Andrew Gelman:

Overall, I’d say that, if anything, social scientists perhaps don’t spend enough time re-confirming the definitive statements. There’s a real push toward novelty, to the extent that maybe we don’t have enough “gold standards” of well-established social patterns.

More from Gelman and Nicholas Christakis.

2 thoughts on “Verify

  1. We’d need grants specifically for confirming/falsifying prior experiments.

  2. ‘I invite the reader to try and identify a single instance in which a “deep structural parameter” has been estimated in a way that has affected the profession’s beliefs about the nature of preferences or production technologies or to identify a meaningful hypothesis about economic behavior that has fallen into disrepute because of a formal statistical test.’

    The Scientific Illusion in Empirical Macroeconomics, Lawrence H. Summers The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 93, No. 2, Proceedings of a Conference on New Approaches to Empirical Macroeconomics. (Jun., 1991), pp. 129-148


    “Economic empiricists regard the randomized clinical trials conducted in medicine as the “gold standard” towards which economics should strive.

    Yet, as should be obvious, a scientist doesn’t do experiments or run clinical trials as “accidental play, without pre-existence of more or less definite ideas about their meaning” (Einstein and Infeld, 1938).

    Theory forms the basis for empirical work in the science of medicine just like anywhere else.”

    Michael Keane

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