William Easterly on data mining

Title says it all.  A good reminder for those of us doing quantitative research.


About Jake Wobig

I teach international relations and comparative politics at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina
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2 Responses to William Easterly on data mining

  1. Seems a bit simplistic of an analysis for such a large accusation. Sure, this happens, but the author seems to downplay the fact that we have safeguards in the form of the accumulation of other research based around similar topics, the need to conduct valid research to both get a job/get tenure, and theory. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of these considerations in his discussion.

    And I’m no IR/comparative scholar, but the “probability of two people belonging to ethnic groups X political assassinations” seems like a perfectly reasonable consideration; taken together with other cleavages besides ethnicity would seem to make it more likely for political conflict to occur than in more homogeneous countries. Am I wrong on that? I may very well be.

  2. Tina Mueller Zappile says:

    He is writing from the context of the economic growth literature- there are TONS of kitchen sink models for economic growth models, many including theoretically questionable control variables and many of them providing a “foundation” for some new aid program.

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