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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I might just buy this claim

From an ABC News story from a couple of days ago:
Believe it or not, the difference in the way the Democrats and Republicans react to the performance of the U.S. economy is clarified by a mathematical distinction studied in elementary school. The distinction is between the mean, which the Republicans emphasize, while the Democrats prefer the median.
I am not sure that many Democrats nor Republicans could define the mean and median in mathematical terms.

For instance, I have struggled to read The End of Affluence but the arguments don't make any sense, either logically or economically. So much so that the book is physically difficult to read.

For instance, early in the book, the author decries the direction/progress (or lack thereof) of the U.S. economy by asserting that during the 1980s and early 1990s, the labor force expanded but per-capita income dropped. Yet per-capita income uses the entire population not the workforce. Therefore, the comparison is non-sensical yet emotionally charged.

While the emotionally charged argument might be easier to make with the median, I wonder if this is more correlation than causation.

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