Signifying nothing: reply to Hoover and Siegler

Journal of Economic Methodology 15 (1):39-55 (2008)
After William Gosset (1876?1937), the ?Student? of Student's t, the best statisticians have distinguished economic (or agronomic or psychological or medical) significance from merely statistical ?significance? at conventional levels. A singular exception among the best was Ronald A. Fisher, who argued in the 1920s that statistical significance at the 0.05 level is a necessary and sufficient condition for establishing a scientific result. After Fisher many economists and some others ? but rarely physicists, chemists, and geologists, who seldom use Fisher?significance ? have mixed up the two kinds of significance. We have been writing on the matter for some decades, with other critics in medicine, sociology, psychology, and the like. Hoover and Siegler, despite a disdainful rhetoric, agree with the logic of our case. Fisherian ?significance,? they agree, is neither necessary nor sufficient for scientific significance. But they claim that economists already know this and that Fisherian tests can still be used for specification searches. Neither claim seems to be true. Our massive evidence that economists get it wrong appears to hold up. And if rhetorical standards are needed to decide the importance of a coefficient in the scientific conversation, so are they needed when searching for an equation to fit. Fisherian ?significance? signifies nearly nothing, and empirical economics as actually practiced is in crisis.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/13501780801913413
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,392
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

7 ( #499,919 of 1,924,682 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #308,192 of 1,924,682 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.