Only 7 page views… :-(

I’m a little unhappy with the number of page views of an abstract that I recently put on the Social Scientist Research Network, so I thought my statistics would improve if I put a link here:
On the Effect of Unemployment on Mortality

Klik bare løs ;-)

UPdate Jul. 3: It seems to be working :-) Now I have 11 views…57 percent increase from yesterday. I’m happy. He he. (Most of the hits are probably myself.)

…on my way to Lübeck

Tomorrow, Tina and I are going to North Germany for a small holiday. If we can find her, we’re going to see the Death from Lübeck (in danish). More on


Update JUL 2, 2007: Now we have returned. We did not get as far as Lübeck but stayed in the Flensburg/Kiel-area. On the first night, Wednesday, we stayed at a hostel in Aabenraa (pop. 16,000, see Wikipedia‘s article), but that city was rather dull so we left for Flensburg (pop. 85,000; see Wikipedia‘s article) Thursday morning. In Flensburg we met with Bjarke – a friend from uni – and he invited us to stay at his penthouse with a view over Flensborg Harbour (thanks again, Bjarke :-) )

According to Wiki, Flensburg is known (to germans) for:

* the nationwide database of traffic violators
* its beer Flensburger Pilsener, also called “Flens”
* the center of the Danish national minority in Germany
* the greeting Moin
* the large erotic mail-order companies Beate Uhse and Orion
* its handball team SG Flensburg-Handewitt

I tasted the second and we were often greeted with the fourth (and noticed a lot of porn-shops in Kruså).

Friday we drowe to Kiel did some shopping in the walking street and saturday we drove back home… I’ll post some photos when I get the negatives developed…


The view from my hotel-room in Stockholm.


Today the sweeds celebrate midsummer so everything in Stockholm is closed (heck, I almost slammed my head into the door of a CLOSED 7-11!) :-/ Instead Andreas and I went out to Skansen and saw the Vasa-ship, which is a Swedish warship from 1628 that sank on its maiden voyage because it was too heavy in the top. The ship was raised from SkærgÃ¥rden in 1961 after 333 years in the deep…

By the way: I wan’t to add another chapter to the Sweedish beer story that I started in a previous posting. Can you see something odd in the picture below?


Why I’m in Sweeden again? Because I’ve been to a conference in Uppsala on Causal Inference with Donald Rubin and Guido Imbens (a famous statistician and economist – in case you did not know :-) ). When I get around to it, I’ll write a long and thoughfull explanation of what causal inference is (I bet you’re looking forward to that). We were five Ph.D. Students from AKF who attended. Below is a picture.


Uppsala, Sweden

Last week I went to a course in regression discountinuity (RD) designs in Uppsala, Sweden. RD is about using shifts in policy to identify causal effects on various outcomes.

A classic example is found in the “effects of schooling on earnings”-litterature, where the schooling decision is endogenous because it partly depends on unobservables such as ability. RD-designs can be used to fix this problem such as in a paper by Matsudaira (Journal of Econometrics, 2007) that exploits a mandatory summer school program for students who score less than some cutoff level on a test. The idea is that students very close to the cutoff point are unlikely to have different ability and hence we can compare students who were just bad enough to get into the schooling-program with students who were just good enough to stay out of the program, and thereby hope to indentify the effect of schooling on wages.

Besides that Uppsala (pop. 167,000) is a very beautiful city located in eastern Sweden about one hour by train from Stockholm. They say that the university is the oldest in Europe after the one in Bologna (which dates back to the 11th century). The city is also now as hometown for Carl von Linné who is world famous for his plant-taxonomy (see Wikipedia’sarticle about him). As an aside: While I was in Uppsala they were celebrating his 300th birthday so the Swedish king and the Japanese emperor was in town and the shopping street was temporarily decorated with a very, very, long roll-on lawn and lots of flowers.

To get the idea of the beauty of the city, you can see a pseudo-live webcast from Uppsala University here.

And one more thing. I always thought that the price of beer in Sweden was much higher than in Denmark, and that that was the reason for all the drunken Swedes in Copenhagen. But a beer in a restaurant in Uppsala costs the same as a beer in a restaurant in Denmark (around 50 SEK ~ 40 DKK) and the purchasing power is roughly the same (a Big Mac is $4.84 in Denmark and $4.59 in Sweden – see the Big Mac Index). So what explains all the drunken Swedes in Copenhagen?

How to write boring papers

Professor Kaj Sand-Jensen has written an artikel in Oikos called “How to write consistently boring scientific literature”. Here are his 10 recommendations:

1. Avoid focus
2. Avoid originality and personality
3. Write l o n g contributions
4. Remove most implications and every speculation
5. Leave out illustrations, particularly good ones
6. Omit necessary steps of reasoning
7. Use many abbreviations and technical terms
8. Suppress humor and flowery language
9. Degrade species and biology to statistical elements
10. Quote numerous papers for self-evident statements

On mobile phones and fish

This week the Economist has a nice story of the value of information. The story illustrates how important market failures, such as imperfect information, are for the market outcome. When you have read the story below then think a moment about the informational value of the Internet…

From the

“YOU are a fisherman off the coast of northern Kerala, a region in the south of India. Visiting your usual fishing ground, you bring in an unusually good catch of sardines. That means other fishermen in the area will probably have done well too, so there will be plenty of supply at the local beach market: prices will be low, and you may not even be able to sell your catch. Should you head for the usual market anyway, or should you go down the coast in the hope that fishermen in that area will not have done so well and your fish will fetch a better price? If you make the wrong choice you cannot visit another market because fuel is costly and each market is open for only a couple of hours before dawn—and it takes that long for your boat to putter from one to the next. Since fish are perishable, any that cannot be sold will have to be dumped into the sea.
Continue reading

Garbage in, garbage out

94 is the number of hours a Dane needs to jog to burn the calories he takes up when eating the 17.4 kg fruit gum, liquorice, or chocolate he consumes on average per year. It’s a 10 percent increase in 10 years; that’s what it says on the front page of my favourite newspaper today.

Maybe the increase is due to the fact that the sweetbags are getting bigger; today the standard size of bag of Matador Mix is 180 grams – not 85 as it used to be. It’s probably the same with soft drinks: today the bottles are 1/2 litres where the standard size was 1/4 litre 10-15 years age.

Moreover, how often don’t you take advantage of a fantastic “get three for the price of two” offers or buy a giant Marabou for the price of a normal? Probably there is some truth to the idea that when you buy more, you eat more.

But according to the manager of Haribo – one of the biggest Danish candy manufactures – he does not go to the loo more often even if he buys several rolls of toilet paper at a time…

Is there something wrong with that argument or is it just me?

Anyway, below you see a graph of the development in the average household spending on chocolate, candy, and softdrinks: