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Shareholder Value Destruction following Tiger Wood’s Earlier Car Crash

April 13th, 2021

Tiger Woods, the celebrated professional golfer, was in a car crash in 2020. This was his second widely-reported major smash-up. After the first crash—in 2009—economists calculated some of the economic knock-on costs to companies that had paid Woods to endorse them or their products and services.

They reported details in a study: “Shareholder Value Destruction following the Tiger Woods Scandal,” Christopher R. Knittel and Victor Stango, University of California, Davis, January 2010. The authors report:

“We estimate that in the days beginning with Tiger Woods’ recent car accident and ending with his announced ‘indefinite leave’ from golf, shareholders of companies that Mr. Woods endorses lost $5-12 billion in wealth. We measure the losses relative to both the entire stock market and a set of competitor firms.”

Do looks matter for an academic career in economics? [study]

April 12th, 2021

According to a new paper from the Centre for Economic Policy Research, the answer is (a robust) ‘yes’.

We document appearance effects in the economics profession. Using unique data on PhD graduates from ten of the top economics departments in the United States we test whether more attractive individuals are more likely to succeed. We find robust evidence that appearance has predictive power for job outcomes and research productivity. Attractive individuals are more likely to study at higher ranked PhD institutions and are more likely to be placed at higher-ranking academic institutions not only for their first job, but also for jobs as many as 15 years after their graduation, even when we control for the ranking of PhD institution and first job. Appearance also predicts the success of research output: while it does not predict the number of papers an individual writes, it predicts the number of citations for a given number of papers, again even when we control for the ranking of the PhD institution and first job. All these effects are robust, statistically significant, and substantial in magnitude.

You can download the paper here from the UK based Centre for Economic Policy Research for GBP £6.00.

Or, if you prefer, you download it here, for free (from the same organisation).

Note: The photo (not featured in the study) depicts The Right Honourable John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes CB, FBA, (1883–1946) who was, some say, one of the most influential economists of the 20th century.

Research research by Martin Gardiner

Podcast Episode #1063: “And Now, a Needle in the Rectum”

April 11th, 2021

In Podcast Episode #1063, Marc Abrahams shows an unfamiliar research study to statistical geneticist Chris Cotsapas. Dramatic readings and reactions ensue.

Remember, our Patreon donors, on most levels, get access to each podcast episode before it is made public.

Chris Cotsapas encounters:

And Now, a Needle in the Rectum,” Naresh K. Soni, Ashwini Gupta, and Narayan S. Shekhawat, Indian Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 16, no. 2, April 1997, pp. 77–8.

Seth GliksmanProduction Assistant

Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Google Podcasts, AntennaPod, BeyondPod and elsewhere!

Ig Nobel Prizes in The New Yorker Crossword Puzzle

April 9th, 2021

The Ig Nobel Prizes have again wandered into a crossword puzzle, this time as a clue in the April 5, 2021 puzzle in The New Yorker. The clue for one of the across words is:

17 Item whose slipperiness was the subject of a 2014 Ig Nobel Prize-winning study

By our lazy count, this is the fourth time the Ig Nobel Prizes have appeared in a major crossword puzzle (if there is such a thing as a major crossword puzzle) in an English-language publication. The Week used it in their puzzle on October 19, 2015. The New York Times used it in their puzzle on December 20, 2020. The Wall Street Journal used it in their puzzle January 23, 2021

The Igs have also been an answer on the Jeopardy! TV program eight times or so.

(Thanks to Miriam Bloom for bringing this to our attention.)

New Look at Some Old Bearded Mathematicians

April 8th, 2021

Maxime Bôcher [pictured here], with his square beard and squarer shoes, was presiding. In the back of the room, with a different beard but equal dignity, William Fogg Osgood was counseling a student.”

—from George David Birkhoff and His Mathematical Work, by Marston Morse, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, May 1946, page 357.

Here is a photograph of William Fogg Osgood’s beard, with William Fogg Osgood:

We have not managed to find a photograph of Maxime Bôcher’s shoes.

Improbable Research