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Berk Ozler's blog

Creativity vs. fishing for results in scientific research

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One of my favorite bloggers, Andrew Gelman, has a piece in Slate.com in which he uses a psychology paper that purported to show women are more likely to wear red or pink when they are most fertile as an example of the ‘scientific mass production of spurious statistical significance.’ Here is an excerpt:

Adequacy of Reporting in Economics

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Should the identity of the author affect the interpretation of the existing evidence? You might answer ‘no,’ but it does. And when it does, it may affect the decision of influential people and institutions, such as a multilateral donor organization or, in the following case, a high level panel discussing the post-MDGs development agenda.

Defining Conditional Cash Transfer Programs: An Unconditional Mess

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Many policymakers are interested in the role of conditions in cash transfer programs. Do they improve outcomes of interest more than money alone? Are there trade-offs? Is there a role for conditions for political rather than technocratic reasons? It’s easy to extend the list of questions for a good while. However, before one can get to these questions, there is a much more basic question that needs to be answered (for any policymaker contemplating running one of these programs at any level): “What do you mean by a conditional (or unconditional) cash transfer program?”

Economists have experiments figured out. What’s next? (Hint: It’s Measurement)

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“Everybody lies.” This is the famous refrain of Dr. Gregory House that is repeated in almost every episode of the TV show House. But, we need not need to take our guidance from an eccentric TV character: academics have been heard stating similar sentiments.

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