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The Cult of Statistical Significance

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  • Walter Kraemer

Abstract

This article takes issue with a recent book by Ziliak and McCloskey (2008) of the same title. Ziliak and McCloskey argue that statistical significance testing is a barrier rather than a booster for empirical research in many fields and should therefore be abandoned altogether. The present article argues that this is good advice in some research areas but not in others. Taking all issues which have appeared so far of the German Economic Review and a recent epidemiological meta-analysis as examples, it shows that there has indeed been a lot of misleading work in the context of significance testing, and that at the same time many promising avenues for fruitfully employing statistical significance tests, disregarded by Ziliak and McCloskey, have not been used.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-11/cesifo1_wp3246.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3246.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3246

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Keywords: significance testing;

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  1. Inmaculada Martínez Zarzoso & Felictas Nowak-Lehmann D. & Stephan Klasen & Mario Larch, 2008. "Does German Development Aid Promote German Exports?," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 170, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
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