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Author Topic: State freedom rankings  (Read 54641 times)

freedomroad

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2007, 02:31:05 am »

i find it hard to believe mass. is freer than wyoming

Yeah.  Because it is not.  Wyoming is free for the people.  And actually, it doesn't tax mineral rights as bad as some places (like MT, for example).  Plus its income tax policy is far better than almost anywhere (equal to TX).

Having a lot of spending does not mean the people are less free.  Having a lot of government workers may or may not (it depends on what they do). 
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JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2007, 09:07:45 am »

i find it hard to believe mass. is freer than wyoming

Yeah.  Because it is not.  Wyoming is free for the people.  And actually, it doesn't tax mineral rights as bad as some places (like MT, for example). 

Well, it certainly has more taxes in the "other" category than Montana! Or even Alaska. And these are taxes - not fees and charges, which are separate.

Quote
Having a lot of spending does not mean the people are less free.  Having a lot of government workers may or may not (it depends on what they do). 

I disagree. If people are made to become more dependent on government for various kinds of services, I think that is a real distortion of natural social processes and in that sense a loss of freedom.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2007, 09:15:41 am »

A lot of this is more art than science, but it's just kind of fun to do. :)

Jason,

I wonder if you've considered, what I would consider the most sophisticated & modern approach to measurement in social science - Rasch (Item Response Theory) - it has rigorous theoretical base for creating linear measures; and if you can create an absolute zero, make meaningful ratios (e.g. zero personal freedom).

More here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasch_model
http://www.winsteps.com/
http://www.rasch.org/

Thanks for the links... I read through the Wikipedia article, and unfortunately it seems that IRT requires either dichotomous or ordinal data. Some of our data are like that, but we also have a fair amount of continuous data (fiscal and law enforcement data, particularly). The theory behind IRT is also a little different. While it's certainly better for a normative study than factor analysis because it allows you to set "right" and "wrong" answers, the weighting of "exam questions" (for us, policy areas) is still empirically derived, rather than something you can set in advance. That would mean that something clearly ideological like labor laws or gun control might dominate the overall index, while important areas that do not reflect underlying ideological tendencies, such as fiscal policy, liability systems, asset forfeiture rules, and occupational licensing, would not contribute much to it. However, I do think it can be valuable for creating some of our sub-components, where the individual policy variables are all dichotomous or ordinal and all should be weighted about equally, so I will investigate it further.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

freedomroad

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2007, 01:58:44 pm »

Well, it certainly has more taxes in the "other" category than Montana! Or even Alaska. And these are taxes - not fees and charges, which are separate.

Sure, WY collects more money in taxes from minerals, oil, and gas than MT.  There is no doubt.  WY is less regulated and has lower tax rates on these thing, from what I understand.  MT discourages production.  If the minerals ever start to run out in WY, the companies will look to MT.  So, the overall taxes collected may be higher in WY, but it is far easier for a company function in WY and that is why the state gets all of that tax money.
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GhengisConrad

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2007, 02:15:30 pm »

Well that and is it based on total taxes received or per-capita? Even per-capita can be misleading. Perhap per-capita percentage would be better?

On another note, dont we all kick so much ass? Seriously, we all love the FSP, want NH to come out on top, but when one of our own people come up with a way to prove to us that we  are right, we critisize even that. Try geting that from the other political spectrums. In another party all Jason would have gotten is alot of nodding heads and pats on the back for his work.

Us? We want proof. ;D
I love us.
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"I will not help you to pretend I have a chance. I will not help you to preserve the appearance of righteousness where rights are not recognized. I will not help you to preserve an appearance of rationality by entering a debate in which a gun is the final argument. I will not help you to pretend that you are administering justice."- Hank Rearden page 443

lloydbob1

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2007, 02:23:59 pm »

You're the researcher,  but, wouldn't it be easier to break down the categories; Personal Freedom, Business Freedom, etc.?  To do what you are doing seems to you put you in the position of having to compare apples and oranges and come up with some kind of average.


State A  has total economic freedom. No Taxes. User fees. When you're driving down the road conducting your business both bureaucrats jump out of your way, so as not to get in your way

Divided by:

State A requires you to 'bind' the right foot of every other one of your children.


=?

You mean just leave the rankings for the separate categories as they are and not have an overall freedom index? I suppose the end user could do whatever he wants with the data, actually. We'll have all the components, subcomponents, and individual variables made available for people who want to weight things themselves.

You could make a graph, (bar graph I think) putting the categories in the order of your choice with a color bar going from Bad to Really, Really Good!  People could look at the pretty bars and exclaim: "Hey!  Look at the bars that state has!  Oops!.....look at that foot thing!"
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JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2007, 04:29:36 pm »

Well that and is it based on total taxes received or per-capita? Even per-capita can be misleading. Perhap per-capita percentage would be better?

They're total tax revenues as a percentage of "state earnings by place of work" (a Bureau of Economic Analysis measure of public and private wages paid to employees working in the state - I think this is the best available proxy for total size of the state's economy, better than Gross State Product). This is the measure you want, because it measures the sense in which taxes are a tradeoff, squeezing out the private economy. Taxes per capita would always be lower in poorer states, simply because they have less to tax, so we don't use that measure.

Quote
On another note, dont we all kick so much ass? Seriously, we all love the FSP, want NH to come out on top, but when one of our own people come up with a way to prove to us that we  are right, we critisize even that. Try geting that from the other political spectrums. In another party all Jason would have gotten is alot of nodding heads and pats on the back for his work.

Us? We want proof. ;D
I love us.

It's good feedback for us. Since it's still a work in progress, comments like these help make the final product better. Because of the comments here, I'm considering adjusting state spending figures for federal grants, school age population, and the poverty rate. If I do that, it makes Wyoming look much, much better (they rise to #26 in the overall index). However, I'm still not persuaded that we should do this. If a state is sucking in lots of federal grants, as a lot of the western states are, it seems to me that spending that money, even though it's "free money," still makes the population more dependent on government, and that reduces freedom.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2007, 04:30:13 pm »

You're the researcher,  but, wouldn't it be easier to break down the categories; Personal Freedom, Business Freedom, etc.?  To do what you are doing seems to you put you in the position of having to compare apples and oranges and come up with some kind of average.


State A  has total economic freedom. No Taxes. User fees. When you're driving down the road conducting your business both bureaucrats jump out of your way, so as not to get in your way

Divided by:

State A requires you to 'bind' the right foot of every other one of your children.


=?

You mean just leave the rankings for the separate categories as they are and not have an overall freedom index? I suppose the end user could do whatever he wants with the data, actually. We'll have all the components, subcomponents, and individual variables made available for people who want to weight things themselves.

You could make a graph, (bar graph I think) putting the categories in the order of your choice with a color bar going from Bad to Really, Really Good!  People could look at the pretty bars and exclaim: "Hey!  Look at the bars that state has!  Oops!.....look at that foot thing!"

Sounds like a good idea to me! ;)
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

lloydbob1

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2007, 09:26:59 pm »

Yer the Perfesser.  I'll go put my tool belt back on.
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mattbarney

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2007, 01:53:05 am »

Thanks for the links... I read through the Wikipedia article, and unfortunately it seems that IRT requires either dichotomous or ordinal data. Some of our data are like that, but we also have a fair amount of continuous data (fiscal and law enforcement data, particularly). The theory behind IRT is also a little different. While it's certainly better for a normative study than factor analysis because it allows you to set "right" and "wrong" answers, the weighting of "exam questions" (for us, policy areas) is still empirically derived, rather than something you can set in advance. That would mean that something clearly ideological like labor laws or gun control might dominate the overall index, while important areas that do not reflect underlying ideological tendencies, such as fiscal policy, liability systems, asset forfeiture rules, and occupational licensing, would not contribute much to it. However, I do think it can be valuable for creating some of our sub-components, where the individual policy variables are all dichotomous or ordinal and all should be weighted about equally, so I will investigate it further.

Jason

The links are just the "intro", and much of what I do with Rasch / IRT is with personality, attitude and value scales (e.g. Likert), not dichotomous data and whose meaning is empirically derived, not "true/false".  Rasch is an entirely different paradigm than IRT, even though the 1PL IRT model is almost identical mathematically to the Rasch model, there are substantive differences that are worth investigation.  A key difference is the ability to have linear measures, with concatenation, and interval or ratio-scaled data.  As an example, I'm doing a project with Robert Cialdini (Do you remember, I sent you a copy of his book, "Influence: Science & Practice" several years ago) that uses Rasch on his influence models with a true "zero" and computer-adaptive measurement.  Rasch is a paradigm that meets the physical science standards for measurement, but applied to social science hypotheses.

Some links on Rating Scale & Partial Credit, and also Rasch paradigm vs IRT

This is an excellent class in English on Rasch, including Partial Credit/Rating Scale PowerPoint Slides: http://www2.ipcku.kansai-u.ac.jp/~shizuka/class/POSTGRAD/testing2006/testing2006.htm

in particular, this module goes into the details: http://www2.ipcku.kansai-u.ac.jp/~shizuka/class/POSTGRAD/testing2006/12%20Rasch%20Models%20for%20Ordered%20Categories.ppt

Excellent overview of Objective Measurement in Social Science by Mike Linacre:
http://www.winsteps.com/aftp/measure.pdf
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JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2007, 09:11:55 am »

All right, I'll check it out!
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

J’raxis 270145

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2007, 09:09:45 pm »

Well that and is it based on total taxes received or per-capita? Even per-capita can be misleading. Perhap per-capita percentage would be better?

They're total tax revenues as a percentage of "state earnings by place of work" (a Bureau of Economic Analysis measure of public and private wages paid to employees working in the state - I think this is the best available proxy for total size of the state's economy, better than Gross State Product). This is the measure you want, because it measures the sense in which taxes are a tradeoff, squeezing out the private economy. Taxes per capita would always be lower in poorer states, simply because they have less to tax, so we don't use that measure.

Quote
On another note, dont we all kick so much ass? Seriously, we all love the FSP, want NH to come out on top, but when one of our own people come up with a way to prove to us that we  are right, we critisize even that. Try geting that from the other political spectrums. In another party all Jason would have gotten is alot of nodding heads and pats on the back for his work.

Us? We want proof. ;D
I love us.

It's good feedback for us. Since it's still a work in progress, comments like these help make the final product better. Because of the comments here, I'm considering adjusting state spending figures for federal grants, school age population, and the poverty rate. If I do that, it makes Wyoming look much, much better (they rise to #26 in the overall index). However, I'm still not persuaded that we should do this. If a state is sucking in lots of federal grants, as a lot of the western states are, it seems to me that spending that money, even though it's "free money," still makes the population more dependent on government, and that reduces freedom.

Definitely. Federal grants—and the threat of withdrawing them—are the primary way the feds control the states and people beyond their constitutional powers.
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frankwtodd

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2007, 07:06:43 pm »

Having recently moved from CO to NC I would definately agree with those rankings. I always felt pretty free in CO. My worry is that since I left the Democratically controlled legislature has made a big ding in CO's freedom. I don't know I'd put it above NH, although the property taxes in CO are definatley less.

As for NC being above NC, I don't know. Living in NC they tax everything from my dogs, my cars, my having an alarm system, to a hefty sales tax. Property taxes are pretty high compared to other states nearby. I think they are trying to catch up to NY and MA sometimes!!
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JasonPSorens

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2007, 07:17:53 am »

would you consider providing access to your source data in a spreadsheet for example, so that others of us who might not value certain issues the same way as you can tweak the numbers for each of us personally?

I, for one, dont really care what the mining taxes are, for example.  That wont affect me one iota.

That will be done eventually, once our paper is accepted for publication & we have the data ready in their final form.
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"Educate your children, educate yourselves, in the love for the freedom of others, for only in this way will your own freedom not be a gratuitous gift from fate. You will be aware of its worth and will have the courage to defend it." --Joaquim Nabuco (1883), Abolitionism

freedomroad

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Re: State freedom rankings
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2007, 11:21:54 pm »

Wow, what did Wyoming do wrong?

Something unrelated that I am posting here anyway,

"By 2030, Montana and Wyoming are predicted to have among the oldest populations in the U.S., with about 26 percent of residents 65 and older, Swanson said. That compares to 19.7 percent predicted nationally." from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20427902/

ND and SD are also gonna have a high percentage of the oldest population.  NH will likely be worse than average, too.  I am not sure how this is bad, but I bet Jason could come up with something if he wanted too :)
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