John Pfaff (Fordham) continues his mass incarceration series over at PrawfsBlawg with this post on his explanation for prison growth in the U.S. According to John, the “'Standard Story' of prison growth given by academics,
policymakers, and the press alike [emphasizing the war on drugs], is basically broken, giving lots of
attention to factors that don’t matter that much, and overlooking (if not
actively downplaying) the ones that do." Instead, after noting that "prison
populations continue to rise even as violent and property crime decline and
plateau," John identifies prosecutors as the "primary engine of prison growth, at least since crime began its decline in the early
Jeremy Blumenthal (Syracuse) asked that I share the following Call For Papers, and I'm delighted to do so.
upcoming American Psychology/Law Conference in New Orleans, next March 2014, is
particularly recruiting legal scholars’ work. All law-and-psychology-related
work is welcome, with a separate review process for non-empirical legal work
that relates to psychology. An abstract and a 1,000-word summary for
individual papers, or a panel of papers with abstracts, is required.
Instructions and further conference information are here. And
the login page to submit papers is here.
The submission deadline is Sept. 30. Those with any questions/comments should contact Jeremy directly at: email@example.com
The scholarly peer review process is a human process and thus, by definition, is far from perfect. "Type 1 and 2" errors abound, along with good-faith differences of opinion. Some truly outstanding papers emerge in less-prestigious journals and first class journals sometimes publish truly flawed papers. As Andrew Gelman's (Columbia--Statistics) post helpfully reminds us, however, the "peer review" process hardly ends with publication, especially for empirical work. Indeed, publication can often simply mark the beginning of another, enduring round of "peer reviews," for the better and worse, for journals and authors.
As a co-editor I note with pride that JELS 10:3 maintains (for more than one decade) JELS' perfect record of on-time publication and includes a wonderful collection of diverse and interesting papers. Topics in this issue range from data on the Indian Supreme Court's workload (here) to multidistrict litigation transfers and consolidations (here).
Prompted by my prior post discussing statistical significance levels, my Cornell colleague Ted Eisenberg passed along this 1982 paper from the American Psychologist by Michael Cowles (York) and Caroline Davis (York) discussing the emergence of the p < 0.05 threshold as the "standard" in the social sciences. Cowles and Davis argue that the move to the p < 0.05 threshold pre-dates Sir Ronald Fisher's contribution.
Rafael Irizarry makes an interesting contribution to a discussion about whether the standard statistical significance threshold (p < 0.05) should be tightened up.
"The gist of my thought is that, for some scientific fields, the
pessimist's criticism is missing a critical point: that in practice,
there is an inverse relationship between increasing rates of true
discoveries and decreasing rates of false discoveries and that true
discoveries from fields such as the biomedical sciences provide an
enormous benefit to society."
While Irizarry's comment dwells on the hard sciences, recognizing the
inevitable trade off between stringency and discovery (by plotting true
positive and false positive rates for a given classifying procedure)
potentially implicates empirical legal scholarship as well.
From the archives comes a helpful reminder from Osborne & Waters about key regression assumptions that require examination (here). Gelman provides a "friendly" amendment and a (related) list of his own.
To prolong my recent mini-obsession on statistical power issues, I thought some readers might find a three-part statistical power "webinar" helpful. Hosted by UCLA's outstanding Institute for Digital Research and Education (idre), the power analysis series includes introductory, intermediate, and advanced instruction. Insofar as power issues are too often ignored by researchers, this resource is worth a look.
David Schwartz (Chi-Kent) asked that I pass along on the inaugural "Workshop on Empirical Methods in Intellectual Property," co-sponsored by Chicago-Kent's Center for Empirical Studies of Intellectual Property and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I am happy to oblige and welcome another field-specific empirical methods workshop into the fold. Summary information follows.
"The workshop is intended to give scholars engaging in empirical and experimental studies of IP a chance to receive feedback on their work at an early stage in their research. Accordingly, the workshop will be limited to a small cohort of scholars discussing projects that are still in their developmental stages. Projects that will have substantially begun data collection by the time of the workshop are inappropriate. Pilot data collection is, however, appropriate."
"The workshop will be organized around a modest number of projects. Each project presenter will be expected to circulate a description of the project of no more than 10 pages by October 1. Each project will be assigned to an expert commenter and will be allotted 45 minutes of discussion by the attendees."
For those interested, applications are due by August 24. Decisions will be made by September 2. Click here for detailed information; email Christi Guerri (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.