Friday, December 02, 2005

Oops-onomics?

That is what the economist called it (Link via PTDR)! Apparently,
In other words, Messrs Donohue and Levitt did not run the test they thought they had—an “inadvertent but serious computer programming error”, according to Messrs Foote and Goetz
And, what is more,
Of course, lots of people have always thought Mr Levitt was in the wrong. Even if abortion cuts crime, it is still immoral, they fulminate. But this is largely beside the point: Mr Levitt's research does not take a position on abortion's social virtues, but aims merely to uncover its societal effects. Besides, for someone of Mr Levitt's iconoclasm and ingenuity, technical ineptitude is a much graver charge than moral turpitude. To be politically incorrect is one thing; to be simply incorrect quite another.
That, by the way, reminded me of this fortune cookie: At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer. It also reminded me of these earlier posts of mine about programming, reproducibility, and bugs.

1 Comments:

Blogger Abi said...

Don't write of Levitt so easily!
He has an answer here. His reply demands that you get into the crazy details of his computations (you might enjoy it, actually!), but the bottomline is a 'No' that has a high probability of being right.

3:24 pm  

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