Replication Talk Costs Lives: Why are Economists so Concerned About the Reputational Effects of Replications?

5 Pages Posted: 4 May 2015

See all articles by Richard Palmer-Jones

Richard Palmer-Jones

School of International Development, University of East Anglia

Date Written: April 24, 2015

Abstract

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

Palmer-Jones, Richard, Replication Talk Costs Lives: Why are Economists so Concerned About the Reputational Effects of Replications? (April 24, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2598464 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2598464

Richard Palmer-Jones (Contact Author)

School of International Development, University of East Anglia ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

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