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The author Miles Kimball
Miles Kimball
Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

Miles Kimball

How to Reduce Date Rape

Malcolm Gladwell has two big themes in his book Talking to Strangers. The first theme is that we are very bad at telling whether someone is lying or not. Many of us think we are good at it, but we are not, not even professionals whose job it is to tell when someone is lying. Scarily, some people just naturally look like they are lying even when they...

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Have We Gone Too Far with Sunscreen?

Link to the article shown above Deaths from heart disease are orders of magnitude more common than deaths from skin cancer. So it makes sense to do things that reduce heart disease risk even at the cost of some increase in skin cancer risk. Sun exposure seems to have exactly this tradeoff: a modest but important reduction in heart disease risk...

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Stanley K. Ridgley Against Robin DeAngelo, Author of ‘White Fragility’

What happens when a non-psychologist sets up a small and shoddy human psychological experiment in a university almost two decades ago—an experiment in which the eight subjects are repeatedly lied to, in which she brings in hand-picked collaborators to commit a deception scripted by critical racialist ideology, and all while she sits and watches the project careen out of control but does nothing to stop the debacle? If you’re Robin DiAngelo, you scrape together the rubble of your failed...

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The Federalist Papers #19: The Weakness of the German Empire, Poland and Switzerland up to the 18th Century is Evidence for the Weakness of Confederations—Alexander Hamilton and James Madison

I enjoy the Federalist Papers #19 for its detailed political science discussion of the German Empire, which played such a major—but not always powerful—part in European history. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison also discuss Poland and Switzerland as examples of confederacies. This one is fun for history buffs. I won’t try to summarize...

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Ed Chuong: Remnants of Ancient Viruses Could Be Shaping Immune Response

IMAGE CAPTION: Packard Fellowship recipient Ed Chuong, assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, works in his lab with undergraduate student Isabella Horton. Credit: Glenn Asakawa/CU Boulder Why are some people more resilient to viruses than others? The answer has eluded scientists for centuries and, in the age of COVID-19, has come to represent one of the holy grails of biomedical research. Ed Chuong, an assistant professor of molecular, cellular and developmental...

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Raj Chetty’s Team on How College Admissions Hurt Intergenerational Mobility

(Illustration by Adam McCauley)  Raj Chetty, a professor of economics at Harvard University and the director of Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-based research and policy group that analyzes big data, has spent much of his career so far analyzing intergenerational mobility—the extent to which people’s economic outcomes are shaped by their parents’. In a 2011 paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Chetty led a group of researchers that examined the effects of kindergarten quality on...

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Equality of Outcome

"If there is not equality of outcomes among people born to the same parents and raised under the same roof, why should equality of outcomes be expected—or assumed—when conditions are not nearly so comparable?"— Thomas Sowell (@ThomasSowell) May 22, 2018 link to the tweet aboveThe trouble with Thomas Sowell’s invocation of differences among siblings is that most discussions of equality of outcome are about groups to whom the law of averages should apply, rather than about individuals. Because...

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Econolimerick #6

“In good theory utility is ordinal. Whenever I hear the word ‘cardinal’I think of blue unicornsand three fates called Nornsand insist on the word ‘pseudo-cardinal.’” Note: there are three prominent examples of pseudo-cardinality, all in cases where additive separability is convenient: the utility function for expected utility, the period utility function for an additively time-separable overall utility function, the contribution to social welfare from each individual’s welfare in...

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Jeff Sharlet on ‘Patriotic Education’

No, Trump can’t rewrite school curriculums himself, but a thousand mini-Trumps on the nation’s school boards canSchoolchildren pledging allegiance in the 1950s. Photo: Lambert/Getty ImagesIt feels strange, as mourners gather outside the Supreme Court, to be writing of anything but the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the looming prospect that Donald Trump will seal the court into a new era of right-wing absolutism unprecedented in our lifetimes. It’s hard not to think of the future, of all...

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