Posts by: Randy Ellis

Professor in the Department of Economics, Boston University

You should get a large SSD hard drive

This email will interest anyone who is processing very large data files, such as 5 GB or more. Or, if you are frustrated with how long your Window’s updates and other IO intensive tasks take. (Most Apple users are probably already using SSD drives.) In October the hard drive on my Windows Desktop failed (not […]

Denmark’s Social Capitalism and Switzerland’s Federal Democracy

With Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both mentioning Democratic Socialism in Denmark, it is interesting to read about what it actually is. Here is one link with one persons discussion. Living with Denmark’s democratic socialism Denmark sounds pretty wonderful to me Switzerland I just returned from Switzerland which is not democratic socialism, […]

Tax to rise on the uninsured next year.

This is why enrollment in health insurance will continue to rise in the US from the ACA. For 2016: Max of  $695 or 2.5 percent of taxable income if uninsured. Full text is below. Health law fine for uninsured to rise Boston Globe Associated Press  October 19, 2015 WASHINGTON — The federal penalty for […]

BU ranked 41 overall, 24th in Economics, by US News and World Report

Since I have blogged about rankings in the past – here and here, I thought I would blog about BU’s latest rankings by US News and World Report and elsewhere. BU was ranked 41, up one position in the 2015 as top US Colleges and Universities. This ranking is across all fields, and is based […]

iHEA Milan attracts twenty BU current and former students, faculty and visitors

Among the 1400 worldwide attendees, BU was again well represented at the International Health Economics Association biennial meetings in Milan Italy, 2015 with 20 current and former students, faculty and visitors present. Present were: Osea Giuntella, Giulia La Mattina, Francesco Decarolis, Ana Balsa, Daniel Maceira, Julie Shi,  Michal Horny, Randy Ellis, Arturo Schweiger, Wenjia Zhu, […]

Congratulations to BU’s Class of 2015 Economics graduates!

Please celebrate the students who earned 482 Boston University degrees in Economics at Commencement over the weekend. This year the program contained: 22 Ph.D. recipients 155 Master’s degree recipients (MA, MAPE, MAEP, MAGDE MA/MBA, BA/MA) 305 BA recipients (including BA/MA) This represents a total of 482 degrees! Up from 463 in 2014. These numbers undercount […]

Ellis SAS tips for experienced SAS users

If you are a beginning SAS programmer, then the following may not be particularly helpful, but the books suggested in the middle may be. BU students can obtain a free license for SAS to install on their own computer if it is required for a course or research project. Both will require an email from […]

Ellis SAS tips for New SAS programmers

There is also a posting on Ellis SAS tips for Experienced SAS programmers It focuses on issues when using large datasets.   Randy’s SAS hints for New SAS programmers, updated Feb 21, 2015 ALWAYS begin and intermix your programs with internal documentation. (Note how I combined six forms of emphasis in ALWAYS: color, larger font, […]

Press Interviews and Quotes

Partly just to keep track of them for my BU annual report, this post links to my press interviews and quotes. MBTA late-night service threatened by lack of sponsorship Daily Free Press. by Paige Smith · January 27, 2015 Part time BU employees now eligible for health, dental benefits Daily Free Press. by Rachel Legon […]

Deflategate pressure drop is consistent with a ball air temperature of 72 degrees when tested initially.

Deflategate pressure drop is consistent with a ball air temperature of 72 degrees when tested initially. I revised my original Deflategate posting after learning that it is absolute air pressure not pressure above standard sea level pressure that follows the Ideal Gas Law.  I also allowed for stretching of the leather once the ball becomes […]

#6 Raise the minimum wage for jobs not offering health insurance

Time to change the policy discussion. Congress has been unwilling to raise the minimum wage despite strong public support for doing so. This blog suggests a concrete approach for getting even broader public support and potentially reducing the need for federal taxes. As of January 1, 2015 29 states and DC have minimum wages above […]

Recommended book on US health care system

I highly recommend this book as a useful summary of the US Health Care System. I have made it required reading (as a reference) for my classes at BU. The Health Care Handbook: A Clear and Concise Guide to the United States Health Care System, 2nd Edition Paperback – November 15, 2014 by Elisabeth Askin […]

Useful Data Links to US Government data

Websites for Federal Administrative Data sets: US Administration for International Development: Foreign aid from the U.S: Data and Tools Department of Agriculture: Economic Research Services: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Data System Food and Nutrition Services: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Data Food Safety Inspection Services: Recalls and Quarterly Enforcement Reports Forest Inventory Data National Agricultural Statistics Service: Cropland Data Natural Resource Conservation Service: […]

Re-envisioning Ebola, including updated story about Nigeria from Kas Nwuke

Arlene Ash, Professor and Division Chief, Biostatistics and Health Services Research, at UMass Medical School, has compiled a useful series of original thoughts, emails, and links about Ebola which I am broadcasting and reposting on my blog site here. This posting repeats some of the information already posted in my earlier blog: Ebola is being […]

Ebola is being contained in Nigeria

Amid so much negative and scary news about Ebola, this research paper on the experience of Nigeria where it has not spread widely after arriving by airplane gives great hope. I recommend it if you have time (It is 6 pages – updated to include references.). Containing Ebola: A success story from an “unexpected” place? […]

Important Reposting on Placebo surgery from TIE

I am forwarding this excellent TIE post since every health researcher and indeed every consumer should realize how serious the lack of evidence is on many common surgical procedures. Here are some quotes organized in a succinct way. “2002… arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee … Those who had the actual procedures did no […]

BU well represented at ASSA meetings in 2015

As would be expected since the Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) meetings are in Boston this January, BU is well represented on the ASSA program. After searching and scanning through the program for current and former students and current faculty, I identified 81 BU affiliate names on the program, whether as authors, discussants or presiding. […]

A model for US: $1 coins and no pennies

I just returned from a vacation in Ecuador (which is spectacular) but wanted to post about a wonderful feature of their monetary system. Ecuador does not have its own currency but instead uses the US dollar as their only currency. US dollar bills and coins are used everywhere, which is very convenient for visitors. But […]

NEJM: Sham Controls in Medical Device Trials

Rita F. Redberg, M.D. N Engl J Med 2014; 371:892-893September 4, 2014DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1406388 (Bold emphasis added by RPE) The problem: “Only 1% of all medical devices reach the market through the premarket-approval route — the only pathway that requires the submission of clinical data. Research has shown that premarket approvals are often based on data […]

Read Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

I just finished reading the book Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (author of Moneyball and the Big Short). I highly recommend it to economists as a quick read (270 pages) in accessible prose. Or anyone. Every economist should be aware of the grossly unfair trading practices that the SEC and NASDAQ have allowed to […]