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A Frequent Misuse of Significance Tests

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  • Thomas Mayer

Abstract

Economists sometimes interpret the failure of a significance test to disconfirm a hypothesis as evidence that this hypothesis is valid. Six examples of this are cited from recent journals. But this is a misinterpretation of what significance tests show. While in general it is correct that every failure to disconfirm a hypothesis adds to its credibility, the term "disconfirm" is defined differently for this purpose than it is in the context of significance tests.

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Paper provided by California Davis - Department of Economics in its series Department of Economics with number 01-05.

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Handle: RePEc:fth:caldec:01-05

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  1. Raymond Robertson, 2000. "Wage Shocks and North American Labor-Market Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 742-764, September.
  2. 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.
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