Saturday, September 10, 2016

Election 2016 in a Nutshell

As of today, I am undecided between SMOD and Cthulhu as my choice for President of the United States. Both are running very convincing campaigns, but I'm currently leaning SMOD because I think he'll administer the end with the level of pain and suffering that we deserve. I remain persuadable, however.

The arguments for SMOD and Cthulhu are obvious, so you can look at their twitter feeds linked above for information to help you decide between them. My summaries of the candidates offered by the four largest parties are outlined below.
  • The Republicans have put forth Donald Trump, an emotionally and intellectually insecure man-child with a sexual fascination for his daughter and a homoerotic fascination for men who wield power. As a person, he is a huge POS.
  • The Democrats have as their candidate Hillary Clinton, a congenital liar who ran the State Department as an international influence-peddling scheme, using her husband's charitable foundation to launder the proceeds. To cover the tracks of this operation, she used private e-mail servers that exposed classified information to hackers. She's managed to stay ahead of the FBI by a combination of obstruction, lying, destruction of evidence, and a deeply partisan Department of Justice.
  • The Libertarian Party, finally seeing its opportunity on the big stage, nominated Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico. He turns out to be a semi-retired stoner who, surprisingly for a self-proclaimed libertarian, is at best lukewarm about individual rights and the rule of law.
  • Finally, the Green Party, looking to tap into the millions of voters energized by failed Democratic candidate and noted socialist Bernie Sanders, nominated Dr. Jill Stein, who is still mourning the death of Harambe.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Economics Research Rankings for Missouri

RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) is an extremely valuable resource for economists. Produced by volunteers from around the world, it's a database of working papers, journal articles, books, etc. that's become the go-to place for everything about economics research past and present.

It was inevitable that this data would be used to create rankings of journals, departments, and even individual economists. These rankings have been sliced and diced by field, country, region, state, type of item, sex, graduation cohort, and even deceasedness. Below is the current ranking of university economics departments in Missouri:

RankDepartment, UniversityScore
1Dept of Economics, Washington Univ in St. Louis3.19
2Olin School of Business, Washington Univ in St. Louis4.16
3Economics Department, Univ of Missouri5.05
4Center for Economics & the Environment, Lindenwood Univ7.92
5Dept of Economics, Univ of Missouri-St. Louis10.92
6John Cook School of Business, St. Louis Univ13.72

Note that I have excluded the state's two Feds in Missouri because of the difficulty in figuring out who actually works in which division and because their lists of people include some who are just visiting scholars. Thus, their RePEc rankings are not terribly informative. Given that the two Feds account for a significant portion of the economics research done in the state, this is unfortunate.

In addition, RePEc's overall ranking methodology suffers from a severe case of information kitchen-sinkism. That is, the department rankings are determined by the harmonic average of 33 rankings, some of which are of questionable importance, and many of which are little more than minor variations of each other. Specifically, the 33 rankings include seven variations on the number of works, 12 variations on the number of citations, six variations on the number of pages, two variations on the number of citing authors, two variations for each of abstract views and downloads from the RePEc site, a measure of the success of graduate students, and the department H-index.

The rankings of individual economists are burdened by four additional sub-rankings: the closeness and betweenness measures of one's co-authorship network, the breadth of citations across fields, and the Wu-index. The its credit, the site allows you to choose criteria of your own, but you only get the world's top 5% for each.

I've created a more-useful ranking of Missouri's departments using individual economist's H-indices from the CitEc project, which contains RePEc's raw data on citations. The H-index is a simple and popular measure that is meant to capture both the quantity and impact of an author's body of work. From Wikipedia:
The definition of the index is that a scholar with an index of h has published h papers each of which has been cited in other papers at least h times.
Note that I include each author's primary affiliation only, and, to fix inconsistencies in how authors chose their affiliation, each author was assigned to a specific department within a Fed or University. Here are the top 25% of research economists in Missouri according to their H-indexes:

1Anjan V. ThakorOlin School of Business, Washington U31
2William A. BrockDept of Economics, U of Missouri30
3Robert A. PollakOlin School of Business, Washington U29
4Michele BoldrinDept of Economics, Washington U23
5Christopher NeelyResearch Division, St Louis Fed22
6James BullardResearch Division, St Louis Fed19
6Bruce PetersenDept of Economics, Washington U19
8Christopher OtrokDept of Economics, U of Missouri18
8Ping WangDept of Economics, Washington U18
8Rodolfo E. ManuelliDept of Economics, Washington U18
8Goufu ZhouOlin School of Business, Washington U18
12B RavikumarResearch Division, St Louis Fed17
12Stephen WilliamsonResearch Division, St Louis Fed17
14Michael T. OwyangResearch Division, St Louis Fed16
14Steven FazzariDept of Economics, Washington U16
14Philip H. DybvigOlin School of Business, Washington U16
17Howard WallCenter for Econ & Environment, Lindenwood U15
17Christopher WallerResearch Division, St Louis Fed15
17David WheelockResearch Division, St Louis Fed15
17Michael McCrackenResearch Division, St Louis Fed15
21Ronald M. HarstadDept of Economics, U of Missouri14
22Costas AzariadisDept of Economics, Washington U13
22Marcus BerliantDept of Economics, Washington U13
22Jeroen SwinkelsOlin School of Business, Washington U13
25Jonathan WillisResearch Division, Kansas City Fed12
25Troy DavigResearch Division, Kansas City Fed12
25Rik HaferCenter for Econ & Environment, Lindenwood U12
28Craig S. HakkioResearch Division, Kansas City Fed11
28Don SchlagenhaufCent for Household Fin Stability, St Louis Fed11
28Bill DuporResearch Division, St Louis Fed11
28Cletus C. CoughlinResearch Division, St Louis Fed11
28Jeffrey MilyoDept of Economics, U of Missouri11
28L. Randall WrayDept of Economics, UM-Kansas City11
28Werner PlobergerDept of Economics, Washington U11
35Jordan RappaportResearch Division, Kansas City Fed10
35Richard AndersonCenter for Econ & Environment, Lindenwood U10
35David AndolfattoResearch Division, St Louis Fed10
35Yi WenResearch Division, St Louis Fed10
35Barton HamiltonOlin School of Business, Washington U10
35Glenn MacDonaldOlin School of Business, Washington U10
35Hong LiuOlin School of Business, Washington U10
42George A. KahnResearch Division, Kansas City Fed9
42Richard J. SullivanResearch Division, Kansas City Fed9
42Carlos GarrigaResearch Division, St Louis Fed9
42Christian ZimmermannResearch Division, St Louis Fed9
42S. BandyopadhyayResearch Division, St Louis Fed9
42Michael PodgurskyDept of Economics, U of Missouri9
42Selahattin DiboogluDept of Economics, UM-St Louis9
42Norman SchofieldDept of Economics, Washington U9

One way to obtain department rankings from individual rankings is to take an average of the H-index for the economists within a department. Doing so would give an upward bias to departments like mine, which is small and has a skewed distribution of H-indices (i.e., we skew old). So, instead, I also used the department H-index, which benefits large departments while also trimming the high end of the distribution. A department's score is then the sum of these two Hs relative to the maximum across departments. The result is ranking that includes the two Feds and the 11 departments in Missouri with at least 2 authors registered with RePEc:

1Olin School of Business, Washington U100
2Dept of Economics, Washington U92
3Research Division, St Louis Fed91
4Dept of Economics, U of Missouri76
5Center for Econ & the Environment, Lindenwood U62
6Research Division, Kansas City Fed55
7Center for Household Financial Stability, St Louis Fed53
8Dept of Economics, UM-St Louis47
9Dept of Ag and Applied Econ, U of Missouri34
10Dept of Economics, UM-Kansas City32
11Department of Economics, St Louis U29
12Bloch School of Business, UM-Kansas City27
13Dept of Econ and Finance, U of Central Missouri22