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As I said, it's not that it was in the WSJ that baffles me. It's that the academic paper was published.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 01:26:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which journal?

The not-really-secret of scientific peer review is that you can get any old shit published somewhere. The problem with economics is that it publishes shit in its "top-tier" journals.

Actually, the real problem with the journal culture in economics is that it lacks second-tier journals - which is where all the scientific legwork gets done, as anybody who has ever compared, say, Nature and Physical Review Letters side-by-side will know.

So what you have in economics is three top-tier journals, which can get away with publishing any old shit which is Novel and Interesting, because there are no second-tier journals around to push them to at least make a cursory check that it is also methodologically sound and empirically relevant. And then you have a vast gulf of nothing at all until the third-tier specialist journals start. Which are, as in all fields, a somewhat mixed bag.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 03:24:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that situation would, I feel, fully justify my title.
There are some honest PhDs in economics -I would bet my life that my brother is one. They joined a field that purports to follow scientific processes.

Now, I know that the views here are somewhat cynical towards that field. And I fully include myself in that. But this was not necessarily written with an ET reader in mind. If I just claim that the WSJ is corrupt, I'll be preaching to the choir -those who don't believe it will instantly stop listening.

So my angle of attack was not the conclusion, not even the person (well, not only the person), but the process. And my bitterness that something that I had to teach in introduction classes can be entirely overlooked by a per-review in the field.
And knowing that I am a far, far better economist than this overpaid guy, but currently unemployed while he's raking in millions, sort of rubs it in deeper, of course.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 03:41:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are a great many honest and competent people in economics. The natural habitat for honest, competent professionals is the second-tier journal.

In economics, they get published in third-tier journals and then tacitly ignored by everyone Important. Because the Important People publish mainly in the top-tier journals (whereas in a field like physics, even the Very, Very Important people don't regularly publish in top-tier journals - this definitely helps build recognition and credibility for the second tier, which I would argue is more important anyway).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 04:46:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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