Statistics learning opportunity: “Hunger Games Survival Analysis”

Fun with statistics: a survival analysis of The Hunger Games (quick reviews of the books and movie). According to the final analysis, the only significant factor is the rating of each participant:

My interpretation of this is that the Gamemakers know what they’re doing when they assign the ratings. They’ve been doing this for years, so they give scores that are so accurate that they’re actually better predictors of survival time than whether a tribute is a volunteer, a Career, male or female, or forms an alliance. Pretty impressive.

An alternate and more cynical interpretation is that the Gamemakers are concerned about their own reputations and thus engineer the games so as to confirm their ratings, occasionally killing off players who do better or worse than expected based on the ratings, all so that the Gamemakers can look like they knew what they were doing all along. Unfortunately, the political system of Panem ranks so slow on Freedom House’s annual scores that we simply can’t tell what’s going on behind the scenes at all. To cut through their lies we simply need more data.

If you read this, you just also learn something about survival analysis and event history analysis. Bonus: the data and Stata code is also available for download!

Thinking about the event history class I took during grad school, we didn’t look at any data that was remotely close to popular culture.

Also, why not include the data from the second and third books? Granted, the games change a bit in the sequels to ratchet up the tension but that would provide more data to work with…