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The Significance of Statistical Significance: Two Authors Restate an Incontrovertible Caution - Why a Book?


Richard Lempert


University of Michigan Law School

May 2008

U of Michigan Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 08-007

Abstract:     
"The Significance of Statistical Significance" reviews "THE CULT OF STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice and Lives" by Stephen T. Ziliak and Dierdre N. McCloskey. The book's core message is that statistical significance should not be equated with substantive significance and that empirical researchers should convey more information about the magnitude of relationships and effects than many now do. This review summarizes, approves of and elaborates on Ziliak and McCloskeys message with special attention to concerns of the legal academy. It clarifies appropriate uses of significance tests within the research framework of controlling for plausible rival hypotheses.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: Statistical significance, significance tests, review, Cult of Statistical Significance, empirical methods, statistical methods

JEL Classification: A10, C10

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Date posted: June 11, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Lempert, Richard, The Significance of Statistical Significance: Two Authors Restate an Incontrovertible Caution - Why a Book? (May 2008). U of Michigan Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 08-007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1142865 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1142865

Contact Information

Richard Lempert (Contact Author)
University of Michigan Law School ( email )
625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
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