Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Statistical vs. Economic Significance in Economics and Econometrics: Further comments on McCloskey & Ziliak

Contents:

Author Info

  • Tom Engsted

    ()
    (School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus and CREATES)

Abstract

I comment on the controversy between McCloskey & Ziliak and Hoover & Siegler on statistical versus economic significance, in the March 2008 issue of the Journal of Economic Methodology. I argue that while McCloskey & Ziliak are right in emphasizing ’real error’, i.e. non-sampling error that cannot be eliminated through specification testing, they fail to acknowledge those areas in economics, e.g. rational expectations macroeconomics and asset pricing, where researchers clearly distinguish between statistical and economic significance and where statistical testing plays a relatively minor role in model evaluation. In these areas models are treated as inherently misspecified and, consequently, are evaluated empirically by other methods than statistical tests. I also criticise McCloskey & Ziliak for their strong focus on the size of parameter estimates while neglecting the important question of how to obtain reliable estimates, and I argue that significance tests are useful tools in those cases where a statistical model serves as input in the quantification of an economic model. Finally, I provide a specific example from economics - asset return predictability - where the distinction between statistical and economic significance is well appreciated, but which also shows how statistical tests have contributed to our substantive economic understanding.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: ftp://ftp.econ.au.dk/creates/rp/09/rp09_17.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus in its series CREATES Research Papers with number 2009-17.

as in new window
Length: 24
Date of creation: 04 May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aah:create:2009-17

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.econ.au.dk/afn/

Related research

Keywords: Statistical and economic significance; statistical hypothesis testing; model evaluation; misspecified models;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Lars Peter Hansen & Ravi Jagannathan, 1990. "Implications of Security Market Data for Models of Dynamic Economies," NBER Technical Working Papers 0089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kevin D. Hoover & Mark V. Siegler, 2005. "Sound and Fury: McCloskey and Significance Testing in Economics," Econometrics, EconWPA 0511018, EconWPA.
  3. Engsted, Tom, 2002. " Measures of Fit for Rational Expectations Models," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 301-55, July.
  4. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," CRSP working papers 412, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  5. Chan, Yeung Lewis & Viceira, Luis & Campbell, John, 2003. "A Multivariate Model of Strategic Asset Allocation," Scholarly Articles 3163263, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Nelson, Charles R & Kim, Myung J, 1993. " Predictable Stock Returns: The Role of Small Sample Bias," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 641-61, June.
  7. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1986. "Cointegration and Tests of Present Value Models," NBER Working Papers 1885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Measures of Fit for Calibrated Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus & Francisco Rubio-Ramirez, Juan, 2004. "Comparing dynamic equilibrium models to data: a Bayesian approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 153-187, November.
  10. Graham Elliott & Thomas J. Rothenberg & James H. Stock, 1992. "Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root," NBER Technical Working Papers 0130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Stambaugh, Robert F., 1999. "Predictive regressions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 375-421, December.
  12. Francis X. Diebold & Lee E. Ohanian & Jeremy Berkowitz, 1995. "Dynamic Equilibrium Economies: A Framework for Comparing Models and Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John H. Cochrane, 2006. "The Dog That Did Not Bark: A Defense of Return Predictability," NBER Working Papers 12026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hansen, Lars Peter & Jagannathan, Ravi, 1997. " Assessing Specification Errors in Stochastic Discount Factor Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 557-90, June.
  15. Faust, Jon & Whiteman, Charles H., 1997. "General-to-specific procedures for fitting a data-admissible, theory-inspired, congruent, parsimonious, encompassing, weakly-exogenous, identified, structural model to the DGP: A translation and criti," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 121-161, December.
  16. Campbell, John Y. & Viceira, Luis M., 2002. "Strategic Asset Allocation: Portfolio Choice for Long-Term Investors," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296942, October.
  17. Ziliak, Stephen T. & McCloskey, Deirdre N., 2004. "Size matters: the standard error of regressions in the American Economic Review," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 527-546, November.
  18. Peter C.B. Phillips, 1985. "Understanding Spurious Regressions in Econometrics," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 757, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  19. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
  20. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1996. "The Computational Experiment: An Econometric Tool," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 69-85, Winter.
  21. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1980. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 7-46, May.
  22. Spanos,Aris, 1986. "Statistical Foundations of Econometric Modelling," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521269124, 9.
  23. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1988. "Dividend yields and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-25, October.
  24. Stephen T. Ziliak & Deirdre N. McCloskey, 2004. "Size Matters: The Standard Error of Regressions in the American Economic Review," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(2), pages 331-358, August.
  25. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  26. Deirdre McCloskey & Stephen Ziliak, 2008. "Signifying nothing: reply to Hoover and Siegler," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 39-55.
  27. Kevin Hoover & Mark Siegler, 2008. "The rhetoric of 'Signifying nothing': a rejoinder to Ziliak and McCloskey," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 57-68.
  28. Xu, Yexiao, 2004. "Small levels of predictability and large economic gains," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 247-275, March.
  29. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  30. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, P., 1974. "Spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 111-120, July.
  31. Lewellen, Jonathan, 2004. "Predicting returns with financial ratios," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 209-235, November.
  32. Deirdre N. McCloskey & Stephen T. Ziliak, 1996. "The Standard Error of Regressions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 97-114, March.
  33. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1982. "Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1269-86, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Alexander Libman & Joachim Zweynert, 2014. "Ceremonial Science: The State of Russian Economics Seen Through the Lens of the Work of ‘Doctor of Science’ Candidates," Working Papers, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies) 337, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aah:create:2009-17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.