The Cult of Statistical Significance – What Economists Should and Should Not Do to Make their Data Talk
AbstractThis article takes issue with a rather devastating critique of statistical significance testing propagated in a recent book by Ziliak/McCloskey (2008) of the same title. Ziliak/McCloskey argue that statistical significance testing is a barrier rather than a booster for empirical research in economics and should therefore be abandoned altogether. The present article argues that this is good advice in some research areas but not in others, with the aim of making practitioners aware of various fallacies connected with the concept of statistical significance, and at the same time showing where significance testing is most fruitfully employed. Taking all issues which have appeared so far of the German Economic Review and a recent epidemiological meta-analysis as examples, the present paper shows that there has indeed been a lot of misleading work where confirmatory significance testing has played a major role, and that at the same time many promising avenues, best summarized under the heading “specification tests”, have not been used.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Duncker & Humblot, Berlin in its journal Schmollers Jahrbuch.
Volume (Year): 131 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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Other versions of this item:
- Walter Krämer, 2011. "The cult of statistical significance. What economists should and should not do to make their data talk," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 176, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
- B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
- C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
- C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- About the cult of statistical significance
by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-03-07 14:40:00
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