Friday, January 31, 2014

New research says that people are driven to drink when Democrats are in charge, and other assorted links

1. From Freakonomics - discussion of new paper that finds people in left-leaning states drink more:

The abstract: 
Recent research in psychology and sociology has established a connection between political beliefs and unhealthy behaviors such as excessive alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug consumption. In this study, we estimate the relationship between political ideology and the demand for beer, wine, and spirits using a longitudinal panel of fifty U.S. states from 1952 to 2010. Controlling for various socioeconomic factors and unobserved heterogeneity, we find that when a state becomes more liberal politically, its consumption of beer and spirits rises, while its consumption of wine may fall. Our findings suggest that political beliefs are correlated with the demand for alcohol.
The author says at the end that political beliefs are correlated with demand for alcohol.  That's one way to read the results.  Another way to interpret the results is people who live in states where liberals/Democrats are in charge drink more.  Why?  I have my guesses.  :)

2. From Jayson Lusk - More information is not always better.

In a one-good case with unlimited attention, we show consumer welfare is always improved with the provision of accurate information. However, in a two-good case with limited attention, we show that consumer welfare is not always improved with the provision of accurate information. When attention is constrained, welfare may fall with information provision policies irrespective of their costs. The results suggest information and labeling polices may sometimes be counterproductive when attention is limited.
Given limited cognitive processing skills, this makes sense.  I've found similar results in my research.  In a paper I published with Jay Corrigan, we assessed the value of several labels for fair trade foods to consumers.  We found consumers did not benefit much from the label that had the most information.  A label with less information actually was more valuable.

3. Strategies in Final Jeopardy betting.

Very interesting throughout!


Wednesday night, something rare happened on Jeopardy!
A player bet to allow a tie, letting another contestant also get a big payday.
To some Jeopardy! fans that makes Arthur Chu a hero.

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