Case study summaries
CH02A Finding a good deal among hotels: data preparation
Vienna, Austria is a popular tourist destination for business and leisure. From the hundreds of places that offer accommodation, we want to pick a hotel that is underpriced relative to its location and quality for a weekday in November 2017. What kind of variables could we consider during our search for a good deal? We look at qualitative and quantitative variables and create a data table that we can work with.
This case study illustrates how to find problems with observations and variables and uses the
hotels-vienna dataset. It shows how to create a tidy data table and how to deal with missing values and duplicates. It allows instructors to demonstrate the importance of data cleaning and the common steps of data wrangling.
CH02B Displaying immunization rates across countries
Around the world vaccination against measles saves the lives of children. But how do various countries fare in terms of their immunization rate? We use the World Development Indicators data website maintained by the World Bank to look at countries’ annual immunization rate and GDP per capita.
This case study illustrates how to store multi-dimensional data. It uses the
world-bank-immunization dataset and shows a data structure focusing on two ID variables (country and year) and two other variables (immunization rate and GDP per capita). It allows instructors to demonstrate xt panel data tables in long and wide formats.
Ch02C Identifying successful football managers
The English Premier League (EPL) is the top football division in England and we want to identify its most successful football manager. Covering 11 years, the
football dataset covers all games played in the EPL and data on managers, including which team they worked at and when. We create a workfile by joining two different data tables. After defining the measure of success as average points per game, we identify the most successful managers.
This case study introduces how to prepare data for analysis and illustrates linking data tables with different kinds of observations. It shows how to combine two data sources and what kinds of problems can arise while doing so. It allows instructors to demonstrate entity resolution, relational data, tidy data tables, and linking data tables.
Ch03A Finding a good deal among hotels: data exploration
Vienna, Austria is a popular tourist destination for business and leisure. We search for a good deal on a weekday in November 2017 among hotels located in the center of Vienna. Using the
hotels-vienna dataset, we explore the most important variables needed for our analysis with a focus on distribution of hotels in quality and in distance to the city center. We find and manage extreme values of price to create an ultimate sample of hotels.
This case study shows the description of distributions and their use in identifying problems in the data. It illustrates the steps of exploratory data analysis and introduces guidelines for data visualization. It illustrates the design of histograms as well as layers of a graphical object.
Ch03B Comparing hotel prices in Europe: Vienna vs London
How can we compare hotel markets over Europe and learn about characteristics of hotel prices? Using the
hotels-europe dataset, we pick Vienna and London and focus on 3-4 star hotels located in the city center and compare the distribution of prices for a weekday in November 2017. From our summary statistics and visualized distributions we conclude that hotel prices in London tend to be substantially higher on average and more spread than in Vienna.
The case study shows some of the most important descriptive statistics for quantitative variables and illustrates the comparison of distributions and the use of histograms and density plots.
Ch03C Measuring home team advantage in football
Is there such a thing as home team advantage in professional football? Using the
football dataset, we examine whether and to what extent football teams of the English Premier League (EPL) tended to perform better if they played in their home stadium during the 2016/17 season using the football dataset. After creating variables and presenting summary statistics we find that soccer teams while playing on their home turf won almost 50% of the time and lost only about 30% of the time.
The case study shows the use of exploratory data analysis to answer a substantive question and introduces guidelines to present statistics in a good table.
Ch03D Distributions of body height and income
We look at population data collected by the Health and Retirement Study in the U.S.A. in 2014 (
height-income-distributions dataset), and show how the height of women aged 55-60 can be described by the normal distribution. For an approximately lognormal distribution, we look at the distribution of household income among households of women aged 55-60 collected by the same study.
This case study shows two everyday examples for theoretical distributions, with a focus on normal and lognormal distributions.
Ch04A Management quality and firm size: describing patterns of association
Are larger companies better managed? We choose one country (Mexico) and use the World Management Survey data –
wms-management-survey dataset from 2013 to explore the association between management quality and firm size. By creating a management score to capture the quality of management and using employment to measure firm size, we examine various conditional statistics and informative visualizations. We find that larger manufacturing firms in Mexico are better managed but as the positive correlation is not strong and it varies across industries.
This case study shows what we can do to uncover patterns of association when both y and x are quantitative variables. It illustrates conditional probabilities, various aspects of conditional distributions and shows how to create informative figures by visualizing various kinds of comparisons (scatterplot, bin scatter, box plots).
CH05A What likelihood of loss to expect on a stock portfolio?
Can we find out the future likelihood of a large loss on a stock portfolio based on data from the past? We choose the S&P 500 stock market index as our investment portfolio, and use the
sp500 dataset that covers day-to-day returns for 11 years. After defining large daily loss as an at least 5% drop in returns from one day to another, we search for the proportion of days with large losses. We construct a 95% confidence interval and find that in the general pattern represented by the 11-year history of returns, large daily losses occur with a 0.2 to 0.8 percent chance. However, we find that external validity may not be high and acknowledge that in the future, large daily losses may have a higher probability than 0.8 %.
This case study introduces the concept of repeated samples, standard deviation and confidence intervals. It shows how to make statistical inference in two ways, using the bootstrap method and using a formula for the standard error. It also illustrates how to think about external validity in general.
CH06A Comparing online and offline prices: testing the difference
Do online and offline prices of the same products tend to be the same? Using the
billion-prices dataset, we examine online and offline prices of retail products in the U.S. in 2015-16. We translate our question to an inquiry about a statistic (average difference). First, we form one hypothesis: online versus offline price difference is zero (the null) and not zero (the alternative). After carrying out a hypothesis testing, looking at the p-value as well as at the 95% CI, we find that we can’t reject the null. Second, we test multiple hypotheses. We look at 16 retail stores in the US and for each we test whether the average price differential is zero. After finding that the average online-offline price difference is not zero in some of the retail chains in the data, we argue that the multiple tests may reveal artificial features of the data (measurement error).
This case study introduces the process of hypothesis testing: how to define the statistic of interest, the null, and the alternative. It shows how we can generalize a decision from the population of products represented by the data to the population of products we are interested in. It allows instructors to demonstrate the use of the t-test and the p-value and testing multiple hypotheses.
CH06A Testing the likelihood of loss on a stock portfolio
How can we test whether our stock portfolio is likely to suffer large future losses more often than we can accept? Our portfolio is the S&P 500 stock market index and we use the
sp500 dataset that covers day-to-day returns from 2006 to 2016. First, we define large daily loss as an at least 5% drop in returns from one day to another. Then, we assume that we accept such losses as long as they are less frequent than 1% of the days. We form our alternative hypothesis that the proportion of days with large losses is less than 1% and the null that covers all other possibilities. After calculating the p-value, we reject the null (and conclude that large losses occur less frequently than one percent of the days.)
This case study allows instructors to demonstrate a one-sided hypothesis test.
CH07A Finding a good deal among hotels with simple regression
Vienna, Austria is a popular tourist destination for business and leisure. With the
hotels-vienna dataset, we search for a good deal for a single night in November 2017 among 3-4 star hotels located in the center of Vienna. We use regression analysis to find what the hotel price “should be” for various levels of distance to the city center. Then we compare that price to the actual price of each hotel to identify the especially low values. First, we use bin scatters and a lowess non-parametric regression and see that hotels further away from the city center are, on average, less expensive. In order to find out by how much (on average), we apply linear regression. We find that hotels that are 1 mile further away from the city center are, on average, 14 dollars cheaper in our data. After examining the residuals of the linear regression of hotel prices on distance to the city, we find the five most underpriced hotels. However, we also see that simple linear regression with distance to the city center explains 16% of the overall variation in hotels prices hence this may not produce the best possible prediction.
This case study introduces non-parametric regression such as lowess, and linear regression (OLS), residuals and goodness of fit (R-squared).
CH08A Finding a good deal among hotels with non-linear function
Vienna, Austria is a popular tourist destination for business and leisure. With the
hotels-vienna dataset, we search for a good deal for a single night in November 2017 among 3-4 star hotels located in the center of Vienna. In order to capture the non-linear pattern between distance and hotel price, we measure relative price differences. We examine four regressions and pick the log-level that shows that hotels that are 1 mile farther away from the city center are 13% less expensive, on average.
This case study illustrates the use of logarithms in linear regression and the transformation of variables, and the coefficient interpretations in different setups. It allows instructors to demonstrate how the focus of interest of the data analysis can affect the choice of applied methods.
CH08B How is life expectancy related to the average income of a country?
In wealthier countries people generally live longer. Can we find countries where people live longer than what we would expect based on their average income? We use the
worldbank-lifeexpectancy data based on the WDI database, and examine data from a single year, 2017 for 182 countries. We search for a regression model (functional form) that captures the shape and strength of the association. With our preferred model, we find a few countries where people live more than seven years longer than what we could expect given the countries’ GDP per capita.
This case study illustrates the transformations of variables (logs, per capita measures, weights) and non-linear functional forms (spline, polynomial). It shows how to visualize regressions with variables in logs.
CH08C Measurement error in hotel ratings
What can we do about measurement error during data analysis? With the hotels-vienna dataset, we search for a good deal among hotels in Vienna, Austria. We examine hotel ratings published on a price comparison website. Ratings vary between 1 and 5, 5 being excellent and the website shows the average value of ratings for each hotel. We try to uncover an association between price and quality by a regression of hotel price on customer rating for two cases: when the average rating is based on a few and when it is based on many ratings. We find that there is a substantial measurement error in average customer ratings among hotels where that average rating is based on a few customers’ reports.
This case study illustrates the effect of classical measurement error.