Numerical Literacy

NUMERICAL LITERACY….Mark Kleiman nominates the following as a “list of concepts journalism students should be exposed to”:

  1. Institutional culture

  2. Regression toward the mean

  3. Moral hazard

  4. Expected value (of an uncertain outcome)

  5. Present value (of a stream of gains and losses over time)

  6. Statistical control

  7. Correlation v. causation

  8. Benefit-cost analysis and willingness-to-pay

  9. Cost-effectiveness

  10. Separation of powers

  11. Mill’s “harm principle”

  12. Rent-seeking

  13. Opportunity cost

  14. Cognitive dissonance

  15. Milgram experiment

Obviously we all have our favorites, and your list would probably be different from Mark’s. But I will note one thing: by my count, nine out of his fifteen items are related to numerical literacy of one kind or another. That sounds about right to me.

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