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Are All Economic Hypotheses False?

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  • De Long, J Bradford
  • Lang, Kevin

Abstract

The authors develop an estimator that allows them to calculate an upper bound to the fraction of unrejected null hypotheses tested in economics journal articles that are in fact true. Their point estimate is that none of the unrejected nulls in their sample is true. The authors reject the hypothesis that more than one-third are true. They consider three explanations for this finding: that all null hypotheses are mere approximations, that data-mining biases reported standard errors downward, and that journals tend to publish papers that fail to reject their null hypotheses only when the they are likely to be false. Copyright 1992 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • De Long, J Bradford & Lang, Kevin, 1992. "Are All Economic Hypotheses False?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1257-1272, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:100:y:1992:i:6:p:1257-72
    DOI: 10.1086/261860
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    1. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1990. "Unit roots in real GNP: Do we know, and do we care?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 7-61, January.
    2. Hendry, David F, 1980. "Econometrics-Alchemy or Science?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(188), pages 387-406, November.
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