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Cult of Statistical Significance How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives

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ISBN-10: 0472050079

ISBN-13: 9780472050079

Edition: 2007

Authors: Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, Steve Ziliak, Deirdre Nansen McCloskey

List price: $29.95
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"McCloskey and Ziliak have been pushing this very elementary, very correct, very important argument through several articles over several years and for reasons I cannot fathom it is still resisted. If it takes a book to get it across, I hope this book will do it. It ought to." -Thomas Schelling, Distinguished University Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, and 2005 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics "With humor, insight, piercing logic and a nod to history, Ziliak and McCloskey show how economists-and other scientists-suffer from a mass delusion about statistical analysis. The quest for statistical significance that pervades science today is a deeply flawed substitute for thoughtful analysis. . . . Yet few participants in the scientific bureaucracy have been willing to admit what Ziliak and McCloskey make clear: the emperor has no clothes." -Kenneth Rothman, Professor of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Health "The Cult of Statistical Significance" shows, field by field, how "statistical significance," a technique that dominates many sciences, has been a huge mistake. The authors find that researchers in a broad spectrum of fields, from agronomy to zoology, employ "testing" that doesn't test and "estimating" that doesn't estimate. The facts will startle the outside reader: how could a group of brilliant scientists wander so far from scientific magnitudes? This study will encourage scientists who want to know how to get the statistical sciences back on track and fulfill their quantitative promise. The book shows for the first time how wide the disaster is, and how bad for science, and it traces the problem to its historical, sociological, and philosophical roots. Stephen T. Ziliak is the author or editor of many articles and two books. He currently lives in Chicago, where he is Professor of Economics at Roosevelt University. Deirdre N. McCloskey, Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the author of twenty books and three hundred scholarly articles. She has held Guggenheim and National Humanities Fellowships. She is best known for "How to Be Human* Though an Economist "(University of Michigan Press, 2000) and her most recent book, "The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce "(2006).
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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 2/19/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.364
Language: English

Preface
Acknowledgments
A Significant Problem
Dieting "Significance" and the Case of Vioxx
The Sizeless Stare of Statistical Significance
What the Sizeless Scientists Say in Defense
Better Practice: [beta]-Importance vs. [alpha]-"Significance"
A Lot Can Go Wrong in the Use of Significance Tests in Economics
A Lot Did Go Wrong in the American Economic Review during the 1980s
Is Economic Practice Improving?
How Big Is Big in Economics?
What the Sizeless Stare Costs, Economically Speaking
How Economics Stays That Way: The Textbooks and the Referees
The Not-Boring Rise of Significance in Psychology
Psychometrics Lacks Power
The Psychology of Psychological Significance Testing
Medicine Seeks a Magic Pill
Rothman's Revolt
On Drugs, Disability, and Death
Edgeworth's Significance
"Take 3[sigma] as Definitely Significant": Pearson's Rule
Who Sits on the Egg of Cuculus Canorus? Not Karl Pearson
Gosset: The Fable of the Bee
Fisher: The Fable of the Wasp
How the Wasp Stung the Bee and Took over Some Sciences
Eighty Years of Trained Incapacity: How Such a Thing Could Happen
What to Do
A Reader's Guide
Notes
Works Cited
Index