Misinterpreting a Failure to Disconfirm as a Confirmation: A Recurrent Misreading of Significance Tests
When a significance test fails to disconfirm a hypothesis economist often interpret this as evidence that this hypothesis is valid. Six such examples are cited from recent journals. But this is a misinterpretation of what significance tests show. Presumably this misinterpretation is founded on the valid principle that every failure to disconfirm a hypothesis adds to its credibility. But that principle defines â??failure to disconfirmâ?? in a way that differs sharply from the way that this phrase is used in the context of significance tests. Some ways of ameliorating this problem exist.
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