Stylized facts

From McElreath and Boyd (2007), two evolutionary biologists somethings ((They’re both in Antropology departments)):

This result ((The result he’s talking about is the fact that even with very low amounts of migration (just one individual per generation), there won’t be significant genetic variation between groups.)) is what economists call a “stylized fact,” a conclusion that glosses over many complications, is held by no one to be an actual description of the world, but nevertheless tells us something valuable.


5 thoughts on “Stylized facts”

  1. Of course, speciation requires variation in genes, but that’s not the only time you see variation between groups. Let’s see, examples… breeds, varieties… oh yeah, race.

    Most of the time, we don’t give names to various groups because they don’t look that different. Mutation and drift may cause two non-interbreeding villages to gain differences in genes but the expression of those genes may not be noticeable.

  2. Yeah, the difference is that economics’ “stylized facts” are directly attributable to consistent improvements in welfare (e.g. stabilization policy) while the research of antropologists — and please notice I abstained from using quotes around “research” — well, … let’s just say that they couldn’t get jobs in the private sector even if they’d paid their would-be employer.

  3. Ouch… McElreath ain’t you’re typical anthropologist, though. He knows math and stuff.

    Anyway, I’m not sure what you mean by stylized facts in econ. 2% year to year gdp growth over the last 130 years is a stylized fact. So is increase in inequality over the last 30 years. Both of these are described by McElreath’s definition, but only one has to do with improving welfare. (Actually, technically neither is necessarily a measure of efficiency… you can get increases in GDP but decreases in welfare.)

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