Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Natural Experiment?

I've been reading about the itchy decision some Republican governors must make: whether to accept the stimulus money for their states or not. Sadly, none of them are planning to nobly refuse the money. What some of them are doing, though, is going through the list to see if they could refuse some of the money, to show their conservative credentials, I guess.

But imagine what an interesting natural experiment we'd get if all the red states refused the help to the states! We could make up a careful model right now and collect all the necessary data (allowing for influences across state borders, for instance), and then we could actually study if the refusing states fare worse or better than the ones who don't refuse!

Now that was the Echidne with the stern eyeglasses speaking, the one who is all head and no heart. That natural experiment wouldn't be very kind, of course. But then we have just lived through an eight-year natural experiment in warmongering and anarchy-in-the-marketplace as the new gods.