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« About as Well Stated as You Can -- The Principle in Reality | Main | Don Lavoie Memorial Graduate Student Essay Competition »


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Enjoyed reading the post Prof Leeson.

What do you think about some of the comments people left on the blog about the data suggesting that Bigfoot/Yeti's were riding in UFOs?

I've got to agree with Spooky Partadigm's comment on Freakonomics.

"I've got to agree with Spooky Partadigm's comment on Freakonomics. "

So do I.

But to be fair, the comment could also have applied to Freakonomics (the book). Hence, the invite I guess.


I suppose. At a stretch.


Pete wrote in the other blog:

"If you’re like many people, you may think it’s at least possible, though perhaps very unlikely, that U.F.O.’s are real. When it comes to Bigfoot, on the other hand, you’re quite certain he’s not real. If this is you, how should the pattern in this figure influence your beliefs?"

Hmmm... how about now I believe more in Bigfoot, outside a stupid hoax (hoaxes with UFOs, too, and scholars as well), because the correlation suggests to me the hypothesis, which you ignored, that Bigfoot *came from* aliens. Another ignored hypothesis: Aliens help feed Bigfoot(s), so it is more likely that Bigfoots would be spotted in regions where aliens travel.

Maybe the aliens in UFOs are now checking up on the well being of their Bigfoot(s), because, AS AN ECONOMIST, I fully admit that choosers might indeed have interdependent utility functions. Bigfoot's survival and well-being might be an economic good to the aliens who transplanted him there.

Oh, as an economist, to support first ignored hypothesis, perhaps aliens have a continued interest in Bigfoot(s) because they are trying to maintain the property rights in him.

Finally, why no sightings, then, of aliens and Bigfoot(s) in, say, DC? An evolutionary problem, perhaps:

Fewer Bigfoots in D.C. because Aliens tend to avoid the air traffic congestion there. Which of course suggests that if the air space is privatized and/or can congestion pricing is implemented, *maybe* alien UFOs can take advantage and begin transplanting Bigfoot(s) there, if not Bigfoots working their way up from the West, or both.

To Steven and coward:

I think we should give more respect to simple empirics and less respect to high-tech empirics, as a general rule. In social science, the number don't often tell you very much *unless* their story is told just fine with a simple graph or OLS. The rest is window dressing most of the time. Indeed, I think OLS is a stretch in many cases. Why should we assume the errors are iid? And if we do a t-test, why are we assuming the errors are normal? I wish we would do more naive counting and less sophisticated econometrics.

Spooky and the rest of you. I am not sure you can read, which makes you even more dangerous interpreting statistics. What Pete says is here is a raw correlation, what hypotheses might explain it that are consistent with rational choice? He admits that there are any number of hypotheses and he is inviting reader to suggest their ideas.

Also, Koppl's point is EXTREMELY important and one that SERIOUS economists understand. Many a scatterplot has been blown up upon refined statistical analysis, but no economically meaningful statistical relationship that survives sophisticated analysis wasn't first seen in the scatterplot. To insist otherwise is to misunderstand ECONOMIC analysis, or what McCloskey refers to as economic significance as opposed to statistical significance.


Gee, Pete, I thought I offered a couple that were based on the economic way of thinking!

Pete L,

You wrote:

"First, although sightseeing may be more prominent in some states (on the surface at least), this wouldn’t explain why U.F.O.’s (airborne craft seen against the night sky) tend to be observed in the same places that Bigfoot (a woods-inhabiting creature seen mostly only in daylight) sightings occur — even if both phenomena are “real.”"

Maybe sightseeing of a certain type DOES explain both trends. If sightseeing includes outdoorsy activities like hiking, mountain biking, etc. it may also be correlated with clearer skies: less smog, less light pollution, etc.

What if the observation is just testing urban v. rural landscape?

Pete B,

Loosen up dude. No need to jump to Leeson's defense.


Even Pete's B.S.ing gets published in major outlets. You rule, man!

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