Discounting Future Risk

I was recently reminded of the movie Lord of War, when two prostitutes, Faith and Gloria, were sent to Nicolas Cage’s character by some warlord or another. Anyway, Cage is gently refusing the ladies’ advances when the topic of HIV comes up: Faith: [speaking softly] You worry too much. Gloria: [speaking softly] Why would you worry about something that can kill you in ten years where there are so many things that can kill you today? This second line is a brilliant example of how people think about risk. People will generally discount the future, sometimes by quite a bit.

Regulatory Reduction and Benefit-Cost Analysis

In between terrorizing our allies at home and abroad, the new president has signed an executive order aiming for regulatory reform. Here’s the important part: Sec. 2. Regulatory Cap for Fiscal Year 2017. (a) Unless prohibited by law, whenever an executive department or agency (agency) publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed. Now, this is completely inoperable in practice since the definition of regulation is so loosey-goosey as to be useless. But, hey, let’s try to analyze it anyway. This rule supplements Executive Order

The Willingness to Pay for Pretrial Diversion

The New York Times has a magnificent story on the inequities of the pretrial diversion systems in use around the country. Can we use this to estimate a defendant’s willingness to pay for pretrial diversion, subject to the constraints of the budget curve? Use this quote from the article: It is impossible to determine how many defendants are barred from diversion for lack of money, but one jurisdiction offers a hint. The diversion program in New Orleans once cost as much as $1,200 and had about 300 participants. In 2009, when a new district attorney lowered the cost to $200,

My Review of Monogan’s Political Analysis Using R

The Journal of Statistical Software has published another review I wrote, this time of Monogan’s Political Analysis Using R: No Title No Description The book is a solid choice for a primary or supplementary text in a political or policy methodology class, at the level of advanced undergraduate or first-year graduate student. You can get more information from Springer’s website: Political Analysis Using R | James E. Monogan III | Springer This book provides a narrative of how R can be useful in the analysis of public administration, public policy, and political science data specifically, in…