Case ID: QA-0797
Solution ID: 39719

Thomas Jefferson Had Girls B

Case Analysis

The A and B cases are intended for undergraduate, MBA, executive education, and MBAExec audiences. They were used as an exam case for "Data Analysis and Optimization," which is both a first- and second-year MBA elective. They were also used as the first class of an undergraduate business statistics class. The A case begins by explaining that Thomas Jefferson fathered five girls (and one stillborn son) and Randolph Jefferson (Thomas's brother) fathered six boys (and no girls). An author of a 2009 book used these facts to argue that Randolph is more likely the father of Eston Hemings (a boy born to Sally Hemings, who was one of Jefferson's slaves) because "some men have boys and others have girls." Although 1998 DNA evidence suggested that a Jefferson had fathered Eston, the question remained as to which Jefferson. In the B case, data are provided on the gender and birth order of children from 700,030 Danish families. Students use those data to test the idea that "some men have boys and others have girls." There is a supplemental Excel file for students (UVA-QA-0797X) that accompanies the B case.

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