[ View menu ]

December 15, 2014

Decide which frequent flyer program is best for your city

Filed in Programs ,R
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

INTERACTIVE TOOL TO SEE THE NUMBER OF DEPARTURES

dc
Click to access the tool

We’ve posted in the past about which airline you should be loyal to, but we always felt guilty because we only showed results for the New York metro area and there are Decision Science News readers all over the USA. (Actually, there are DSN readers all over the World too, though in most countries it’s an easy decision: go with the national airline).

Since then, we’ve learned about data for every flight in the USA that makes it rather straightforward to generate for every US metro area and airline, the number of departures.

Try out the new tool here: Decide which frequent flyer program to be loyal to.

Just type in the name of your metro area in the search box and you’ll see the number of departures by airline for your metro area only. The data comprise every flight taken in the USA in 2013.

There will be airlines you don’t recognize (like ExpressJet, etc.). They are just regional carriers that fly for the big airlines. To find out who they’re flying for, just look them up in the Wikipedia. Add things together to get the totals for the big frequent flyer programs. We’d do it for you, but, well, we’ve spent long enough on this.

This tool was made with the DataTables plugin for jQuery, R, and Hadley Wickham’s dplyr powertool.

Here’s the code. You can use my pre-made 2013 flights data file.

Get the L_CARRIER_HISTORY file from the US government.

Get the L_CITY_MARKET_ID file from the US government, too.

H/T To the mighty Jake Hofman for thinking with me about how to think about this.

CODE

December 12, 2014

Behavioural science and policy conference, 2015, Nottingham

Filed in Conferences
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

DEADLINE JANUARY 16 2015

not

For more information: Conference Webpage

The Network for Integrated Behavioural Science (NIBS) is hosting an international and interdisciplinary conference on behavioural science and policy with special emphasis on applied research. Behavioural science is a flourishing and growing field that is offering novel and important insights into individual and social decision making. This workshop will take place at the University of Nottingham, University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK from 21 to 23 April 2015.

The scientific program will consist of four keynote lectures and a number of contributed talks organised in parallel sessions.
Keynote Speakers

  • Colin Camerer – Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioural Economics at California Institute of Technology
  • Nick Chater – Professor of Behavioural Science at University of Warwick (Business School)
  • Paul Slovic – Professor of Psychology at University of Oregon
  • Catherine Eckel – Sara & John Lindsey Professor at Texas A&M University

Key Dates

Deadline for Submission of Papers: 16 January 2015

Announcement of Accepted Papers & Opening of Registration: end of February 2015

Conference dates: 21 to 23 April 2015

Contact: NIBS2015@nottingham.ac.uk

Poster session:

Posters can be used to present completed work, but also work at an early stage – based on pilot data, or even before any data is collected. Posters will be prominently displayed during the conference, and you will have a chance to interact with all attendees during a formal poster session. If you want to present a poster please submit a 1/2 page abstract to

nibs2015@nottingham.ac.uk<mailto:nibs2015@nottingham.ac.uk

by 16 January 2015 and include ‘poster’ in the subject title of your email. You will receive notification of acceptance by the end of February 2015. The registration fee for poster presentations will be £100.

December 8, 2014

Boulder Summer Conference on Consumer Financial Decision Making 2015

Filed in Conferences
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE DEC 12, 2014

col

Just a reminder that the abstract submission deadline is this coming Friday, Dec. 12th for 2015 Boulder Summer Conference on Consumer Financial Decision Making: May 31-June 2, 2015, St. Julien Hotel, Boulder, Colorado

Abstract Submission Deadline December 12, 2014

Submitting Abstracts

To submit an extended abstract (1 page single spaced pdf), please visit the conference website and click on the Submit Paper Abstract link:

Conference Overview

The Boulder Summer Conference in Consumer Financial Decision Making, now in its 6th year, is the world’s foremost conference for discussion of interdisciplinary research on consumer financial decision-making. Consumer welfare is strongly affected by household financial decisions large and small: choosing mortgages; saving to fund college education or retirement; using credit cards to fund current consumption; choosing how to “decumulate” savings in retirement; deciding how to pay for health care and insurance; and investing in the stock market, managing debt in the face of financial distress. This conference brings together outstanding scholars from around the world in a unique interdisciplinary conversation with regulators, business people in financial services, and consumer advocates working on problems of consumer financial decision-making.

Our goal is to stimulate cross-disciplinary conversation and improve basic and applied research in the emerging area of consumer financial decision-making. This research can inform our understanding of how consumers actually make such decisions and how consumers can be helped to make better decisions by innovations in public policy, business, and consumer education. Please see the 2014 program on the conference website to see abstracts of research by scholars in economics, psychology, sociology, behavioral finance, consumer research, decision sciences, behavioral economics, and law. Our format allows a very high level of opportunity for conversation and interaction around the ideas presented.

Conference Format

We begin with a keynote session late Sunday afternoon followed by reception and selective poster session. The keynote speaker will be David Laibson, the Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics at Harvard University, speaking on the problem of retirement plan leakage. Employees raid their retirement funds for $0.40 on every $1.00 contributed, taking out hardship withdrawals or loans that are not paid back, or cashing out when they leave their employer. A panel of experts will discuss leakage issues after this talk.

Monday and Tuesday we have ten 75-minute sessions with two related papers from different disciplines, with discussion by an industry or government expert or a scholar from a third field. We begin with financial decision making of consumers in distress because of poor financial decision-making or situational stress. We then turn our focus to more basic processes that guide everyday consumer financial decision-making, both good and bad. Throughout the conference we schedule significant time for informal interaction outside of the sessions.

The conference co-chairs will select papers for presentation at the conference based on extended abstracts. Selected papers must not be published prior to the conference, but those researchers presenting their work at the conference must commit to have a paper that is complete and available for review by discussants one month prior to the conference. Selections will be based on quality, relevance to consumers’ financial decision-making, and contribution to breadth of topics and disciplinary approaches. We consider not just the individual merits of the papers, but how they pair with another submission from a scholar in a different field. The organizers will invite authors of the best papers not selected for presentation at a plenary session to present their work at the Sunday evening poster session.

Registering for the Conference and Booking a Room

There are links on the conference website for booking at the St. Julien Hotel and for registering for the conference.

The conference will be held in the St. Julien Hotel and Spa. We have negotiated very attractive room rates for conference attendees (and families). Please note that the Conference has not guaranteed any rooms, rather they are on a “first come” basis. We encourage you to book your rooms as soon as you can. Boulder is a popular summer destination and rooms go quickly at the St. Julien Hotel.

December 5, 2014

Visualize Prospect Theory

Filed in Programs ,R
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

INTERACTIVE R TOOL FOR GRAPHING PROSPECT THEORY AND MORE

pt

Dan Wall from Columbia University’s Center for the Decision Sciences (*) writes in that he’s developed a new Web app using Shiny and RStudio. It allows users to edit Prospect Theory and Quasi-Hyperbolic Time Discounting Parameters and see the resulting changes to the graphs.

Try it out!

https://decisionsciences.shinyapps.io/Shiny/pt_qtd_shiny.Rmd

We find that it’s great for learning about the function and also great for generating Prospect Theory graphs to include in articles and chapters!

Dan used shinyapps to publish it to the website.

(*) Shout out to CDS, where Decision Science News was launched about a decade ago.

November 28, 2014

Jobs with the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team 2014-2105

Filed in Jobs
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

THE “NUDGE UNIT” AKA THE BEHAVIOURAL INSIGHTS TEAM

bit

The UK’s Behavioural Insights Team is recruiting again and has vacancies at various different levels. See the official announcement at http://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/jobs

The Behavioural Insights Team is now seeking exceptional candidates for a range of opportunities:

Head of Energy and Sustainability (Principal Advisor) (closes 5 January 2015)
Principal Advisors (closes 5 January 2015)
Senior Advisors (closes 5 January 2015)
Advisors (closes 5 January 2015)
PhD Candidate (closes 19 December 2015)

Role specifications are outlined below, and for any queries please email info@behaviouralinsights.co.uk

Head of Energy and Sustainability

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is looking for an exceptional candidate to become our new Head of Energy and Sustainability. As Head of Energy and Sustainability, you will be a member of the Senior Management Team reporting directly to the Managing Director but with regular policy discussions with the Chief Executive. You will lead a team of 2-4 people, but will be expected to grow this team two or three fold over the next 2 years.

You will interact with senior government officials, Ministers and clients on a regular basis, and be responsible for winning new work relating to energy and sustainability. You will be expected to manage and deliver projects to tight deadlines and budgets.

To be successful you must have in-depth experience in one of these areas and be capable of managing a team of people who have an expertise in the other areas:

Experience working on energy and sustainability policy (having worked in government, academia, industry or for a consulting firm);
Deep understanding of the behavioural science literature and how it can be applied to help solve complex policy problems; or
Ability to design and conduct rigorous evaluations, including Randomised Controlled Trials, difference in differences, regression discontinuity, and propensity score matching.

All candidates must also be able to demonstrate:

Strong leadership and management experience, including supporting team members to develop their own skills and expertise.

For more information see the specification (click here). Applications to be received no later than 9am on 5th January 2014.

Principal Advisors

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is looking for exceptional candidates to become Principal Advisors. This is a senior level in the team, with successful candidates becoming responsible for one or two policy areas.

As a Principal Advisor, you will be a member of the Senior Management Team reporting directly to either the Managing Director or the Chief Executive. You will lead a team of 2-4 people, but will be expected to grow this team two or three fold over the next 2 years.

You will interact with senior government officials, Ministers and clients on a regular basis, and be responsible for winning new work and business development relating to your policy area. You will also take the lead in ensuring that quality is maintained across the business and will be expected to manage and deliver projects to tight deadlines and budgets.

For more information see the specification (click here). Applications to be received no later than 9am on 5th January 2014.

Senior Advisors

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is looking for exceptional candidates to become Senior Advisors. Senior Advisors will work directly to Principal Advisors or the Managing Director/Chief Executive.

As a Senior Advisor, you will interact with senior government officials, Ministers and clients on a regular basis, and be responsible for winning new work and business development relating to your policy area. You will also be responsible for ensuring that projects you are responsible for are managed and delivered to tight deadlines and budgets, and will likely line manage one or more Advisors or Assistant Advisors.

For more information see the specification (click here). Applications to be received no later than 9am on 5th January 2014.

Advisors

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is looking for exceptional candidates to become Advisors. Advisors work on one or more projects, reporting to either a Senior Advisor or Principal Advisor. As an Advisor, you will likely work on two or three different projects across one or more policy area. You will be responsible for delivering pieces of work to tight deadlines. You will be part of a team, and will be managed by either a Senior Advisor or Principal Advisor.

For more information see the specification (click here). Applications to be received no later than 9am on 5th January 2014.

PhD candidate

The Behavioural Research Centre for Adult Skills and Knowledge (ASK) and the Institute of Education’s National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy (NRDC) are seeking a PhD candidate to work on a collaborative project.

The candidate will undertake the PhD with Integrated Research and Methods Training at the Institute of Education (IOE) full time over the course of three or four years.

They will be co-supervised by:

an academic from the IOE’s National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC), who will provide expert guidance on the elements of study related to numeracy and/ or literacy; and
the Head of Research at the Behavioural Insights Team, who will provide expert guidance on running randomised control trials in the field.

Course costs and a salary will be fully funded by the BIT.

For more information see the specification (click here). Applications to be received no later than 5pm on the 19th December 2014.

November 19, 2014

Do NYC cab drivers quit too early when it rains?

Filed in Ideas ,Research News
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

A BIG DATA ANALYSIS WITH NEW YORK CITY CAB DATA

nycc

Students of judgment and decision making (aka behavioral economics) are familiar with the idea that cab drivers work until they hit an income target and then quit, ignoring opportunities to make more money on especially profitable days, such as when it rains. They probably get the idea from hearing people talk about the paper Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time. We say “hearing people talk about the paper” because that paper does not say that cab drivers make more money when it rains and is otherwise quite cautious (e.g., it concludes “because evidence of negative labor supply responses to transitory wage changes is so much at odds with conventional economic wisdom, these results should be treated with caution.”)

A working paper and presentation by Princeton economist Henry Farber looked at recently released data on every cab ride taken in New York City from 2009-2013 (about 900 million trips, which he down-samples). Some of Farber’s conclusions are:

  • Increase in demand and reduction in supply make it difficult to find a taxi in the rain.
  • But wage is no higher when it rains.
  • Lower supply is not the result of drivers stopping after having reached their target.
  • Lower supply is result of less pleasant driving in the rain.

ABSTRACT

In a seminal paper, Camerer, Babcock, Loewenstein, and Thaler (1997) find that the wage elasticity of daily hours of work New York City (NYC) taxi drivers is negative and conclude that their labor supply behavior is consistent with target earning (having reference dependent preferences). I replicate and extend the CBLT analysis using data from all trips taken in all taxi cabs in NYC for the five years from 2009-2013. The overall pattern in my data is clear: drivers tend to respond positively to unanticipated as well as anticipated increases in earnings opportunities. This is consistent with the neoclassical optimizing model of labor supply and does not support the reference dependent preferences model.

I explore heterogeneity across drivers in their labor supply elasticities and consider whether new drivers differ from more experienced drivers in their behavior. I find substantial heterogeneity across drivers in their elasticities, but the estimated elasticities are generally positive and only rarely substantially negative. I also find that new drivers with smaller elasticities are more likely to exit the industry while drivers who remain learn quickly to be better optimizers (have positive labor supply elasticities that grow with experience).

REFERENCE
Farber, Henry S. (2014). Why You Can’t Find a Taxi in the Rain and Other Labor Supply Lessons from Cab Drivers. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series No. 20604 http://www.nber.org/papers/w20604

H/T Eric Jaffe http://www.citylab.com/weather/2014/10/why-new-yorkers-cant-find-a-taxi-when-it-rains/381652/
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisschoenbohm/6186211082/

November 14, 2014

What size will you be after you lose weight?

Filed in Ideas ,R ,Research News
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

REDDITORS’ BEFORE AND AFTER MEASUREMENTS ANALYZED

reddit_before_after

Click to enlarge

How many pounds do you need to lose in order to reduce your waistline by one inch? How many kilos do you need to lose to reduce your waistline by one centimeter?

We wanted to find out. We were having trouble finding published data (though we are expecting some soon), so we turned to Reddit, where the progresspics subreddit contains people’s before-and-after weight change stories. Most posts contain only pictures, but if you do some web scraping, you can find cases in which people post their before-and-after waist measurements.

We found 46 such cases, typed them up, ran them through R, tidyr, dplyr, and ggplot and made the picture above.

Multiple regression tells us that on average, for every 8.5 pounds lost, people dropped an inch off their waist. (And for every 1.5 kilograms lost, people dropped a centimeter off their waist.)

Every 10 pounds lost was accompanied by 1.18 inches of waistline reduction. (Every 5 kg lost was accompanied by 3.33 cm of waistline reduction.)

The picture is a bit rosier for those who were losing smaller amounts (under 55 pounds or 25 kg): They only had to lose 6.1 pounds to lose an inch (or 1.1 kg to lose a centimeter).

Want to see the data split out by gender? Voila:

reddit_before_after_gender

Click to enlarge

Want to make this graph yourself? OK.

Why am I doing this? Hal are following up our face morphing stuff with body morphing stuff.

November 6, 2014

When to fly to get there on time? Six million flights analyzed.

Filed in Encyclopedia ,Ideas ,R
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

EVERY U.S. FLIGHT IN 2013 ANALYZED

Flight_Delays_By_Hour_DelayType
(click to enlarge)

If you read Decision Science News, you are probably interested in decision making, you probably fly a lot, and you probably like making decisions about flying.

Data of the type the U.S. Government provides enable us to predict how delayed we will be when we fly at various hours of the day.

To make the plot above, we analyzed every single flight in the United States in 2013 for which there were Bureau of Transportation Statistics data. Filtering out flights between midnight and 6AM that leaves us with a little over six million flights (6,283,085 flights, to be precise). The BTS defines delay as the difference between the time the plane actually arrived and the time listed in the computerized reservation system. Many flights got in early, but because we’re just interested in delays (not speedups), we negative delays with zeroes.

What do we learn?

The later you leave, the greater the average delay you will face until around 6PM when things flatten out and 10PM when we see benefits in leaving later. It makes sense that delays increase as the day goes on because, we understand, the primary cause of delays is waiting for the plane to arrive from another city. The first flights out in the morning don’t have this problem.

About 60% of flights had no delay at all (3,726,061/6,283,085 or 59.3% to be precise). This has something to do with padding the expected arrival times in the computerized reservation system. Hence all the “negative” delays.

Leaving at 11PM gives you the same delay as leaving at 11AM. Miracle of miracles. Want a rule of thumb? Try not to leave between 11AM and 11PM.

The arrival and departure curves are quite similar. To save space, we’ll only look at departure delays from here on.

Now, you may be thinking “20 minutes delay if you depart at the worst possible time? That’s not such a big deal.” But remember, these are averages and 60% of the time there will be zero delay. To show you how bad things can get, here we plot the 95th and 75th percentiles of the delay distribution:

Flight_Delays_By_Hour_95thIf you leave at the worst time of day,  1 time in 4 you’ll be delayed more than 20 minutes, and 1 time in 20  you’ll be delayed more than an hour and a half!

Do different airports have differing delay patterns? One might expect them to due to weather, total number of flights, longitude and the like. We isolate the ten airports with the most passenger traffic below:

Flight_Delays_By_Hour_Airport_Top5

Flight_Delays_By_Hour_Airport_6to10

In an early analysis, we thought we’d discovered something pretty cool about day of the week effects. We had chosen two months at random and noticed certain days were predictably worse than others. But then, when we looked at two different months, different days emerged as the worst ones. Digging deeper, we found that the day-0f-week effects are attributable mostly to rather random events which change from month to month. Here we look at median (not mean) delays on every day of 2013. Each panel represents one month.

Flight_Delays_By_Departure_Date

The big spike on April 18, 2013? Five inches of rain in Chicago. December 9th, 2013? Delays are mostly due to winter weather in Texas. These little bumps can really alter the day-of-week findings.

Bon voyage!

R-code, as usual, for those who want it. To get the flight data, just go to … aw heck, I’ll be nice and let you download my cleaned up copy (25 Mb)

This is our first use of Hadley Wickham’s tidyr package. We like it!

ADDENDUM

1. We just learned of some extensive analyses pre-2009 flight data you might find interesting. See the FlowingData blog post. The supplemental information in this paper has some interesting analysis of flight delays. For example, hub airports tend to have a lot of outbound delays because they hold planes when an incoming flight is late. This leads to a lot of arrival delays at non-hub airports. See wicklin-supplemental.pdf page 7.

2. Poking around at this link, we were above to find somewhat steady day of week patterns in this poster which draws on multi-year data.

October 29, 2014

Getting old in baseball

Filed in Ideas ,R
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

BATTING AND AGING

BA_by_Age_smooth

With baseball’s World Series drawing to a close, we thought we’d get in one last 2014 post on the US national pastime.

Keeping up with our aging theme, we’ll look at what happens to players’ batting averages as they age. We use the Lahman package in R, which has data from 1871 to 2013. We take the set of players who played in the majors for at least two years and look at the mean batting average at every age.

The green line (above, with smoothed plots, below with raw results with standard error bars) shows this basic result. Pro baseball players have their highest averages just over age 30. The area of the circles is proportional to the number of observations in that point.

When you look at results like those in the green line, however, you must stop to consider that the players who show up in the graph only tell part of the story. At a given age, there were other players who are not plotted because they were cut from the team years before (often due to their poor batting performance).

To illustrate this, at each age, I plot in the blue line the batting average of players who are in their last year of major league play. As one would expect, batting averages are low the year before players disappear from the major leagues. In the red line, we see the performance at each age of players who are not in their last year. For this subset of the data, peak batting average occurs at age 36 and the maximum is a bit flatter.

What is up with the increase in the blue line? The increasing trend is present even if you exclude the first two unusually low points. We are no experts on baseball (or sports of any kind) and are open to suggestions.

One thing to keep in mind is that people whose last year was at age 20 probably only played 2 years (I only considered players who played at least 2 years), while people whose last year was age 40 probably played about 20 years.

BA_by_Age

As usual, those who want to reproduce this in R are welcome to do so.

October 21, 2014

The October 2014 SJDM Newsletter is ready for download

Filed in SJDM ,SJDM-Conferences
Subscribe to Decision Science News by Email (one email per week, easy unsubscribe)

SOCIETY FOR JUDGMENT AND DECISION MAKING NEWSLETTER

 

The quarterly Society for Judgment and Decision Making newsletter is ready for download from the SJDM site.

http://sjdm.org/newsletters/

This issue includes the 2014 conference program.

While we have your attention

  • Don’t forget to vote in the 2014 SJDM elections. Polls close on October 26.
  • Don’t forget to register for the conference, which takes place November 21-24th in Long Beach, CA! Information at http://sjdm.org

Enjoy!

Dan Goldstein
Your Decision Science News / SJDM Newsletter Editor