Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

How many degrees of freedom do you need?

In last night's econometrics class we mentioned degrees of freedom for the first time. How many degrees of freedom is enough? It is an open question, but much like obsenity, I know too few degrees of freedom when I see it.

Enter Exhibit A from The Sport Journal, which published the following table that had 13 degrees of freedom, evidently twelve more than the authors felt necessary:
Table 2

Regression Coefficients Predicting State Prestige Rank, N = 19.
Variable B SE p
Order Presented -3.30 .86 .002
Log State Population -2.22 .68 .007
Income Per Capita ($1000) - .30 .38 .455
% Highly Educated - .40 .25 .138
Region - .64 .70 .378
Athletic Program Visibility 2.54 .91 .016

R2 = .788
Adjusted R2 = .682

Econometrics is a potentially dangerous tool, kiddies. It shouldn't be trifled with.

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