6 thoughts on “The Spirit Level revisited”

  1. Posted 10/06/2015 at 13:05 | Permalink

    There is a modest (r2=0.20) correlation, with the less equal countries appearing to have shorter life expectancies

    An r^2 of 0.2 corresponds to a correlation of 0.45, which most people would call moderate, not modest.

    Looking at those graphs, I’d say racial composition is a better explanation of life expectancy differences than inequality.

  2. Posted 14/06/2015 at 11:33 | Permalink

    these results suggest to me there are a number of omitted variables. The whole idea of regressing (linearly) life expectancy on a measure of inequality seems crazy to me.

  3. Posted 14/06/2015 at 11:45 | Permalink

    Not sure what you are looking at Pat – that is a 0.02 r2, not 0.20. And of course the r2 is the measure of how much of the variance is being explained by this rather than other factors, so is a good measure of the importance of a factor to the explanation.

    The basic point of the analysis confirming the failure of the Spirit Level hypothesis in the way that Christopher predicted is pretty much game, set and match in any honest academic debate.

  4. Posted 18/06/2015 at 07:27 | Permalink

    Interesting to see what happens when 2014 life expectancy numbers are used. Do you have any data for changes on the x-axis over time, Christopher, or have “inequality” numbers remained stable for these countries since Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett published their work? (I’m wondering why you used updated figures on one axis only in your fresh scatter diagram). Would you please explain how the income inequality scale works. Its not based on GINI coefficients is it. Also, how confident can we be about the quality of the data used in these studies? Shouldn’t we be putting error bars on all the points? If so, how is this taken into account by the statisticians when calculating r-squared values?

  5. Posted 20/11/2015 at 11:16 | Permalink

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have
    clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment.
    Is there a means you can remove me from that service?
    Kudos!

  6. Posted 20/11/2015 at 11:44 | Permalink

    Teddy – I can’t do that from here, but there should be a link at the bottom of these mails, which says “click here if you don’t want to receive further notifications.”

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