6-D Baseball and the Art of Extrapolation

In my last post, I stated that extrapolation is how we fill in gaps in the data created by the Curse of Dimensionality.  It is a blending of observation and theory, a tradeoff between accuracy and simplicity. As much art as it is science, its partial reliance on subjective judgement can make it susceptible toContinue reading “6-D Baseball and the Art of Extrapolation”

Baseball and the Curse of Dimensionality

Napoleon once said, “An army marches on its stomach”. Or was that Frederick the Great? I get my 18th century warmongers mixed up. No matter, his meaning was that the quantity and quality of food for one’s troops is of critical importance when fighting a war. In the case of the Lone Economist, the quantityContinue reading “Baseball and the Curse of Dimensionality”

Back to the Red-Zone

My last post was devoted to answering the ultimate baseball question: who was the greatest hitter? I plan to answer similar questions in the future, such as ‘who was the greatest pitcher?’ and so forth. But all of that is a side excursion from our main path, predicting what happens next in a live baseballContinue reading “Back to the Red-Zone”

The Ultimate Baseball Question

How does one assess individual production within a group activity, like manufacturing? There’s overhead and sunk costs, the law of diminishing marginal product and substitutability of labor and capital to contend with. Accountants and economists have struggled with this problem since the invention of money itself. So have baseball statisticians, which brings me to today’sContinue reading “The Ultimate Baseball Question”

The Six Dimensions of Baseball

In a previous post, I stated that goal-line sports, like football and soccer, are basically one-dimensional. The closer the ball is to the goal, the greater the chance of scoring. If I calculated the probability of scoring as a function of distance to the goal, I imagine it would look something like this: I believeContinue reading “The Six Dimensions of Baseball”

What Matters to Baseball Spectators

Productivity is measured by rates, i.e. quantities of outputs relative to quantities of inputs. So, our first step is to choose the appropriate outputs and inputs. Let’s start with the choice of outputs. For all types of prediction, there is usually one main outcome. For healthcare, it’s death. When a new cancer drug is tested,Continue reading “What Matters to Baseball Spectators”

The Wrong Weapon for the Wrong War

The emergency fiscal and monetary policies recently announced remind me of the saying: Generals always fight the last war and economists always fight the last recession. The Great Recession of 2007-2009 was a demand shock recession. The banking system collapsed which required large purchases of bonds by the Federal Reserve and fiscal stimulus to propContinue reading “The Wrong Weapon for the Wrong War”

Where Have You Gone, Vilfredo?

We’re still talking about the high price of drugs and how to lower them while not decreasing incentives for research and development. There is a mechanism for achieving this that was explored over a hundred years ago by an Italian engineer, statistician and economist named Vilfredo Pareto. Government economic policies often contemplate exchanges of wealthContinue reading “Where Have You Gone, Vilfredo?”

The Problem with Drug Price Regulations

In previous posts I asserted that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pays much less than private insurers for the same healthcare services because price discrimination by healthcare providers is easy to achieve (here and here). In general, price discrimination gets a bad rap in the economic literature and is even illegal inContinue reading “The Problem with Drug Price Regulations”