Saturday, January 02, 2016

Cream Puffs



Cream Puffs: Why Do Elite College Football Programs Schedule Games Against Vastly Inferior Opponents? 

Daniel Simundza
Journal of Sports Economics, forthcoming

Abstract: This article provides a novel answer to the question of why elite college football programs schedule so-called “cream puff” games against vastly inferior out-of-conference opponents. Using data on college football games from 2002 to 2010, I find that a team’s chances of winning are 5.3–15.6% greater in the game following their victory over a cream puff. In my preferred estimation, this “cream puff effect” is roughly half as large as the estimated home field advantage. I also show that the U.S. Today/Sagarin rating system, which I use to control for team abilities, penalizes teams for playing vastly inferior opponents. I devise two empirical strategies that deal with this potential problem and show that the cream puff effect is not simply an artifact of the rating system. These results contribute to the literature on dynamic contests by showing that not only does the timing of one’s efforts within a contest matter but so does the schedule of one’s opponents.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

KPC year in review

Here's a wrap up of the 6 most popular posts this year on KPC.

Our most viewed post was America the Beautiful, which chronicled the amazing Texas Law Hawk and his talons of justice.

Second was my screed against the typical use of IV and over identification tests with special invective against dynamic panel methods called Friends don't let Friends use IV.

Third place went to our post documenting the phallic fetishes common to Oklahoma TV weather people.

Coming in fourth was one of my frequent attempts to fix the internet in general and Paul Krugman in particular titled, A tale of two Krugmans.

Then we got silly again pointing out that mass murderer Anders Breivik was now majoring in Political Science.

Finally, coming in at #6 was my post, The powerful negative theorems of economics, detailing why it really is the dismal science!

So there you have KPC in a nutshell, 50% economics, 50% snarky foolishness.

Long may we reign.

UPDATE BY MUNGOWITZ:  Unsurprisingly, all six of the top posts were Angus joints.  He's like Mr. Ed:  He only speaks when he's got something to say!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015



I'm sure that Brendan Nyhan already knows this paper. But it's not very good news for those of us who hope political debate can be improved by more accurate political information. The message seems to be "Lie often, and go negative early." Reminds of the Christmas card I saw from Jason Reifler

Belief Echoes: The Persistent Effects of Corrected Misinformation

Emily Thorson 
Political Communication, forthcoming 

Abstract: Across three separate experiments, I find that exposure to negative political information continues to shape attitudes even after the information has been effectively discredited. I call these effects “belief echoes.” Results suggest that belief echoes can be created through an automatic or deliberative process. Belief echoes occur even when the misinformation is corrected immediately, the “gold standard” of journalistic fact-checking. The existence of belief echoes raises ethical concerns about journalists’ and fact-checking organizations’ efforts to publicly correct false claims.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Comparative Advantage: An Idea Whose Time Has Passed?

Art Carden is living in the past.   Here, for example. Notice that he really just means "division of labor," because DoL is limited by the extent of the market, so "more trading partners" is just "more extent for the market.)

The truth is that "comparative advantage" is nearly useless, except as a pedagogical tool to amaze people innocent of economic knowledge.  My Freeman article, at FEE.

Now, "living in the past" may not be a bad thing.  When I say that about Jacob Levy, I mean that as a compliment, because Dr. Levy is actually studying ancient texts. 

But Dr. Carden (the DubMOE) is living in the past in a bad way, because he is ignoring an important feature of modern markets.  Here is a good summary of the view that I think we ought to jettison.  Not because it is wrong, but because it makes economics seem deterministic.  Very few of the factors that determine productivity are fixed.  So "opportunity cost" and "division of labor" are all we need.

To make the argument really work, of course, one must also resort to Buchanan's notion of returns to hard work and "increasing returns."