university

Simpson’s Paradox And Gender Discrimination

One sunny day we arrive at work in the university administration to find a lot of aggressive emails in our in‒box. Just the day before, a news story about gender discrimination in academia was published in a popular local newspaper which included data from our university. The emails are a result of that. Female readers are outraged that men were accepted at the university at a higher rate, while male readers are angry that women were favored in each course the university offers. Somewhat puzzled, you take a look at the data to see what’s going on and who’s wrong.

The university only offers two courses: physics and sociology. In total, 1000 men and 1000 women applied. Here’s the breakdown:

Physics:

800 men applied ‒ 480 accepted (60 %)
100 women applied ‒ 80 accepted (80 %)

Sociology:

200 men applied ‒ 40 accepted (20 %)
900 women applied ‒ 360 accepted (40 %)

Seems like the male readers are right. In each course women were favored. But why the outrage by female readers? Maybe they focused more on the following piece of data. Let’s count how many men and women were accepted overall.

Overall:

1000 men applied ‒ 520 accepted (52 %)
1000 women applied ‒ 440 accepted (44 %)

Wait, what? How did that happen? Suddenly the situation seems reversed. What looked like a clear case of discrimination of male students turned into a case of discrimination of female students by simple addition. How can that be explained?

The paradoxical situation is caused by the different capacities of the two departments as well as the student’s overall preferences. While the physics department, the top choice of male students, could accept 560 students, the smaller sociology department, the top choice of female students, could only take on 400 students. So a higher acceptance rate of male students is to be expected even if women are slightly favored in each course.

While this might seem to you like an overly artificial example to demonstrate an obscure statistical phenomenon, I’m sure the University of California (Berkeley) would beg to differ. It was sued in 1973 for bias against women on the basis of these admission rates:

8442 men applied ‒ 3715 accepted (44 %)
4321 women applied ‒ 1512 accepted (35 %)

A further analysis of the data however showed that women were favored in almost all departments ‒ Simpson’s paradox at work. The paradox also appeared (and keeps on appearing) in clinical trials. A certain treatment might be favored in individual groups, but still prove to be inferior in the aggregate data.

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Credit Cards For College Students: Finding The Best Available

Student credit cards are geared primarily toward college students. But there are many factors that can make credit cards for college students the right choice for young people. So, it is very important for all consumers, not just students, to first learn about each type of available card and then choose the one that is most suitable.

Secured credit cards are one type of card for students to consider. These cards are funded in advance of purchases and do not actually extend a line of credit in the form of a loan. Rather, the cardholder sends money to the card ahead of time and uses those funds to make purchases later. In essence, a secured credit card is a bank account that does not earn interest, but can be accessed easily with the swipe of a credit card.

Secured credit cards for college students are a popular choice with many students and their parents. One of the reasons for the popularity of these student credit cards is the fact that it is not necessary to have a credit history in order to receive the card. Of course, most college students have not yet had the opportunity to build a credit history. Therefore, a secured credit card is an attractive option. In addition, secured student credit cards typically offer instant approval and do not require employment verification or even a bank account in order to receive a card.

Secured credit cards are also popular with parents because they can “load” the credit cards with as much money as they see fit for their college student. Loading a credit card is simply placing money on the card. Parents can generally choose to have money directly added to the card with each paycheck. Or, they can send money through the mail in the form of a money order or cashier’s check. There usually are also banks that will accept payments to be added to the credit card.

With a secured student credit card, parents can essentially provide their college-going child with an allowance to pay for food, school materials, or any other need the student may have. At the same time, there is no risk of the college student building a huge debt on an unsecured credit card. Once the money is spent, there is no more for the college student to spend. Secured credit cards for college students are a great way for parents to help teach their children to be responsible and independent while still providing a little help along the way.

Another benefit to using secured credit cards for college students is that many report to the major credit bureaus. In this way, the college student can begin building credit without the concern of harming his or her credit rating by being unable to pay the debt off.

For some college students, secured credit cards are not the most attractive option. One reason is because there tends to be a great number of fees associated with secured credit card. Theses fees include application fees, processing fees, and annual fees. There is generally also a fee associated with loading funds onto the credit card. Though these fees usually range from $1 to $5, the fees can add up over time.

Another reason secured credit cards may not be attractive to a college student is because the student is truly on his or her own and unable to receive financial assistance from the parents. Or, the college student may simply not have the funds available to place on a secured credit card ahead of time.

No matter the reason, unsecured student credit cards are also a popular option with credit cards. Credit cards geared toward college students are specifically designed for individuals with little credit history. Often, the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on these cards is higher than average. Therefore, it is best for the college student to pay off the card at the end of each billing cycle whenever possible. As with secured student credit cards, unsecured credit cards for college students go a long way toward building the student’s credit history.