Replication Talk Costs Lives: Why are Economists so Concerned About the Reputational Effects of Replications?
5 Pages Posted: 4 May 2015
Date Written: April 24, 2015
Michael Clemens' recent working paper "The Meaning of Failed Replications: A Review and Proposal" echoes concerns expressed by some replicatees and economists more generally about the potentially damaging effects of a claim of failed replication on reputations (or similar concerns in social psychology. I disagree with Clemens' core argument that replication should be distinguished from robustness testing in part because a failed replication bears implications of error or wrong doing or some other deficiency of the replicatees, while robustness testing (and extension) are practices that reflect legitimate disagreements among competent professionals. I draw attention to arguments made elsewhere that economists are so concerned about "failed replications" because the status of their profession as a science will be damaged by exposure of the fragility of much applied economics, even though the fuller definition of replication corresponds better with the practices of (hard) sciences.
Keywords: Applied economics, replication
JEL Classification: A12, C81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation