Saturday, April 30, 2011
Faculty and staff salary growth at UM
In two of the last six years (FY 2004 and FY 2010), the president, provost, vice presidents, and deans received no increase in their base salaries.
Authorial thought experiments
Foiled by FOIA
Email messages are considered public records under the FOIA if they deal with university business or are maintained by the university related to university business. The law specifically excludes computer software from the definition of public record.
Determinants of airfares
Friday, April 29, 2011
Compelling evidence on college dropout
Learning about academic ability and the college drop-out decisionTodd StinebricknerThe University of Western OntarioRalph StinebricknerBerea CollegeAbstract: We use unique data to examine how college students from low income families form expectations about grade performance/academic ability and to examine the role that learning about these factors plays in the college drop-out decision. With respect to beliefs, at college entrance students are considerably overoptimistic. Subsequent updates depend on both initial beliefs and new information arriving in the form of grades, with individual heterogeneity in the weights assigned to initial beliefs and grades depending on individual-specific views about the underlying reasons for grade performance that are suggested to be of importance by a Bayesian model. While students with the worst grade performance update dramatically, they tend to remain overoptimistic because they understate the importance of permanent factors in determining their performance. With respect to drop-out, we find that learning about grade performance/ability plays a very prominent role; our predictions suggest that drop-out would be reduced by 41% if no learning occurred about these factors. Finally, the paper contributes directly to a recent literature examining gender differences in educational attainment and gender differences in other behavior. We find that the substantial gender difference in drop-out in our sample is predicted almost entirely by academic differences (1st year grades and beliefs about future grades), and we find direct evidence of gender differences in effort and gender differences in the non-pecuniary cost of effort. As to why poorly performing males decided to enter college, we find that, at entrance, males are substantially more overoptimistic than females.
Uncle Bonsai tomorrow at the Ark
Uncle Bonsai is my favorite folk group, so much so that I am skipping the Society of Labor Economists meetings (one of my very favorite conferences) in Vancouver (one of my very favorite cities) to be in Ann Arbor for their show tomorrow, Saturday, April 30 at the Ark.
On beauty and bargaining power
A longer title for yours truly
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Thoughts on child-rearing
Monday, April 25, 2011
On compensating differences and amateurs
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Movie: Atlas Shrugged, Part 1
Friday, April 22, 2011
Atlas Shrugged reviews
Really good writing advice
Thursday, April 21, 2011
A Mencken story
Jonathan Levin: John Bates Clark Medal
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Medical methodology, cellphones and cancer
What is clearly needed, experts agree, is a single, definitive, unbiased study — “one trial,” to borrow Paget’s terminology.
Starting at community college
Waiting at the border
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Rule of Law, Austrian edition
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Pair matching in other contexts
The Impact of the UK New Deal for Lone Parents on Benefit ReceiptPeter DoltonRoyal Holloway College, University of London,London School of Economics and IZAJeffrey SmithUniversity of Michigan,NBER and IZAThis paper evaluates the UK New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) program, which aims to return lone parents to work. Using rich administrative data on benefit receipt histories and a “selection on observed variables” identification strategy, we find that the program modestly reduces benefit receipt among participants. Methodologically, we highlight the importance of flexibly conditioning on benefit histories, as well as taking account of complex sample designs when applying matching methods. We find that survey measures of attitudes add information beyond that contained in the benefit histories and that incorporating the insights of the recent literature on dynamic treatment effects matters even when not formally applying the related methods. Finally, we explain why our results differ substantially from those of theofficial evaluation of NDLP, which found very large impacts on benefit exits.
Doctoral fellowship at MDRC
A short history of grading at UM
Over his 38 years as president he argued repeatedly that "broader, heartier, better work" was done by those who studied simply "for the sake of learning" than by those who were merely scrapping for grades. "A collegiate course cannot be wisely shaped with primary reference to driving drones to work," he declared. "It should provide every manly and noble incentive to worthy achievement."
Movie: Win, Win
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Movie: White Material
Monte Carlo analyses of matching and weighting estimators
How to Control for Many Covariates? Reliable Estimators Based on the Propensity Score by Martin Huber, Michael Lechner, Conny Wunsch (October 2010)
We investigate the finite sample properties of a large number of estimators for the average treatment effect on the treated that are suitable when adjustment for observable covariates is required, like inverse probability weighting, kernel and other variants of matching, as well as different parametric models. The simulation design used is based on real data usually employed for the evaluation of labour market programmes in Germany. We vary several dimensions of the design that are of practical importance, like sample size, the type of the outcome variable, and aspects of the selection process. We find that trimming individual observations with too much weight as well as the choice of tuning parameters is important for all estimators. The key conclusion from our simulations is that a particular radius matching estimator combined with regression performs best overall, in particular when robustness to misspecifications of the propensity score is considered an important property.
When prosecutors misbehave
Explaining the variance in tax compliance
On-the-job training in Congress
Planned Parenthood sex ad
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Mandatory school lunches
Monday, April 11, 2011
Hypocritical politicians, Indonesian edition.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Bernie Sanders, nationalist
Turns out that self-professed "socialist" Bernie Sanders is also a nationalist, as explained in this video about him bullying the Smithsonian into carrying fewer items made in China in their gift shops. Let's see ... socialism plus nationalism ... perhaps that's already been tried?
And didn't socialists used to be internationalists?
Ron Ehrenberg on elite colleges
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Mark Steyn on Lindsey Graham on free speech.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
... the spirit is closer to those old Bugs Bunny cartoons in which Bugs would cross paths with real movie stars or perform Wagnerian opera.
Reasons to get a payday loan
Let’s be realistic here – it is NEVER a good thing to attend a bachelor party and not have any money to spend. Not only will you be singled out as the “cheap” guy amongst your friends, but the ladies at the bachelor party will not pay any attention to you. What fun is that?
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Belated April Fool's Day
Scholar calls for lowering Social Security retirement ageBloomberg – While many budgetary experts inside the beltway have called for cuts to entitlements, Brookings senior fellow Isabel Sawhill argues that the retirement age at which Social Security benefits kick in should be lowered. “Did you know that almost 10 percent of all federal dollars are spent on children?” Sawhill said. “That’s just wacko spending that much money on kids. These $300 billion or so should be in the pockets of the elderly. Obama has all this nonsense talk about winning the future. What does that even mean? Let’s give AARP a win.”
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Ratios matter in search markets
What's your golden parachute (African dictator edition)?
In the four months since the disputed election, the international community has repeatedly offered [defeated president] Gbagbo a golden parachute, only to be rebuffed. He twice refused to take a phone call from President Barack Obama, who offered him a teaching position at a Boston university if he agreed to peacefully step aside.
Several thoughts come to mind:
1) Is the Kennedy School developing a new MA program for dictators? Will it offer a "Masters in Dictatorial Administration"? I bet there would be a good market in this, and they could charge high fees (with a separately priced option, of course, for personal assistance with the master's thesis).
2) Maybe Gbagbo thought the teaching load was too high? Or perhaps they could not find a lecturing position for his spouse?
3) Is there some reason to think that a teaching position in "a Boston university" would be more attractive than, say, a villa in some central american country?
Worth taking a moment here, too, to be grateful for the social capital in the Western democracies that leads to the peaceful and regular political transitions we take for granted. It doesn't have to be that way.
Hat tip: Lars Skipper