Why don’t physicians follow evidence-based guidelines more often?

Many researchers complain that physicians often use treatments with little evidence to base these decisions. From off-label prescribing, to unstudied surgical procedures, physicians are often painted as cavalier practitioners who don’t read studies. For instance, Austin Frakt at Incidental Economist writes: The British Medical Journal sifted through the evidence for thousands of medical treatments to assess…

Net imagination exports

Many people talk of countries with net exports as having a good economy and those with net imports as having a less robust economy. However, an interesting book Why Information Grows by César Hidalgo talks about a more important feature being the imagination balance of goods and services exported. One example of a balance of…

Are economists dumb?

Maybe so according to Arnold Kling’s askblog, who argues that annuities are not very helpful for many people. Economists think that old people who do not annuitize their wealth are dumb. I decided a long time ago that it is the economists who are dumb. Old people face many risks other than the risk of…

Causality: Granger Causality

Earlier this year, I reviewed one definition of causality: the Bradford Hill criteria. Now I move from a medical definition causality to one developed by an economist (in fact, an economist from my alma matter). Granger causality basically identifies a variable as causal if: (i) it occurs the outcome of interest and (ii) including past…

Do pharmaceuticals improve quality of life? A Bayesian answer to the question when there is missing data

Let’s say we are interested in determining whether a particular treatment improves quality of life. Common measures of quality of life include EQ-5D, SF-12, and SF-36, among others. However, a systematic review of 237 randomized controlled trials found that only 43% collected SF-12 or SF-36 measures. If you are measuring a treatment’s effect on quality…

Discrete choice experiments

How have discrete choice experiments changed over time? This is the question Soekhai et al. (2018) try to answer.  They conduct a systematic literature review covering 27 years of data.  Below I summarize some of their findings graphically. First, you see a trend of an increasing number of DCEs. We also see that whereas DCEs…

Open-Source tools for economic modelling

QuantEcon is an interesting site from some high profile economists advocating for open-source tools for quantitative economic analysis.  The organization describes itself  on their website as follows: QuantEcon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving economic modeling by enhancing computational tools for economists.  Our activities include developing and facilitating the development of open source software…