Returning borrowers have better default rates

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

We saw in a recent post that Prosper’s own rating system provides relatively accurate results. However, there is some confusion as to whether it takes returning borrowers into account. As we will show in this post, it is possible to improve upon the standard rating system, thanks to the fact that the number of previous Prosper loans is readily available.

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U.S. economic growth: gross output

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

Gross output represents the market value of all services and goods produced in a nation’s economy. This value differs slightly from gross domestic product (GDP), which is often used to measure the economic performance of a country. Gross output consists of products sold to final consumers (the GDP) as well as products sold to other industries where it is used as material or input. Today we will explore historical data (provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis) on the gross output of the U.S. economy.

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Another look at gender equality in the U.S.

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

One of the independent variables included in The Economist’s where-to-be-born index is gender equality. While various methods exist to measure gender equality, the one selected by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit (EIU) is based on the share of seats in government held by women. In theory, this approach won’t work well in cases where women constitute the majority — in reality, however, that’s unfortunately almost never the case.

So how does the U.S. fare here? Let’s start with the historical perspective.

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American hunting and wildlife

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Many years ago, hunting was a necessity for survival. In current times, hunting has developed into a form of sport and recreation in Western countries. In the U.S., hunting is generally regulated on a state-by-state basis, but hunters country-wide are required to hold a hunting license. In 2013, about 14 million people participated in hunting in the U.S.

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How Geography Affects Your Health

Benjamin Schultz

Benjamin Schultz, Ph.D. Geography

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to start working out and get back in shape. While this is a noble goal, experience and evidence show that two out of every three people lose sight of their New Year’s fitness plans after just a few weeks.

This state of affairs is particularly relevant considering that one of the defining issues of the Obama presidency was health care. Lifestyle, diet, and a commitment to personal fitness are major factors in controlling the high cost of health care.

Most Americans are well aware of this, but data show that many people continue to engage in a variety of unhealthy activities and do not get enough exercise. It turns out, however, that the extent to which people lead an unhealthy lifestyle has a strong geographic component. In other words, some places display healthier behaviors and have a healthier population than others.

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How long does it take to build a house in 2017?

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Ever wonder how long, on average, it takes to build a house? According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction, it takes nearly seven months on average. More than half (52.4 percent) of all new housings are finished within five months (compared to just 46.7 percent 10 years ago), and 93 percent are completed within one year.

Of course, these numbers don’t come close to telling the whole story. Let’s see what the primary factors are that influence the duration of construction.

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The revenue and net sales of Samsonite

Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Luggage retail is an important global market. In 2014, American jewelry, luggage and leather goods store sales amounted to around $34.24 billion. This is a slight increase over the previous year’s total of around $34.13 billion.

The American company Samsonite is the largest luggage manufacturer and retailer, with products ranging from large suitcases to small bags and briefcases. Samsonite was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1910. The timeline below shows us the total global revenue of the world’s largest luggage manufacturer from 2007 to 2015. In 2015, Samsonite’s global revenues amounted to about $2.43 billion. This is a slight increase from 2014 when the company generated about $2.35 billion in revenue.

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Connected cars

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

A connected car is a car equipped with internet access and occasionally connected to a local wireless network as well. This allows the car to communicate with other devices, both inside and outside the car, to provide the driver and passengers with additional functions. Typically, a connected car offers entertainment, navigation, safety and diagnostic capabilities. The concept of a connected car is related to technologies such as self-driving cars and the internet of things.

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The “half your age plus seven” rule — how often is it broken?

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

When is an age difference between partners a little too large? A common rule is that you cannot date someone younger than half your age plus seven. For example, if you are 30, dating someone 22 years old is just barely acceptable.

The following chart illustrates this concept: couples between the dashed lines are the ones following the rule.

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