The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives (Economics, Cognition, and Society)

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9780472050079: The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives (Economics, Cognition, and Society)

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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About the Author:

Stephen Ziliak is the author or editor of many articles and three books, two with Deirdre McCloskey, and a third with McCloskey and Arjo Klamer. He has held faculty positions at a number of universities, including Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. 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 20 books and 300 scholarly articles. She has held Guggenheim and National Humanities Fellowships. She is best known for The Rhetoric of Economics (1985, 2nd ed. 1998), 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).

Review:

"Despite appearing to be a book of limited appeal - it is after all a book that looks at a set of statistical techniques - it is one that has immense social implications. We live in an age where ideologies have largely been cast aside and instead we are governed increasingly by a class of politicians and civil servants who aim for 'evidence-based' policy-making. When that evidence is based on statistically significant results that ignore any quantification of results then we all have reason to pay attention."
London Book Review

(NA London Book Review 2008-12-23)

"Persuading professionals that their procedures are wrong is a long and lonely task. McCloskey, joined later by Ziliak, has been conducting such a crusade against the misuse of significance testing for over 25 years. This book presents their argument, gives lots of examples of the adverse consequences of misuse, and provides some history of the controversy, which dates from the origins of mathematical statistics."
—Ron P. Smith, Journal of Economic Issues

(Ron P. Smith Journal of Economic Issues 2009-01-01)

"The Cult of Statistical Significance has virtues that extend beyond its core message. It is clearly written and should be accessible to those who have neither formal training in statistics nor a desire to secure any. It is full of examples that illustrate why it is the strength of relationships and not their statistical significance that mainly matters."
—Richard Lempert, Law and Social Inquiry

(Richard Lempert Law and Social Inquiry 2009-01-01)

"A clear trade-off: how much confidence [in a result] is "enough" depends on the costs of further research and the benefits of extra precision. Ziliak and his co-author Deirdre McCloskey argue in The Cult of Statistical Significance that most academic disciplines have forgotten this trade-off . . . A sharp line for statistical significance makes no sense, and it has a cost."
—Tim Harford, The Financial Times

(Tim Harford Financial Times 2009-02-07)

"If not Fisherian significance, what should be the Holy Grail of statistics? Ziliak and McCloskey . . . answer: "Oomph." We should identify quantities that matter and measure them, not merely determine whether they can be distinguished from the null (meaning no effect) at some predetermined likelihood level.  The validity of this point I take to be virtually self-evident. Yet statistical tests that ignore quantity remain pervasive, as the authors demonstrate through quantitative analyses of the contents of some very prestigious journals of economics, psychology, and medicine."
—Theodore Porter, Science

(Theodore Porter Science 2009-06-05)

"The book is a model of scholarship, transparent in its method, wide-reaching in its disciplinary expertise, and highly literate, including occasional haiku poems and humor such as, 'If the variable doesn't fit/you may not have to acquit.' The authors convincingly argue that environmental quality, jobs, and even lives are at stake."
—M. H. Maier, Glendale Community College, Choice

(M. H. Maier Choice 2009-10-21)

"What is important is a shift of emphasis away from a dichotomous world of true and false towards a recognition of "oomph". This is what the presented book tries to achieve. It is also fun to read, rich with historical information and an excellent reminder of what empirical work of any sort is all about."
—Walter Kramer, Stat Papers
(W. Kramer Stat Papers)

"[Steve Ziliak and Deirdre McCloskey] explain to us why the misunderstanding of statistical significance has lead to bad government policy making and how one particularly famous brewery employed the technique to improve the pints we enjoy today."
—Tim Harford, BBC

(Tim Harford BBC 2009-01-23)

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Descrizione libro The University of Michigan Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Statistical significance, a technique that dominates medicine, economics, psychology, and many other scientific fields, has been a huge mistake. The outcome is a case study in bad science - how it originates and how it grows. These sciences, from agronomy to zoology, the authors find, engage testing that doesn t test and estimating that doesn t estimate. Heedless of magnitude and of a genuine engagement with alternative hypotheses, they testimate. Null hypothesis significance testing is in other words a scientific train-wreck, about which a small group of statisticians have been warning for a century.Ziliak and McCloskey s book shows field by field how the wreck happened, reports on the fatalities, and offers a quantitative way forward. The facts will startle the outside reader: how could a group of brilliant scientists wander so far away from scientific magnitudes? And it will inspirit the scientists who seek conscious interpretations of oomph rather than arbitrary columns of t-tests: how can the statistical sciences get back on track, and fulfill their quantitative promise?Ziliak and McCloskey measure the disaster in their home field of economics, and in psychology, epidemiology, and medical science.They touch as well on law, biology, psychiatry, pharmacology, sociology, political science, education, forensics, and other fields in the grip of significance. This 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. Many statisticians have complained about it before, but have complained science-by-science. Codice libro della libreria AAC9780472050079

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Descrizione libro The University of Michigan Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Statistical significance, a technique that dominates medicine, economics, psychology, and many other scientific fields, has been a huge mistake. The outcome is a case study in bad science - how it originates and how it grows. These sciences, from agronomy to zoology, the authors find, engage testing that doesn t test and estimating that doesn t estimate. Heedless of magnitude and of a genuine engagement with alternative hypotheses, they testimate. Null hypothesis significance testing is in other words a scientific train-wreck, about which a small group of statisticians have been warning for a century.Ziliak and McCloskey s book shows field by field how the wreck happened, reports on the fatalities, and offers a quantitative way forward. The facts will startle the outside reader: how could a group of brilliant scientists wander so far away from scientific magnitudes? And it will inspirit the scientists who seek conscious interpretations of oomph rather than arbitrary columns of t-tests: how can the statistical sciences get back on track, and fulfill their quantitative promise?Ziliak and McCloskey measure the disaster in their home field of economics, and in psychology, epidemiology, and medical science.They touch as well on law, biology, psychiatry, pharmacology, sociology, political science, education, forensics, and other fields in the grip of significance. This 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. Many statisticians have complained about it before, but have complained science-by-science. Codice libro della libreria AAC9780472050079

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Descrizione libro University of Michigan Press, U.S.A., 2008. Soft Cover. Condizione libro: New. 0472050079 New. The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives (Economics, Cognition, and Society) By Stephen T. Ziliak (Author), Deirdre N. McCloskey (Author) Product Details Series: Economics, Cognition, and Society Paperback: 352 pages Publisher: University of Michigan Press; 1st edition (February 19, 2008) Language: English ISBN-10: 0472050079 ISBN-13: Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches. Codice libro della libreria Z0472050079ZN

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Descrizione libro The University of Michigan Press, United States, 2008. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Statistical significance, a technique that dominates medicine, economics, psychology, and many other scientific fields, has been a huge mistake. The outcome is a case study in bad science - how it originates and how it grows. These sciences, from agronomy to zoology, the authors find, engage testing that doesn t test and estimating that doesn t estimate. Heedless of magnitude and of a genuine engagement with alternative hypotheses, they testimate. Null hypothesis significance testing is in other words a scientific train-wreck, about which a small group of statisticians have been warning for a century.Ziliak and McCloskey s book shows field by field how the wreck happened, reports on the fatalities, and offers a quantitative way forward. The facts will startle the outside reader: how could a group of brilliant scientists wander so far away from scientific magnitudes? And it will inspirit the scientists who seek conscious interpretations of oomph rather than arbitrary columns of t-tests: how can the statistical sciences get back on track, and fulfill their quantitative promise?Ziliak and McCloskey measure the disaster in their home field of economics, and in psychology, epidemiology, and medical science.They touch as well on law, biology, psychiatry, pharmacology, sociology, political science, education, forensics, and other fields in the grip of significance. This 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. Many statisticians have complained about it before, but have complained science-by-science. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780472050079

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