Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On a randomized control trial at CUNY on replacing remedial college algebra with introductory college statistics:
[T]here is a significant and fairly large (16% without covariates in the model, 14% with) difference in odds of passing the course for those randomized to the intro stats course compared to the elementary algebra course...

I will hold with Hacker in suggesting that this does represent a lowering of standards, and that this is a feature, not a bug. That is, I think we should allow some students to avoid harder math requirements precisely because the current standards are too high. Students in deeply quantitative fields will have higher in-major math requirements anyway.

Yep. And statistics is more directly useful for non-STEM majors who, for example, want to understand the news.

I also found it interesting that "support workshops" for remedial college algebra students didn't measurably improve pass rates in this study. I'm not sure what to make of that. I suppose it's consistent with my anecdotal, non-randomized-control-trial experience that more conscientious students are both more likely to pass and more likely to take the time to get help from tutors and/or their professors on a regular basis.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Replace the federal income tax deduction of state income taxes with block grants for states with below-average per capita income. Such "equalization grants" work well in Canada and Australia.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

I've long been a fan of Scott Sumner's views on monetary policy. I recently commented on Arnold Kling's blog in defense of Sumner. In summary:
If the Fed wanted 2018 US NGDP to be more than $20T (for example), it could say, "whenever betting markets generally predict 2018 US NGDP under $20T, we will start to buy and hold assets of our choosing, at a rate of $1B the first day and doubling the rate every day thereafter, until betting markets generally predict 2018 US NGDP over $20T."

When there is a large negative expected NGDP, the mismatch between downward-sticky wages and much more plastic hiring/firing/layoffs aggregates into a large short-term misallocation of real resources.

Therefore, the Fed should buy whatever it takes to reverse large downward surprises in expected NGDP.