Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to judge campus safety?

A few days ago I was emailed a pdf document: the 2011 Annual Security Report for George Mason University. As mandated by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (yeah I hadn't heard of it before either) it provides a breakdown of all criminal activity which occurred on campus, by year, and with special columns for "Hate Crimes." The picture I attached has the numbers for Fairfax. This is the most interesting part of the document to me because it contains some raw figures on different offenses committed in the campus I attend. Statistics for the other George Mason campuses (Arlington, Prince William, Loudoun, etc.) are also available but are a lot less edifying, because the columns have just a bunch of zeroes. Coincidentally, Fairfax also happens to be the only campus with attached undergraduate housing -- make of it what you will.

The most exciting table I've seen since breakfast.
This report is obviously intended to increase public awareness about crime rates on campus, allowing potential students and their parents to make an informed decision when comparing different universities. What I wonder is, how does someone look at this report and get any sense of the probability that they themselves will be victimized? This blog post is a rough attempt at answering that question.

Some useful figures to get started with:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Shirking, Malingering, and other Unpopular Terms regarding the American labor force

So, the title might be overly sensational.

For an outside observer, finding measures of low conscientiousness on the job (shirking) or active deception to evade work (malingering) is a bit of a challenge, because workers have an incentive to conceal that sort of activity.

This rough study addresses worker injury on the job and attempts to determine whether outside incentives motivate changes in sick time and injury rates. Using some unsophisticated econometric techniques, surprising results are found. Surprising if you think unemployment levels and interest rates will not influence worker absences, anyway.

The paper: