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Re: st: rectangulizing data

From   Maarten Buis <>
Subject   Re: st: rectangulizing data
Date   Fri, 27 May 2011 10:34:09 +0200

On Thu, May 26, 2011 at 7:44 PM, Dmitriy Krichevskiy wrote:
> I am still puzzled by the enormous volatility an average individual faces.
> Out of the small sample of people I personally know no one is subjected
> to such fluctuations, most certainly no one working for a wage. This
> makes me uncomfortable because either I  and the people I know are
> not a good representative of an average individual or (more worrisome
> scenario) those participating in SIPP are some strange individuals
> self-selecting to participate.

It is good to be skeptical about once data and see if patterns in it
make sense. However, it is a well known fact that someones network is
typically highly selective, so my guess is that you and the people you
know are definitely not good representatives of an average individual.

A couple of years ago I was supervising a group of first year students
on their first research project. All those students had an immigration
background. They had interviewed baggage handlers at Schiphol Airport.
They observed that most of their respondents had little or no
education and an immigration background, and they concluded that they
were thus representative for the Dutch population...

These were of course first year students, and during our studies and
later research we will get a better idea of what is normal and what is
not. However, it is easy to forget to what extent we are living in a
"social bubble" and how different a population can be from our own
experience and the experiences of the people we know.

-- Maarten

Maarten L. Buis
Institut fuer Soziologie
Universitaet Tuebingen
Wilhelmstrasse 36
72074 Tuebingen

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