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Dinner Table Economics

Posted By Russ Roberts On January 7, 2011 @ 12:03 pm In Data,Dinner Table Economics | Comments Disabled

I want to start a new category of posts here called “dinner table economics,” questions involving economics for talking about over the dinner table. I want to tip my hat to Seth’s blog, Our Dinner Table [1] that gave me the idea.

We spend a lot of time at our dinner table talking about economic puzzles. Sometimes these puzzles are questions my kids ask. Sometimes it’s something in the news that I want to talk about with them. So what I thought I would do is post them here and let you talk about them. If I can, I’ll join in the comments section after a while and give my thoughts. I hope these liven up your table.

So last night we were talking about the question of whether it’s good idea to vaccinate your kids and the risks that some have claimed that vaccination is related to autism. It turns out that one of the key studies [2] that purported to show that link was not just fraudulent, but possibly corrupt. (HT: Joseph McLaughlin)

What we talked about at dinner was whether it was a good idea to vaccinate and how would you know whether vaccination had side effects such as autism. This got us into a discussion of  what an experiment is, how reliable is an experiment, the ideas of causation and correlation, sample size, spurious correlation and so on.

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[1] Our Dinner Table: http://ourdinnertable.wordpress.com/

[2] one of the key studies: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/98531/20110107/link-between-mmr-vaccines-and-autism-conclusively-broken.htm#

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