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Paul von Hippel

Paul  von Hippel

Associate Professor of Public Affairs

Contact Info

(512) 232-3650
SRH 3.251

Paul von Hippel studies educational inequality and the relationship between schooling, health, and obesity. He is an expert on research design and missing data, and a three-time winner of best article awards from the education and methodology sections of the American Sociological Association. Before his academic career, he was a data scientist who developed fraud-detection scores for banks including JP Morgan Chase and the Bank of America.

Download a PDF of Paul von Hippel's CV

  • Ph.D. in Sociology, Ohio State University
  • M.A.S. in Statistics, Ohio State University
  • Ph.D. in Computer-Based Music Research, Stanford University
  • B.A. in Music, Yale University
Current Positions

Associate Professor of Public Affairs, The LBJ School of Public Affairs

Previous Positions
  • Data Scientist, Fraud and Risk. CheckFree Services Corporation and J.P. Morgan Chase (2006-2010)
  • Statistician, Sociology and Population Research, Ohio State University (2002-2005)


Book chapter

  1. von Hippel, P.T. (2016). “Year-round school calendars: Effects on summer learning, achievement, families, and teachers.” Chapter 13 in Alexander, K., Pitcock, S. & Boulay, M. (eds.). Summer Learning and Summer Learning Loss: Theory, Research, and Practice. New York: Teachers College Press. Also available as SSRN working paper 2766106.

Working papers

  1. von Hippel, P. T., & Hamrock, C. (2016) “Do test score gaps grow before, during, or between the school years?” SSRN working paper 2745527.
  2. von Hippel, P.T. (2016). “Maximum likelihood multiple imputation: A more efficient approach to repairing and analyzing incomplete data.” arXiv e-print 1210.0870.
  3. von Hippel, P.T. (2016). “The number of imputations should increase quadratically with the fraction of missing information.” arXiv e-print 1608.05406.
  4. von Hippel, P.T., & Lynch, J.L. (2013). “Efficiency gains from using auxiliary variables in imputation.” arXiv e-print 1311.5249.

Peer-reviewed journal articles (†graduate student coauthor)

  1. von Hippel, P. T. & Workman, J. (2016). “From kindergarten through second grade, children’s obesity prevalence grows only during summer vacations.” Accepted by Obesity, June 28, 2016. To appear November 2016.

  2. von Hippel, P. T., †Bellows. L., Osborne, C., Lincove, J., & Mills, N. (2016). “Teacher quality differences between teacher preparation programs: How big? How reliable? Which programs are different?” Economics of Education Review 53: 31-45. Also available as SSRN working paper 2506935.

  3. Lynch, J.L. & von Hippel, P.T. (2016) “An education gradient in health, a health gradient in education, or a confounded gradient in both?” Social Science and Medicine 154:18-27 doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.02.029. Also available as SSRN working paper 2583971.

  4. von Hippel, P.T., †Scarpino, S.V., & †Holas, I. (2016). “Robust estimation of inequality from binned incomes.” Sociological Methodology, accepted and published online ahead of print. Also available as arXiv e-print 1402.4061.

  5. von Hippel, P. T. & †Bradbury, K. (2015). “The effects of school physical education grants on obesity, fitness, and achievement.” Preventive Medicine 78: 45-51.

  6. von Hippel, P.T. (2015). “New confidence intervals and bias calculations show that maximum likelihood can beat multiple imputation in small samples.” Structural Equation Modeling 23(3): 423-437. Also available as arXiv e-print 1307.5835.

  7. von Hippel, P.T. (2015). “The heterogeneity statistic I2 can be biased in small meta-analyses.” BMC Medical Research Methodology 15:35.

  8. von Hippel, P. T., Nahhas, R., & Czerwinski, S. (2015). “How much do children’s body mass indices change over periods of 6-12 months? Statistics from before and during the obesity epidemic.” Pediatric Obesity.

  9. von Hippel, P. T. & †Benson, R. (2014). “Obesity and the natural environment across US counties.” American Journal of Public Health, 104(7):1287-1293. PubMed 24832148.

    a.     Comment by Adam Drewnowski: “Sunscreen or Gore-Tex?” American Journal of Public Health, September 2014.
    b.     Our reply: “Hot properties, cold properties,” American Journal of Public Health, September 2014.

  10. von Hippel, P. T., & Lynch, J.L. (2014). “Why are educated adults slim—causation or selection?” Social Science and Medicine, 105: 131-139. PubMed 24524908. Also available as SSRN working paper 2054843.

  11. von Hippel, P. T., & Nahhas, R. (2013). “Extending the history of child obesity in the United States: The Fels Longitudinal Study, birth years 1930-1993.” Obesity 21(1): 2153-2156. PubMed 23512972.

  12. von Hippel, P.T. (2013). “The bias and efficiency of incomplete-data estimators in small univariate normal samples.” Sociological Methods and Research, 42(4): 531-558. Also available as arXiv e-print 1204.3132.

  13. von Hippel, P. T. (2013). “Should a normal imputation model be modified to impute skewed variables?Sociological Methods and Research, 42(1), 105-138.

  14. von Hippel, P. T., & Lynch, J. L. (2012). “A simplified equation for adult BMI growth, and its use to adjust BMI for age.” International Journal of Epidemiology 41(3): 888-890.

  15. von Hippel, P. T. (2009). “How to impute interactions, squares, and other transformed variables.Sociological Methodology 39, 265-291.

  16. von Hippel, P.T. (2009). “Achievement, learning, and seasonal impact as measures of school effectiveness: It’s better to be valid than reliable.” School Effectiveness and School Improvement 20(2), 187-213.

  17. Downey, D.B., von Hippel, P.T. (equal contributors) & †Hughes, M. (2008). “Are ‘failing’ schools really failing?Sociology of Education 81(3), 242-270.

  18. von Hippel, P.T. (2007). “Regression with missing Ys: An improved strategy for analyzing multiply-imputed data” Sociological Methodology 37, 83-117.

  19. von Hippel, P.T., Powell, B., Downey, D.B., & †Rowland, N. (2007). “The effect of school on overweight in childhood: Gains in children’s body mass index during the school year and during summer vacation.” American Journal of Public Health 97(4), 796-802.

  20. von Hippel, P.T. (2005). “Mean, median, and skew: Correcting a textbook rule.” Journal of Statistics Education 13(2).

    • Comment by Lawrence Lesser, Journal of Statistics Education 13(3).

  21. Downey, D.B., von Hippel, P.T., and †Broh, B. (2004). “Are Schools the Great Equalizer? School and Non-School Sources of Inequality in Cognitive Skills.” American Sociological Review 69(5), 613-635.
  22. von Hippel, P.T. (2004). “Biases in SPSS 12.0 Missing Values Analysis.” The American Statistician 58(2), 160-164.
  23. †Aarden, B., & von Hippel, P.T. (2004). “Rules for chord-tone doubling (and spacing): Which ones do we need?Music Theory Online 10.2.

    a.     Comment by Roger Wibberley: Music Theory Online 10.3.

    b.     Our reply: Music Theory Online 10.4.
  24. Hunter, D.J., & von Hippel, P.T. (2003). “How rare is symmetry in musical 12-tone rows?American Mathematical Monthly 110(2), 124-132.

  25. von Hippel, P.T. (2000). “Questioning a melodic archetype: Do listeners use gap-fill to classify melodies?Music Perception 18(2), 139-153.

  26. von Hippel, P.T., & Huron, D. (2000). “Why do skips precede reversals? The effect of tessitura constraints on melodic structure.” Music Perception 18(1), 59-85.

  27. von Hippel, P.T. (2000). “Redefining pitch proximity: Tessitura and mobility as constraints on melodic intervals.” Music Perception 17(3), 315-327.


  1. Evidence-Based Policy: Texas Lags But Should Lead” Aug. 2015. Dallas Morning NewsForth Worth Star-TelegramAustin American-Statesman.

Other journalism

  1. What would be fair odds on American Pharoah?Thoroughbred Racing Commentary. 2015.
  2. Should we add lithium to the water supply?” (with Sheila Olmstead). Resources for the Future. 2015.
  3. Champion-challenger testing in higher education.” Civitas Learning Space. 2013.
  4. What higher education today has in common with banking in the 1970s.” Civitas Learning Space. 2013.
  5. Tweedledum vs. Tweedledee? Ralph Nader’s own data show he’s wrong about the major parties.” The Gadflyer. 2004.
  6. What are doctors really paying for malpractice insurance?” The Gadflyer. 2004.

Research Briefs

  1. Summertime and weight gain.” (2007). Center for Summer Learning, Baltimore, MD.


The following three packages implement methods for analyzing binned incomes. The methods are described and evaluated in von Hippel, Scarpino, and Holas (2015):

  1. Duan, Y., & von Hippel, P.T. (2016). "The mgbe command for Stata."

  2. von Hippel, P.T. & Powers, D.E. (2015). “The rpme command for Stata.”

  3. Scarpino, S., von Hippel, P.T., & Holas, I. (2014). “The binequality package for R.”

The following SAS macro implements an approach to analyzing multiply imputed data described by von Hippel (2007).

  1. von Hippel, P.T. (2007). “The %mid macro for SAS.” The macro is in the appendix of this working paper.

Letters and comments

  1. von Hippel, P. T. (2013). “Statin therapy for hyperlipidemia.” Letter to Journal of the American Medical Association 310(11): 1185.

  2. von Hippel, P.T. (2005). “How many imputations are needed? A comment on Hershberger and Fisher.” Structural Equation Modeling, 12(2), 334-335.

  3. von Hippel, P.T. (2004). “School Accountability [a comment on Kane and Staiger].” Journal of Economic Perspectives 18(2), 275-276.

Encyclopedia articles

  1. von Hippel, P. T. (2014). “Mean Log Deviation.”

  2. von Hippel, P. T. (2010). “Skewness.” International Encyclopedia of Statistical Science (M. Lovric, Ed.). New York: Springer.

  3. von Hippel, P.T. (2002) Four entries in the Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods (M. Lewis-Beck, A. Bryman, T.F. Liao, eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • “Critical value."
  • “Difference of proportions.”
  • “Expected value.”
  • “Normalization.”


Conference Proceedings

  1. von Hippel, P.T. (2002). “Melodic Expectation Rules as Learned Heuristics.” Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition. Adelaide: Causal Productions.


  1. London, J., von Hippel, P.T., Huron, D., Cartano, J., Kingery, K., Olsen, B., & Santelli, T. (2001). “Row forms in the serial works of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern.” Stanford, CA: Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities (

  2. von Hippel, P.T. (1998). “42 Ojibway songs in the Humdrum **kern representation: Electronic transcriptions from the Densmore collections.” Stanford, CA: Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities (