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Rajan Sambandam

Jeopardy! Explains Gender Differences

Posted by on in Rajan Sambandam

OK, so Jeopardy! cannot possibly explain all the differences between the genders, but it helps quite a bit in understanding financial risk taking because of its unique format. Researchers studying gender differences in risk taking have known that men and women are different in several ways. For example, in general men are more willing to take risks, single women allocate less wealth to risky assets compared to single men, women have lower risk tolerance on health and retirement issues, women prefer broader insurance coverage than men, and men are more active in stock trading. But is it just gender or are there other factors mixed in with gender that influence financial risk taking? For example, would competence have an impact and how does that vary by gender? This was the issue studied by three researchers using data from the game show Jeopardy!

Does the Bradley Effect Exist?

Posted by on in Rajan Sambandam

The Bradley Effect is quite often mentioned in the media as we approach the Presidential election. It refers to the under-performance of a black candidate as compared to poll numbers. A good summary of various issues can be found here. A lot of the information about this effect is speculative or based on sparse polling numbers from other races which have led to questions of whether the effect really existed, whether it was seen in other races and whether in 2008 it is still likely to be seen. Perhaps the best study on this issue was conducted by Anthony Greenwald and Bethany Albertson the University of Washington. They used data from the Clinton-Obama primary, the most comprehensive source available and studied it using regression analysis to explore the existence of the Bradley effect.

Obama or McCain? Part II

Posted by on in Rajan Sambandam

To read the first part of this post click here. In that we discussed how to use the available information to predict a winner in the current presidential race. While the polls (including the poll average) gave a small edge to McCain at that time, the other measures gave a mixed picture with the combined measure giving Obama a slight edge. Since that post a month ago the race has changed quite a bit. In this post I will revisit those numbers to see where they stand, how they have changed and what that means when you track such numbers. In the next one we will look at the impact of race on the race, or the so called Bradley Effect.

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Posted by on in Rajan Sambandam

This question has been asked for millennia and before any research was done there were three possible answers: yes, no, maybe so. After some research was done in the 70's, we had what was called as the Easterlin paradox which seemed to show that money and happiness were not related. More recent research from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with data from many countries around the globe seems to indicate that people with more money are, in fact, happier.

Obama or McCain - who will win?

Posted by on in Rajan Sambandam

A question that is of great interest now and the common response tends to be "who's leading in the polls?". You often hear people say that the latest poll from some reputable organization shows one candidate with a 3 point lead. Is that the best measure we have of predicting who will win the Presidential election? I submit that it is not and will walk you through the different measures available and what is most likely the best one. I say most likely because nothing predicts the future with complete certainty. Further, the aim here is not to examine the political strategies used by the candidates or speculate on who has a better ground game. We just want to see what is the best way to predict the winner, using all publicly available information.

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