Instead of a Year End post, I'll just post some posts by other people I find interesting.  Not say I'm endorsing, just saying they are interesting.

1.  David Collum.  And the video version.

2.  A year-end cartoon.  Have a very crony Christmas!

3.  Glenn Reynolds, in a happy mood.  Not. John Cochrane has some similar, and some quite different, views.

4.  A cartoon "year end" statement, all contained in three frames.  I have witnessed conversations almost exactly like this, with mutually assured incredulity.

5.  This is more like a "world's end" column, from Vero.  Meet the spender, same as the old spender.

6.  NC news roundup, from the Independent.

7.  From "THE ONION":  Our Annual Year.

8.  26 things you can do when you are drunk that you really can't get away with if you are sober.

9.  MathBabe (in the voice of Aunt Pythia) offers some year end advice that will...end your year.  Starts out fairly innocuously, and then goes seriously off the tracks.

10.  The Year In BAD Movies.  And in GOOD Movies. (Disturbingly, I haven't seen even ONE of the ten "best" movies in that list.  And I saw a LOT of movies.)

11.  Sure, it was not a great year.  But was it as bad as 1492?  Some perspective.

12.  Dave Barry's year end column

13.  P-Kroog and the "Year of the Weasel."  I assumed he was going to come out, and admit that he, P-Kroog, is a weasel.  No such luck.  But you heard it here:  P-Kroog is a weasel.

14.  The GOP?  They went disarray.  Or was it data-way?

15.  George Will says GOP is NOT in disarray.  In fact, 2013 was an annus mirabilis.

16.  Year end chart:  Worst loan creation EVER, coming out of recession.  Are we coming out of a recession?  No one is borrowing, because no one believes we are coming out of a recession.

17.  Best headline of 2013:  "Ice Breaker Gets Stuck Trying to Rescue Global Warming Scientists Trapped in Antarctic Ice."  A follow-up.  Now, this one cold snap doesn't change the fact that average temperatures are slowly rising.  (Very, very slowly:  zero increase in last 15 years.)  But I'm tired of people taking every WARM day as a sign of global warming.  Stop that, and I'll stop laughing at you on cold days.

18.  IJ's year end post.  Cops acting badly.

19.  If they are actually watching you, it's not paranoia.   Tin-foil hatters, unite!  Jon Stewart was brilliant on this, just brilliant.

20.  And...clearly the BEST year end statement of all:  mooning the future!  From Google Maps, sent by frequent sender M.K.  Worth reading the whole thing, and the comments.  Gold.

My own view of 2013:  The mayor of Toronto smoked it, Miley Cyrus showed it, and our President started to do it.  Let's hope the crack of 2014 is better!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The people's republic of Chipotle?

With a market cap north of $16 billion, I guess this isn't totally crazy, but it's weird to think that Chipotle is a sovereign county now!




No word yet on whether or not US citizens will now need a passport to enter the premises.


Oklahoma Doctors Against Obamacare

With thanks to WH.  To be fair, these Okies may be upset because their vending machines are under attack... I hope they learn a lesson 'bout messin' with a vending machine's jealous man.


If you are heading to ASSA....

A suggestion for interview technique if you are heading American meetings for Econ...  Hey, it worked for Dwight Lee!




Headline Meme

Absence of beer causes man to be stabbed with ceramic squirrel by furious wife.

Presumably she had told him to buy the beer earlier, but he had put it off.  No jury is going to convict her; it was justified squirrelicide.