Archive for the ‘Numbers Game’ Category



September 18, 2011


National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership – Thursday (9/15)

September 13, 2011

Alexandria Quality of Life Initiative Lunchtime Workshop Series

National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership:

Case Studies on Using Data for Community Change

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Noon -1pm

Join us on September 15 for a discussion about the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP), a nationwide initiative of 35 cities that seeks to advance the use of data systems for policy analysis and community building in U.S. cities.

Our speaker is noted expert Tom Kingsley, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, who will highlight several case studies on using data for community change from NNIP members. Tom also will discuss best practices for data collection, analysis and action from the perspective of public agencies and nonprofit organizations. Among the questions we’ll cover include:

■ What can we learn from other communities that have successfully implemented a Quality of Life initiative similar to Alexandria’s?

■ What national data files have small area data that we might use?

■ What types of data can and do other communities develop?

Tom’s research specializes in housing, urban policy, and governance issues. He served for over a decade as Director of the Institute’s Center for Public Finance and Housing and currently directs the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership.

LOCATION: Charles Houston Recreation Center, 901 Wythe Street, Alexandria, Va. 22314

Street parking nearby and also accessible via Alexandria’s DASH bus service

No charge to attend. Seating is limited; please RSVP by Wednesday, Sept. 14 at Read the rest of this entry ?


Deficit Spending

July 25, 2011

New York Times


Beat the market…

July 10, 2011

The John Schwartz in NYT reports on research showing members of Congress significantly outperform other stock market investors.

The authors suggest that members of Congress have access to “nonpublic information that could have a substantial impact on certain businesses, industries or the economy as a whole,” and that investing on that information “could yield significant personal trading profits.”

A cut above. Maybe the quality of our elected representatives isn’t so bad after all – they seem to be pretty smart investors!


The Amazing Apportionment Machine

December 20, 2010

From the Official US Census Bureau Blog: “Through animation, the US Census Bureau helps explain how the apportionment formula is used to ensure equal representation for all, just like the Founding Fathers planned.” On NPR, the political context.


Watching the “decay curve”

December 17, 2010

How do President Obama’s slouching poll numbers compare to past presidents? Check out TPM’s recent comparison of presidential approval numbers. As the last administration limped from the White House at the end of 2008, I noted that declining numbers are characteristic not only of that (and now this) administration. Political scientists Paul Brace and Barbara Hinckley (1992) term the “decay curve” in presidential popularity. With a handful of exceptions, presidents have suffered steadily declining support. The TPM analysis looks at the first two years of each administration – but the effect is particularly striking during  second terms, as this graphic by UW political scientist Charles Franklin illustrates. IF (a big if) the economy improves, Obama is certainly an odds-on favorite to win a second term. Again, with notable exceptions (Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton), history suggests recent discontent is only the first taste of the public’s disappointment. Should be fun!

jurvetson (flickr)


Missing Something?

February 11, 2010


Professor Matt Dull of Virginia Tech will present “Missing Something Important?: Using the Heckman Selection Model in Policy Research” on Wednesday, March 3rd from Noon – 1:30 in 309 Marvin Center. The Marvin Center is on the corner of 21st and H.

This talk will provide a nontechnical introduction to the use of the Heckman selection procedure to correct bias in the estimation of regression models due to nonrandom sample selection. Do you want to perform a regression analysis but worry your sample is biased due to missing observations that may be related to a variable of interest? The Heckman correction estimates a two stage model: first, a selection equation with a dichotomous dependent variable equaling 1 for observed and 0 for missing values; and second, an outcome equation predicting the model’s dependent variable. If correctly specified, the Heckman model produces unbiased parameter estimates and may even provide some useful information. Does your theory predict which cases may be missing? Drawing on two applications relevant to policy research – analysis of federal grant program applicants and analysis of survey data with a large number of “I don’t know” or “No-basis to judge” responses – I’ll discuss the Heckman technique as a potentially rich opportunity for (cautious) inference.

Matt Dull is Assistant Professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech’s North Virginia campus. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2006.