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View Diary: Researchers finally replicated Reinhart-Rogoff, and there are serious problems. (124 comments)

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  •  science is the scientific method (0+ / 0-)

    which means putting theories to empirical test.

    Science isn't math, or published papers. It's putting predictions to the test.

    •  Well, that's why economics isn't quite science. (0+ / 0-)

      Economics is math, trying to describe the real world. Economists don't have big model economies where they can flip the AUSTERITY lever on one and leave the control group alone. The best they can do is reverse-engineer some equations from observations of nature.

      But even if your “experiments” consist only of crunching numbers, they should of course be reproducible.

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 06:46:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Empirical tests require reproducible research. (0+ / 0-)

      As a scientist with more than 40 years of research experience, I am well aware of the importance of scientific methodology. But the scientific method requires more than just careful study design. It also requires making sense of the raw results in ways that do not introduce bias or error, and can be validated by other researchers. Hence the importance of math, and of published papers. How else are we to determine whether the findings of the "empirical test" will stand up to scrutiny?

      The gold standard in my world is randomized clinical trials, preferably double-blind, or at least blinded to the evaluators. But even careful empirical testing is worthless if the pathway from raw data to published paper cannot be validated.

      Some problems and questions are not amenable to randomized testing, for example, assessing the effects of potentially toxic and non-beneficial substances in human beings (eg cigarette smoke.) Observational studies pose challenges to researchers, but it is still possible to pose well-thought-out predictions based on theories, and to examine them in studies where evidence could contradict the prediction and thus cast doubt on the theory.

      So you can develop predictions and put them to the test even in, say, epidemiology, which has developed careful methodology for observational studies, or economics. Well-posed questions and careful definition of scientific tests will only take you part-way to believable evidence. You also must have reproducible research.

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