Scott’s Substack

Scott’s Substack is a weekly newsletter featuring explainer essays about causal inference and empirical papers, an oral history of economics podcast told through the personal stories of economists (and sometimes others), announcements about upcoming workshops on causal inference and tinkering around with ChatGPT essay writing.  It is written by Scott Cunningham, a professor and economist at Baylor University and author of Causal Inference: the Mixtape, a popular book on quantitative methods in the social sciences. 

Scott’s Substack is a place where I write essays telling people about things I’m passionate about be it causal inference, mental illness or ChatGPT. I try to help people become more comfortable with developments in econometrics and causal inference using plain language, example code that implement the estimators, figures and table output based on analyzing real and simulated data, as well as sharing the stories of economists and other scientists through interviews on my podcast, The Mixtape with Scott. And I love using ChatGPT to tell stories and write essays! I am especially proud of my epistolary novel based on Lee Smith’s book Fair and Tender Ladies about a young Ivy Rowe who loves the economist, Daniel McFadden, and falls in love with a young man during grad school who uses time series modeling to study rabies outbreaks — all created using ChatGPT prompts. But your mileage may vary!

I love these topics but what I really love is connecting with people around and through these topics. I believe in love, friendship, community and acceptance. I strive for oneness. And while it maybe doesn’t make sense to someone else, I try to do these things in explaining causal inference and helping share peoples stories through my podcast, “The Mixtape with Scott”.

This blending of personal and professional, teaching and community, are things many people have come to expect or at least understand from interacting with me on social media, in person, and in my book, Causal Inference: the Mixtape. I have a unique approach to these topics, not so much as an authority, so much as an inquisitive person who sees himself as on his own journey in personal and professional growth as well as a felt desire to give back to the community as best I can.  If you are interested in some of my work, check out my website www.scunning.com.

Taking time to produce the explainers as well as conduct the interviews requires the scarce input of time, effort and creativity. I do it because I love doing it.  I do it because I want to be useful to others. But it is costly and in order to do this project well, support is appreciated. My hope is that this is a useful page for many.


Scott's Substack is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.


Scott’s Substack, just like Causal Inference: the Mixtape, is partly free.  For a year and a half I refused to turn on subscriptions or allow donations, despite many requests.  I had my own reasons. It was important to me that I could find a way to give away things.  So I started it as a free newsletter and I want very much to keep it that way.  People come to the newsletter from all over the world with many different backgrounds and ability or willingness to pay, and if you feel like you just aren’t able or interested in paying, no worries.  The free option is for you.

But the fact of the matter is that the econometric explainer essays take a lot of time, study, tearing the articles down and building back up again.  The interviews involve monthly subscriptions and payments to a producer who handles all the editing.  I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it and I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think that other people would love hearing from these interesting people.  So if you can afford to, and you think what I’m doing is valuable, and you would like to support this project, I’ve set the monthly subscription to the smallest amount they allow on here ($5). And if that’s cool with you, please click here:

There are three options:

1.     The annual subscription: $50 annually

2.     The standard monthly subscription: $5 monthly - which gives you a bit more flexibility.

3.     Founders club:$ 150 annually, or another amount at your discretion - for those who really love what I’m doing, or read it in a professional setting in which you regularly pay for pricey subscriptions.

But I’m an economist. If I didn’t believe in rational choice, they’d take away my union card. I know people pay $5 a month in expectation of $5 worth of marginal value, so what is it you get from me for that? Well, become a paid subscriber and you get full access to the newsletter.  But you also get subscriber perks like:

  1. Exclusive interview content

  2. Participation in the community, like the ability to comment

  3. Questions you want me to try to answer – either in essay form or if really interesting an actual mixtape series for the podcast

  4. Non-explainer essays. These cover anything and everything. Buyer beware.

  5. Most importantly you’re supporting my writing and interviewing so that it won’t go away

The last point is simply the facts. Labor supply curves slope upward at the margin. The reality of this project is that discontinuing it is easy to justify because it takes time away from other important activities, such as leisure and time with friends and family.  It can exist insofar as I can justify the time use to myself and others.  I am though very excited by this project. I am as many know doggedly committed to community building within and across social scientists, young and old, academic or not. I desire to help build community here and hope you can become a part of that with me.

If you would like to join this community, please click below.

Scott's Substack is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

If you would like to contact me, please email to causalinf@substack.com. Or you can do so by way of the contact page on my personal website. To do so, click here. 

Fulfillment policy: for the terms of refund, cancellation etc please check Substack's refund policy page as well as Substack's Terms of Use.

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Scott's Substack simplifies causal inference and econometric, covers fields like AI and drug policy, and features "The Mixtape with Scott" podcast.

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Economist and Professor at Baylor University, author of Causal Inference: the Mixtape.