23 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2015 Last revised: 23 Jun 2015

See all articles by Ivo Welch

Ivo Welch

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 22, 2015


Only the strongest and most basic forces and models are universal enough to permit reasonable extrapolation above and beyond their specific historical contexts. Unfortunately, papers that admit to such limits are rarely considered interesting. Instead, researchers search for and find ever-more unlikely explanations and ever-more unlikely evidence in a competitive quest to be surprising, clever — and published. The review processes have also incentiviced lack of care, private and social failure to correct errors, and even outright misconduct. The discipline is veering towards a theater of the absurd. To help correct the problem, I suggest dedicating a third of every journal to independent replications and critique of prior papers.

Keywords: causality, plausibility

JEL Classification: A10, B4

Suggested Citation

Welch, Ivo, Plausibility (June 22, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Ivo Welch (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

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Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
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310-825-2508 (Phone)


National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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