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Title:Downloading wisdom from online crowds PDF Logo
Authors:Saiz, Albert
Simonsohn, Uri
Issue Date:2008
Series/Report no.:IZA discussion papers 3809
Abstract:The internet and other large textual databases contain billions of documents: is there useful information in the number of documents written about different topics? We propose, based on the premise that the occurrence of a phenomenon increases the likelihood that people write about it, that the relative frequency of documents discussing a phenomenon can be used to proxy for the corresponding occurrence-frequency. After establishing the conditions under which such proxying is likely to be successful, we construct proxies for a number of demographic variables in the US and for corruption across countries and US states and cities, obtaining average correlations with occurrence-frequencies of 0.47 and 0.61 respectively. We also replicate results from two separate published papers establishing the correlates of corruption at both the state and country level. Finally, we construct the first index of corruption in US cities and study its correlates.
Subjects:Internet
textual databases
document-frequency
proxy variables
JEL:J11
Persistent Identifier of the first edition:urn:nbn:de:101:1-20081126846
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:IZA Discussion Papers, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA)

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