IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Sound and Fury: McCloskey and Significance Testing in Economics

  • Kevin D. Hoover

    (University of California, Davis)

  • Mark V. Siegler

    (California State University, Sacramento)

For about twenty years, Deidre McCloskey has campaigned to convince the economics profession that it is hopelessly confused about statistical significance. She argues that many practices associated with significance testing are bad science and that most economists routinely employ these bad practices: “Though to a child they look like science, with all that really hard math, no science is being done in these and 96 percent of the best empirical economics. . .” (McCloskey 1999). McCloskey’s charges are analyzed and rejected. That statistical significance is not economic significance is a jejune and uncontroversial claim, and there is no convincing evidence that economists systematically mistake the two. Other elements of McCloskey’s analysis of statistical significance are shown to be ill-founded, and her criticisms of practices of economists are found to be based in inaccurate readings and tendentious interpretations of their work. Properly used, significance tests are a valuable tool for assessing signal strength, for assisting in model specification, and for determining causal structure.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/em/papers/0511/0511018.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Econometrics with number 0511018.

as
in new window

Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 29 Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpem:0511018
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 53
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hoover, Kevin D., 2004. "Lost Causes," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(02), pages 149-164, June.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Michael Grossman & Kevin M. Murphy, 1990. "An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction," NBER Working Papers 3322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Keuzenkamp, H.A. & Magnus, J.R., 1995. "On tests and significance in econometrics," Other publications TiSEM 1808e2e0-3805-4999-b9a1-5, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  4. B. Douglas Bernheim & Adam Wantz, 1992. "A Tax-Based Test of the Dividend Signaling Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 4244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2004. "Mindless statistics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 587-606, November.
  6. Kevin D. Hoover & Stephen J. Perez, . "Data Mining Reconsidered: Encompassing And The General-To-Specific Approach To Specification Search," Department of Economics 97-27, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  7. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transnission," NBER Working Papers 3487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Deirdre McCloskey, 2005. "The Trouble with Mathematics and Statistics in Economics," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 13(3), pages 85-102.
  9. Kevin D. Hoover & Stephen J. Perez, 2004. "Truth and Robustness in Cross-country Growth Regressions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 66(5), pages 765-798, December.
  10. David Hendry & Hans-Martin Krolzig, 2000. "Computer Automation of General-to-Specific Model Selection Procedures," Economics Series Working Papers 3, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  11. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-153236 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521002882 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Elliott, Graham & Granger, Clive W.J., 2004. "Evaluating significance: comments on "size matters"," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 547-550, November.
  14. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  15. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
  16. Keuzenkamp, Hugo A. & Magnus, Jan R., 1995. "On tests and significance in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 5-24, May.
  17. Stephen A. Woodbury & Robert G. Spiegelman, . "Bonuses to Workers and Employers to Reduce unemployment: Randomized Trials in Illinois," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles sawrgs1987, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  18. Spanos, Aris, 1995. "On theory testing in econometrics : Modeling with nonexperimental data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 189-226, May.
  19. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2004. "Statistical significance is okay, too: comment on "Size Matters"," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 577-579, November.
  20. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
  21. James Wible, 1994. "Charles Sanders Peirce's economy of research," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 135-160.
  22. Summers, Lawrence H, 1991. " The Scientific Illusion in Empirical Macroeconomics," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(2), pages 129-48.
  23. Kevin Hoover, 1994. "Econometrics as observation: the Lucas critique and the nature of econometric inference," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 65-80.
  24. Ziliak, Stephen T. & McCloskey, Deirdre N., 2004. "Size matters: the standard error of regressions in the American Economic Review," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 527-546, November.
  25. McAleer, Michael & Pagan, Adrian R & Volker, Paul A, 1985. "What Will Take the Con out of Econometrics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 293-307, June.
  26. Kevin Hoover & Stephen Perez, 2001. "Three attitudes towards data mining," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 195-210.
  27. Stephen T. Ziliak & Deirdre N. McCloskey, 2004. "Size Matters: The Standard Error of Regressions in the American Economic Review," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(2), pages 331-358, August.
  28. 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.
  29. Deirdre N. McCloskey, 1999. "Other Things Equal: Cassandra's Open Letter to Her Economist Colleagues," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 357-363, Summer.
  30. McCloskey, Donald N, 1985. "The Loss Function Has Been Mislaid: The Rhetoric of Significance Tests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 201-05, May.
  31. Lovell, Michael C, 1983. "Data Mining," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-12, February.
  32. Blank, Rebecca M, 1991. "The Effects of Double-Blind versus Single-Blind Reviewing: Experimental Evidence from The American Economic Review," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1041-67, December.
  33. James A. Kahn & Steve Landsburg & Alan C. Stockman, 1989. "The Positive Economics of Methodology," NBER Technical Working Papers 0082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Deirdre N. McCloskey, 1997. "Other Things Equal: Aunt Deirdre's Letter to a Graduate Student," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 241-244, Spring.
  35. Wible James, 1998. "The Economics Of Science, Methodology And Epistemology As If Economics Really Matter," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 8(4), pages 18, December.
  36. Cooley, Thomas F & LeRoy, Stephen F, 1981. "Identification and Estimation of Money Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 825-44, December.
  37. David F. Hendry & Hans-Martin Krolzig, 1999. "Improving on 'Data mining reconsidered' by K.D. Hoover and S.J. Perez," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(2), pages 202-219.
  38. Hendry, David F, 1980. "Econometrics-Alchemy or Science?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(188), pages 387-406, November.
  39. Ziliak, Stephen T. & McCloskey, Deirdre N., 2004. "Significance redux," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 665-675, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Kullanıcı:Emrahertr/delta in Wikipedia Turkish ne '')
  2. Economics in Wikipedia English ne '')
  3. User:Thomasmeeks/Rough drafts in Wikipedia English ne '')
  4. Talk:Economics/Archive 3 in Wikipedia English ne '')

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpem:0511018. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.