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January 4th, 2006 - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Jan. 4th, 2006

12:53 pm - Correlation != Causation

"There was once a cholera epidemic in Russia. The government, in an effort to stem the disease, sent doctors to the worst-affected areas. The peasants of the province of S_____ discussed the situation and observed a very high correlation between the number of doctors in a given area and the incidence of cholera in that area (i.e. more doctors were observed in cholera areas than elsewhere). Relying on this hard fact, they rose and murdered their doctors."

Franklin M. Fisher, The Identification Problem in Econometrics,
(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966) pp. 2-3.

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