Todd W. Schneider

Do you work for AN investment bank, or THE investment bank?

Matt Levine had a good idea on Twitter:

This is amusing of course because in the world of prestige-obsessed New York Times wedding announcements, the definite article “the” is far more prestigious than the indefinite article “a” — you want to work at the place everyone knows as the consulting firm, not a consulting firm!

I crawled through the Wedding Crunchers database of NYT wedding announcements to look for mentions of investment banks and consulting firms immediately preceded by “the” or “a”, then compiled the results into the spreadsheet at the bottom of this page. Caveats apply: some firms (JPMorgan, for example) tend not to be explicitly referred to as banks or consultancies, so we cannot measure where they fall on this particular New York Times Weddings & Celebrations prestige scale.

The results are pretty much what you’d expect: the usual suspects of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and McKinsey are almost exclusively referred to as “the” investment bank or consulting firm. Jefferies & Company receives the most mentions as “an” investment bank. While this puts Jefferies toward the bottom of the prestige scale, that might actually be a good omen: Lehman Brothers, Salomon Brothers, and Bear Stearns all rank highly in prestige, and we’ve seen how that worked out for them…

Real-time NBA Championship Odds Before and After LeBron James’s Announcement

LeBron James announced that he’s going back to Cleveland, and immediately the Cavaliers’ chances of winning the 2014/15 NBA championship increased from 10% to around 18%.

Of course that 10% already had built in some likelihood that James would choose to play for the Cavaliers next season. Before Cleveland was considered a threat to land LeBron, their championship odds were around 2%, so the 10% Cleveland odds immediately before LeBron’s decision perhaps reflected market expectations that LeBron had a 50% chance of choosing Cleveland: 0.5 * 0.18 + 0.5 * 0.02 = 0.1

The Houston Rockets were initially the other big winners of The Decision Part II. Chris Bosh had been expected to join the Rockets if LeBron left Miami, and so the Rockets’ championship odds increased from 5% to around 15% immediately after LeBron’s announcement. Unfortunately for Houston, though, it later came out that Bosh was returning to the Miami Heat, and Houston’s championship odds subsequently declined back to around 6%

Will the USA and Germany play for a draw?

UPDATE: Germany won the game, but the USA did advance. There was a moment shortly after both Germany and Ghana scored when the US’s odds of advancing dropped from 90% to under 70%. From there things were fairly stable until Portugal took the lead against Ghana, at which point it was nearly inevitable that the USA would advance.

Here’s a simultaneous graph of 3 probabilities, note that the probability numbers for Germany and Ghana are to win their respective games, while the probabilities for the USA are only to advance to the next round:

ESPN ran the headline, Don’t bet on a U.S.-Germany draw. However, gamblers are doing exactly the opposite. After the second set of Group G matches, when it became clear that the USA and Germany would both advance if they played to a draw, the gambling odds on a USA/Germany draw increased from about 19% to 37%, though the probability has since declined to 32%:

You can track the match odds via Gambletron 2000, there’s also a market for the odds on the USA advancing to the knockout round