Discount stores often introduce new merchandise at a special low price to induce people to try it. But in the mid-1960s a prominent psychologist predicted that in the long run this practice would actually reduce sales. With the cooperation of a discount chain (I think it was K-Mart), an experiment was performed in 1968 to test this theory. A representative sample of 120 stores was chosen, and the stores were arranged into 60 pairs, matched according to characteristics like sales volume and location. These stores did not advertise, and displayed their merchandise in similar ways. A new kind of cookie was introduced in all 120 stores. Within each pair of stores, one was chosen at random to introduce the cookies at the special low price of 49 cents a box, with the price increasing to 69 cents after two weeks; the other store in the pair introduced the cookies at the regular price of 69 cents a box. Total sales (in cases) of the cookies were computed for each store for six weeks from the time they were introduced; the results are given below.
pair discount standard difference
number sales sales (discount – standard)
1 851 916 -65
2 903 1004 -101
. . . .
. . . .
60 787 699 +88
mean 854 923 -69
SD 58 157 150
Does this evidence support or refute the psychologist’s theory? What was the point of pairing the stores in the way they did? Explain briefly
In 1969, the well-known pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock came to trial before a judge named Ford in Boston’s Federal court house. He was charged with conspiracy to violate the Military Service Act (in addition to his work on child development he was active in anti-war protests in the 60s). A lawyer writing about the case that same year in the Chicago Law Review said about the case, “Of all defendants at such trials, Dr. Spock, who had given wise and welcome advice on child-bearing to millions of mothers, would have liked women on his jury.” The jury was drawn from a panel of 350 persons, called a venire, selected by Judge Ford’s clerk. This venire included only 102 women, even though 53% of the eligible jurors in the district were female. At the next stage in selecting the jury to hear the case, Judge Ford chose 100 potential jurors out of these 350 people. His choices included only 9 women. If 350 people are chosen from all the eligible jurors in the district, how likely is it that the sample will include 102 women or fewer? If 100 people are chosen at random without replacement from a group of people consisting of 102 women and 248 men, what is the chance that the sample will include 9 women or fewer? (Hint: remember the correction factor, if relevant.) What do you conclude about the impartiality of Judge Ford’s selection process? Explain briefly.
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