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June 7, 2016

Hemingway app forces you to write more simply

Filed in Ideas ,Tools
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If you are an academic, and you probably are if you read this blog, you may be interested in tools that improve writing. Recently, we stumbled upon the Hemingway Editor, a tool to encourage simple and forceful writing. It flags hard to read (i.e., long) sentences. It also flags adverbs, passive voice and unnecessarily complex phrases. We think that following all the editor’s advice would be a bad idea. Yet, using it for a few paragraphs on a paper reminds you to keep things simple. And it does, at least superficially, make you write more like Hemingway.

For fun, we applied it to one of our own abstracts below. It went from 145 words with grade 18 readability to 119 words with grade 14 readability.

You should beware, however, that readers may infer that simpler academic texts are of lower quality (Galak and Nelson, 2011).


Galak, J. & Nelson, L. D. (2011). The virtues of opaque prose: How lay beliefs about fluency influence perceptions of quality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 47, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 250–253

Goldstein, Daniel G., & David Rothschild. (2014). Lay understanding of probability distributions. Judgment and Decision Making, 9(1), 1-14.

Hemingway Editor: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

BEFORE (145 Words. Grade 18 readability)

How accurate are laypeople’s intuitions about probability distributions of events? The economic and psychological literatures provide opposing answers. A classical economic view assumes that ordinary decision makers consult perfect expectations, while recent psychological research has emphasized biases in perceptions. In this work, we test laypeople’s intuitions about probability distributions. To establish a ground truth against which accuracy can be assesed, we control the information seen by each subject to establish unambiguous normative answers. We find that laypeople’s statistical intuitions can be highly accurate, and depend strongly upon the elicitation method used. In particular, we find that eliciting an entire distribution from a respondent using a graphical interface, and then computing simple statistics (such as means, fractiles, and confidence intervals) on this distribution, leads to greater accuracy, on both the individual and aggregate level, than the standard method of asking about the same statistics directly.

AFTER (119 Words. Grade 14 readability)

How accurate are laypeople’s intuitions about probability distributions of events? The economic and psychological literatures provide opposing answers. A classical economic view assumes that ordinary decision makers consult perfect expectations. Recent psychological research has emphasized biases in perceptions. In this work, we test laypeople’s intuitions about probability distributions. We control the information seen by each subject to establish unambiguous ground truth answers. We find that laypeople’s statistical intuitions are accurate but depend upon the elicitation method. We computed simple statistics from distributions elicited using a graphical interface. The statistics included means, fractiles, and confidence intervals. All statistics derived from distributions were more accurate than those obtained by direct asking. This was true on both the individual and group level.

June 1, 2016

The SJDM Newsletter is ready for download

Filed in SJDM
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The quarterly Society for Judgment and Decision Making newsletter can be downloaded from the SJDM site:


Dan Goldstein
SJDM President & Newsletter Editor

May 24, 2016

2016 guide to the American Marketing Association (AMA) job market interviews for aspiring professors

Filed in Conferences ,Gossip ,Ideas ,Jobs
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The old (above) and new (below) AMA logos

PhD students in Marketing, Psychology, and Economics should send their “packets” out by the fourth of July in the hopes of lining up interviews at the annual AMA Summer Conference. Each year DSN reprints this sort of “what to expect while you’re applying” guide, first published here by Dan Goldstein in 2005. In past years, Dave Hardisty and Abby Sussman have co-authored this guide with Dan to bring it up to date. “I” will refer to Dan in what follows.

I am more than happy to publish AMA tips, updated information, or just AMA horror stories as part of this post. You can reach me at dan at dangoldstein dot com and let me know if you want to be anonymous or nonymous.

I have seen the Marketing job market turn happy grad students into quivering masses of fear. I want to share experiences and provide a bit of advice to make the whole process less mysterious.

Dan went on the AMA job market in the mid 2000s. Dave and Abby, who thoroughly revised this guide, went on the market in 2012. As a professor, Dan’s conducted scores of AMA interviews and made dozens of hiring decisions. Together, we’ve been on the candidate end many AMA interviews, and experienced numerous campus visits, face-to-face interviews, offers, and rejections.

First, at least a couple months before the conference, find where it will be. It’s called the American Marketing Association Summer Conference. Insiders just call it “The AMA”. Get yourself a room in the conference hotel, preferably on the floor where the express elevator meets the local elevator for the upper floors. You’ll be hanging out on this floor waiting to change elevators anyway, so you might as well start there. Next, create a list of schools at which you would like a job. You can find the top 100 schools ranked by journal publications at: http://jindal.utdallas.edu/the-utd-top-100-business-school-research-rankings . Next, apply to each one you’d go to. In the past, this involved physically mailing application packets, but these days nearly everything is electronic. Some schools have online application portals, and others will take applications by email. How do you find out which one? Hopefully, the school you are applying to will have posted a job at ELMAR (see http://ama-academics.communityzero.com/elmar; and subscribe to their mailing list) or elsewhere, which will specify how to submit your application. Other times, you’ll need to get in touch with a department administrator to find out how to apply. It’s a good idea to apply to schools you like even if they say they aren’t hiring. Sometimes things change suddenly (a tenured faculty member unexpectedly moves to another school), and the only thing you risk is your time.

On this topic, one recent market participant wrote us saying: “Sometimes during an AMA interview the people you are interviewing with might tell you up front that they are not planning to hire someone in CB (consumer behavior) and that they are just interviewing you because they wanted to hear about your work (or, more generally, to get to know the star candidates on the market). This happened to me with at least one school, and it almost makes you NOT want to try seriously (i.e., to use that interview as a “break” from the more consequential interviews). However, I would strongly advise candidates to take all their interviews seriously, even with schools that claim not to be hiring CB candidates. First of all, the interview is an opportunity for schools to learn about candidates’ research and therefore an additional opportunity to invest in one’s reputation. But, more importantly, sometimes they end up changing their minds and giving you a fly-out anyway, despite what they initially said about not hiring CB candidates (this happened to me).”

http://www.marketingphdjobs.com/ has general information about the Marketing job market, including a job board showing who is advertising jobs. This site also has information about the times when jobs are announced. Different schools require different materials for the application, involving some combination of: cover letter, CV, teaching statement (and/or teaching evaluations), research statement, letters of recommendation (roughly three), your “job talk” paper, and one or two additional publications.

It’s useful to have your advisor (or if that’s not feasible, his/her assistant) send an e-mail with your materials directly to their colleagues at each of your top choice schools. Ideally you would have your letter writers e-mail their recommendations directly to your advisor so the information is aggregated. This will not take the place of applying through a school’s official online system, but will bring attention to your application before it arrives. This is also useful for schools that are slow to set up their official application, or who are uncertain about whether they’ll be hiring. Some candidates will send hard copies of these packets to all of the schools, although this practice seems to be dwindling.

Note that the CV for AMA takes a special format, including an extended abstract of your “job talk” paper, so you should find an example to model your CV after. It’s helpful if your letters of recommendation come from faculty in marketing. You need to demonstrate your commitment to the field of marketing, so it’s also ideal to have publications in marketing journals, or at least something under review at a marketing journal.

It’s invaluable to have an “application buddy” who is also on the job market. You can share notes about who is hiring, how to apply at each place, etc. It also just makes the whole process more fun, to have a friend along for the ride.

With the advent of electronic submissions, the “marginal cost” of additional submissions is extremely low, and schools are facing a flood of applications. Last year, the median number of applications sent by each candidate was 60, and this will probably increase next year. Each school can only interview a limited number of candidates at AMA (perhaps 20 or 30), so they need to be selective: they are not necessarily looking for the best candidates, but rather the best candidates that would accept an offer from their school (over and above offers from other schools). For this reason, “lower tier” schools will often not give interviews to “upper tier” candidates, because they believe that there is little chance the upper tier candidate would actually accept an offer from them. Therefore, you need to find a way to communicate why you are interested in that school in particular. The best way is if you have a contact at that school (or your advisor has a contact). You should let them know that their school is a high priority for you, and why. Another strategy is to get the word out that you are targeting a particular region (such as the west coast or midwest) or type of school (big city vs rural location, small vs large school, etc). Thus, even though your real priority is probably to get a job *anywhere*, it’s good to specialize a bit to give yourself a competitive advantage. Likewise, once you get an AMA interview or a fly-out, it’s good to have a host of reasons prepared to explain why you are excited about that school in particular. Keep in mind that information about your preferences that you tell to one school may get back to other schools as well. For that reason, it’s best to come up with unique reasons why you like each school that do not detract from your ability to credibly like others.

If you are submitting by email, it’s a good idea to follow up and confirm that they have all your application materials. Sometimes email applications get lost (this happened to a friend of ours at his top-choice school), and once the AMA interviews are scheduled, it may be too late.

As for deadlines: the rough deadline is July 4th, but there is a lot of variability. A few schools have earlier deadlines and will have scheduled all their interviews by the 4th, whereas other schools will be behind schedule and won’t even post a job opening until after the 4th. Within reason (beginning mid-June), there’s an advantage to submitting materials sooner rather than later. Ethan Pew adds “July 4 is still largely the target for sending out packets, however schools seem to be moving to more of a just-in-time process. [In 2011], 53 positions were announced between July 4 and AMA. There were also 24 positions announced the last week in June — and presumably those schools didn’t expect packets by July 4. In total, those 77 positions accounted for 40% of the jobs announced prior to AMA last year.”

Wait to get calls or emails from schools wishing to set up AMA interviews with you. These calls may come in as late as one week before the conference. Often they come when you are sitting outside having a drink with friends. Some schools will not invite you for totally unknown reasons. You may get interviews from the top 10 schools and rejected from the 30th-ranked one. Don’t sweat it. Again, this is the land of total and absolute unpredictability that you’re entering into. Also, know that just because you get an interview doesn’t mean they have a job. Sometimes schools don’t know until the last minute if they’ll have funding for a post. Still, you’ll want to meet with them anyway. Other times, schools are quite certain they have two positions, but then later university politics shift and they turn out to have none.

When the schools call to set up an AMA interview, you will have some flexibility in scheduling. Should you put your top schools at the beginning of the weekend, the end, or somewhere in the middle? Common advice is to put your less preferred schools on the beginning of the first day, because this gives you a chance to practice before the “important” ones. Then you can put your top choice schools early (say 10am, not 8) on the second day of the conference, so you’ve had some time to practice, but you and the interviewers can still be fresh and energized. While it’s nice to schedule strategically, it’s very difficult since you have no idea which schools you’ll ultimately be hearing from, and calls come in over time. Don’t worry if it’s not possible to schedule everything perfectly- there’s no real magic to this. For example, the beginning of the weekend is also when interviewers will be freshest, and a primacy effect could help you: in fact, we know a candidate that put his top school first, and eventually got a job offer from them.

After the AMA, you’ll hopefully get “fly-outs,” that is, offers to come and visit the campus and give a talk. This means you’ve made the top five or so. Offers for fly-outs generally come within a week or two of AMA. Actual job offers start in late October, and the market has generally cleared by Thanksgiving. There’s a second job market that happens after all the schools realize they’ve made offers to the same person. Some schools over-correct for this and don’t make offers to amazing people who would have come. We need some kind of market mechanism to work out this part of the system.

Keep in mind that you will leave this process with 1 or 0 jobs. Therefore, when talking to a person, the most likely thing is that he or she will not be your colleague in the future. You should then think of each opportunity as a chance to make a friend. You’ll need friends to collaborate, to get tenure, get grants, and to go on the market again if you’re not happy with what you get. It’s a good idea to send thank-you emails after AMA, to maintain contact, show your interest in the school, and express your appreciation. After all, the AMA interviewers have sacrificed their weekend to talk to you.

The schools will send you e-mails either a few days in advance, or the night before telling you which room to go to. Many profs ask the hotel to make their room number public, but for some reason many hotel operators will still not give you the room number.

My sponsor gave me the advice of not going out at night and getting room service for breakfast and dinner. This worked for me. Also, the ridiculously high price of a room-service breakfast made me feel like I was sparing no expense, which I found strangely motivating. However, as this guide has gotten more popular, many people are ordering room service breakfast, and there were reports at last year’s AMA that the hotel was overwhelmed with orders and breakfasts were delivered quite late as a result.

At the prearranged time you will knock on their hotel room door. You will be let into a suite (p=.4) or a normal hotel room (p=.5, but see below). In the latter case, there will be professors with long and illustrious titles—people you once imagined as dignified—sitting on beds in their socks. The other people in the room may not look at you when you walk in because they will be looking for a precious few seconds at your CV. For at least some people in the room, this may be the first time they have concentrated on your CV. Yikes is right. Put the important stuff early in your CV so nobody can miss it. You can expect anywhere between one and nine faculty members to show up usually it will be between three to five. Some of them may take cell phone calls in the middle of your interview. Don’t take It personally.

There will be one armchair in the room. Someone will motion towards the armchair, smile, and say, “You get the seat of honor!” This will happen at every school, at every interview, for three days. I promise.

Allow extra time to get to your interview: all the candidates are traveling from one room to another at the same time, and the elevators can get pretty backed up. When you arrive, there will be two minutes of pleasant chit-chat. They will propose that you talk first and they talk next. There will be a little table next to the chair on which you will put your flip book of slides. You will present for 30 minutes, taking their questions as they come. Usually 20 minutes of scripted material will take you through the full time since you’ll be interrupted the whole way through. But you should be prepared to talk for up to 35-40 minutes for quiet groups, or sessions where only one faculty member shows up. They will be very nice. When done, they will ask you if you have anything to ask them. You of course do not. You hate this question. You make something up. Don’t worry, they too have a spiel, and all you need to do is find a way to get them started on it. By the time they are done, it’s time for you to leave. The whole experience will feel like it went rather well.

It’s impossible to tell from how it seems to have gone whether they will give you a fly-out or not. Again, this is the land of staggering and high-impact uncertainty. They might not invite you because you were too bad (and they don’t want you), or because you were too good (and they think they don’t stand a chance of getting you and they don’t want to waste a precious fly-out on you). The latter fact means that “playing hard to get” is a bad idea. Interviewers will be friendly because everyone wants you to like their school, regardless of whether or not they will invite you for a fly-out.

Sometimes instead of a hotel room, they will have a private meeting room (p=.075). Sometimes they will have a private meeting room with fruit, coffee, and bottled water (p=.025). Sometimes, they will fall asleep while you are speaking (p=.05). Sometimes they will be rude to you (p=.025). Sometimes a key person will miss an early interview due to a hangover (p=.025). Sometimes, if it’s the end of the day, they will offer you alcohol (p=.18, conditional on it being the end of the day).

The committee has read your CV and cover letter and looked at your pubs. They know your topic and can instantly appreciate that what you are doing is important. They know the value of each journal you have published in and each prize you’ve won. They know your advisor and the strengths she or he instills into each student. They ignore what they’re supposed to ignore and assume everything they’re supposed to assume. They’ll attach a very small weight to the interview and fly you out based on your record, which is the right thing to do according to a mountain of research on interviews.

The interviewers will have looked at your CV for about one minute a couple months ago, and for a few seconds as you walked in the room. They will never have read your entire cover letter, and they will have forgotten most of what they did read. They could care less about your advisor and will get quite annoyed that you didn’t cite their advisor. They’ll pay attention to everything they’re supposed to ignore and assume nothing except what you repeat five times. Flouting 50 years of research in judgment and decision-making, they’ll attach a small weight to your CV and fly you out based on the interview and their gut feeling.

Your ability to speak English well won’t get you a good job, but your inability to do so will eliminate you from consideration at every top school. Understand that business schools put a premium on teaching. If the interviewers don’t think you can communicate in the classroom, they’re probably not going to take a chance on you. If you are just starting out and your spoken English is shaky, my advice is to work on it as hard as you are working on anything else. Hire a dialect coach (expensive) or an english-speaking actor or improviser (cheaper) to work with you on your English pronunciation. In the Internet age, it’s quite easy to download samples of English conversational speech, for instance from podcasts, for free. It’s also very easy to get a cheap headset and a free audio recorder (like Audacity) with which to practice.

1) The plow. You start at the first slide and go through them until the last slide. Stop when interrupted and get back on track.
2) The volley. Keep the slides closed and just talk with the people about your topic. Get them to converse with you, to ask you questions, to ask for clarifications. When you need to show them something, open up the presentation and show them just that slide.
I did the plow the first year and the volley the second year. I got four times more fly-outs the second year. Econometricians are working hard to determine if there was causality. I would not attempt the volley unless you are generally considered to be good with words.
A middle ground is to have a shorter presentation prepared, with many backup slides that you can turn to in response to audience interest or specific questions. This helps the audience understand that you’ve thought about the project deeply, that your responsive to their specific interests and feedback, and that there’s more to support your argument than the prearranged script, but it’s easier for some to execute than a straight volley.
What do you use to show your slides? Many candidates print out slides and put them into a presentation binder, such as one of these: http://tinyurl.com/c46ob64 . Insert two copies of each slide into the binder so you can see a copy from the back, and the audience can see another from the front. Hand-outs are also a good idea, as a supplement to your slides. Bring lots of hand-outs, because it’s common to let them keep one copy. Keep in mind that AMA slides are not the same as a typical PowerPoint presentation. People should be able to read your slides from the back of the room. I recommend no smaller than size 40 font, and larger is better.

Lately, people have talked about showing slides on an iPad, but I don’t know anyone that has actually done this.

Make no mistake, you are an actor auditioning for a part. There will be no energy in the room when you arrive. You have to be like Santa Claus bringing in a large sack of energy. The interviewers will be tired. They’ve been listening to people in a stuffy hotel room from dawn till dusk for days. If you do an average job, you lose: You have to be two standard deviations above the mean to get a fly-out. So audition for the part, and make yourself stand out. If you want to learn how actors audition, read Audition by Michael Shurtleff.

From the candidate’s point of view, everything is about the CV and the correctness of the mathematical proofs in the job market paper. However, for better or for worse, extra-academic qualities matter. Here are two examples. 1) The Social Lubricant factor. Departments get visitors all the time: guest speakers, visiting professors, job candidates, etc. Some departments are a bunch of folks who stare at their shoes when introduced to a new person. These departments have a real problem: they have nobody on board who can make visitors feel at ease, and sooner or later word starts to spread about how socially awkward the people at University X are. To fix such problems, departments sometimes hire socially-skilled types who know how to make people comfortable in conversation, and who know how to ask good questions during talks. Also, interviewers assume that people who can talk a good game will be star teachers. 2) The Soft Sell factor. Many people succeed in academia not because they are often right, but also because they are masters of making other people feel like they aren’t wrong. Defensiveness or determination to embarrass when responding to critique is an effective way to blow an interview.

One of the biggest risks facing you is that you will be forgotten. Make sure the interviewers know something unusual about you. My quirk is that I worked internationally as an actor and theater director for over a decade; I even had a bit part in a Conan O’Brien sketch on TV. It has nothing to do my research, but people always bring up this odd little fact when I do campus visits. Some bits of trivia are just more memorable than others.

Never think it’s hopeless. Just because you’re not two SDs above the mean at the school of your dreams, it does not mean you’re not the dream candidate of another perfectly good school.
Many candidates don’t realize the following: The students are competing for schools but the schools are also competing for students. If you strike out, you can just try again next year. I know a person in Psychology who got 70 rejections in one year. I know a person in Marketing who was told he didn’t place in the top 60 candidates at the 20th ranked school. The subsequent year, both people got hired by top 5 departments. One of them is ridiculously famous and considered among the smartest people in Marketing!

Gossip can mess with your chances. Gossip that you are doing well can hurt you because schools will be afraid to invite you if they think you won’t come. Gossip that you are doing poorly can hurt you because schools that like you will be afraid to invite you if they think no one else does. Sometimes people will ask a prof at your school if you would come to their school, and the prof will then ask you. To heck with that. Just say that if they want to talk to you, they should talk with you directly.

The danger of rumors can be summed up by the following story. At ACR I was having a beer with someone who confessed, “you know, my friend X at school Y told me that they want to hire you, but they’re afraid your wife won’t move to Z”. I was single.

May 18, 2016

Should you only be allowed to publish five papers before tenure?

Filed in Gossip ,Ideas
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There’s an article out in Science titled The Pressure to Publish Pushes Down Quality. The author’s point is that as the volume of papers goes up, the good ones get lost in the bad ones.

There are other downsides as well. People waste a lot of time funding, writing, reviewing, editing, and reading lots of shoddy papers. The number of papers needed to get tenure keeps going up, which puts a lot of pressure on early-career academics. Lastly, when people have an incentive to publish a lot, they’re not encouraged to thoroughly review what’s come before. If they do, they may learn their idea is not all that new. This can prevent cumulative progress being made in science. As an aside, it’s hard to blame authors for not thoroughly reviewing the literature when so much junk has been published in the last decades.

The annoying thing about the Science article (and this blog post thus far) is that while many agree that increasing pressure to publish is bad, and that there are too many bad papers out there, there aren’t a lot proposed solutions. What should we do about it?

A friend of ours had a suggestion: Only let people publish five papers before tenure.

To be clear, the idea is not to only let people submit five papers for consideration for tenure. The idea is to only let people publish five papers before tenure. If you do, it hurts your case.

Some people hate this idea. But some love it. We can’t help but notice some good sides. It could cause people put more care into the papers they submit. It could reduce the number of papers being submitted for review. It could take the pressure off assistant professors to produce an ever-increasing number of papers before tenure. It could even reduce false alarms, failures to cite past literature, and possibly scientific fraud.

What do you think?

May 11, 2016

John Oliver on scientific studies

Filed in Ideas ,Research News
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If you have not seen John Oliver’s hilarious rant about bad science from his program Last Week Tonight, you should do so for it is hilarious.

JDMers Joe Simmons, Leif Nelson and Uri Simonshohn should be happy that he uses their term “p-hacking” and even makes a joke about it. What’s the joke? Come on, just watch the video and see.

May 4, 2016

JDM will be in Boston, Nov 18-21, 2016. Deadline to submit: June 20, 2016.

Filed in SJDM ,SJDM-Conferences
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The Society for Judgment and Decision Making (SJDM) invites abstracts for oral presentations and posters on any interesting topic related to judgment and decision making. Completed manuscripts are not required.


SJDM’s annual conference will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, November 18-21, 2016. The conference will take place at the Sheraton Boston. Plenary events will include a keynote talk on Sunday, November 20th delivered by Linda Babcock.


The deadline for submissions is June 20, 2016, end of the day. Submissions for symposia, oral presentations, and posters should be made through the SJDM website at http://www.sjdm.org/abstract-review/htdocs Technical questions can be addressed to the webmaster, Jon Baron, at webmaster@sjdm.org. All other questions can be addressed to the program chair, Nina Mazar, at nina.mazar@utoronto.ca.


At least one author of each presentation must be a member of SJDM. Joining at the time of submission will satisfy this requirement. You may join SJDM at http://www.sjdm.org/join.html. An individual may give only one talk and present only one poster, but may be a co-author on multiple talks and/or posters. Please note that both the membership rule and the one-talk/one-poster rule will be strictly enforced.


Travelers from certain countries may need extra lead time to obtain travel documents. Although we are unable to accept talks early, we can provide notification of an “accepted presentation.” This means that you would at least be guaranteed a poster. We can do this because posters are typically evaluated only for content and most are accepted. If you submit a talk, you will receive a notice of an accepted presentation immediately, and a decision on your talk at the usual time. To take advantage of this option, you should still submit through the regular process, and also send a request to the program chair, Nina Mazar, at nina.mazar@utoronto.ca.


The Best Student Poster Award is given for the best poster presentation whose first author is a student member of SJDM.

The Hillel Einhorn New Investigator Award is intended to encourage outstanding work by new researchers. Applications are due June 19, 2016. Further details are available at http://www.sjdm.org/awards/einhorn.html. Questions can be directed to Neil Stewart, neil.stewart@warwick.ac.uk.

The Jane Beattie Memorial Fund subsidizes travel to North America for a foreign scholar in pursuits related to judgment and decision research, including attendance at the annual SJDM meeting. Further details will be available at http://www.sjdm.org/awards/beattie.html.


Nina Mazar (Chair), Katy Milkman, Suzanne Shu, Ana Franco-Watkins, Thorsten Pachur, Meng Li, Bettina von Helversen, Oleg Urminsky, and Kate Wessels (conference coordinator)

April 27, 2016

Correlation between risk aversion and loss aversion

Filed in Articles ,Ideas ,Research News
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A student recently emailed us asking for some data from our 2008 paper:

Goldstein, Daniel G., Johnson, Eric J. & Sharpe, William F. (2008). Choosing outcomes versus choosing products: Consumer-focused retirement investment advice. Journal of Consumer Research, 35(3), 440-456.

In particular, they were interested in the correlation between estimates of risk aversion and loss aversion within a person, which can be seen in the above plot (Figure 4 in the article).

We thought, why not make the data open to the whole world. Here they are:

Goldstein, Johnson, Sharpe (2008) Loss Aversion and Risk Aversion Data

subject: An anonymous identifier indexing the unique human who submitted the data
dist: participants submitted two distributions (one right after another) in Year 1. They were invited back in Year 2 to submit distributions again. There was some dropout. This column tells you which distribution you are looking at.
riskAversion: this is the coefficient of relative risk aversion, commonly referred to as alpha
lossAversion: this is the coefficient of loss aversion, commonly referred to as lambda

Note: There are some extreme values in the data that will throw off your correlations. In the figure above, as noted in the paper, we just plot cases in which lambda is < 25. Here we’ll show how this affects the correlations:

Distribution Correlation
Year 1 Dist 1 0.65
Year 1 Dist 2 0.60
Year 2 Dist 1 0.52
Year 2 Dist 2 0.48

Distribution Correlation
Year 1 Dist 1 0.65
Year 1 Dist 2 0.88
Year 2 Dist 1 0.65
Year 2 Dist 2 0.56

Clearly, using the method of Goldstein, Johnson and Sharpe (2008), estimates between risk aversion and loss aversion are quite correlated. The method forces the correlation somewhat: the most loss averse data one can submit will necessarily be quite risk averse.

Feel free to download the data and draw your own conclusions, but please cite the above paper as the source if you do.

April 22, 2016

Society for Consumer Psychology (SCP) 2017 Winter Conference, Feb 16-17, 2017, San Francisco

Filed in Conferences
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Society for Consumer Psychology
Annual 2017 Winter Conference
Palace Hotel, San Francisco, California
February 16 – 18, 2017

The Society for Consumer Psychology (SCP) will be holding its Annual Winter Conference from February 16-18, 2017 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California. The Society for Consumer Psychology conference provides opportunities for a high level of interaction among participants interested in consumer research and in advancing the discipline of consumer psychology in a global society.

We are seeking proposals for symposia, original competitive papers, and working papers for presentation at the conference. We encourage a diverse set of ideas and approaches to consumer psychology. We also welcome diverse methodologies, including experimental research, survey research, conceptual and/or theoretical developments, or other methods relevant to the study of consumer psychology.


Submission Deadline

All symposium, competitive paper, and working paper submissions are due by Friday, August 12, 2016. We will send notification of acceptances in November 2016.

The conference website will be available for submissions between Monday, June 6, 2016, and midnight PST of the deadline, Friday, August 12, 2016.


Symposium sessions focus on a specific area of research. Submissions may share similar theoretical or methodological bases, or they may approach the same research question from different perspectives. Each session is 75 minutes and should include either three or four papers. The symposium chair is expected to lead the discussion—there will be no space in the program for discussants. Symposium chairs are responsible for submitting all materials by the deadline and ensuring that all session participants receive copies of each paper or presentation prior to the conference.

Symposium proposals should include the following:

  • The title of the symposium
  • A brief proposal describing the symposium’s objective, topics to be covered, likely audience, stage of completion of each paper, and how the session contributes to the field of consumer psychology.
  • The name, contact information, and affiliation of the symposium chair
  • The title of each presentation, with a listing of the authors and their affiliations and contact information. For multi-author papers, please underline the presenter.
  • A 75-100 word short abstract of each presentation (for publication in the conference program)
  • A 750-1000 word extended abstract of each presentation (for evaluation by the Program Committee)


Competitive Papers. Competitive papers present completed work and address substantive, methodological, or theoretical topics in consumer psychology. We will be grouping four competitive papers into a single 75 minute session. Authors will have 15 minutes to present their work, followed by approximately five minutes for questions.

Working Papers. In contrast, working papers typically report the results of research in its early stages. Authors of accepted working papers will present their work during a Focused Reports Session during the conference. This is a new format for the working papers that will replace the poster session. Authors of accepted working papers should plan to present a 5-minute summary of their work to an audience in a focused session. Authors will be allowed to have a power point deck to aid their presentation, but presentations must be kept to 5 minutes. This will be followed by a reception, in which interested parties can ask questions about the research presented.

Detailed guidelines about the focused presentations will be sent with the acceptance notices.

Competitive Paper and Working Paper submissions should include the following:

  • The title of the paper
  • Nature of submission: Competitive or Working Paper
  • The name, contact information, and affiliation of the author(s). For multi-author papers, please underline the presenter.
  • A 75-100 word short abstract (for publication in the conference program)
  • A 750-1000 word extended abstract that summarizes the motivation, conceptualization, methodology, and major findings (for evaluation by reviewers)

Note: Please indicate if the first author is a PhD student. (If so, the paper will be considered for the Best Student Paper Award.)


Submissions will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the research
  • Contribution to the field of consumer psychology Interest of the topic to SCP members.

Each SCP participant may present in no more than two sessions. When submitting a symposium or paper to this conference, you must agree to be available at any time on both days of the conference (Friday 2/17 and Saturday 2/18) to give your presentation. If you will not be available on one of the days, please arrange for a co-author to give the presentation. We will not consider date/time change requests for presentations unless a presenter has been inadvertently scheduled to give two presentations in the same time slot.


All submissions should be single-spaced Microsoft Word documents.

Submissions should be made electronically through the conference website at http://www.chilleesys.com/scp/. The website will provide additional information about the conference and serve as an interface for authors and reviewers.

To submit your proposal, please follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for the submission system: When you first enter the conference website, you will be required to sign up to use the website submission system. Here you will provide your name and contact information and be provided with a login name and password. You will use this login whenever you navigate the submission system. Please keep track of this information.

Some e-mail addresses are already signed up in our database. Please use the website password reminder function if you see the following message: “The E-mail address you entered has been already registered with our database. Please proceed to Log In page. If you forgot your password, please click here.”

[Note: When you complete this step, you will have only signed up with the conference website. This is NOT the registration for the conference.]

  1. Enter the submission information: Once in the submission system, you will be asked to submit the information requested above for the symposium, competitive, or working paper submission. Please note that in order to facilitate reviewer assignment, you will also be asked to provide content and methodological area codes.


As in recent years, there will be a day-long doctoral symposium immediately before the main conference, that is, on Thursday, February 16. Relevant details will be announced separately by the symposium co-chairs Kelly Goldsmith (Northwestern University) and Cassie Mogilner (UCLA).


The Palace Hotel is located at 2 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. The telephone number is: 1 (415) 512-1111.

When making reservations you must mention that you are with the Society for Consumer Psychology to obtain the $229.00/night rate.

Visit the hotel website at: http://www.sfpalace.com

If you have questions, please email the conference co-chairs at: scp2017@sauder.ubc.ca


As in recent years, there will be a social event on the evening of the last day of the conference (Saturday, Feb 18). Relevant details will be coming soon and it is guaranteed to be an epic evening!

Conference Co-chairs

Kate White – University of British Columbia
On Amir –  University of California San Diego

April 15, 2016

What are the most educated counties in the US?

Filed in Encyclopedia ,R
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People ask us “what are the most educated counties in the USA”? It turns out the census keeps track of this sort of thing. We found a table called ACS_14_1YR_S1501.csv in the American Community Survey; look for stuff on educational attainment by county. And it was an easy bit of R to get the answers. We computed two things:


  • The percentage of the 25 and older population with a graduate or professional degree
  • The percentage of the population (of any age) with a bachelor’s degree or higher

Here’s how it came out:

Top US counties by percentage of people 25 and up with graduate or professional degrees in 2014:

Rank County % with graduate degree
1 Arlington County, Virginia 36.70
2 Alexandria city, Virginia 32.90
3 Montgomery County, Maryland 31.60
4 District of Columbia, District of Columbia 30.60
5 Howard County, Maryland 30.50
6 Fairfax County, Virginia 30.20
7 Orange County, North Carolina 30.00
8 New York County, New York 28.50
9 Tompkins County, New York 28.40
10 Washtenaw County, Michigan 28.30
11 Boulder County, Colorado 26.90
12 Story County, Iowa 26.00
13 Middlesex County, Massachusetts 25.70
14 Marin County, California 25.60
15 Albemarle County, Virginia 25.40
16 Benton County, Oregon 25.30
17 Monroe County, Indiana 25.20
18 Loudoun County, Virginia 24.80
19 Riley County, Kansas 23.90
20 Johnson County, Iowa 23.80
21 Westchester County, New York 23.60
22 Somerset County, New Jersey 23.50
23 James City County, Virginia 23.30
24 Norfolk County, Massachusetts 23.10
25 Santa Clara County, California 22.30

Top US counties by percentage of people with Bachelors degrees or higher in 2014:

Rank County % with Bachelors or higher
1 Arlington County, Virginia 71.50
2 Alexandria city, Virginia 62.80
3 Fairfax County, Virginia 60.30
4 Howard County, Maryland 59.90
5 New York County, New York 59.90
6 Loudoun County, Virginia 58.70
7 Montgomery County, Maryland 58.50
8 Boulder County, Colorado 58.00
9 Douglas County, Colorado 56.50
10 Hamilton County, Indiana 56.30
11 Williamson County, Tennessee 56.10
12 Marin County, California 55.20
13 District of Columbia, District of Columbia 55.00
14 Orange County, North Carolina 55.00
15 San Francisco County, California 54.20
16 Somerset County, New Jersey 53.70
17 Johnson County, Iowa 53.60
18 Benton County, Oregon 53.50
19 Washtenaw County, Michigan 53.00
20 Morris County, New Jersey 53.00
21 Johnson County, Kansas 52.80
22 Tompkins County, New York 52.40
23 Middlesex County, Massachusetts 52.30
24 Delaware County, Ohio 52.20
25 Norfolk County, Massachusetts 51.90

R Code to follow along at home

Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/aQM3Z

April 13, 2016

Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research (TIBER) Symposium, 26 Aug 2016

Filed in Conferences
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The Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research is happy to announce the 15th TIBER Symposium on Psychology and Economics, to be held on August 26, 2016 at Tilburg University.

The Symposium
The goal of this series of symposia is to establish contact and discussion between Economists, Psychologists, Marketing researchers and others who work on Behavioral Decision Making, either in individual or interdependent settings. We look for empirical contributions from diverse fields, such as Individual Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, Bargaining, Social Dilemmas, Experimental Games, Emotions, Fairness and Justice, Rational Choice, and related subjects.

The symposium consists of two keynotes, a number of parallel sessions with presentations of 20 minutes, and a poster session. We are proud to have Dan Goldstein from Microsoft Research and Lise Vesterlund of the University of Pittsburgh as this year’s keynote speakers.

Call for Abstracts
If you would like to contribute to TIBER by presenting your research, we invite you to submit an abstract of max. 250 words.

June 1 Deadline for submission of abstracts
June 15 Selection of speakers
August 26 Symposium at Tilburg University

You can submit your abstract and find more information about the the symposium on our website:

If you have any questions regarding the symposium, feel free to contact Arnoud Plantinga : a.plantinga at tilburguniversity.edu

Kind Regards,
Arnoud Plantinga, Ilja van Beest, Rik Pieters, Jan Potters, and Marcel Zeelenberg,