Thursday, April 23, 2009

Baseball and Divorce

This is wierd.  Someone did research that claims to show that having a major league baseball team in your city lowers the divorce rate.

I suspect, but cannot prove, that the research is flawed.  Correlation is not causation.  The study looked at cities that acquired a baseball team, and looked at divorce rates before and after the acquisition.  I am fairly sure that the lower divorce rates and the team acquisition are both symptoms of a common cause: increased wealth and prosperity.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lies, damn lies, and statistics?

Richard Bruns said...

I think that most of the damage done with statistics is done through ignorance, not malice. Stats are a very powerful tool, and very easy to misuse. Too many people just blindly plug numbers into a software package without knowing the fundamentals and how to interpret the results.

Anonymous said...

There's no mention of cities that have had baseball teams since before 1950. All those teams mentioned are very, very new. Hopefully it was the article that left that out, not the researchers...

Richard Bruns said...

The way the research was conducted required them to use only new teams. They looked at divorce rates before and after the team moved in. You probably can't get accurate divorce data from before 1950; the change in laws would make comparisons pointless.