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"True Believers" or Numerical Terrorism at the Nuclear Power Plant

  • Walter Kraemer
  • Gerhard Arminger

For decades, there has been a heated debate about whether or not nuclear power plants contribute to childhood cancer in their respective neighbourhoods, with statisticians testifying on both sides. The present paper points to some flaws in the pro-arguments, taking a recent study prepared for the political party "Bündnis 90 / Grüne" as a specimen. Typical mistakes include an understatement of the size of tests of significance, disregard of important covariates and extreme reliance on very few selected data points.

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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-2010-09/cesifo1_wp3180.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3180.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3180
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  1. Michael Fertig & Marcus Tamm, 2007. "Always Poor or Never Poor and Nothing in Between? Duration of Child Poverty in Germany," Working Papers 59, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  2. Denton, Frank T, 1985. "Data Mining as an Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 124-27, February.
  3. Lovell, Michael C, 1983. "Data Mining," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-12, February.
  4. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
  5. Gigerenzer, Gerd & Krämer, Walter, 2004. "How to confuse with statistics or: the use and misuse of conditional probabilities," Technical Reports 2004,35, Technische Universität Dortmund, Sonderforschungsbereich 475: Komplexitätsreduktion in multivariaten Datenstrukturen.
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