De Econometrist neemt een statistische kijk op de wereld.
When you were still a little child, you were probably told that all babies were delivered by storks. Later, when you got older, you found out that this idea is total nonsense. However, imagine that you are still in doubt whether this idea is true, and to discover the truth, you want to use your statistical abilities. As it turns out, from a statistical point of view it seems that storks really do deliver babies. Or does it not? Robert Matthews In the year 2000, Robert Matthews, professor at Aston University, published an academic paper […]
At the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, in 16 out of the 32 teams two players shared the same birthday. Considering each of these selections consisted of 23 players and there are 365 days in a year (excluding February 29), it seems like an enormous coincidence that this was the case for 50 percent of the teams. However, this trivia fact isn’t such a coincidence at all. In fact, the odds of two people in a group of 23 sharing the same birthday is 50.7 percent. This is what we call the birthday problem […]
By now, most students will have a lot of experience with attending online lectures and tutorials. It truly has become the new normal. It might therefore also look as if online classes have nothing new or exciting to offer. However, I want to challenge you to take a different look at online education and discover all curious phenomena that occur when attending an online class. A typical online lecture or tutorial starts with a lecturer finding him or herself in a very unfamiliar and confusing setting. Instead of making a bright and well-prepared first impression, […]
The more people know about a secret, the greater the chance it will come out. Sounds logical right? Everyone has experienced what it is like to keep a secret and it is not exceptional that the truth comes out. Actually, secrets are like mini-conspiracy theories, so imagine the impact of how many people know the truth on a large and important conspiracy theory. Oxford University researcher David Robert Grimes developed a mathematical equation for the success rate of conspiracy theories. How long does it take for the truth to come out? One of the most […]
Every now and then, in the news you hear a new term. For me that was the term ‘stock split’. Apple and Tesla both went through a so-called stock split last month, but what does this mean for the shareholders? And what about the companies themselves? In this short article I will try to answer most of these questions and provide some other relevant information about stock splits in general. What is an example of a stock split and how does it work? So first I will try to make the concept of a stock […]
The liberal democracy. For long, we have been led (or rather misled) to believe that the liberal democracy is the ideal system of governance. On one hand, it is true that democracies tend to give their subjects great freedom and prosperity. However, on the other hand, decision-making in democracies is negatively affected by emotions and biases. The average individual is politically uninformed, biased, and even incompetent, resulting in irrational decision-making. Perhaps, in our increasingly complex world, we need another system of governance. A system where rational political decisions are made to achieve optimal outcomes. Epistocracy […]
This story begins on the island Bastøy, about 100 kilometres south of Oslo. With men and women happily swimming, barbecuing and sunbathing together, this place may at first glance look like a holiday destination. However, the contrary is true. 115 of the heaviest criminals are here to undergo the last years of their prison punishment. They don’t have too much to complain here, as they can visit the cinema, record songs at their own music studio or even go ski jumping. All of this is guided by unarmed guards who aren’t wearing uniforms. Some of […]
It is the spring of 2021. A vaccine for Covid-19 has been distributed and life is getting back to normal. The weather is improving and it is the so-called first ‘Rokjesdag’. The perfect day to hit the terrace with your friends. You are enjoying a drink with your friends, while reminiscing all the good times you had together before the pandemic. You mention that it is quite remarkable that even though you could not really spend time together, you still kept in contact with each other. One of your friends responds that it is only […]
Each year new computer systems are put into the market, featuring increased memory capacity, better screens but perhaps most importantly, stronger processors. More processing power results in handling more tasks per second or, in other words, less time per task. A modern computer can carry out most operations in a fraction of a second, even though it took the most powerful computers minutes or even hours, 30 years ago. As computers get stronger, however, the tasks we ask them to perform get more complicated too. Whereas they once had to solve simple mathematical operations, they […]
‘Nothing is impossible’ is one of the most used phrases to convince people that they can accomplish anything, no matter how hard you have to work for it. But to what extent is this phrase actually true? The word impossible is something that a lot of people already have big trouble with getting their head around. If you would ask me for an example of ‘what is impossible?’, the first thing that comes to my mind is teleportation. But the second after thinking that, a new thought comes up: ‘is it really impossible though?’. Ofcourse, […]
Is multiculturalism bad for women? That is the title of liberal philosopher and feminist Suzan Moller Okin’s plea about the incompatibility of feminism and multiculturalism. Over the past few decades multiculturalism has always sparked a lot of debates and unleashed a lot of passions in society. And during the past years, feminists have also taken their stand in the discussion. But just like in any other debate, their opinions are very divided. The central question posed by Okin is what should be done when the norms and customs of minority cultures or religions clash with […]
We all suffer from it from time to time. You have just had a quite big meal with your friends and the last thing you would like to do is wash the dishes. To decide who will do the terrible job, you play a game of ‘Rock, paper, scissors’. However, how great would it be to never lose the game again? That every time you are at the point of deciding who will do the dirty job, you can have the winning strategy. The rules of the game are very simple. Scissors cut paper. Paper […]
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