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How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct? 305

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the easier-this-way dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes A survey of professional academic economists finds that a large percentage are quite willing to cheat or fake data to get the results they want. From the paper's abstract: "This study reports the results of a survey of professional, mostly academic economists about their research norms and scientific misbehavior. Behavior such as data fabrication or plagiarism are (almost) unanimously rejected and admitted by less than 4% of participants. Research practices that are often considered 'questionable,' e.g., strategic behavior while analyzing results or in the publication process, are rejected by at least 60%. Despite their low justifiability, these behaviors are widespread. Ninety-four percent report having engaged in at least one unaccepted research practice."

That less than 4% engage in "data fabrication or plagiarism" might seem low, but it is a terrible statistic . ... 40% admit to doing what they agree are "questionable" research practices, while 94% admit to committing "at least one unaccepted research practice." In other words, almost none of these academic economists can be trusted in the slightest. As the paper notes, "these behaviors are widespread.""
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How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?

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  • These are people who analyze and predict the health of countries. Of course their results are more politically motivated than evidence based. Would it even be ethical to tell a truth that would cause an economic disaster? If economists had known in advance of one of the great depressions that it was going to happen, and releasing the results would of only sped-up the collapse, should they release the information? And it will always be better politically for the government to be just as surprised as everyo
    • Re:Political/Moral (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday June 30, 2014 @10:29PM (#47356405) Homepage Journal

      Never trust an economist, until you've checked his math. Even then, you don't trust him. You've got to understand economics so well that you can recognize his base assumptions from his math, or you're still not qualified to check his math.

      Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that? Precious few men and women knew it was coming, and damned near none had any idea how bad it could be.

      I participated in a discussion three years before it burst. My take then was, "I don't know how bad it can be, but it sure as hell won't be pretty!" I'm not even an economist, but I knew the shit would hit the fan. All those experts are either complete, utter fools - or they were outright lying to all of us!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > You've got to understand economics so well that you can recognize his base assumptions from his math, or you're still not qualified to check his math.

        Fundamentally economics is the study of human psychology. At some point it goes beyond the kind of math that you can "check."

        > Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that?

        That wasn't really a question of economics more so outright cheating/lying by the bond rating agencies.

        • > Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that?

          That wasn't really a question of economics more so outright cheating/lying by the bond rating agencies.

          Yeah. They're the group to focus on. The people who said a pile of shit was worth its weight in gold.

        • Failure to account for cheating and lying by anyone who can get away with it is a fundamental failure. Any theory of economics that assumes things dramatically at odds with reality (eg rational actors, perfect information, fair behavior, etc) is utterly useless when applied to reality. A bit like how the classical physics example of a spherical cow in a vacuum is really, really bad at modeling the movement of livestock. Thankfully physics has gotten rather far beyond such toy models, hopefully economics wil
          • Model utility (Score:4, Insightful)

            by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:31AM (#47358917)

            Any theory of economics that assumes things dramatically at odds with reality (eg rational actors, perfect information, fair behavior, etc) is utterly useless when applied to reality.

            Incorrect. Many models, including many that have justifiably won Nobel prizes, are extremely useful with the caveat that you need to know and understand the underlying assumptions and limits to the model. You get into trouble when you start using models to predict things that do not fit the underlying conditions of the model. It's ok to presume rational actors and perfect information for a model so long as you don't use that model in conditions where those things don't apply.

            Unfortunately sometimes the best models we currently have aren't robust enough to account for all the real world conditions so we necessarily use them in ways that might not be ideal. For instance most stock options are priced using the Black-Scholes equation [wikipedia.org] which won a Nobel prize in 1997. It's brilliant and hugely insightful but it has a large number of assumptions [wikipedia.org] which do not apply to many of the securities that are priced with the model. This doesn't make it useless but it does mean that anyone who uses it for securities that do not fit the assumption profile are taking on additional risk - sometimes substantial amounts [wikipedia.org] of risk.

            Thankfully physics has gotten rather far beyond such toy models, hopefully economics will get there too.

            Most of physics doesn't involve chaotic systems and human behavior. You're comparing apples to oranges here. I've got a masters degree in finance but my undergraduate degree is in engineering with a minor in applied physics. I've worked as a researcher and as someone who builds financial models. Building and testing models in physics is in a lot of ways hugely more straightforward. I don't think many people here really appreciate how sophisticated a lot of financial models are. But the systems being modeled aren't so easy (for lack of a better word) to tease apart. Predicting economic outcomes is rather like predicting the weather if human emotions could cause hurricanes. It's a chaotic system with imperfect information and irrational actors.

        • That wasn't really a question of economics more so outright cheating/lying by the bond rating agencies.

          I think even to the casual observer there was clearly a price bubble. The ratio of median house prices to personal income was insanely high. Anyone in his right mind knew those prices were well, well above what was sustainable, and yet they kept getting higher.

          Yes, the mis-securitization of mortgage debt was a serious problem. But every borrower had enough information to easily know if they could afford

        • by khallow (566160)

          Fundamentally economics is the study of human psychology. At some point it goes beyond the kind of math that you can "check."

          No, it is not. For example, answer this question. What is the largest market in the world?

          Here's a hint, this market [wikipedia.org] has somewhere in the neighborhood of 10^30 participants [sciencedaily.com] estimated.

          The math of economics works whether humans are involved or not. I can say meaningful things about economics in another galaxy.

          That wasn't really a question of economics more so outright cheating/lying by the bond rating agencies.

          Conflict of interest is a standard economic feature.

      • by Lynal (976271)

        ...[you need to] recognize his base assumptions from his math, or you're still not qualified to check his math.

        As an economist, I want to reiterate that point.

        That said, I wouldn't take the article at face value. Look at how they describe 'unaccepted research practice.' Playing devil's advocate, splitting research into smaller publishable piece makes sense if you want to get it out as quickly as possible. Or their statement about checking the contents of work cited? Do they mean ensuring that works cited are correct? Because that's ridiculous, no one can do that. Or do they mean glancing at the work cited

        • ...[you need to] recognize his base assumptions from his math, or you're still not qualified to check his math.

          As an economist, I want to reiterate that point.

          As another economist, I want to re-reiterate that point.

      • Re:Political/Moral (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Monday June 30, 2014 @11:30PM (#47356811) Journal

        I knew the shit would hit the fan. All those experts are either complete, utter fools - or they were outright lying to all of us!

        They were lying.

        Like many aspects of the DotCom bubble before it, the housing bubble was thoroughly well understood and predicted by pretty much every observer (and discussed as such by those with integrity). The only people who said otherwise were those who were participating for their own benefit, and who well understood the risk to themselves of prematurely bursting their giant Ponzi scheme.

        Similar liars will crawl out of the woodwork to pump up the next bubble too, I'm sure.

        • Re:Political/Moral (Score:4, Insightful)

          by pepty (1976012) on Monday June 30, 2014 @11:37PM (#47356845)
          Yup, but I don't think any were worried that suddenly looking for and then telling the truth would burst the bubble. They just knew that promotions, endowed chairs, year end bonuses, etc, were not going to be handed to the pessimists saying "you know that thing we're doing that's making all the money? Stop it. Right now."
        • by Artifakt (700173)

          The next bubble is student loans, and it's already very far along in the pumping process.

          • The nice thing (for politicians and the bankers that own them) is that students have no political power whatsoever. So they can be ignored and told to turn around and take it up the ass.

            • by nbauman (624611)

              The nice thing (for politicians and the bankers that own them) is that students have no political power whatsoever. So they can be ignored and told to turn around and take it up the ass.

              I tell college students, "It's your own damn fault."

              A German scientist told me, "I don't understand what's wrong with these American students." In Germany, when they tried to impose a $1,000 school fee, "We were demonstrating in the streets."

              The basic problem seems to be that European students are organized, with strong organizations behind them. The socialist parties and unions organized them. We had that here http://www.peteseeger.net/talk... [peteseeger.net] and it worked well. Now it's gone.

              We got Occupy Wall Street bec

              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                We got Occupy Wall Street because some Canadians generously came down and showed us how it was done. It picked up for a while and then it died down. I hope it will have an influence on people.

                They were designated a terrorist threat and the FBI shut them down. Nationwide.
                This is not a conspiracy theory, it is backed up by FOIA documents. [theguardian.com]

              • by MrHanky (141717)

                England imposed hefty student fees quite recently. There were riots, of course, but they led to nothing (except the arrest of a number of looters).

                • Re:Political/Moral (Score:5, Informative)

                  by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @06:59AM (#47358535) Journal
                  No one cares how much students in the UK protest, because they don't vote. Students are a demographic with one of the worst turnouts in elections. For allegedly intelligent people, it's surprising how few seem to realise the correlation between this and getting shafted by their elected officials. Go back to the '60s, and they had a lot more influence because they were much more likely to vote.
              • Considering how much of a flop Occupy was... I expect that is the exact reason the bankers and politicians see little to fear in organized groups of students.

                Without political power, the students and Occupy are destined to fail.

          • by nbauman (624611)

            The next bubble is student loans, and it's already very far along in the pumping process.

            Let's hope the whole thing collapses and students get back their right to go bankrupt.

            I believe that in order for the free market to work, the banks who made bad loans should take the hit and go out of business. Their investors should lose their investment. That would make them more prudent in the future.

      • by riverat1 (1048260)

        There were a few who predicted it (Dean Baker comes to mind) but nobody wanted to listen to them. Like you I could see the crash coming a couple of years before it happened (maybe because I did listen to them).

      • by stms (1132653)

        All those experts are either complete, utter fools - or they were outright lying to all of us!

        You say that as if they share some kind of mutual exclusivity.

      • > Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that? Precious few men and women knew it was coming, and damned near none had any idea how bad it could be.

        That would be pretty much the entire Republican party. Here's Ron Paul explaining exactly what would happen, in 2002. This is six years before the collapse:

        http://www.ronpaul.com/2008-09... [ronpaul.com]

        • Dot-com was a more productive use of capital, but Greenspan popped that. Also, markets aren't very efficient on their own. Sure, slavery produced more cotton than the post-Civil-War south did, but only by using force and ignoring unalienable rights. Markets left to themselves leave a lot of people out, and even finance founder Fischer Black thought markets were only efficient to within a factor of 2 [cruel.org]. So that house might cost $50k or $200k, a wide spread for salesmen to profit. That's what Paul thinks is bet

          • Sure, slavery produced more cotton than the post-Civil-War south did, but only by using force and ignoring unalienable rights.

            Actually, that common misconception is...a misconception.

            Cotton production in the South almost doubled between 1850 and 1870, and more than doubled again by 1900.

            And that in spite of the more obvious economic damage (railroads destroyed, workers killed, that sort of thing).

      • Re:Political/Moral (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @01:14AM (#47357397) Journal

        Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that? Precious few men and women knew it was coming, and damned near none had any idea how bad it could be.

        A bunch of people predicted it. They were ignored.
        "Irrational exuberance" Greenspan called it

        Here's a website devoted to documenting the people who predicted the bubble
        http://investorhome.com/predicted.htm [investorhome.com]
        They even quote Warren Buffet calling derivatives "time bombs."

        • Greenspan was in a position to do something about it but kept mum. My Econ degree is from Podunk U. but I saw it coming. These guys know.

      • by dbIII (701233)

        Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that?

        It seemed half the financial pages around the planet were giving it as a reason to pull out of US based investments at what seemed to be about two years before it blew up. Of course the US press didn't want to say anything bad was happening, in the tradition of the manipulative bastards that wanted the quake of 1906 to be known as the "San Francisco Fire" so it wouldn't drive down property values.
        Economics, PR and politics are very clo

      • I've got some tulip bulbs I'd like to sell to you.

      • by Archtech (159117)

        "Never trust an economist, until you've checked his math".

        True indeed. If you can understand his math, of course - otherwise you have to get someone else (whom you trust for good reasons) to do it for you. IMHO there ought to be a profession that entails nothing but checking the correctness of other people's math AND the correctness of their mathematical modelling.

        Therein lies the even greater problem with economics. The math may even be entirely correct - but how can we tell if it corresponds 1-for-1 to an

      • by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:12AM (#47358833)

        Never trust an economist, until you've checked his math. Even then, you don't trust him. You've got to understand economics so well that you can recognize his base assumptions from his math, or you're still not qualified to check his math.

        You could say the same about almost any profession involving predictive models, particularly those involving human behavior or chaotic systems. (economics involves both) I used to make statistical models of factory operations. I had a manager once ask me to list the assumptions in my model. He asked me to stop when I got to the third page of (single spaced) assumptions built into the model. As the saying goes, "All models are wrong. Some models are useful". Plenty of economic models are useful as long as you understand and respect the assumptions in the model.

        Remember the collapse from the housing bubble burst? Who predicted that?

        I can introduce you to people who were publicly predicting it as far back as 2003. People I know personally, some of whom are economics professors and some others who are investment managers. They couldn't tell you when the bubble would burst or precisely how bad the fallout would be but they could tell you it was VERY likely and they could give you a pretty good overview of the range of possible outcomes.

        Precious few men and women knew it was coming, and damned near none had any idea how bad it could be.

        Not true. Quite a few people including plenty of economists suspected some sort of bubble burst was coming and they could tell you the possible range of outcomes. The problem was that it was damn near impossible to predict WHEN it would burst and as a result it was impossible to predict the collateral damage and fallout. It's also impossible to predict specific decisions. The government could have chosen to bail out Lehman Brothers but for various reasons that seemed good at the time chose not to. (mostly due to wanting to avoid moral hazard [wikipedia.org]) It's difficult, bordering on impossible, to predict specific actions with that level of specificity. Most economic models are statistical and tend to break down when you get to specific decisions. Events like the crash in 2008-9 are chaotic events and thus are very hard to predict with great specificity ahead of time since you don't know the starting conditions even if everything afterwards behaves rationally (which never happens).

      • by Alioth (221270)

        Lots of people predicted it. I'm not entirely familiar with the US housing bubble, but in the UK the bubble collapse could be seen from a mile off. I remember yelling pointlessly at the radio when someone from one of the demutualized building societies was trying to justify lending an even more stupidly massive amount of money to people charging interest only "because we want to make property affordable" when it was doing the exact opposite (fuelling the bubble and making it more unaffordable). I also remem

    • Re:Political/Moral (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mysidia (191772) on Monday June 30, 2014 @11:46PM (#47356891)

      And it will always be better politically for the government to be just as surprised as everyone else when things go belly up

      No.... politically speaking: it's in the government's best interest to take any action possible to delay the next downcycle in the economy, kick the can down the road JUST A LITTLE BIT ---- just a few more years, so the collapse happens when the next guy is elected (preferably a candidate from the opposite party: so they will get blamed), even if doing so INCREASES the ultimate amount of damage, strife, and pain, the people will feel during the next down cycle. Politics actually favors increasing the total amount of pain, as long as the politicians are able to cowardly delay it, so it doesn't happen during their term, therefore, they escape the voter outrage over the issue.

      This is why there will always be enough votes to raise the debt ceiling and keep the US government spending.

      Would it even be ethical to tell a truth that would cause an economic disaster?

      If mere knowledge of economic facts would be at risk of causing a disaster, then the disaster is practically already a certainty, because that truth is inevitably going to eventually be discovered.

      The sooner a bubble or distortion is discovered, the sooner the correction begins, the smaller correction begins, and the quicker the recovery: assuming there is no government interference, which almost always tends to create new distortions and slow down the recovery.

      It is natural that the economy operates in periodic cycles of prosperity and recision. Government-distortion tends to attempt to distort the cycles by delaying recessions, and ultimately --- increasing their magnitude.

      • Oh heck. Where are my mod points when I need them? This absolutely nails it.

      • by Alioth (221270)

        No, it's basic human nature to kick the can down the road, nothing exclusive to politicians. Look at things like IPv4 space exhaustion - we're still kicking the can down the road right now and we'll continue to do so until it becomes so painful we reluctantly start transitioning stuff to IPv6. Same for fossil fuels, "conventional sources" have already peaked and the cost of energy is just going to go up, but we will do the minimum possible and kick the can down the road until it becomes so painful we're for

    • by Krishnoid (984597)

      Dave Barry described this in some 'detail' (from Bad Habits [google.com]):

      What we are in is a recession. The key economic indicator of a recession is that government economists go around announcing that the economy is improving. The truth, of course, is that government economists don't have the slightest notion what the economy is doing; if they did, they would have decent jobs. But they keep trying. Every few days they come out with some economic statistic and attempt to explain it, using charts and pointers, to the news media:

      ["press release" omitted]

      Government economists are always hopeful, for two reasons:

      1. They have jobs.
      2. If they aren't hopeful, the President wil fire them.

      So government economists go around with big smiles on their faces all the time. For the past thirty years, presidents increased spending and deficits like clockwork, and the government economists smiled. Then Ronald Reagan said he was against big spending and deficits, and the government economists smiled. Now it turns out that spending and deficits are still going up, and the government economists are still smiling. Phyllis George would be a good government economist.

      • And standards of living have been going up, because technology keeps advancing. Deficits don't matter. They are a distraction. The advance of knowledge and technology should be the real focus.

    • Would it even be ethical to tell a truth that would cause an economic disaster?

      Even in this situation it still does not make it ethical to fudge the data and lie: you simply shut up and say nothing. To know whether it would be ethical to reveal the truth you need to know the consequence of keeping quiet. For example if you found that a certain company was in financial trouble but still had a chance to pull through (and were acting to maximize that chance without dragging in new investors) you might keep quiet to help avoid financial disaster for those affected. However it would still

    • If economists had known in advance of one of the great depressions that it was going to happen, and releasing the results would of only sped-up the collapse, should they release the information?

      The earlier the bubble is burst, the small the correction needs to be and the quicker the recovery afterwards can be. Knowing a burst will happen, it is ethical to make the information public as quickly as possible.

      The tricky bit comes when you are 55% sure of a crash, but knowing that making those fears known public

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Monday June 30, 2014 @10:27PM (#47356393)
    Depending on what policy a politician wants to push he can cite either traditional economics or Keynesian economics as part of his speel to push a bill. Economists are conflicting in their advice. Sure you can make a real good case for aiming for a surplus because that is good for the nation in the long run. But a lot of politicians are in it for their own personal gain in the short run. They'll borrow from the debt, have a spending party that feels good for a short run, but put the nation in a worse state for the long run. It is unsustainable and only benefits the elite who get crony deals.

    Also scientists are supposed to be pretty unbiased, but the marketing people who use their unbiased data will take it out of context. A marketing person can tell you to put radioactive waste on your face because science has said it gives you a radiant glow. You think I joke, but I saw Lucky Charms touted as a health food on tv some years ago because a science study said oats are good for the heart and Lucky Charms has oat pieces. On top of that, it's not hard think there are times where scientists also get pressure from the corporation funding their science to give them the results they want. Just like economists might get pressure too.
  • by Sean (422) on Monday June 30, 2014 @10:29PM (#47356407)

    Who purchases the services of economists? Who consumes their work product?

    A lot of economists are paid by central banks one way or another:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

    One useful tactic for managing the economy is manipulating public opinion. Especially the opinion of those members of the public who manage huge quantities of other people's money. The job of the economist then is not necessarily to discover the true state of the economy, but to convince others that is it in a certain state in order to influence their behavior.

  • "Plagiarism" does not belong in the same bin o' offenses as data fabrication. The former commits an "offense by definition because citations get academics off", an "offense" solely of non-attribution; while the latter produces fraudulent and untrustworthy outcomes.

    By the time 200 people have cited the same landmark study's findings, I can guarantee you that half of them have "paraphrased" it into the exact same thing. The whole idea of plagiarism amounts to a race to the bottom as to who can rephrase so
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      So when a new study lumps plagiarism in with fabricating data, we see all too plainly what really drives this shit - Credit, credit, credit. Publish or, worse than perishing, you get stuck actually *gasp!* teaching those obnoxious freshmen your name attracted to the school in the first place.

      It's also the influence of capitalism, and corporatism. The grant money has to come from somewhere. If you want to keep getting it, you're going to need to maintain your reputation.

  • hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday June 30, 2014 @10:34PM (#47356463)

    I'll just leave this here...

    MonkeyDex

    Some indexes are more fun than others. MonkeyDex is the first index of Internet stocks picked by a monkey. When it was created in January 1999, Raven, a 6-year-old female monkey, tossed darts at a dartboard plastered with the names of 133 Internet-related stocks. This year the board carried 281 company names.

    Raven, who has her own Web site, showed up many of Wall Street's finest minds with a 213 percent gain for 1999. Had Raven been employed at a Wall Street mutual fund, her performance would rank her as the 22nd best money manager in the country, outperforming more than 6,000 Wall Street pros, according to the Internet Stock Review, creators of the MonkeyDex.

    "It's all in the wrist action," Raven is reported to have said.

    • by twosat (1414337)

      I remember reading about this many years ago. It's because the monkey (and other animals doing similar things) is just picking things at random. The money managers, on the other hand, are being swayed by emotion and the current perceived wisdom, they end up acting together to distort the market and ruining the areas of their interest.

    • You know economists are not the ones who pick stocks.
      They can explain after the fact why it performed the way it did. Economics is actually an interesting accedemic discipline. History, mathematics, psychology and a lot of research.

      Most people choose to ignore their research (sock buyers, polititions, company owners, etc...) leading to well documented side effects suchas black market economies, price spirals, shortages, lowering quality.

  • If 94% of academic economists have fudged things to make their papers look better - what about commercial economists, where they have a stronger financial incentive? What about political economists?

    At first I was worried - but then I realised their trust level is already slightly below that of lawyers.

    • by Copid (137416)

      If 94% of academic economists have fudged things to make their papers look better...

      Actually, 94% engaged in some form of "unaccepted" behavior, a category which appears to include such sins as self-plagiarism.

  • by Mister Liberty (769145) on Monday June 30, 2014 @11:03PM (#47356639)

    Economy as such is not a science.

  • Economists (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bodhammer (559311) on Monday June 30, 2014 @11:10PM (#47356679)
    A civil engineer, a chemist and an economist are traveling in the countryside. Weary, they stop at a small country inn. "I only have two rooms, so one of you will have to sleep in the barn," the innkeeper says. The civil engineer volunteers to sleep in the barn, goes outside, and the others go to bed. In a short time they're awakened by a knock. It's the engineer, who says, "There's a cow in that barn. I'm a Hindu, and it would offend my beliefs to sleep next to a sacred animal." The chemist says that, OK, he'll sleep in the barn. The others go back to bed, but soon are awakened by another knock. It's the chemist who says, "There's a pig in that barn. I'm Jewish, and cannot sleep next to an unclean animal." So the economist is sent to the barn. It's getting late, the others are very tired and soon fall asleep, Bu they're awakened by an even louder knocking. They open the door and are surprised by what they see: It's the cow and the pig!
  • A Fortune 500 company was interviewing for a CFO, and narrowed the field down to 4 candidates - a mathematician, a market researcher, a statistician, and an economist. Because they were so close in every other respect, they brought all 4 in together for an executive panel interview.

    The CEO asked the interviewees "What's 2+2"?

    The mathematician replied "Four".

    The market researcher said "Ha! I heard you asked the tricky questions! So..." - and here he rustled through the pile of paperwork he'd brought with him

  • by sconeu (64226) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @12:42AM (#47357231) Homepage Journal

    Every time one of them opens his/her mouth.

  • What we need is an academic separation of powers.

    Those who collect data should not be the same as those that analyze it. And neither of those groups should store the data.

    Data should be collected by professional data collectors that don't care about the meaning of their data and have nothing to prove by collecting it. They should merely be judged on the quality and quantity of their data. Nothing else.

    That data should be submitted to an archiving department... call them librarians or archivists or whatever.

    Then analysts can pull from that data and base their studies on it.

    In the case that an analyst does not have the information he needs in the archive, he submits a request for the data to the archive which then posts the data request publicly as a job order to collect that data.

    The data collectors get the information, submit it to the archive, and EVERYONE can see the data.

    Doubtless someone has a problem with this... I don't claim to have a perfect system here. I just think too often the sources for things and the information is not readily available.

    If they must cite information in the archive then they can't make it up without outright lying about what they saw in the archive.

    And even then we could establish some automatic data cross referencing protocols that allow us to instantly link and cross reference claims with their data sources and instantly highlight any discrepancies. This requires that the "papers" be coded to facilitate this process but that just requires a program to stamp the correct code in the correct syntax into the document. The researchers don't need to know how to do that. They just need to run the program, key in the source of the data in the field, and then the linking code should be automatically generated.

    Make as a part of every submission a computer check of the files. Anything cited that doesn't exist in the archive gets flagged... and thing cited from the archive that doesn't match the archive gets flagged.

    The actual validity of the claims cannot be checked by computer. But we should be able to ensure data integrity.

  • by F34nor (321515) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @01:44AM (#47357541)

    http://www.scientificamerican.... [scientificamerican.com]

    Mar 17, 2008 By Robert Nadeau

    RTF, if not Economics are about as scientific as Chinese medicine.

  • Without reading further than the title, my answer is:
    too fucking often to be forgiven. The interest rate when I was born was 18%. Enough said.
  • As a professional in finance,I've had to wrestle with economists. To a large extent, the profession itself is a fake: the ultimate employer is the Sovereign, who will look askance on anybody saying that it either goofed or that he must get smaller.
    start with this in your mind 30 years back, fast forward, and you'll see that macroscopic events in the Economy dept. get ignored, simply because they are in opposition to the academic thought.
    I can give you an example: it made the papers in Italy that the Euro
  • Economists still believe in infinite growth in a finite world.
    To me, that's a proof by contradiction that economics as "science" is utter bullshit.

    • by Linzer (753270)

      Economists still believe in infinite growth in a finite world.

      I don't think they do. It's just that many of them (the ones we hear about most, too) don't concern themselves enough with the long term that finite natural resources become a serious issue.

      This is unfortunate, and it's all the more unfortunate that such "long term" issues are now not so long-term anymore, to say nothing of those that are hitting us right now.

      "Sustainability" has been a key word in several areas of macroeconomics for decades. Unfortunately not in all areas of economics. Also, it was long ta

  • This explains how and why economists lead the charge against climate science. If fudging data is common in their field of study perhaps they think others freezing their arse off in Antarctica are fudging stuff when they obviously could be doing that just as effectively somewhere more comfortable?
  • Is economics considered a science now? I thought it was one of those "soft sciences" or like sociology, psychology, or medicine where it's not practiced with any rigor, and nobody trusts it anyway.

  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @11:37AM (#47360615)

    Austrian-school Economists [wikipedia.org] don't have this issue at all. They avoid it entirely in fact by the simple expedient of expressing disbelief in the scientific testability of Economics in the first place. To them, the only thing that can be relied on is pure logic. Thus any annoying data that might seem to show something they don't like is clearly a figment of your imagination. To them essentially economics is not a science at all, but rather a philosophy.

    As such, starting with the right axioms and some clever inductive reasoning, an Austrian can prove any economic fact his funders want him to. Not so coincidentally, the Koch brothers are big believers, and have funded entire departments with the proviso that they teach only this school.

    So if you don't like scientific dishonesty, the solution is clear: Go Austrian and get rid of the science entirely!

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins

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