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Statistics on the Table The History of Statistical Concepts and Methods

ISBN-10: 0674009797

ISBN-13: 9780674009790

Edition: 1999

Authors: Stephen M. Stigler

List price: $34.00
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This lively collection of essays examines in witty detail the history of some of the concepts involved in bringing statistical argument "to the table," and some of the pitfalls that have been encountered. The topics range from seventeenth-century medicine and the circulation of blood, to the cause of the Great Depression and the effect of the California gold discoveries of 1848 upon price levels, to the determinations of the shape of the Earth and the speed of light, to the meter of Virgil's poetry and the prediction of the Second Coming of Christ. The title essay tells how the statistician Karl Pearson came to issue the challenge to put "statistics on the table" to the economists Marshall, Keynes, and Pigou in 1911. The 1911 dispute involved the effect of parental alcoholism upon children, but the challenge is general and timeless: important arguments require evidence, and quantitative evidence requires statistical evaluation. Some essays examine deep and subtle statistical ideas such as the aggregation and regression paradoxes; others tell of the origin of the Average Man and the evaluation of fingerprints as a forerunner of the use of DNA in forensic science. Several of the essays are entirely nontechnical; all examine statistical ideas with an ironic eye for their essence and what their history can tell us about current disputes.
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Book details

List price: $34.00
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 9/30/2002
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 504
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.738
Language: English

Stephen M. Stigler is Professor of Statistics at the University of Chicago.

Statistics and Social Science
Karl Pearson and the Cambridge Economists
The Average Man Is 168 Years Old
Jevons as Statistician
Jevons on the King-Davenant Law of Demand
Francis Ysidro Edgeworth, Statistician
Galtonian Ideas
Galton and Identification by Fingerprints
Stochastic Simulation in the Nineteenth Century
The History of Statistics in 1933
Regression toward the Mean
Statistical Concepts in Psychology
Some Seventeenth-Century Explorers
Apollo Mathematicus
The Dark Ages of Probability
John Craig and the Probability of History
Questions of Discovery
Stigler's Law of Eponymy
Who Discovered Bayes's Theorem?
Daniel Bernoulli, Leonhard Euler, and Maximum Likelihood
Gauss and the Invention of Least Squares
Cauchy and the Witch of Agnesi
Karl Pearson and Degrees of Freedom
Questions of Standards
Statistics and Standards
The Trial of the Pyx
Normative Terminology