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The Cult of Statistical Significance

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Walter Kraemer, 2010. "The Cult of Statistical Significance," CESifo Working Paper Series 3246, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3246
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3246.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso & Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann D. & Stephan Klasen & Mario Larch, 2009. "Does German Development Aid Promote German Exports?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10, pages 317-338, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Mayer, 2012. "Ziliak and McClosky?s Criticisms of Significance Tests: A Damage Assessment," Working Papers 126, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    significance testing;

    JEL classification:

    • A00 - General Economics and Teaching - - General - - - General

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