Monday, May 23, 2011

Econometrics and the Death Penalty


Quite a bit.

Any economist will tell you that polls and stats are irrelevant.

Like the 'fact' that 5 out of every 10 stats are made up including this one.

Truth be told any data set can be manipulated to deliver support for any conclusion. You have your opinion then you massage a data set to reveal the results you want. It's not dishonest, it's just possible.

This paper puts into question the methods of derving support, among other things, for the death penalty. Of particular interest in this paper is the WSJ 2007 article that correlated data with death penalties and # of lives saved.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Follow the Evidence!

It bemuses me how politicians will only do what's convenient rather than what's supported by evidence.

I guess I should be surprised. Nor should the electorate when something stupid goes down.

take Canada for instance. Their crime rate has decreased around 15% in the past ten years.

The response from the newly elected Conservative government (think mini-republicans)?

Increase spending for new prisons. The prison budget increases 20%. As well, Canada being 10% the size of America population wise, they will go ahead and purchase new F35 fighter jets. Spending that is a low estimate of the actual cost. The cash could pay down about 15% of the Canadian debt........

Talk about a problem with priorities.

Not that we're any better.