Archive for January, 2011

Economists and Statistical Methods

January 31, 2011

From an ancient (but readworthy) JPE article by Christopher Sims:

Economists must inevitably try to sort out systematic patterns from random variations in the past-if only because, unassisted, policymakers would do the same thing more naively. In doing so economists will need probabilistic models and statistical methods of inference. Like historians, though, they must accept that a single agreed view of the causal structure of the record they examine will never emerge [Sims, C. A., 1981, What Kind of a Science Is Economics? A Review Article on Causality in Economics by John R. Hicks, The Journal of Political Economy, 89 (3), pp. 582-582].

My Erdös Number

January 31, 2011

A friend e-mailed me his Erdös number,* which was 7 but turned out to be 5 (given that discussion papers counts). My number is 7 without discussion papers (Erdös -> Davies -> Schuss -> Mangel -> Plant -> McKelvey -> Sandal -> Me) or 5 with discussion papers (Erdös -> Linial -> Katznelson -> Radner -> Groves -> Me). You can find your own number on The Erdös Number Project page.

* From The Erdös Number Project: Paul Erdös (1913–1996), the widely-traveled and incredibly prolific Hungarian mathematician of the highest caliber, wrote hundreds of mathematical research papers in many different areas, many in collaboration with others. […] Erdös’s Erdös number is 0. Erdös’s coauthors have Erdös number 1. People other than Erdös who have written a joint paper with someone with Erdös number 1 but not with Erdös have Erdös number 2, and so on. If there is no chain of coauthorships connecting someone with Erdös, then that person’s Erdös number is said to be infinite.