Measurement and Error Problems (1800-1900) Buys Ballot and Landré’s Critique on the Method of Least Squares

THE STATISTICAL MIND IN MODERN SOCIETY - THE NETHERLANDS 1850-1940 - VOLUME II: STATISTICS AND SCIENTIFIC WORKS, I.H. Stamhuis, P.M.M. Klep, J.G.S.J. van Maarseveen, eds., pp. 179-197, Aksant

20 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2009

See all articles by Marcel J. Boumans

Marcel J. Boumans

Utrecht University School of Economics

Date Written: July 14, 2009

Abstract

How did the meteorologist Buys Ballot and the actuary Landré deal with errors produced by measuring methods? The method of least squares is most appropriate for dealing with measurement errors produced by precise measuring instruments. But how should one proceed in meteorology where one has to deal with unreliable instruments and in actuarial science where observations are only available for different moments in time? It is shown in this chapter that statistical methods cannot be transmitted without revision from one field to another.

Keywords: measurement, method of least squares, meteorology, actuarial science

JEL Classification: B19

Suggested Citation

Boumans, Marcel J., Measurement and Error Problems (1800-1900) Buys Ballot and Landré’s Critique on the Method of Least Squares (July 14, 2009). THE STATISTICAL MIND IN MODERN SOCIETY - THE NETHERLANDS 1850-1940 - VOLUME II: STATISTICS AND SCIENTIFIC WORKS, I.H. Stamhuis, P.M.M. Klep, J.G.S.J. van Maarseveen, eds., pp. 179-197, Aksant, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1433770

Marcel J. Boumans (Contact Author)

Utrecht University School of Economics ( email )

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+31 30 253 6287 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uu.nl/leg/staff/MJBoumans

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