Who Cut the Statistical Cheese?
Bill Quick

Carts and Horses, Causes and Effects : The Other McCain

Uh, it’s not. The research O’Brien cites refers to the chance that someone whose parents are in the bottom 20% of the income distribution can rise to the top 20% of the distribution.

Stipulating that the data in the study is complete and accurate, and that everything in the analysis is legit — well, why is there a bright spot on the resulting map in the vicinity of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but no corresponding bright spot near Athens, Georgia? Why does rural Arkansas look like a beacon of upward mobility, while the bustling economies of Atlanta and Charlotte produce no such effect?

Most of all, why does the map referenced by O’Brien show that impoverished Appalachia offers more opportunity for advancement than any of the more prosperous surrounding flatlands?

To use a social science term: Your data is obviously fucked up.

When I first ran across this a couple of days ago, it didn’t pass my smell test right from the git-go.  But I’ve been battling a nasty cold all this week, and was just too lazy to dig into it to see where they’d buried the bodies.  Luckily, Stacy McCain did a better job than I probably would have done, and confirmed that, even with a cold, my sniffer was working just fine.

Posted in Bullshit permalink
Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.

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