Statistics on the table: the history of statistical concepts - download pdf or read online

By Stephen M. Stigler

ISBN-10: 0674836014

ISBN-13: 9780674836013

This energetic selection of essays examines in witty element the historical past of a few of the strategies desirous about bringing statistical argument "to the table," and a few of the pitfalls which were encountered. the subjects diversity from seventeenth-century drugs and the stream of blood, to the reason for the good melancholy and the impression of the California gold discoveries of 1848 upon expense degrees, to the determinations of the form of the Earth and the rate of sunshine, to the meter of Virgil's poetry and the prediction of the second one Coming of Christ. The identify essay tells how the statistician Karl Pearson got here to factor the problem to place "statistics at the desk" to the economists Marshall, Keynes, and Pigou in 1911. The 1911 dispute concerned the influence of parental alcoholism upon teenagers, however the problem is basic and undying: very important arguments require proof, and quantitative facts calls for statistical evaluate. a few essays study deep and refined statistical rules akin to the aggregation and regression paradoxes; others inform of the beginning of the typical guy and the evaluate of fingerprints as a forerunner of using DNA in forensic technology. a number of of the essays are totally nontechnical; all research statistical principles with an ironic eye for his or her essence and what their background can let us know approximately present disputes.

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In an experiment, the investigators select certain units for treatment. In an observational study, the investigators have no control over who or what receives the treatment. They can only observe, record, and analyze what nature chooses to show them. Because the resulting picture can be incomplete, inferring causation from observational data can be perilous. When proper care is observed, however, and particularly when a sufficient body of mutually reinforcing observational studies is available, these studies can be convincing.

In this setting, we should carefully scrutinize any experi~nt that claims to show that arrest is the best deterrent of future conflicts. And indeed, the Minnesota experiment has two potentially disturbing features. The fIrst is that the policeman on the scene decides whether the incident qualifi~s for the experiment. However precise the instructions, it is dangerous to have the fIeld-worker make the decision. The second problem does not relate to a possible bias on the part of the participants in the experiment, but to the way the effect is measured.

33 Profiu decision [reinstating capital punishment) was decided on July 2, 1976? Yes. And isn't it also true that the homicide rate in Florida has decreased another 17% in the fIrst three months of 1977 and 9% in the next three months of 1977? I don't - I presume you have them correct. Let me just say the problem with such figures is that the same radical decline ... has occurred ... where there is no death penalty. But it has declined in Florida? It has declined everywhere.... It has declined ...

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Statistics on the table: the history of statistical concepts and methods by Stephen M. Stigler


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