In addition to my academic research, I think stats needs to be shared, considered, criticized, and enjoyed by everyone! To contribute to this, I’ve written a few articles aimed at general audiences, that cover baseball, elections, and one big statistical controversy.
For the baseball (and causal inference) fans, check out my latest article in Significance magazine. In it, I examine the impact the extra-innings zombie runner on second rule has had on game times. Spoiler alert: they went down by about 15 minutes compared to what the average would have been without the rule! This also introduces the difference-in-differences method, a useful tool for causal inference in labor economics, public health, and more. And suggests how to think about our expectations and the evidence used for the baseball rule changes yet to come.
After the 2020 election, I wrote about a way election maps can mislead, not just by showing land area instead of population, but percentage changes rather than actual vote numbers. This can skew the narrative, especially about heavily-Democratic areas. For example, while Biden had a worse percentage margin than Clinton in Brooklyn, he had a higher vote margin, which is what actually matters for winning elections! You can investigate your own state and county here.
In 2019, I wrote for a special issue of The American Statistician about p-values. These are a common statistical tool, but they have become very controversial in the field. I write about the history, how we got here, and why that matters. While it may seem a bit inside baseball, p-values affect how drugs get approved, how science gets reported, and many other aspects of your life!
If you have trouble accessing any of these articles, or want to chat with me about them, please reach out to lkennedyshaffer (at) vassar (dot) edu.