Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The sad decline of The Simpsons

Rankings are from Buzzfeed, graph made by me.

Impossible to choose a single favorite moment but Smithers's failed marriage to a Southern belle ranks pretty highly for me:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Survey on Economy in Ireland

Seamus Power, a PhD student at the University of Chicago, is conducting a short survey on the economic situation in Ireland. The link is here if you are willing to fill it out. There is also an email address for the study if you have questions or comments.

“You will be asked to read a very short narrative and asked some questions based on it. Participation is voluntary and is expected to take 5 minutes.”

Nudging down under: article on the New South Wales Behavioural Insights Team

"In 2012, the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet brought in one of the UK’s senior nudgers, Dr Rory Gallagher, to help establish its own taskforce, where he remains as managing adviser.
The NSW Behavioural Insights Unit now claims impressive results of its own. Last month, it hosted the first ever international BI conference in Sydney. Several hundred delegates joined leading academics and practitioners in the emerging field — almost exclusively from the UK, the United States, Singapore and Australia — to discuss ways of gently nudging citizens by exploiting their cognitive biases, rather than coercing them.
“What we’re trying to do is design and deliver government services around the way people actually behave,” Gallagher explained.
Based on the nudge unit’s trials, the NSW Office of State Revenue is rolling out new penalty notices and reminders that are forecast to get an extra $10 million worth of fines paid on time each year, saving $80,000 in printing costs alone. The people encouraged to pay on time are expected to avoid about $4 million in extra penalties.
At Westmead Hospital, the nudge unit helped increase the number of emergency in-patients who use their private health insurance by two percentage points. At Auburn Hospital, the same techniques tripled the number of patients using their private cover and, when used in two more local health districts, are expected to nudge the state’s bottom line to the tune of $11 million.
A trial of ways to nudge injured employees back to work sooner finishes up this month. So far, those in the trial group have been back to full capacity 27% faster than the control group, and are three times as likely to have completed their claims within 30 days.
“Unless we run robust evaluations we will never know if we’re successful and we don’t want to get into that mindset of just picking stuff up from the behavioural literature, dropping it into policy interventions and assuming it will work,” Gallagher warned.
“It’s not easy to translate a pure theory or approach from academia straight into your public policy system and that is another reason why we’re always keen to run robust trials. We have an experimental approach, which focuses on continuous improvement and learning.”
From The Mandarin. The website for the NSWBIT is here.

September 19th ESRC Workshop on Early Life Influences on Later Health and Behaviour

ESRC Workshop 3: Early Life Influences on Later Life Health and Behaviour (19/9/14)

This is the third Behavioural Science Workshop in a series of six that will take place in 2014/15. These workshops are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The venue is the Court Room on the 4th Floor of the Cottrell Building at Stirling University. There will be drinks and dinner after the days talks to which all attendees are welcome.

This workshop will address the ESRC’s priority objective of fostering research that capitalizes on the expanding data resources available in the UK Data Archive and comparable international depositories. There is now an abundance of large databases, which often assess detailed psychological, economic, and health measures in samples of tens of thousands of participants over several years or even decades.

The theme of the workshop is how the precise psychometric measurement of constructs such as intelligence, temperament/personality, and adverse conditions initially and over several years of follow-up can be used to probe the mechanisms underlying the unfolding of economic, health and welfare outcomes as well as inequalities across these domains. The use of life-reconstruction to produce retrospective accounts of early conditions will be addressed, studies utilizing this data presented, and the limitations (e.g. recall, desirability biases) of this approach discussed.

Sign up to the workshop here.


The programme will be made available here in due course. Speakers include those listed below.

Professor Alissa Goodman (Institute of Education)
Dr. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (UCL)
Dr. Iris Kesternich (Munich)
Dr. Michael Daly (Stirling University)
Professor Markus Jokela (University of Helsinki)
Mark Egan (Stirling University)