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Now you see it, now you don't: emerging contrary results in economics


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  • Robert Goldfarb


A number of empirical literatures in economics display the following pattern of results. First, evidence accumulates to support an empirical result. As time passes, however, contrary results emerge that challenge that initial result. This phenomenon raises important issues about (i) what part empirical findings play in how economists come to believe things; and (ii) how believable inferences are to be made from literatures displaying such contrary results. This paper documents this 'emerging contrary result' phenomenon, and investigates the factors causing it. It considerably expands the list of emerging contrary results contained in my 1995 JEM paper. Of more importance, this paper identifies alternative explanations for these instances, and explores whether particular explanations can be plausibly assigned to the 26 examples in this paper.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 4 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 221-244

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:4:y:1997:i:2:p:221-244

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Keywords: economic methodology; empirical testing; empirical reversals; empirical disputes; publication bias; conflicting results;


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Cited by:
  1. Adam Fforde, 2004. "Persuasion: Reflections on Economics, Data and the 'Homogeneity Assumption'," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 919, The University of Melbourne.


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